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Leon County Schools aims to work with more local small businesses

Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:51:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools is looking to increase the number of opportunities they offer by aligning themselves more closely with the Office of Economic Vitality.

"We have currently 129 certified small businesses on our registry," said Rod McQueen, Leon County Schools code enforcement compliance and small business director. "However OEV has over 267 vendors on their registry."

Leon County School hopes to soon take advantage of all of the available resources small businesses have to offer by matching their hiring criteria to that of OEV.

"Currently, the Leon County schools criteria is 15 employees and $2 million gross sales over three years. We're moving our criteria up to match the Office of Economic Vitality and the Office of Supply and Diversity with the state to $5 million in gross sales and 200 employees."

The change would make it easier for more local businesses like True Waste Cleaning Solutions to get high-paying contracts within the district.

"They are a part of our strike team that we have here in the district that addresses our COVID cases when we have cases in our schools. However, he can't register with me as a small business because he has 27 employees, which is over our threshold."

The proposed policy will potentially help widen the net so more businesses will have an opportunity to work with Leon County Schools.

True Waste Cleaning Solutions Owner Mario Francis and others say the move will help keep much-needed jobs here at home.

"I think it's a good thing," says Francis, "because if you're keeping the money local, then the businesses are spending locally, as well hiring locally. They can go out there and hire bigger companies than ours, but they're not also bringing back into the community."

Aaron Milner of Johnson and Milner Engineering also works with the district and agrees.

"It’s a good idea to try to keep as much of that at home as you can because there’s not a complete saturation of the available firms that are here," Milner says.

Leon County Schools will hold a public hearing during their first meeting in June before formally adopting the new policy.