Welcome to the Montana Rural Education Association

Cooperative Services

Valued MCS Partners

MREA, MTSBA and Montana Cooperative Services extend an invitation to join the growing number of schools and counties participating in our cooperative bids program.



MCS Announces the first SERVSAFE Course Specifically

Designed for SCHOOL Food Service Staff!

The MCS Food Services Steering Committee along with Mike Callaghan, Montana’s Premier ServSafe Instructor, has designed a new and exciting program of instruction designed specifically for Montana’s School Food Services Staff.

MREA and MCS strongly encourage Montana Schools to bring their Food Service Directors and other food service personnel to MCEL for this new training program.

Montana’s First SCHOOL ServSafe Program at MCEL 2014

Thursday, October 16th - 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Friday, October 17th - 8:00 a.m.-Noon

MREA-MCS Reception - Thursday, October 16th - 7:00 p.m.

Featuring Montana’s Premier ServSafe Instructor… Mike Callaghan!

Mike Callaghan is CEO of Callaghan Enterprises and has over 35 years of experience in the food-service industry. He holds degrees in hotel, restaurant and catering management from Athlone hotel and restaurant school, Ireland and a culinary arts degree from City and Guilds of London, England. Mike was also an executive chef at fine restaurants throughout the country, including Philadelphia, Delaware, and Billings. A certified ServSafe trainer with over 280 national certification classes to his credit, it is easy to see why Mike’s vast knowledge and entertaining style make him the best at what he does!

To register please contact Andy Garland at agarland@mrea-mt.org or 406-207-0510 for the details on various registration options!


MTSBA Joins forces with MREA to Save School

Districts Money on Purchases

Helena, June 9, 2014:  MREA and MTSBA announced a new partnership in expanding access to MREA’s Montana Cooperative Services (MCS) purchasing program today.  The success of MCS over the last ten years has been compelling, helping school districts across the state enjoy tremendous savings on a wide variety of goods and services used in our public schools.  Those savings have in turn allowed many school districts to redirect resources that had previously been paid out in profits to third parties toward increasing student achievement.

This new partnership makes it possible for EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN MONTANA to be part of these savings as you purchase products and services used every day in school buildings across the state at the lowest price available in Montana.  MCS has accomplished this success and with the resulting huge savings to our Montana schools as part of the national “AEPA”…the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies.  Through AEPA, MCS here in Montana combines forces with education advocates in twenty-five other states as we go out to bid in demanding the very best prices for all of our schools on thousands of common products and services that our schools purchase every year.  MCS takes care of all of the state laws and the tremendous time involved in  dealing with state and federal bidding requirements…your school district then reaps the benefits of nationally leveraged pricing with all of these contracts awarded right here in Montana.

When your school makes a purchase through MCS your school is guaranteed the very best price available on QUALITY products or services that have met all of our rigorous national AEPA specifications.  You have the full backing of both MCS here in Montana and AEPA on the national level should you have problems with these vendors or services.  In addition to these local benefits for your district, your membership organizations receive a small service fee that is included in your savings that we use to expand and improve services and advocacy for our members before the Montana Legislature. 

If your school district has already joined MCS for the upcoming 2014-15 school year we want to thank you…you are now part of a much larger effort to save Montana schools even more money!  If your school district has NOT joined MCS we hope that you will join this statewide effort now supported and recommended by both MREA and MTSBA!

Benefits of the MCS Purchasing Program:

Volume Counts! The combined purchasing power of MCS working with 25 other states and serving over 27 million students creates substantial discounts on products and services.

Convenient Ordering! Purchase directly from the companies and order only what you need when you need it.

Favorite Brands—Excellent Quality! You’ll find your favorite brands all at lower prices. Quality is guaranteed, as every product in the program meets strict content and pricing criteria.

Satisfies Bid Requirements!

Mission Statement

To save members time and resources by exploring and solving present and future purchasing needs, creating partnerships, and obtaining the very best pricing available through a national competitive bid process- such that excellent quality and service are provided to all of our members in a measurable and cost-efficient manner.

About the MCS Program:

MCS (Montana Cooperative Services) bids for products and services for member schools under Montana state statute section 20-9-204. These bids then become available exclusively to our members. Companies enjoy the volume associated with being with MCS and schools enjoy the lower price that volume purchasing can bring and also the convenience of not having to go out to bid themselves. MCS is a member of the AEPA, Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies. This Association is comprised of 26 states that cooperatively bid for products to obtain volume discounts which are then passed on to all members. Schools and other non-profit entities in Montana are eligible for membership in MCS. Purchasing and pricing is done by contacting the appropriate company and letting them know you are a member of MCS. The “Catalog and Order Info." page detail how to order from each company. The cost of joining is $1.00/student with a maximum of $1200/school. MCS has been serving schools since 2001.

MCS...Over 25 states bidding nationally together
with contracts awarded locally here in Montana!

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