Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) - Definition & Meaning

A Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) is a legal contract or agreement between two or more public entities or governmental agencies to collaborate and jointly exercise specific powers or perform certain functions. JPAs are commonly used to combine resources and share responsibilities for the delivery of public services or the implementation of projects that benefit the participating entities and their constituents.

Key points about Joint Powers Agreements include:

  • Collaboration: JPAs facilitate collaboration and cooperation among public agencies, allowing them to work together on shared objectives.
  • Flexibility: JPAs offer flexibility in structuring the partnership and defining the roles and responsibilities of each participating entity.
  • Scope: JPAs can cover a wide range of activities, from joint purchasing and infrastructure projects to the provision of specialized services such as education or public safety.
  • Legal Authority: The authority for forming JPAs is typically provided by state law or local ordinances.
  • Governance: JPAs often have a governing board or commission composed of representatives from each participating agency.
In the context of education, JPAs may be used for various purposes, such as regional educational service delivery, the establishment of shared special education programs, or collaborative efforts to address specific educational needs or initiatives. JPAs are a tool for governmental entities to pool resources and expertise for the benefit of their communities.
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