Board of Education Policy 5400R: Administrative Regulations: Purchasing/Procurement Of Goods & Services

The following sets forth the regulations for the procurement of goods and services by the Niskayuna Central School District. The overriding principle of the district’s approach to procurement is to provide all necessary goods and services for the educational program and district operations while obtaining the best possible value for the use of public monies.

Procedures for Determining Whether Purchases are Subject to Bidding

The procedures for determining whether a procurement of goods and services is subject to competitive bidding and documenting the basis for any determination that competitive bidding is not required by law is as follows:

Dollar Value Threshold:  The District will determine if the proposed procurement is a purchase contract or a contract for public work. The threshold for purchase contracts for material, equipment and supplies is $20,000 and for public work is $35,000.

Aggregate Cost: When it can reasonably be anticipated that the aggregate purchase of related items will exceed the above thresholds ($20,000 for purchase contracts and $35,000 for public works) in a fiscal year, the purchases are subject to competitive bidding unless there is an applicable exception. Exceptions, detailed in these regulations, are: emergencies; purchase of second-hand or surplus items; sole source purchases; and purchases through certain government contracts.)

Competitive Bidding Exceptions: The District will also determine if there are applicable exceptions to competitive bidding, as outlined in the Purchasing Policy, below and Exhibit A..

Use of Quotes (written or verbal): Expenditures below these amounts not subject to another exception to competitive bidding, will require verbal and or written quotes, with the specific procedure based on the dollar value, as outlined in the next section of this regulation.

Contracts that Involve Public Works and a Purchase: In the event that a contract combines the provisions of a public works and a purchase, the district will determine whether the public works or the purchase is the predominant part of the transaction to determine the monetary threshold to apply to the contract.

Obtaining Quotes and Dollar Value Thresholds

Purchase Contracts up to $20,000

  • Purchase Contracts under $1,000: No quotes required, but strongly encouraged
  • Purchase Contracts $1,001 – $2,500: 1 verbal quote required, documented by staff and attached to the purchase order.
  • Purchase Contracts from $2,501 to $19,999: 3 written quotes required, documented by staff attached to the purchase order.
  • Purchase Contracts $20,000 and greater: Competitive Bid (unless exceptions apply)

Public Works and Service Contracts up to $35,000

  • Public works/service contracts under 5,000: No quotes required, but strongly encouraged.
  • Public works/service contracts from $5,000 to $10,000: 1 verbal quote required, documented by staff and attached to the purchase order.
  • Public works/service contracts from $10,001 to $34,999: 3 Written quotes required, documented by staff and attached to the purchase order.
  • Public works/service contracts $35,000 and greater: Competitive Bid (unless exceptions apply)

Documentation of Written or Verbal Quotes:

Verbal Quotations: A telephone log or other record will set forth, at a minimum, the date, item or service desired, price quoted, name of vendor, name of vendor’s representative;

Written Quotations: Vendors will provide, at a minimum, the date, description of the item or details of service to be provided, price quoted, name of contact.

Exceptions to Competitive Bidding

Competitive bidding, even if the dollar value of the purchase meets the $20,000 purchase contract/$35,000 public works contract threshold, is not required in the following circumstances:

  1. Emergencies where time is a crucial factor;
  2. Purchases such as surplus or second-hand items from governmental entities, certain food and milk items, or goods and services from municipal hospitals;
  3. Purchase of Certain Food Products Directly from Producers and Growers;
  4. Procurements for which there is no possibility of competition (sole source items);
  5. Procurements through the use of contracts let by the United States or any agency thereof, any state, and any county, political subdivision or district of any state (“Piggybacking” provided that the original contract was let consistent with New York State competitive bidding requirements; and
  6. Procurement of professional services that require special skill or training


An exception to competitive bidding applies in emergency situations:

  • Arises out of an accident or unforeseen occurrence or condition;
  • a District building, property, or the life, health, or safety of an individual on District property is affected; or
  • The situation requires immediate action which cannot await competitive bidding.

In a situation designated as an emergency, the Purchasing Agent can authorize purchases that are below the bidding thresholds. For purchases that exceed the bidding thresholds, an emergency resolution approved by the Board of Education is required; Given the nature of an emergency, it may not be practical for the Board to convene prior to the purchase and it will apply retroactively. Any time an emergency is declared, the District will make purchases at the lowest possible costs, seeking competition by informal solicitation of quotes or otherwise, to the extent practicable under the circumstances.

Documentation: The District will maintain records of verbal (or written) quotes.

Purchase of Surplus or Second-Hand Items

An exception to competitive bidding applies when the district purchases surplus or second-hand supplies, materials or equipment from the Federal or State governments or from any other political subdivision or public benefit corporation within the State.

Documentation: The District will maintain market price comparisons (verbal or written quotes) and the name of the government entity.

Purchase of Certain Food Products Directly from Producers and Growers

When the district separately purchases eggs, livestock, fish and dairy products (other than milk), juice, grains, and species of fresh fruits and vegetables directly from producers or growers.

Documentation: The District will maintain documentation consistent with Sections 114.3 and 114.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

Sole Source Purchases

An exception to competitive bidding applies when there is only one possible source from which to procure goods or services required in the public interest.

Sole Source procurements of $20,000 or higher shall require an approved Board Resolution.

Documentation: The District will maintain written documentation of the unique benefits of the patented item or services purchased as compared to other items or services available in the marketplace; that no other item or service provides substantially equivalent or similar benefits; and that, considering the benefits received, the cost of the item or service is reasonable when compared to conventional methods. In addition, the documentation will provide that there is no possibility of competition for the procurement of the goods.

Government Contracts and Other Circumstances When No Quotes or Competitive Bidding are Required

The District will not be required to secure alternative proposals or quotations for those procurements:

  • Under a cooperative BOCES contract;
  • Under a county contract
  • Under a state contract
  • Through “Piggybacking,” under a local, regional, state or national cooperative approved by the Board (Documentation must include the “Justification for Utilizing a Cooperative Contract” form)
  • Articles manufactured in State correctional institutions, or from agencies for the blind and severely disabled.

Documentation: Purchase requisitions must include the contract the district is utilizing.

Professional Services

An exception to competitive bidding applies to contracts for professional services, defined as those that require special skill or training, such as but not limited to, audit, architect, medical and other related services, legal or insurance services, construction management, or property appraisals. Professional services are specifically exempted from competitive bidding requirements, because the public interest is best-served when awards are made following a determination of best value. Additionally, professional services agreements are mutually beneficial when the service periods span multiple years.

The District will use a Requests for Proposal (RFP) process for any professional services in excess of $25,000 unless it is demonstrated that there are three or fewer possible sources. A committee of persons having some knowledge or expertise appropriate in the subject matter shall assist in the RFP process, including the development of the RFP and/or the evaluation of proposals. The RFP and evaluation of such proposals will consider price plus other factors such as: the special knowledge or expertise of the professional or consultant service; the quality of the service to be provided; the staffing of the service; the suitability for the District’s needs. For professional service contracts less than $25,000, the thresholds and requirements for gathering quotes for other purchase contracts apply.

Documentation: For each formal RFP process (professional services greater than $25,000), documentation will include the RFP, proposals, evaluation criteria and information outlining how the selected professional service provider provides the best value to taxpayers.

Best Value

Based on existing Board of Education resolution, the District may, in its discretion, award purchase contracts to a responsive and responsible bidder other than the lowest responsible bidder on the basis of “best value.” These include contracts for service work, but exclude contracts necessary for the

completion of public works contract covered by the prevailing wage provisions of Article 8 of the Labor Law, such as for building construction. Best value is a basis for awarding purchasing contracts to the offerer that optimizes quality, cost and efficiency, among responsive and responsible offerers. The basis for the District’s best value award must reflect, whenever possible, objective and quantifiable analysis (State Finance Law 163(1)(j)).

Each of these exceptions to competitive bidding requires documentation and steps to ensure the prudent and economical use of public monies, as outlined below.

Apparel and Sports Equipment Purchases

The District will strive not purchase any apparel or sports equipment manufactured in a sweatshop. Consistent with New York State General Municipal Law, the district may reject a bid or purchase proposal based on the labor standards of the manufacturer of the apparel or sports equipment. Such a decision to reject a vendor’s proposal may be based upon either or both of the following considerations:

  • The labor standards applicable to the manufacture of the apparel or sports equipment including, but not limited to, employee compensation, working conditions, employee rights to form unions, and the use of child labor; or
  • The vendor’s failure to provide information sufficient for the Board to determine the labor standards applicable to the manufacture of the apparel or sports equipment.

Competitive Bidding Requirements

The requirements for formal competitive bidding are as follows:

  1. All items must be bid when the cost of any single item or group of similar items in a fiscal year is equal to or in excess of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars. All items and/or groups of items whose total cost is equal to or exceeds one thousand ($1,000) but is less than twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars will require either verbal or written quotations.
  2. All transportation must be bid where the cost of all transportation contracts for services are expected to equal or exceed twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars in a fiscal year, unless the District has elected to contract for the transportation of students through a Request forProposals (RFP) evaluation process. Annual, biennial, triennial, quadrennial or quinquennial year extensions of a transportation contract secured either through competitive or through the RFP evaluation process are not subject to competitive bidding when such extensions are made in accordance with the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
  3. All public works repair or contract obligations involving the use of personnel and goods in a single project must be bid when such project costs equal or exceed thirty-five thousand ($35,000.00) dollars in a fiscal year. Verbal or written quotations shall be required for public works repair or service contracts exceeding $10,000.
  4. A “Notice to Bidders” shall be published in the officially designated newspaper(s) at least once, commencing not less than five (5) days prior to the date so specified for the opening and reading of the bids. A longer period to advertise for bids may be established based on the complexity of the bid. Notices are to be made available to potential bidders sufficiently in advance of the scheduled bid opening date to permit timely preparation and submission of bids.
  5. Bids shall be received until the opening time designated in the official notice. All bids shall be date- and time- stamped upon receipt and shall be kept in a safe, locked location until the time for opening. All bids received after the designated time will be unopened, date- and time-stamped, and filed along with all other bids.
  6. Bids shall be opened at the time and place set forth in the “Notice to Bidders”. There will be at least two (2) District employees present at each bid opening, including the Purchasing Agent or in their absence, the Deputy Purchasing Agent. All interested parties may also attend the opening of bids.
  7. After being opened, all bids shall be recorded and analyzed. The Purchasing Agent or in their absence, the Deputy Purchasing Agent, shall make a recommendation to the Board of Education as to the lowest responsible bidder who has met or complied with the bid specifications. In this analysis, in order to determine whether the lowest bidder is “responsible”, the following factors shall be considered: expertise and experience; financial resources necessary to perform the work; engagement in criminal conduct or criminal investigation of a bidder; safety of employees; compliance with New York State Labor and Workers’ Compensation laws; violations of any State or Federal environmental statutes; any past history of dishonest work practices and inadequate performance of prior contracts; and bidder’s reliability, honesty, skill, capacity, ability, judgment, good faith, fair dealing, integrity, accountability and moral worth; and the presentation of false or misleading statements or any other issue that raises serious questions about the responsibility of the bidder.
  8. In the event there are two (2) or more bona fide low responsible bidders, the District may  make an award to one of the low bidders or, at its discretion, may reject all the bids and re-advertise the purchase. In making an award in the case of tied low responsible bidders, the Board may give consideration to a local business or supplier.
  9. Bid bonds or deposits of five percent (5%) of the bid price may be required, at the discretion of the Purchasing Agent or in their absence, the Deputy Purchasing Agent, on all contracts of less than twenty-five thousand ($25,000.00) dollars. Performance bonds of one hundred percent (100%) of the bid price are required for all contracts in excess of seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars. Performance bonds on contracts for less than seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) dollars may be required at the discretion of the Purchasing Agent or in their absence, the Deputy Purchasing Agent.
  10. Every bid shall contain the certification, properly executed by the bidder, required by Section 103-d of the General Municipal Law.
  11. Every bid or proposal must be accompanied by a signed statement, affirmed under the penalties of perjury, certifying that the bidder is not on a list created and maintained by the State Office of General Services cataloging significant investment in the Iranian energy sector.

    Minor deviations from specifications or compliance with bidding requirements may be waived by the Board upon the recommendation of the Purchasing Agent. The Purchasing Agent or in their absence, the Deputy Purchasing Agent, shall determine all questions of comparability or equivalency.

    No Board member, officer, or employee of this School District or their families shall be interested financially in any contract entered into by the Board. This shall also preclude acceptance of any gratuities, financial or otherwise, by the above persons from any supplier of materials or services to the District.





    Adopted: November 29, 2022