The goal of this policy and all procurement activities within the school district is to ensure the prudent and economical use of public funds invested in education. The District’s purchasing activities will be part of the responsibilities of the Business Office, under the general supervision of the Purchasing Agent designated by the Board of Education. The Purchasing Agent is authorized to enter into cooperative bidding and cooperative purchasing arrangements to meet the various needs of the District. No contracts for goods and services will be made by individuals or organizations in the school that involve expenditures without first securing approval for the contract from the Purchasing Agent. As outlined in this policy, certain contracts are subject to Board approval.
Competitive bids or quotations shall be solicited in connection with purchases pursuant to law. New York State General Municipal Law requires that purchase contracts for materials, equipment and supplies involving an estimated annual expenditure exceeding $20,000 and public work contracts involving an expenditure of more than $35,000 will be awarded only after responsible bids have been received in response to a public advertisement soliciting formal bids. Purchases of the same commodity cannot be artificially divided for the purpose of avoiding the threshold. Similar procurements to be made in a fiscal year will be grouped together for the purpose of determining whether a particular item must be bid. This policy outlines exceptions to competitive bidding allowable under the law.
Except as authorized by law, no Board member or employee of the District will have an interest in any contract entered into by the District.
Competitive Bidding and Offering
Except as otherwise provided by law, all contracts for public work involving an expenditure of more than thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) and all purchase contracts involving an expenditure of more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) shall be awarded by the District to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids.
However, the District may, in its discretion, award purchase contracts on the basis of “best value” to a responsive and responsible bidder or offerer, consistent with existing Board of Education resolution. Best value awards may include contracts for service work, but will exclude contracts necessary for the completion of public works contracts 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. Such basis shall be, wherever possible, quantifiable (State Finance Law 163(1)(j)).
No bid or offer shall be accepted that does not conform to specifications furnished unless such specifications are waived by Board action. The District may, in its discretion, reject all bids or offers and re-advertise for new bids or offers in a manner consistent with New York State law.
All contracts requiring public advertising and competitive bidding or offering will be awarded by resolution of the Board.
The Board authorizes the receipt of sealed bids for purchase contracts in electronic format, pursuant to the provisions of General Municipal Law §103(1) which addressed proper documentation, authentication, security, and confidentiality of electronic bids.
Exceptions to Competitive Bidding
The Board recognizes its responsibility to ensure the development of procedures for the procurement of goods and services not required by law to be made pursuant to competitive bidding requirements. These goods and services will be procured in a manner so as to:
- Assure the prudent and economical use of public monies in the best interests of the taxpayer;
- Facilitate the acquisition of goods and services of maximum quality at the lowest possible cost under the circumstances; and
- Guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud, and corruption.
Competitive bidding, even if the dollar value of the purchase meets the threshold established above, is not required in the following circumstances:
- Emergencies where time is a crucial factor;
- Purchases such as surplus or second-hand items from governmental entities, certain food and milk items, or goods and services from municipal hospitals;
- Purchase of Certain Food Products Directly from Producers and Growers
- Procurements for which there is no possibility of competition (sole source items); and
- Procurement of professional services that require special skill or training.
The district will establish Purchasing Regulations that identify dollar value thresholds for obtaining quotes and alternative proposals to ensure competition when certain procurements fall below the thresholds for formal competitive bidding outlined below.
The district will not be required to secure competitive bids or alternative proposals or quotations for those procurements:
- under a County contract,
- under a BOCES contract,
- under a State contract,
- under an approved national and/or cooperative contract, consistent with the “Piggybacking” provision of New York State General Municipal Law,
- of articles manufactured in State correctional institutions, or
- from agencies for the blind and severely disabled.
In addition, the district will not be required to secure such alternative proposals or quotations for very small procurements when solicitations of competition would not be cost-effective.
“Piggybacking” Exception to Competitive Bidding
The District may, in its discretion, purchase certain goods and services (apparatus, materials, equipment, and supplies) at costs beyond the above-referenced thresholds 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.
This method of procurement is permitted on contracts issued by other governmental entities, provided, at a minimum, that the original contract:
- Has been let by the United States or any agency thereof, any state (including New York State) or any other political subdivision or district;
- Was made available for use by other governmental entities and agreeable with the contract holder; and
- Was let in a manner that constitutes competitive bidding consistent with New York State law, or was awarded on the basis of best value, and is not in conflict with other New York State laws.
Alternative Formats for Instructional Materials
Consideration in the purchase of instructional materials will be given to vendors who agree to provide materials in a usable alternative format (i.e., any medium or format, other than a traditional print textbook, for presentation of instructional materials that is needed as an accommodation for each student with a disability, including students requiring Section 504 Accommodation Plans, enrolled in the School District). Alternative formats include, but are not limited to, Braille, large print, open and closed captioned, audio, or an electronic file in an approved format as defined in Commissioner’s Regulations.
The District subscribes to the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to ensure that curriculum materials are available in a usable alternative format for students with disabilities. The District will be responsible to ensure that each student who requires instructional materials in an alternate format will receive it in a timely manner and in a format that meets NIMAS standards.
The District has established a process to ensure that instructional materials in a usable alternative format for each student with a disability (including students requiring Section 504 Accommodation Plans) are based upon the student’s educational needs and course selections, and will be available at the same time as such instructional materials are available to non-disabled students.
Upon the adoption of a standardization resolution by a vote of at least three-fifths (3/5) of all Board members, purchase contracts for a particular type or kind of equipment, materials or supplies of more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) may be awarded by the Board to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or offerer furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids in the manner provided in law. Such resolution must state that, for reasons of efficiency or economy, there is a need for standardization and must contain a full explanation of those reasons. Upon the adoption of a valid standardization resolution, the District may provide in its specifications for a particular make or brand to the exclusion of others.
Professional services are generally those services that require specialized skills, training, professional judgment, expertise, and creativity. Examples include attorneys, architects, and engineers. The procurement of professional services falls within an exception to competitive bidding. In order to procure professional services, and avoid the appearance of favoritism or impropriety, the District will document its selection process to demonstrate its economical and prudent use of public monies and to ensure fair competition.
Environmentally Sensitive “Green” Cleaning Products
The Board is also aware of the need to reduce exposure of students and staff to potentially harmful chemicals and substances used in cleaning and maintenance. In accordance with law, regulation and guidelines set forth by the Office of General Services (OGS), the district will purchase and utilize environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products in its facilities whenever feasible. Cleansers purchased must, first and foremost, be effective so that the district may continue to purchase non-green products as necessary. Environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products will be procured in accordance with standard purchasing procedures as outlined in this policy and regulation.
Uniform Guidance Compliance – Procurement, Suspension and Debarment
The District will follow all applicable requirements in the Uniform Grant Guidance (2 CFR Part 200) whenever it procures goods or services using federal grant funds awarded through formula and/or discretionary grants, including funds awarded by the United States Department of Education as grants or funds awarded to a pass-through entity, such as the New York State Education Department, for subgrants.
Uniform Grant Guidance Requirements
Under the Uniform Grant Guidance, the District will, among other things:
- Use its own documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable state, local and tribal laws and regulations, provided that the procurements conform to applicable federal law and the standards identified in the Uniform Grant Guidance.
- Establish and maintain effective internal controls that provide reasonable assurance that the District is managing the federal award in compliance with federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the federal award. Internal controls means a process, implemented by the District, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories:
a. Effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
b. Reliability of reporting for internal and external use; and
c. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Comply with federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the federal awards.
- Evaluate and monitor the District’s compliance with statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of federal awards.
- Take prompt action when instances of noncompliance are identified including noncompliance identified in audit findings.
- Take reasonable measures to safeguard protected personally identifiable information and other information the federal awarding agency or pass-through entity designates as sensitive or the District considers sensitive consistent with applicable federal, state, local, and tribal laws regarding privacy and obligations of confidentiality.
- Maintain oversight to ensure contractors perform in accordance with the terms, conditions, and specifications of their contracts or purchase orders.
- Maintain written standards of conduct covering conflicts of interest and governing the actions of its employees engaged in the selection, award, and administration of contracts.
- Have procurement procedures in place to avoid acquisition of unnecessary or duplicative items. Consideration should be given to consolidating or breaking out procurements to obtain a more economical purchase.
- Award contracts only to responsible contractors possessing the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of a proposed procurement. Consideration will be given to matters such as contractor integrity, compliance with public policy, record of past performance, and financial and technical resources.
- Maintain records that sufficiently detail the history of the procurement including, but not limited to:
a. Rationale for the method of procurement;
b. Selection of contract type;
c. Contractor selection or rejection; and
d. The basis for the contract price.
- Use time and material contracts, only after a determination that no other contract is suitable and the contract includes a ceiling price that the contractor exceeds at its own risk.
- Conduct all procurement transactions in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of the Uniform Grant Guidance.
- Conduct procurements in a manner that prohibits the use of statutorily or administratively imposed state, local or tribal geographical preferences in the evaluation of bids or proposals, except in those cases where applicable federal statutes expressly mandate or encourage geographic preference.
- Have written procedures for procurement to ensure that all solicitations:
a. Incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service to be procured; and
b. Identify all requirements which the offerors must fulfill and all other factors to be used in evaluating bids.
- Ensure that all prequalified lists of persons, firms, or products which are used in acquiring goods and services are current and include enough qualified sources to ensure maximum open and free competition.
- Use one of the following methods of procurement, which include:
b. Small purchase procedures;
c. Sealed bids;
d. Competitive proposals; and
e. Noncompetitive proposals.
- Have a written method for conducting technical evaluations of the proposals received and for selecting recipients.
- Include in all contracts made by the District the applicable provisions contained in Appendix II of the Uniform Grant Guidance — Contract Provisions for Non-Federal Entity Contracts Under Federal Awards.
- Perform a cost or price analysis in connection with every procurement action in excess of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold including contract modifications.
- Negotiate profit as a separate element of the price for each contract in which there is not price competition and in all cases where an analysis is performed.
- Take all necessary affirmative steps to assure that minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms are used when possible.
- Comply with the non-procurement debarment and suspension standards which prohibit awarding contracts to parties listed on the government-wide exclusions in the System for Award Management (SAM).
The Board recognizes its responsibility to ensure the development of procedures for the procurement of goods and services to ensure the most prudent and economical use of public monies. Administrative regulations for Purchasing will contain, at a minimum, provisions which:
- Prescribe a process for determining whether a procurement of goods and services is subject to competitive bidding and if it is not, documenting the basis for such determination;
- With certain exceptions, provide that alternative proposals or quotations for goods and services will be secured by use of written request for proposals, written quotations, verbal quotations, or any other method of procurement which furthers the purposes of General Municipal Law Section 104-b;
- Set forth when each method of procurement will be utilized;
- Require adequate documentation of actions taken with each method of procurement; and
- Require justification and documentation of any contract awarded to other than the lowest responsible dollar offer, stating the reasons;
- Set forth any circumstances when, or the types of procurement for which, the solicitation of alternative proposals or quotations will not be in the best interest of the District; and
- Identify the individual or individuals responsible for purchasing by their titles.
Training, Compliance and Annual Review
Comments concerning the District’s bidding and purchasing policies and procedures will be solicited from those District employees involved in the procurement process from time to time. The School Business Official will ensure periodic training takes place for school administrators and other staff members involved in the procurement process.
The Board of Education will annually review its bidding and purchasing policies and procedures. The School Business Official will be responsible for conducting an annual review of such policies and for an evaluation of the internal control structure established to ensure compliance with the procurement policy.
Any unintentional failure to fully comply with these provisions will not be grounds to void action taken or give rise to a cause of action against the District or any District employee.
Education Law §§ 1604, 1709, 1950, 2503, 2554, and 3602
General Municipal Law Articles 5-A and 18
General Municipal Law §§ 104-b and 119-o
General Municipal Law Articles 5-A and 18
State Finance Law Sections 162, 163 and 163-b
20 USC Section 1474(e)(3)(B)
8 NYCRR Sections 200.2(b)(10), 200.2(c)(2) and 200.2(i)
2 CFR §§ 200.61, 200.303, 200.318, 200.319, 200.320, 200.321, 200.323, and 200.326
2 CFR Part 200, App. II