14. COMPETITIVE BIDDING
All purchases exceeding $29,000 must be publicly advertised for competitive bidding by interested vendors. This applies to any one purchase, contract, or agreement, or an aggregate of purchases for similar purpose or project District-wide. It applies to the performance of any work or the furnishing of materials or supplies to be paid for out of public funds. The law requires that purchases, contracts, and agreements not be intentionally split into smaller parts so as to avoid the bidding threshold. Projects and programs are to be anticipated, communicated, and aggregated throughout the District, consolidating the needs into comprehensive specifications which can be periodically advertised and placed through the competitive bidding process. Placing repeated purchases through out the year does not exempt the Board of Education from the law.
Authorized Exceptions- Certain purchase, contracts, or agreements are exempt from the competitive bidding requirements. Although exempt from competitive bidding, a written contract or agreement is required. See bidding exceptions described in sections 16 through 18.
1. Specifications- Specifications for materials, supplies, or services which are estimated to exceed $40,000 are to be prepared by the department(s) which will require such materials, supplies, or services. The specifications submitted:
a) Should be clear cut, yet specific enough that no loophole will allow a bidder to evade any of the provisions or requirements of that project so as to take advantage of his competitors or the District.
g) May not be verbally clarified, changed, or added to without a written addenda submitted to all prospective bidders. In the event that an addendum is deemed necessary, the bid opening date may need to be extended.
2. Advertising for bids- From the specifications written by the department, the business office will compile the advertisement for bid, instructions to bidders, general requirements, final specifications, and form of proposal.
Advertisements are published at least once, ten working days, excluding holidays, prior to the date fixed for receiving the bids, in the newspapers designated by the Board. The advertisement will designate the manner of submitting and method of receiving bids and the time and place of which bids will be received. Detailed specifications are not published, but a brief description of the nature of the materials or services is provided to sufficiently inform potential bidders of the nature of the specifications.
3. Receipt of Bids- Bids will be delivered to the Business Administrator/Board Secretary. Any bids received prior to the scheduled opening will be properly safeguarded so as to avoid any possibility of allegation of early opening or improper handling. All bids are held until the appointed time of opening. Bids delivered to any location in the District after the scheduled opening times are not accepted.
The supervisor of the department under whose jurisdiction the work is to be performed, or materials are to be received, may be requested to be present during the opening of the bids in order to answer any question that may arise after the opening of the bids.
4. A proper record of all bids submitted must be made available for public inspection. Bid tabulations are offered for public inspection upon request.
5. The Business Administrator/Board Secretary or the department supervisor will immediately tabulate the bids and make recommendation as to the awarding of the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Contracts will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with existing law.
Any product of service which meets the written specification (unwritten intentions may not be considered) must be accepted. Substitute products by another brand name are excludable only if the substitute fails to meet the quality or product specifications of the brand name or the standards of performance of the brand name specified. The burden of proof rests with the Board of Education when a product is rejected as an unacceptable substitution.
A vendor may not be excluded for past performance as irresponsible unless the record of the vendor is fully documented in writing, including written correspondence to the vendor. The correspondence would include a notice to the bidder that future bids would be subject to rejection for past performance. Exclusion of the bidder may only be a temporary condition imposed by the Board of Education, as the courts would generally rule that the vendor could mend their ways.
6. Award of Contracts – All contracts shall either be awarded or rejected within thirty days after they are received, unless otherwise stated in the bid. Checks or bonds delivered with the bids are returned to the unsuccessful bidders within three working days after the award or rejection of the bid. The check or bond of the successful bidder is retained until a contract is executed or the bid specifications are satisfied.
7. Upon announcement of award of contract, the Supervisor will enter a purchase order into the accounting system to be processed by the Business Office. Bid numbers shall be included on all purchase orders, in the designated location.
Supervisors should follow-up on special orders where sizes, colors, or design features were specified on order. Vendors may be supplying many Districts and will not necessarily seek out such information on each purchase order. If the features were open to clarification upon order, it is the supervisor's responsibility to communicate the needs to the vendor and follow up delays on all orders placed.
8. Bid thresholds for determining the need for public bidding of purchases change on a fiscal year basis. The bid threshold for the 2006-2007 school year shall be $29,000. Threshold amounts for subsequent years should be verified with the Board Office.