Williamsville Central School District

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Purchasing

Adoption Date: 7/7/2009  Revised: 5/24/2011; 4/12/16; 10/23/18
5000 - Non-Instructional/Business Operations

5410 PURCHASING: PROCUREMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES

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 process should enhance school operations and educational programs through the procurement of goods and services deemed necessary to meet District needs. The Purchasing Agent is authorized to enter into cooperative bidding and cooperative purchasing arrangements to meet the various needs of the District.

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 Bids and Quotations

As required by law, the Superintendent or Purchasing Agent will follow legally required bidding procedures in all cases where needed quantities of like items will total the maximum level allowed by law during the fiscal year, (similarly for public works-construction, repair, etc.) and in such other cases that are to the financial advantage of the School District.

A bid bond may be required if considered advisable.

No bid for supplies shall be accepted that does not conform to specifications furnished unless specifications are waived by Board action. Contracts shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder who meets specifications. However, the Board may choose to reject any bid.

Rules shall be developed by the administration for the competitive purchasing of goods and services.

The Superintendent or Purchasing Agent may authorize purchases within the approved budget without bidding if required by emergencies and are legally permitted.

The Superintendent or Purchasing Agent is authorized to enter into cooperative bidding for various needs of the School District.

Request for Proposal Process for the Independent Auditor

In accordance with law, no audit engagement shall be for a term longer than five (5) consecutive years. The District may, however, permit an independent auditor engaged under an existing contract for such services to submit a proposal for such services in response to a request for competitive proposals or be awarded a contract to provide such services under a request for proposal process.

Procurement of Goods and Services

The Board of Education 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 must be procured in a manner so as to:

  1. Assure the prudent and economical use of public moneys in the best interest of the taxpayer;
  2.  Facilitate the acquisition of goods and services of maximum quality at the lowest possible cost under the circumstances; and
  3. Guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption.
These procedures shall contain, at a minimum, provisions which:
  1. 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;
  2.  With certain exceptions (purchases pursuant to General Municipal Law, Article 5-A; State Finance Law, Section 162; State Correction Law, Section 184; or those circumstances or types of procurements set forth in (f) of this section), provide that alternative proposals or quotations for goods and services shall 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;
  3.  Set forth when each method of procurement will be utilized;
  4.  Require adequate documentation of actions taken with each method of procurement;
  5.  Require justification and documentation of any contract awarded to other than the lowest responsible dollar offer, stating the reasons;
  6.  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
  7.  Identify the individual or individuals responsible for purchasing and their respective titles. Such information shall be updated biennially.
Any unintentional failure to fully comply with these provisions shall not be grounds to void action taken or give rise to a cause of action against the District or any District employee.

Except as otherwise provided by law, all contracts for public work involving an expenditure of more than $35,000 and all purchase contracts involving an expenditure of more than $20,000 will be awarded by the District to the lowest responsible bidder furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids. 

Standardization
Upon the adoption of a standardization resolution by a vote of at lease 3/5 of all Board members, purchase contracts for a particular type or kind of equipment, materials, or supplies of more than $20,000 may be awarded by the Board to the lowest responsible bidder or offerer furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids in the manner provided in law. This resolution must state that, for reasons of efficiency or economy, there is a need for standardization and must contain a full explanation that factually justify the reasons for adopting a valid standardization resolution as to why the District may provide in its specifications for a particular make or brand to the exclusion of others. 

Cooperative Purchasing

The District may participate in cooperative purchasing arrangements as authorized by New York State law.  The intergovernmental cooperation may be defined as an arrangement between or among two or more governments for accomplishing common goals, providing a service, or solving a mutual problem.  Local governments and school districts may generally perform any function or service on a cooperative basis that they may perform individually.  In a cooperative purchasing arrangements, all laws relating to competitive bidding and competitive offering must be complied with and the cooperative agreement, must be approved by each board, must be in place prior to the solicitation of bids or offers.

Piggybacking
As an alternative to soliciting competition on its own or through cooperative purchasing arrangements, school districts may “piggyback” on contracts that have been extended to school districts by certain other governments.  Use of these contracts constitutes and exception to the competitive bidding and offering requirements of the law. 

This method of procurement is permitted on contracts issued by other governmental entities, provided that the original contract:
                a) Has been let by the United States or any agency thereof, any state (including New York State) or any other political subdivision or district;
                b) Was made available for use by other governmental entities and agreeable with the contract holder; and
                c) 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.

Best Value
Best value is defined as a basis for awarding contracts to the offerer which optimizes quality, cost and efficiency, among responsive and responsible offerers.  In assessing best value, non-price factors can be considered when awarding the purchase contract.  Non-price factors can include, but are not limited to, reliability of a product, efficiency of operation, difficulty/ease of maintenance, useful lifespan, ability to meet needs regarding timeliness of performance, and experience of a service provider with similar contracts.  The basis for a best value award, however, must reflect, whenever possible, objective and quantifiable analysis.

Best Value Award per New York State Municipal Law
Section 1. General Provisions
Section 1.1 Purpose
The School Board is exercising its local option from section 103, Subdivision 1 of the New York General Municipal Law, as amended by Chapter 608 of the Laws of 2011 and Chapter 2 of the Laws of 2012. These amendments authorize the District to award purchase contracts and contracts for services subject to competitive bidding under General Municipal Law § 103 on the basis of either lowest responsible bidder or “best value“ as defined in section 163 of the New York State Finance Law. The “best value” option may be used for a particular procurement if quality, cost and efficiency can be optimized by awarding the goods or services to other than the lowest responsible bidder, and if relevant factors including but in no way limited to lower cost of maintenance, experience of offerers, product durability, higher quality and longer product life can be documented to the extent possible by objective and quantifiable analysis.

Section 1.2 Basis for Award
Goods and services procured and awarded on the basis of best value are those that the School Board determines will optimize quality, cost and efficiency.  The determination shall be based on objectively quantified and clearly described and documented criteria to the extent possible.  In addition to pricing and cost factors, the non-price criteria considered may include, but shall not be limited to, any or all of the following: cost of maintenance; proximity to the end user if distance or response time is a significant term; durability; availability of replacement parts or maintenance contractors; longer product life; product performance criteria; quality of craftsmanship; ability to meet needs regarding timeliness of performance; and experience of a service provider with similar contracts. The School Board may also identify a quantitative factor for offerers that are small businesses or certified minority- or women-owned business enterprises, as defined in subdivisions 1, 7, 15, and 20 of section 310 of the Executive Law to be used in evaluation of offers for awarding of contracts for services. 

Section 1.3 Applicable Contracts
These sections apply to District purchase contracts involving an expenditure of more than $20,000 and District contracts for services involving an expenditure of more than $35,000, but do not apply to purchase contracts necessary for the completion of a public works contract pursuant to Article 8 of the State Labor Law. If the dollar thresholds of General Municipal Law § 103 are increased or decreased in the future by the State Legislature, the dollar thresholds set forth herein shall be deemed simultaneously amended to match the new General Municipal Law thresholds.

Section 1.4 Award based on low bid or best value; Documentation
A quote or proposal for a purchase or contract covered by this Resolution received pursuant to standard bidding procedures may be awarded on either a best value or lowest responsible bidder standard. All information gathered in the course of the bidding procedures of this section shall be filed with the documentation supporting the subsequent purchase or contract. When a contract is awarded on the basis of best value rather than a lowest responsible bidder, the basis for determining best value shall be thoroughly and accurately documented.

Alternative Formats for Instructional Materials

Preference 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.

As required by federal law and New York State Regulations, the District has adopted the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to ensure that curriculum materials are available in a usable alternative format for students with disabilities. Each school district has the option of participating in the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). Whether a district does or does not participate in NIMAC, 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 New York State Education Department (NYSED) recommends that school districts choose to participate in NIMAC, because this national effort to centralize the distribution of instructional materials in alternate formats will help guarantee timely provision of such materials to students.

Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning and Maintenance Products

In accordance with Commissioner's Regulations, State Finance Law and Education Law, effective with the 2006-2007 school year, the District shall follow guidelines, specifications and sample lists when purchasing cleaning and maintenance products for use in its facilities. Such facilities include any building or facility used for instructional purposes and the surrounding grounds or other sites used for playgrounds, athletics or other instruction.

Environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products are those which minimize adverse impacts on health and the environment. Such products reduce as much as possible exposures of children and school staff to potentially harmful chemicals and substances used in the cleaning and maintenance of school facilities. The District shall identify and procure environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products which are available in the form, function and utility generally used. Coordinated procurement of such products as specified by the Office of General Services (OGS) may be done through central state purchasing contracts to ensure that the District can procure these products on a competitive basis.

The District shall notify their personnel of the availability of such guidelines, specifications and sample product lists.

Contracts for Goods and Services

No contracts for goods and services shall be made by individuals or organizations in the school that involve expenditures without first securing approval for such contract from the Purchasing Agent.

Upon the adoption of a resolution by a vote of at least three-fifths (3/5) of all Board members stating that for reasons of efficiency or economy there is need for standardization, 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 responsible bidder furnishing the required security after advertisement for sealed bids in the manner provided in law.

Professional Services

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, the District will review the use of the request for proposals (RFP) process to avoid the appearance of favoritism or impropriety. A decision will be made by the District as to whether an RFP will be utilized and if so, it shall be based on specific factors that pertain to the professional service.

Although not necessarily bound to select the lowest bidder in response to its RFP, the District will adequately document its selection process to demonstrate its economical and prudent use of public monies and to ensure fair competition.



20 United States Code (USC) Section 1474(e)(3)(B)
Education Law Sections 305(14), 409-i, 701, 751(2)(b), 1604, 1709, 1950, 2503, 2554 and 3602
General Municipal Law Articles 5-A and 18
State Finance Law Sections 162 and 163-b
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 155, 170.2, 200.2(b)(10), 200.2(c)(2) and 200.2(i)


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