• NIAGARA FALLS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT   

    PURCHASING POLICY

    1. a) The intention and measure of efficient and economical purchasing by the Purchasing Department, shall be to acquire the best possible price for the best products and best services available within the budgetary limits for specific purposes
    2. b) The purchasing, receiving, storing and distribution of necessary supplies, equipment, and services for use in the education program and for the auxiliary services represent a significant expenditure in the school budget. These items must be procured efficiently and economically. The measure of efficient, economical purchasing is the degree to which the right items are provided at the right price, in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time.
    3. c) The Board declares its intention to purchase competitively without prejudice and to seek maximum education value for every dollar expended.
    4. d) The acquisition of services, equipment and supplies shall be centralized in the Purchasing Department under the direction of the Purchasing Agent, which shall function under the supervision of the School Business Administrator.
    5. e) All requests for expenditures, whether budget items or not, shall be subject to the approval of Department Heads and/or Principals.
    6. f) Purchasing procedures employed shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the state and per Board approved policies.

     

    Competitive Bids and Quotations

     

    The following POLICY ON PURCHASING PROCEDURES for the School District of Niagara Falls, New York, was first approved by the Niagara Falls Board of Education at their Regular Board Meeting of November 4, 1993, and at every subsequent yearly Reorganizational Meeting since:

    The School District of the City of Niagara Falls, New York, shall comply with the New York State General Municipal Law, Chapter 413, Section 103 governing bid procedures for purchase contracts for items in excess of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) and public work contracts of thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) or more within a given fiscal year.

    The School District shall also adhere to the Education Law, Section 2513 in advertising for said bids. A legal notice shall be published in the School District's Official Newspaper, the NIAGARA GAZETTE, at least five (5) days prior to the opening of bids. Any additional advertising to stimulate competitiveness shall be at the discretion of the Administration, based on the subject of the bid.

     

    The Administration has the right to request or waive the formality of a bid or performance bond in the preparation of the bid documents or award, depending on the scope of the bid.

    Any sealed bids presented to the Administration after the advertised bid deadline shall remain sealed, time and date noted, and returned to the bidder.

    Contracts shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with specifications, terms, and conditions as set forth in the coordinating bid. In the event the Administration awards the contract to any bidder other than the lowest dollar offerer, they shall be required to present justification as to why the purchase was in the best interest of the School District.

    The Purchasing Officer shall try to maintain updated Minority Vendor Listings from the published documents and internal records, and whenever possible shall include minority vendors as part of the bidders' list.

    In keeping with the Affirmative Action Policy of the School District of the City of Niagara Falls, the Board will attempt to commit five percent (5%) of the total purchases to minority vendors. They shall also encourage capital project contractors to make every reasonable effort to establish the level of minority participation at a minimum of five percent (5%) of the contractor's labor force and/or material purchases from minority enterprises.

    All factors being equal, a tie bid shall be awarded to a local vendor. However, in keeping with the Affirmative Action Policy of the School District of Niagara Falls, if a tie exists concerning a local vendor and a minority vendor, all things being equal, the Board of Education will split the award at the consent of both vendors involved. In the absence of consent of both parties, or if the award does not warrant dividing, the tie will be given to the Minority Vendor. When a Minority Vendor and an out-of-town vendor tie, the tie will be given to the Minority Vendor. In all instances, the Minority Vendor designation must be identified by an official certification accompanying the bid.

     

    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

    Under Section 104-b of the General Municipal Law, effective January 1, 1992, procurement of goods, and services for which competitive public bidding is not required [items not meeting the dollar limitation value of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or public works of thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000)] must still be done in a manner so as to assure the prudent and economical use of public monies, in the best interest of the taxpayers, to facilitate the acquisition of goods, and services of maximum quality at the lowest possible cost under the circumstances, and to guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption.

    1. a) Solicitation for verbal or written quotations shall be done in the procurement of most equipment, costly supplies, and any time a quantity discount can be realized. Variables such as delivery, assembly, lead-time, cost, etc., will determine the mode the Purchasing Department will use in the quotation procedure, and will canvass at least three (3) vendors for pricing.
    2. b) Formal bid procedures may still be utilized at the discretion of the Purchasing Officer if he/she ascertains any advantages can be realized over informal quotations for better pricing, quality, and delivery.
    3. c) Written Quotations should be received for any public works not subject to competitive bidding in the best interest of the Board, and the Administration will decide at that time whether a performance bond is required.
    4. d) Whenever possible, Requests for Proposals will be accepted for Professional Services that are usually exempt from the bidding process.

    Circumstances where purchases should not be held, awaiting solicitation of bids or quotations should be:

     a) Emergencies where time is a crucial factor: (Documentation should accompany purchase request.)

    1. When the situation arises out of an accident or unforeseen occurrence or condition.
    2. When property, life, health, or safety, are affected.
    3. When situations that require immediate attention occur which cannot await public bidding.

     b) Certain Food Purchases: Whenever possible, quotations are to be done to ascertain that we are getting the best prices possible in the interest of the School District. However, since most food purchases are purchased to compliment meals prepared in conjunction with Free Government Commodities given to the Board on a monthly basis, lead time does not warrant procurement of these type foods on a formal bid/quote basis.

     c) Sole Source Commodities: The Administration must ascertain that these types of commodities are indeed sole source by obtaining documentation.

     d) Professional Services, which because of the confidential nature of the services do not lend themselves to procurement through solicitation.

     e) Purchasing items through the New York State Contract (General Municipal Law 104).

     f) Purchasing articles manufactured in the State Correctional Institutions (Correction Law, Sections 184, 186).

     g) Purchasing items from Agencies for the Blind or Disabled (State Finance Law, Section 175-b).

     

    Cooperative Purchasing

    A resolution was approved by the Niagara Falls Board of Education at their Regular Board Meeting on July 2, 1998, and at every subsequent yearly Reorganizational Meeting, to endorse cooperative purchasing through the BOCES agencies, and/or various municipalities and government agencies which would benefit the District, expand its purchasing power, and which would be in the best interest of the Niagara Falls City School District.

    This would include purchasing from bid results made available by those municipalities who include local government or school districts in the specifications to vendors.

     

    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.

    District Plan

    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.

    For school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), State-operated schools, State-supported schools and approved private schools that choose to participate in NIMAC, contracts with publishers executed on and after December 3, 2006 for textbooks and other printed core materials must include a provision that requires the publisher to produce NIMAS files and send them to the NIMAC (this will not add any cost to the contract).

    For more information regarding NIMAC including model contract language, Steps for Coordinating with NIMAC and an IDEA Part B Assurances Application, see website: http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/persprep/NIMAS.pdf

     

    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.

    No Board member or employee of the School District shall have an interest in any contract entered into by the Board or the School District.

    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 ten thousand dollars 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.

     20 United States Code (USC) Section 1474(e)(3)(B)

    Education Law Sections 305(14), 409-i, 701, 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)

    Adoption Date June 24, 2010

    Revised  August 26, 2010

     

    THRESHOLDS FOR PURCHASING OF SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, AND SERVICES

    SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT

                            $CURRENT THRESHOLD            QUOTES NEEDED

                            $1,500 or less                                      judgment/catalog pricing

                            $1,501 to $3,500                                 3 verbal quotes

                            $3,501 to $19,999                               3 written quotes

                            $20,000 and over                                public and advertised bid

     

    SERVICES

                            $CURRENT THRESHOLD        QUOTES NEEDED

                            $5,000 or less                                      judgment

                            $5,001 to 10,000                                 3 verbal quotes

                            $10,001 to $34,999                             3 written quotes

                            $35,000 and over                                public advertised bid