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Purchasing – Bidding, Proposal and Quotation Procedures

When the purchase of an item(s) requires a quote or bid/proposal, the purchase will be made from the lowest responsive and responsible bidder based upon total cost considerations including, but not limited to, the cost of the goods and services being purchased, availability of service and/or repair, delivery date and other factors deemed relevant.

The Board and the superintendent/designee will have the right to reject any or all bids/proposals, or any part thereof, and to re-advertise if necessary. The Board will enter into such contract or contracts as deemed in the best interests of the District.

The superintendent/designee will coordinate and combine purchases with other governmental bodies to take advantage of volume price breaks. Joint purchases with other political subdivisions will be encouraged. Where appropriate, the Purchasing Department will utilize publicly-bid purchasing consortiums. This procedure does not apply to curriculum adoptions or special adaptive equipment for specific individual student needs. [See bullet #6]

Bidding, proposals and quotations procedures based upon individual and combined acquisition cost(s) will apply to all District purchases as follows:

1. Single Item value under $500

  • a. No Quote (bids) required
  • b. Purchasing Register/Notice to the Board of Education not required

2. Total Purchase Between $500 and $4,999

  • a. Quote (bids) at the discretion of Purchasing Manager
  • b. Purchasing Register/Notice to the Board of Education not required

3. Total Purchase Between $5,000 and $34,999

  • a. Multiple quotes (bids) required
  • b. Purchasing Register/Notice to the Board of Education not required

4. Total Purchase $35,000 & over

  • a. A Purchasing Register may be submitted to the Board of Education prior to solicitation of the District’s intent to purchase.
  • b. Multiple quotes (bids) are required
  • c. Public Notice is recommended
  • d. Purchasing Manager coordinates Tabulation and/or Award of Contracts to the Board of Education for notification and consideration of final approval.

5. Purchasing procedures for construction contracts are outlined in (Regulation 802.4 Bidding and Awarding of Construction Contracts

6. Sole Source Purchases, including Curriculum Adoptions
* See specific procedures below

7. Unexpected Circumstances
In the event of an unexpected circumstance(s) that would cause a material disruption to District programs or services, the provisions of this procedure with reference to Board notification may be waived. Board notification will be required at the next scheduled Board meeting.

*Sole Source

A sole source item is described as an item with only a single supplier. Many times requesters send requests for sole source purchases that describe an item made only by one manufacturer, however the item is distributed and readily available from many different suppliers. So it does not qualify for sole source. It has a sole manufacturer, but not a sole supplier. As long as there is more than one potential bidder or offer for the property item, there is no justification for a sole source determination.

Examples of circumstances which could necessitate a sole source purchase are:

  • Where the compatibility of equipment, components, accessories, computer software, replacement parts or service is the paramount consideration.
  • Where a sole supplier’s item is needed for trial use or testing.
  • Purchase of mass produced movie or video films or written publications distributed or sold primarily by the publisher.
  • Purchase of property for which it is determined there is no functional equivalent.

Specific Concern: Curriculum Adoptions
Instructional materials for classroom use, as reviewed by the designated curriculum committees, include a variety of materials, such as textbooks, additional supportive items and licensing. Specific products are usually only available through the specific publisher. While each publisher is the sole manufacturer and sole source for the products and services, additional publishers have their own offerings. A review of the available curriculum from appropriate publishers will be done by the review committees. District curriculum committees will review available material from publishers and the Board will be apprised of major adoptions.

The determination as to whether an acquisition shall be made as a sole source will be made in conjunction with Purchasing. In cases of reasonable doubt, competition should be solicited.

Negotiation in Sole Source Purchases
Even though there is only a single source for an item or service, there are issues that can be negotiated. Areas for review are cost of the product, items that are at no cost [both products and services], delivery timelines, packaging options, service hours, service levels, set service costs and contract terms to name a few. Purchasing shall conduct negotiations, as appropriate.


Legal Reference:  Iowa Code §§ 23A; 26; 28E; 72.3; 73; 73A; 285; 297; 301.

Cross Reference: Regulation 802.4

  • Approved: 06-08-09
  • Revised: 01-13-14, 01-25-16, 06-12-17
  • Reviewed: 02-14-2022
  • Revised: 02-27-2023
  • Documents: 702.1a

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