Overview of the Procurement Process
The purchasing policy of the Buffalo Public School District is to secure supplies, materials, equipment and services in an efficient, economical and timely fashion to meet the District's needs while ensuring the most efficient use of taxpayers' dollars.
The purchasing procedures employed shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the State and Commissioner of Education.
How are Goods and Services Procured?
- Competitive Bids
- Request for Proposals (RFPs)
- Professional Services Contracts
- Electronic Reverse Auction as authorized under the NYS OGS
- Cooperative Purchasing (“Piggybacking”)
- NYS OGS State Contracts and “Mini-Bids”
- NY State Preferred Sources pursuant to NYS Finance Law 163
- Sole Source and Proprietary Items
- Emergency Purchases
Why Do We Bid?
One of the purposes of the purchasing function is to purchase competitively, without prejudice or favoritism. Each order shall be placed on the basis of quality, price, delivery and past service being a factor if all other considerations are equal.
It is necessary to follow NYS procurement laws, District policies and regulations. Doing so shall garner the District the best value for goods and services, thus protecting the District’s resources. This is best achieved by pursuing competition to:
- Attract the best value for goods and services at the lowest possible cost
- Discourage favoritism and fraud
- Attract interested vendors to participate in a fair and equal opportunity to compete
- Assure the prudent and economical use of public monies in the best interests of the taxpayer and to obtain the maximum value possible out of every dollar spent
Informal Bidding/Small Dollar Purchases
For goods or basic service purchases costing less than $20,000, the Purchase Department will solicit informal requests for quotes from vendors to provide a product or service which meets a required outcome. Informal quotes may be due on a specific date, but are usually not publicly opened and read aloud.
Competitive Bidding Process
Purchases with costs expected to exceed $20,000 require competitive bidding. The process begins with the public advertisement for bidders. The advertisement indicates where the bid documents can be obtained and states the date, time, and place of the public bid opening. Bids are posted on our website: www.buffaloschools.org/purchasedept/bids, The New York Contract Reporter website: www.nyscr.ny.gov, and in The Buffalo News, Buffalo Rocket, and Buffalo Criterion newspapers.
- Bids are received and opened publicly on their appointed day and time
- Lowest bidder evaluated
- Contract awarded to the lowest responsible bidder who meets specifications
- BPS Staff reviews and recommends contract
- Contract awarded by resolution of the Board
All interested vendors who have submitted bids are welcome to witness the bid openings. Note that there is no intent to make a determination of an award at the time of a bid opening.
Criteria for Awarding Contracts to the Lowest Responsible Bidder
The basis of making awards to the lowest responsible bidder has been adopted with the view of enabling a public body to enter into contracts with the same efficiency and economy that a prudent business person does in the conduct of everyday business affairs. This beneficial result cannot always be obtained when the award goes to the lowest bidder. Definite specifications must be adopted to enable all bidders to make intelligent bids. This establishes a common standard by which to measure the respective bids to determine the lowest responsible bidder.
The New York Courts define the term lowest responsible bidder as one able to respond or answer in accordance with what is expected or demanded. More specifically, the lowest responsible bidder has been interpreted as requiring the successful bidder to possess:
- Financial or procuring ability to complete the contract
- Integrity and trustworthiness
- Ability to perform faithful and conscientious work
- Previous performance of satisfactory work
Any persons who perceive themselves to be injured or aggrieved by the result of an award must submit a bid protest within five (5) business days after a purchase contract is awarded. The Bid Protest Committee is obligated to consider protests within thirty (30) days of their receipt.
Bid Protest Committee
The Bid Protest Committee will consist of the Chairperson of the Board of Education's Executive Committee, the Superintendent of Schools (or a person, other than a member of the Purchasing Department Staff, who is designated by the Superintendent) and the Board's Internal Auditor. The Purchasing Agent will advise the Committee concerning the details of the bid and the circumstances surrounding its award.