Public purchasing differs distinctively from private sector purchasing. Private businesses can purchase from only one vendor and their choice may be made on the basis of price, convenience, or on personal considerations. In sharp contrast, Public entities must conduct all of their dealings in the public eye and must adhere to strict legal guidelines.
As a public entity, our District must make its purchases within relevant statutes and policies. Although bound by these constraints, the school District’s objective is to purchase the best products, materials, and services at the lowest practical prices.
The District’s Policies and Procedures, pertaining to Purchasing are derived from State Law. Statute and District Policy requirements outline how school districts procure goods and services, the types of competitive processes that must be used, and the exceptions to these requirements.
The Purchasing Office is the District’s centralized purchasing function that is responsible for purchasing all supplies, materials, and equipment, within the guidelines governing our District. Purchasing issues all formal bid requests, facilitates selection of vendors, and negotiates and establishes bids and other contract terms and conditions, delivery, and adjustments. Having a centralized purchasing function results in lower purchasing costs for the following reasons:
- More items are bought in large quantities, which lowers the unit cost.
- Fewer purchase are made, which lowers the cost of forms and time.
- Increased oversight means that more vendor discounts can be taken.
- Control over inventories greatly increases.
The Purchasing Office facilitates the adherence to applicable statute and policy requirements and application of efficient and effective procurement processes by:
- Monitoring purchases from a district-wide perspective to ensure adherence to Statute and District Policy requirements.
- Buying certain items in bulk and maintaining an inventory of materials, supplies, and equipment necessary for daily operations of the District.
- Establishing bids and contracts to cover repetitive procurements of goods and services.
- Processing purchase requests and issuing purchase orders to vendors in a timely manner.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.
Administrative Contracted Services
ACS and ICS does not include the services of a contracted classroom teacher.
ACS vendors provide technical, educational and/or administrative expertise not otherwise available to or performed by District personnel. These services may consist of information, advice, opinions, alternatives, conclusions, recommendations, demonstrations, or direct assistance, such as studies, analyses, evaluations, performances, and liaison. Vendors may work independently or under District staff supervision based on the type of contract.
Services can include but are not limited to the following items not already under contract with the District:
Professional / Staff Development Training
Statistical Analysis / Consultant
Financial Analysis / Consultant
Technology Analysis / Consultant
Operations Analysis / Consultant
Presentations / Programs (e.g. authors)
Marching Band / Drill / Cheer Design and Choreography (includes camps)
Speaker(s) for Assembly Programs
Other services deemed appropriate for this request
For a vendor to be considered eligible for the ACS contract, they must first register in the District’s eROC electronic procurement system and complete solicitation #962-17-022, titled Administrative Contracted Services.
No other vendors will be considered until they have been awarded a contract. The Director of Purchasing may allow exemptions only to vendors that are considered trade associations or governmental entities, though each are encouraged to participate in the contract.
NOTE: Under no circumstances may a contracted service provider be used to specifically aid in influencing or enacting legislation. Service providers may not perform work of a policy-making, decision-making, managerial, or supervisory nature nor may they approve or disapprove actions that commit or expend District funds. AICS may not be obtained for unauthorized purposes, such as to bypass or undermine personnel ceilings or pay limitations.
Procurement Guidelines for Administrative Contracted Services
The Purchasing Office provides a list of contracted companies and individuals that can provide the list of services indicated above to the District. The end user is required to issue a purchase order to the selected Vendor for all contracted services with a total dollar amount greater than $500 per event. Failure to secure a purchase order prior to the services starting will render the services non-compliant with this guideline.
The vendor contracts will be a term contract to be in effect on date of the vendor’s award through June 2021.
Awards to ACS vendors will be based on the vendor meeting the requirements set forth in the solicitation. Awards will be made to multiple vendors on an incremental basis through April 30th of each year. As vendor responses are received, they will be evaluated by the Purchasing Office and either accepted or rejected. A list of the awarded vendors can be found on the District’s Active Contracts Page.
Vendor application may have included some type of pricing structure to use as a guideline (see the Active Contracts page for details). Pricing shall be negotiated for each specific event.
Maximum Annual Expenditure
The District reserves the right to limit the total expenditure with any one vendor by the District as a whole. If it is determined during the term of the year that the service being provided should and can be competitively procured, the Purchasing Office will cancel the original contract and procure the services through a competitive process.
The District purchase order should be considered the official contract between the District and the Vendor and no other document should be necessary. If the Vendor requires that due to valid reasons an additional agreement is necessary, this agreement will be reviewed by the Purchasing Office prior to signature by an authorized District representative (see District Contracts and Agreements Library Procedure). The District reserves the right to reject such request and consider the purchase order the official agreement. If the District considers the additional agreement, no services are to be provided until the District has reviewed, accepted, modified and/or struck all provisions or clauses that are in violation of State of Texas law, District policies, and/or are not considered in the District’s best interest.
Contract Services Agreement Form
A Contract Services Agreement (“CSA”) Form is used for services provided by an approved vendor who does not have the ability to produce an invoice. A CSA can also be used as an agreement between the District and a person acting as in independent subcontractor in performing services, for services less than $500.00. The requestor must ensure Purchasing policies and guidelines are followed. All CSA’s should be sent to Accounts Payable for payment.
If the Vendor requires reimbursement for costs (e.g. air travel, lodging, per diem, handouts, and all other District authorized expenses) associated with the services provided, the Vendor must identify this requirement within their response. If such costs are included within the services fees, the Vendor is not required to include this information. For contracts requiring reimbursement, receipts are required and the District will only pay the actual costs incurred by the Vendor.
Payment will be made only after services have been rendered, completion of the performance statement (e.g. milestones) if applicable, and approval for payment by the budget manager. Deposits will be considered on a case-by-case basis and the District will not guarantee that a deposit will be made before services are rendered.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.
District Contracts And Agreements Library Procedure
This procedure provides the process for the handling of District Contracts and Agreements (“Contract”) to be maintained at the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office in a Contract Library (“Library”). The contracts are normally external in nature between Round Rock ISD and another legal entity. See “General Information” below for definitions.
NOTE: This procedure also applies to all modifications and/or extensions of the contracts or agreements defined below. This procedure does not apply to employee (e.g. teacher) contracts.
Definitions of Contracts or Agreements. The following definitions provide guidance and definitions for the different types of contracts that are included within this procedure.
- Equipment Maintenance (EM) – Non-major contracts for maintenance service of existing District equipment
- Event Services / Equipment Rentals (ES) – DJ’s, light shows, petting zoos, event management, inflatable rentals
- Facility / Venue Rentals (FS) – Agreements with third party facilities for graduation, proms, staff retreats
- Field Trips / Student / Charter Travel (FT) – Trips for student education or extracurricular activities
- Interlocal Agreements (IA) – Includes Federal, State and Local governmental agencies, applicable 502(c) Non-profit organizations
- Instructional / Data Sharing (IP) – Agreements directly related to the education of students or the collection of data based on student information
- IT Services / Maintenance (IT) – Programming, development, consulting, server maintenance, computer repairs
- Major Contract / Agreement (MC) – For contracts valued over $50,000 (major), and includes competitively solicited contracts, construction contracts, or non-competed agreements
- Memorandum of Understanding (MU) – Includes Federal, State and Local governmental agencies, applicable 502(c) Non-profit organizations
- School / Class / Event Pictures (SC) – Agreements or scheduling documents for school, class, graduation, etc., pictures
- Staff Development / Training (SD) – Non-major agreements for staff development and educational programs provided to District staff
- Software / Software Maintenance (SM) – Non-major contracts for agreements related to information systems software programs
- Student Specialized Services (SS) – Speech pathology, transitional services, day school programs for the deaf, non-educational services
- Yearbook / Custom Printing (YC) – Non-major agreements between yearbook vendors and other custom print services
- Other Agreements not covered above (OA) – All other non-major contracts not defined above
Of paramount consideration prior to the District entering into any contractual terms and conditions is to establish that the District’s best interests are being met and we are not binding the District to anything illegal or contrary to District Policy. By making a vendor or contracted outside party adhere to these contract points of interest the contract review can be expedited. The following list is just a minimum of what should be included in any contract:
- Definitions of Contract Terminology
- Term of the Contract (dates for the start and end of the contract)
- Extension Options (if applicable)
- Scope of Service / Work
- Pricing / Compensation (delineated if possible)
- Funding Out Clause (statement that the District cannot guarantee payment outside the current fiscal year)
- Venue / Choice of Law (Williamson County, Texas)
- Signature Lines and Dates for All Contracted Parties
Understanding the terms above should not be a priority of the campus or department. Information on each is available through the Purchasing Office if desired.
By CH (Local) policy, the District Superintendent holds delegated contract signature authority on all Contracts and the ability to delegate this authority. The District Chief Financial Officer and the District Director of Purchasing and Materials Management have in turn been delegated contract signature authority by the District Superintendent.
All contracts signed by any District personnel other than those authorized individuals listed above are void and non-enforceable and are the personal liability of the individual who signed the contract.
To expedite the contract review process, the Purchasing Office may require an MS Word version of the proposed contract so that any changes can be done in the Track Changes mode. The affected departments may also be requested to review the proposed contract (e.g. Information Services for technology requirements, Legal Services for student data requirements, etc.). Once reviewed, the campus or department may be requested to present the changes to the vendor or external contracted party.
It is the originating campus or department’s responsibility to track the effective dates of their contracts or agreements. If the provisions within the current contract or agreement allow for extensions that must be exercised to be valid, the originating campus or department shall follow the instructions below and note on the transmittal form that the document provided is an extension or amendment.
Upon completion and signature of a contract, the Purchasing Office will maintain an electronic (scanned) copy of all contracts, and will make it available upon request.
The Purchasing Office can provide a report of contracts based on organization code, start dates, end dates, type of contract, contractor name, etc., upon request.
1. The campus or department is to complete the Round Rock ISD Contracts and Agreements Library Transmittal Form and Cover Page prior to sending any contract or agreement to the Purchasing Office.
To complete the transmittal form, the campus or department is to complete Sections A, B, and C. In Section C, the Authorized Signature will be the Campus Principal / Department Budget Manager. The Contact Person will be the person handling and processing the contract.
To support a contract agreement that exceeds in value the purchasing threshold of $50,000, the Purchasing Office will require the campus or department to include, in addition to the above, a letter of justification that documents why the contracted outside entity was chosen (e.g. official procurement, sole source, existing system, etc.), and why other vendors or entities could not meet the campus or department needs.
2. The Round Rock ISD campus or department initiating the contract shall send the original contract and a fully completed contract library transmittal form to the Purchasing Office.
A copy of the unsigned contract should also be maintained by the originating campus or department.
3. Upon receipt, the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office will verify the information provided on the transmittal form and cover page is complete and accurate. NOTE: Any contract that does not follow the requirements in Item 2 above will be returned to the originating campus or department for completion.
4. Upon determination that the contract is valid and complete, the Purchasing Office will acquire the appropriate signature(s) per District policy (if applicable), and issue a Contract Reference Number based on the following:
3-digit Organizational Number (of originating campus or department) + Type of Contract Initials + 8-digit Contract start date(yyyy/mm/dd, e.g. 20110311) + Sequential alpha letter
Example Reference Number:
(Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office Interlocal Agreement with a start date of October 26, 2010, and the first one listed in the sequence)
5. The Purchasing Office will review all terms and conditions for each proposed contract or agreement. Upon review:
- a. If all terms and conditions meet the best interest of the District, the process will move on to Step 6.
- b. If there are terms and conditions that are to be corrected before the District will sign the contract or agreement, the Purchasing Office will:
- 1. Minor Revisions: This includes simple strike throughs or minor text additions. The Purchasing Office will edit the agreement documents in pen.
- 2. Major Revisions: The Purchasing Office will require the vendor to provide the documents electronically in MS Word. The Purchasing Office will edit using MS Word Track Changes. The Purchasing Office will forward the changes to the vendor or external contracting entity. The Purchasing Office will continue to review the changes for appropriateness. If agreeable, move on to >Step 6.
NOTE: The District will not agree to or sign any contract that does not meet the best interests of the District.
6. The signed contract will be returned to the end user to forward to the vendor / entity by either District email or by campus inter-office mail.
7. The Purchasing Office will store the original contract for the specified period beyond the expiration date as found in the RRISD Records Retention Requirements.
For extensions or amendments to existing contracts, all procedures listed above with the exception of Item 4 are to be followed.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.
Contract Delivery Terms
In most District contracts, delivery requirements are established within the solicitation (e.g. Request for Quote, Bid or Proposal) and the subsequent contract award. There are specific procedures to follow that are identified in the contract should problems with delivery occur. If delivery time is a critical element in the purchase, it is imperative that any solicitation or contact with the Vendor identify the delivery requirements. This must be established and communicated by the end user to the Vendor and the Buyer in Purchasing prior to release of an order. Any special instructions related to delivery should be included on the requisition entered by the end user.
Order Processing Time
It is necessary to allow a Vendor sufficient time to process an order. As a general rule, it is within acceptable business practices to check on an order on a weekly basis and request an anticipated delivery date. In most instances, any contact done more frequently than once a week is counter-productive and will not foster a good business relationship with the Vendor. This contact can be made by the end user.
Order Follow-up – Non-delinquent
The end user is responsible for following up with the Vendor if there is a concern about the delivery being received on time and/or within the contract requirements. The end user may contact the Vendor to negotiate a more acceptable delivery. If an agreement cannot be reached, the end user should notify the Buyer in Purchasing. Please note that if no agreement was reached before the release of the order, the delivery requirements cannot be added unless agreed upon by both the Vendor and the end user. If this is done, both the end user and the Vendor should agree to the delivery schedule in writing.
Late Deliveries – Delinquent
If a predetermined or agreed upon delivery has not been met or appears to be in jeopardy, the end user should contact the Buyer who will work with the Vendor to identify the problem and take corrective action. Written notice of a late delivery to the Buyer by the end user can be included in the Vendor’s performance file and can be used as a performance issue for future awards.
How to Make a District Purchase
Legal Points to Remember
It is important to remember that individual schools and departments are not separate legal entities. When determining what sort of competitive process will be required for the purchase of quantities of an item or a category of similar items the entire district’s purchases are considered.
Generally speaking the aggregate purchases of a particular category of related items such as office supplies, athletic supplies or instructional supplies must be submitted to competitive bidding when the aggregate purchase will total $10,000 or more over a twelve-month period. For example, if the total purchases of office supplies made by all departments and campuses in the district over a twelve-month period will amount to $10,000 or more, those office supplies must be submitted to competition as required by the Texas Education Code.
The Texas Education Code provides for criminal penalties for persons who intentionally circumvent the purchasing contracts law by making split, separate, sequential, or component purchases. Regulation CHD-R states that: “A district employee who purchases or orders any item or service in the name of Round Rock ISD or who obligates the credit of Round Rock ISD without following the purchasing policies and procedures shall be personally responsible for payment to the vendor or return of the item”.
The Purchasing Office can provide purchasing guidance – both legally and procedurally for assistance in preparation of Bids – Quotes – RFP’s, help with specifications, assistance in use of the Purchasing System or as your liaison with our Vendor Community.
To make a purchase, the end user should follow the steps below until the item or service can be procured.
Step 1: Is the item available through the District’s Distribution Warehouse?
This is the first consideration for securing the item. If the District has already purchased the item and it is stocked in the warehouse, the item should be ordered through a warehouse requisition.
Step 2: Is the item or service available through a Round Rock ISD contract?
The Purchasing Office has established a large variety of annual bids covering many of the products and services required by campuses and departments (Round Rock ISD Active Contracts). All relevant statute and policy requirements have been met by Purchasing in establishing these bids/contracts. Purchases can be made utilizing a purchase requisition or a District Purchasing Card. Three contract types are primarily used:
- Discount from Catalog (e.g. Office Supplies)
- Line Item Pricing (e.g. A/V Equipment, Toner, Plumbing parts, etc.)
- Service Contracts
Step 3: Is the item or service available through an interlocal contract?
The District has established a number of interlocal agreements with entities that, as allowed by law, can provide items and services for school districts. If the interlocal entity has competitively bid the item or service following the same requirements the District must follow, the item or service may be available through this method.
NOTE: The end user must receive approval from the Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office prior to any purchases being made via this method regardless of the purchase amount. Please see the Information Services Purchasing Procedures for Co-operative Contracts for more information regarding the requirements for these types of purchases.
Step 4: Is the item or service only available through a sole source provider?
For a purchase to meet the requirements of sole source, it must meet the legal and policy requirements. See the FIRM’s Sole Source Procurements web page for further details.
Step 5: The item or service is not available through any of the processes in Steps 1 through 4, what should be done to purchase the item?
The end user is to follow the steps below for making a purchase based on the final dollar amount of the purchase.
Purchases less than $1,000
- This level will remain unchanged. No attempt at competition is required, however, the end user is encouraged to secure competition through quotes.
Purchases from $1,000 to $5,000
- The end user is encouraged to secure competition through quotes from a minimum of three (3) vendors, with a preferable inclusion of eROC suppliers (see further directions below on how to search eROC for suppliers).
- If quotes are secured, all documentation concerning choice of vendor is to be retained by the end user.
- If the total purchase is between $1,000 and $10,000 and determined, in conjunction with the Purchasing Office, that the Vendor is a “Sole Source”, it must be noted on the purchase order. The user must keep record of the Sole Source documentation received and make it available for audit at any time within one (1) year of date of purchase.
Purchases from $5,000 to $10,000
- The end user must secure a minimum of three (3) quotes if possible from eROC suppliers, especially suppliers that qualify for the Supplier Diversity Program (SDP), which include small, minority or women owned businesses as indicated within their eROC profile. Other suppliers not in the eROC system may be contacted if better pricing can be found, and then encouraged to register for eROC (not a requirement to quote).
- All quote documentation (e.g. quotations, supporting spec sheets, etc.) concerning choice of vendor is to be retained by the end user.
- End user must provide quote summary form (see further directions below on how to find the form) and copies of the quotes to their assigned buyer.
- End user must request a quote number from the Purchasing Office for inclusion with the purchaser requisition.
Purchases from $10,000 to $50,000
- Requires competitive sealed process (either eROC or hard copy bid) to be managed by the Purchasing Office, working directly with the campus or department, unless another acceptable purchasing method is approved by the Director of Purchasing.
- No newspaper advertisement is required.
- If indicated within the solicitation, best value may be used in determining award.
Purchases over $50,000
- The Purchasing Office will use the formal competitive sealed bid process, working directly with the campus or department.
- Newspaper advertisement is required.
- Award to be made by best value determination.
How to search the eROC supplier list
As required above for all purchases between $5,000 and $10,000, end users are to select three (3) suppliers from the eROC system. All users searching the supplier list in eROC will be using the same login and password. The password may change periodically for security purposes. Process of selecting suppliers on eROC.
For any questions or issues pertaining to use of the eROC web site, please contact the Purchasing Office at x6950.
Round Rock ISD Quote Summary Form
To assist the campus or department with creating the quote summary that will be required by the buyers, an Excel spreadsheet has been developed to be completed by the end user that will provide the needed information for the quote process. Quote summary form.
NOTE: The form was developed with protected cells, and only the cells needed for providing the summary to Purchasing can be changed. Please contact the Purchasing Office if you have a version of Excel older than Office 2003.
The Purchasing Office will provide guidance on use of the above processes.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the RRISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.
When the District policy and procedures are circumvented, and an employee does not comply, the purchase will be considered non-compliant. This is also known as “maverick buying,” a term used when a department or campus purchases items or services independently and without concern of the District’s policies or procedures.
If at any point an end user or Administrator is uncertain if a purchase will be compliant, they must contact the Purchasing Office at ext. 6950 first before the purchase is made.
Purchasing card (“Pcard”) transaction violations are addressed in the Round Rock ISD Cardholder User’s Guide.
Click on the attachment below for more information and the complete process for Non-Compliant Purchases.
Purchase Order Receiving Procedures
- Undamaged Freight (no visible damage to box or crate)
- Receiving individual should sign freight bill at time of delivery.
- Visibly Damaged Freight (box or crate is visibly damaged)
- Freight company driver must note damage on the freight bill and sign it. Receiving individual should then sign freight bill and request inspection by the freight company if shipment is damaged.
- Concealed Damaged Freight (Damage to merchandise is discovered after merchandise is removed from box and the box was not visibly damaged at the time of delivery)
- Call the Vendor you placed the order with. Keep all boxes and packing materials since the inspector will want to see the packaging. You should also have available a copy of the freight bill, packing slip and purchase order.
- If delivery is complete, receive the order online.
- Please remember, if late charges have to be paid, they will be charged against the budget of the campus or department which was responsible for placing the order.
- If delivery is not complete, it is the responsibility of the campus/department to follow up with inquiries.
- Cancellation of a purchase order is the responsibility of the campus/department. Notify the Accounts Payable department and the Purchasing Office via email to cancel a purchase order.
- Returns should be made prior to approving the order for payment. The Accounts Payable department should be notified of all returns to ensure that the company issues the proper credits and/or refunds. Failure to notify Accounts Payable could result in a loss of credit.
How to Receive a Purchase Order in Munis
The following code was derived from the Texas Education Agency Financial Accountability System Resource Guide.
There are certain common standards of ethics that govern the conduct of employees involved in the purchasing function, as follows:
1. It is a breach of ethics to attempt to realize personal gain through public employment with the school district by any conduct inconsistent with the proper discharge of the employee’s duties.
2. It is a breach of ethics to attempt to influence any public employee of the school district to breach the standards of ethical conduct set forth in this code.
3. It is a breach of ethics for any employee of a school district to participate directly or indirectly in procurement when the employee knows that:
- The employee or any member of the employee’s immediate family has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement;
- A business or organization in which the employee, or any member of the employee’s immediate family, has a financial interest pertaining to the procurement; or
- Any other person, business or organization with whom the employee or any member of the employee’s immediate family is negotiating or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment is involved in the procurement.
- If a school district board member or other official has a substantial interest in procurement, that person shall abstain from discussion and decisions regarding the award of the procurement contract.(Local Government Code, Chapter 171,) for definition of substantial interest.) In addition, the board member should disclose this substantial interest by filing an affidavit with the district.
It is a breach of ethics to offer, give or agree to give any employee or former employee of the school district, or for any employee or former employee of the school district to solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept from another person, a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, preparation of any part of a program requirement or purchase request, influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigation, auditing, or in any other advisory capacity in any proceeding or application, request for ruling, determination, claim or controversy, or other particular matter pertaining to any program requirement or a contract or subcontract, or to any solicitation or proposal therefore pending before this government. Acceptance of gratuities may be construed as a criminal offense.
It is a breach of ethics for any payment, gratuity or offer of employment to be made by or on behalf of a subcontractor under a contract to the prime contractor or higher tier subcontractor for any contract of a school district, or any person associated therewith, as an inducement for the award of a subcontract or order.
6. Contract Clause
The prohibition against gratuities and kickbacks prescribed above should be conspicuously set forth in every contract and solicitation therefore.
It is a breach of ethics for any employee or former employee of the school district to knowingly use confidential information for actual or anticipated personal gain, or for the actual or anticipated gain of any person.
For a definition of the penalties, go to Texas Education Code – Subchapter B. -Sec. 44.032 and Local Government Code 271.029.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the RRISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.
Purchasing Procedures for Co-operative Contracts
NOTE: The following procedure and direction is at the discretion of the Purchasing Office. The department may be required to follow other procedures that may require not using a co-operative. The aggregate purchase amount for the current fiscal year must be taken into consideration related to the Purchase Amount.
Less than $10,000
- Obtain quote (recommend at least three quotes to assure best price)
- Department is to enter a requisition with Co-operative Contract Number in the “Comment” field
$10,000 but less than $50,000
- Contact Purchasing Buyer with information on what is being purchased, estimated dollar amount, anticipated vendors (if known) and suggested coop(s) (if known)
- Receive approval from Buyer to proceed with coop purchase at this procedure level
- Obtain a minimum of three quotes (may require assistance through the Buyer if quotes are managed through the Co-operative)
- Complete a quote summary on the form provided and submit to Purchasing
- Receive concurrence from the Buyer to proceed with the purchase
- Department is to enter a requisition with Co-operative Contract Number in the “Comment” field
- Provide Purchasing Buyer a description of the product or service being purchased and the corresponding co-operative contract
- Purchasing will give direction on next steps based on the competitive process that meets the District’s best interest
Sole Source Procurements
The Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office maintains a sole source database which is re-established on an annual basis. Annually a vendor must resubmit their sole source application and provide their sales history of the product with the District for the prior year to remain on the sole source vendor list.
For an item to be considered for purchase under a sole source justification, Round Rock ISD Purchasing Office must first review the request based on the requirements set forth in Texas Education Code 44.031(j) and (k) and District policy CH(LEGAL). The vendor’s product claim must then be reviewed, researched and approved by the District’s Purchasing Office to be added to the Sole Source Vendor List. The product must be on the list to be considered acceptable for purchase without a formal bid process.
The District’s Purchasing Office shall be the sole determinate on the acceptability of an item for inclusion on the sole source list.
To be considered, the item must be available from only one source (not provided through distributors or dealers) and meet one of the following descriptions:
- an item for which competition is precluded due to the existence of a patent, copyright, secret process, or monopoly;
- a film, manuscript, or book;
- a utility service, including electricity, gas, or water; or
- a captive replacement part or component for equipment.
The following will not be considered acceptable for inclusion in the sole source list by the District:
- Services are not included in the statute and must be procured through other appropriate means
- A product with a patent that does not change the intent or output of an item, allowing for competition from another manufacturer’s product that meets the same intent or output
- A product that is marketed through two or more distributors or has two or more outlets for purchasing the product
- Regional contracts between a manufacturer and a vendor that limits other vendors from selling the same product to the District
Vendor Application Process
As stated above, all vendors must resubmit their sole source application and previous sales history to the District annually to remain on the sole source vendor list. A potential sole source vendor must complete the vendor Sole Source Request Form application to be included on the Sole Source Vendor List. Upon receipt, the Purchasing Office will perform a reasonable amount of research (e.g. internet searches, knowledge of potential competition through past solicitations, etc.) to validate such claims during the initial phase of approving a product for inclusion to the District’s sole source list.
District Internal Sole Source Procedure
The use of the sole source process is not to be used to avoid making purchases using District purchasing guidelines due to a preference for a particular brand or manufacturer. Any purchasing requisitions with a claim of sole source will not be approved by the Purchasing Office until the vendor’s product is on the list. Unless directed otherwise by the purchase dollar amount, the purchase requisition shall include in the contract field the applicable District contract number (example: 18-001).
Justification Letter for Purchases over $10,000
If the purchase of a specific item through a sole source vendor will total between $10,000 the campus or department lead administrator must provide written justification via the Sole Source Justification Form stating why the product is only available through one source, and why no other like products will meet the intended needs. This form is to be forwarded by the requesting campus or department to the Purchasing Manager before a purchase requisition is entered.
NOTE: Failure to provide the justification as described above will create a delay in processing the requisition approval.
Purchases over $50,000 – Request for Competition
In addition to the justification letter required above, if an aggregate purchase of a specific type of item totals $50,000 or more, the Purchasing Office will issue a Request for Competition (RFC) via the District’s eROC electronic procurement system to all vendors that have requested notification for that commodity, plus the Purchasing Office may utilize other methods of communication to the vendor community (e.g. the State’s Electronic Business Daily – http://esbd.cpa.state.tx.us/). The Purchasing Director has discretion over the decision to exempt a purchase from further attempts at identifying potential competition.
The campus or department lead administrator must provide a specification for the product being requested. The specification, at a minimum, must include:
- A general understanding of the intent and purpose of the product
- Minimal physical specifications if considered part of the purpose for the sole source request
- The specific areas of the product that make it “unique” and a sole source with comment as to such (patents are not to be considered without explanation of the purpose of the patent)
The Purchasing Office will assign a separate contract number for tracking and history of the process.
The RFC is not intended to be a formal solicitation but only a means to justify or invalidate a claim by a vendor of a product’s sole source nature. The RFC will be made public and will allow for responses for a period not to be less than five (5) District business days. The original product identified as sole source will have to respond to the RFC.
If responses are received, the Purchasing Office will coordinate with the requesting campus / department the review of the responses. If it is determined that the responses from other vendors do not provide a reasonable product to compete with the original request, the Purchasing Office will approve the sole source claim and the purchase will be allowed. The assigned buyer will establish a new contract number and the contract file will be noted with the decision and supporting documentation. The purchase requisition will include the newly issued contract number.
If the District receives responses from vendors with products that can compete with the requested product, the item will not be allowed to be included in the District’s sole source list and standard District purchasing processes are to be followed to secure the product.
Procedures for Processing a Requisition for a Sole Source Procurement
The campus / department is to check if the product and vendor is on the Round Rock ISD Sole Source Vendor List. If the product is included on the list, the campus / department is to process a purchase requisition and include the contract number (example: 18-001) identified on the list.
If it is found that the vendor is not on the list, forward the Sole Source Request application to the vendor for information on how to be approved and added. The Purchasing Office will not approve a sole source purchase unless the vendor and the requested product is on the list.
Vendor Relations & Communication
The District’s relationship with vendors is based on current and future partnerships. The District cannot do what we do without the vendor community. All vendors should be treated equally, fairly, and afforded all possible opportunities to do business within the District’s established guidelines and procedures.
Below are specific areas that are addressed concerning the District’s relationship with the vendor community. Please note that the list is not all inclusive of the different types of interactions you may have with vendors.
- Conflict of Interest
- District Employees
- Conflict of Interest for Vendors with Future Business Interests
- Access to Staff
- Prior to Bid
- Research and Discovery by the Department or Campus
- Pilot Programs
- Current Bid Opportunity (“On the Street”)
- Bid Evaluations
- Existing Contracts
- After a Bid Award
- Awarded Vendors
- Vendors that did not receive an Award
- Vendor References for Other Entities
- District Awarded Vendors
- Cooperative Contracted Vendors
- No Potential Bid in the Future
- Unsolicited Offers or Communications
Conflict of Interest
Two District policies, CH (Local) and DBD (Local), address conflict of interest issues for employees of the District that have direct relationships with vendors, and vendors looking for opportunities to do business with the District.
DBD (LOCAL) requires that a District employee is to disclose to their immediate supervisor any personal financial or business interest, or any other obligation or relationship that in any way creates a potential conflict of interest with the employee’s duties and responsibilities. The employee has an obligation to the District to be transparent in such situations and disclose relationships with vendors for any procurement and always have the District’s best interest in the forefront. Failure to do so will be considered a breach of District policy.
If the employee will be assisting the Purchasing Office in the evaluation of a solicitation, the employee will be required to complete and sign a Non‐disclosure Statement for RRISD Employee Form (attached as an exhibit). By signature, the employee affirms that they, their spouse or dependent(s), are not receiving any compensation from, nor have been the recipient of any present or future economic opportunity, employment, gift, loan, gratuity, special discount, trip, favor, or service in connection with any proposal or involved proposers in return for favorable consideration.
For vendors, CHE(LEGAL) requires that names of any Round Rock ISD employee who owns, directly or indirectly, an interest in their firm or any of its subsidiaries must be disclosed before the vendor does business with the District. If the vendor fails to do so may be grounds for disqualification of the bid or cancellation of a contract resulting from the Solicitation.
Conflict of Interest for Vendors with Future Business Interests
If the department chooses to hire or retain a vendor, even at no cost, to assist in any part of the procurement process (e.g. developing specifications or scope of work, helping evaluate responses to a solicitation, etc.), the vendor cannot have any personal or business interest in the outcome of the process.
The contractor should disclose at the beginning of their contact with the District they may have interest in any potential solicitors related to their project. If one does exist, they will have to withdrawn from assisting in the solicitation development. If they do not, all of the vendor’s employees assisting will be required to complete a Vendor’s Non‐disclosure Statement for Contracted Consultants Form (attached as an exhibit). Any companies with this level of relationship will not be eligible for any business opportunities related to this engagement.
Access to Staff
Vendors will ask for access to District staff since they are paid to cultivate business. If the end user agrees to meet, District office visits are acceptable and is the suggested location. District personnel are not obligated to talk to vendors. Responses and communications should be professional and respectful. Offsite meetings, meals, gatherings at coffee shops, bars, golf outings, etc., should be completely avoided and without consideration. This can be conceived and is perceived as providing an advantage during the bid process. Again, allow all interested vendors the same access to you as all other vendors.
NOTE: Any direct interactions with a vendor should be thoroughly scrutinized by an employee before any acceptance is made to any offers to provide any level of favor, be it as simple as a cup of coffee to a “gift” of paying for the employee’s round of golf or a free trip to a conference. If the employee is challenged with having to decide the right direction that is in theirs and the District’s best interest, consider what might be said to the District’s administration, at the podium before the Board of Trustees, or to the news media. If it does not feel right, do not do it.
Prior to a Bid
Below are general scenarios and the suggested actions necessary to insure fair access.
Research and Discovery by the Department or Campus
Research and discovery is expected since the end user will need to know how to put into writing (e.g. specifications) what they want and/or need. The concern is the sharing of access with all potential vendors, and insuring that the resulting research has provided a specification that is competitive. It is suggested and highly encouraged that the end user contact 3 or more vendors that have competing products or services, and compare the responses using the provided information to develop competitive requirements. If the end user is not certain the cost of the purchase to establish a budget, it is acceptable to ask for a non‐obligated quote (ask for a rounded number).
Vendor Bid Notification Registration
When end users are approached by a vendor, they should always encourage the vendor to register within the District’s electronic procurement system known as “eROC”. eROC Registration
The vendor is to click on the “Supplier Registration” to start the process. The vendor will receive bid notifications based on the commodities chosen. Please note that by registering and being accepted on the bidder’s list the vendor doesn’t have a contract with the District.
Vendors will ask if they can do a demonstration of their product or service in an attempt to interest you or put their company above the competition. We highly discourage this practice outside the formal bid process. If the District does go to bid, the vendor, if chosen to do so, will have to do the same demonstration under controlled circumstances.
Such demonstrations are to be coordinated through the Purchasing Office. Please be aware that the Purchasing Office may not agree to the demonstration if it goes against District purchasing policy or procedures, or may be in conflict with good purchasing practices.
There are times when the end user is not certain if a particular project will provide the intended outcome or result, so some form of live testing needs to occur. During these situations, a pilot of a product or service may be a good route to go in testing out the process on a strictly limited and controlled basis. If this is the direction the end user desires to move, there will be certain limitations on how the pilot will be handled and what the requirements will be if the pilot is successful. Please note that a “pilot” has a defined beginning and end dates. Pilots cannot be considered perpetual and ongoing once the end date has past.
Before a pilot can be approved, the end user must identify all campuses/ departments that will provide resources, such as employee time, funds, etc., for the pilot. The end user must solicit and receive acceptance from all the stakeholders prior to moving forward with implementing the pilot.
NOTE: If the pilot will require involvement from Technology and Information Services (system support, access to or upgrading hardware, etc.), prior written consent must be received by the Executive Director of Technology and Information Services.
Many times the end user may have a specific vendor in mind to do a pilot with. Obviously, familiarity with one vendor allows for other areas of the project to be tested to achieve the intended results.
If the pilot will have a cost involved, a review must be done to see what level of purchasing requirements will need to be followed. How to Make a District Purchase webpage.
If a vendor is given this ability to be the “first in” to the District, this will not guarantee that the pilot vendor will be awarded a contract if the District was to decide to go from a pilot to full implementation. The end user must understand that if the pilot moves into a formal solicitation, they may be awarding the contract to another vendor. The pilot vendor is not given any consideration during the evaluation process.
A pilot must be pre‐approved by the District’s Purchasing Office (and the Executive Director of Technology if applicable) prior to any discussions with a vendor. The end user must submit a written request to the Purchasing Office providing justification to perform a pilot prior to a solicitation. The Purchasing Office will require the following information from the campus or the department:
- The scope of the Pilot;
- What is the intended outcome of the Pilot;
- The contact person managing the Pilot;
- The time period / duration of the Pilot;
- The stakeholders that will be involved and/or effected by the pilot
- Who is the targeted Pilot vendor or which vendor(s) has been communicated with;
- Who the Pilot evaluators will be;
- The Pilot costs to the District; and
- Any anticipated costs to the District for full implementation after a successful pilot
To support the findings of an approved pilot, the end user must provide an update to the above points.
- Was the original scope of the Pilot accurate;
- Was the intended outcome of the Pilot realized or different;
- Did the evaluation team determine there would be additional costs that were not originally anticipated; and
- A recommendation to either move forward with a formal procurement or did the findings not warrant any further action.
Current Bid Opportunity (“On the Street”)
This is the most critical period to NOT have any discussions with any vendors that have interest in a bid award or outcome. These communications are only to be handled by the Purchasing Office. If you are contacted by a vendor asking questions about the bid, do not discuss the solicitation with them, and ask them to contact the assigned buyer or the Purchasing Office. Always thank them for their interest in our District. Do not provide any information, advice or opinions. Any comments or input provided are not binding and may create issues with the procurement process.
Please note that if a vendor does have such communications, they run the risk that their bid response may be rejected for such actions. Advise them to contact the Purchasing Office directly and cease communications with other District staff.
During this period, if any individual who has been assigned to an evaluation team has some form of conflict of interest, they should disclose this immediately to their supervisor and the Purchasing Office. Evaluators will be required to sign a non‐disclosure statement at the beginning of the process. Failure to indicate or bring attention to this issue could have serious consequences for both the District and the individual.
If a vendor has an active contract with the District but also has interest in a current bid opportunity, any discussion of the bid is to be completely avoided, with communications being directed only at the current contract. If the vendor does start to ask questions or ask for input, the District personnel is to direct them to the Purchasing Office.
After a Bid Award
Once a vendor is awarded a contract with the District, they are in partnership with the District to accomplish the goals of both. The department/campus can have open communications with the vendor to insure that the vendor does meet all the obligations of the award and that the department/campus meets its obligations as well.
The end user is responsible for knowing who the main vendor point‐of‐contact(s) will be for questions, concerns, or performance issue discussions. The end user should consider scheduling a meeting with the vendor prior to the start of the contract or shortly thereafter to discuss responsibilities and expectations. Purchasing staff will be available if requested to attend.
It is critical to the operations of the District that an awarded vendor fulfills their obligations under the contract. If they do, they should be commended for being a beneficial partner with the District. The end user should let the vendor know the expectations the District has for them at the beginning of the contract.
If at any point the vendor’s performance is not meeting the contractual requirements, the department / campus is to contact the vendor concerning the issue and copy the Purchasing Office with any communications. Timely, written documentation of such events is critical in helping the vendor do what is required or to assist in insuring a badly performing vendor does not remain under contract with the District. It is unfair to the vendor and a bad business practice if the end user withholds performance issues from the vendor and does not convey the District’s concerns with performance.
Please note that the vendor cannot be held responsible to requirements that were not part of the solicitation, formal negotiations or final contract. If such situations arise, the end user should make note to add the deficiencies to the next solicitation.
If the vendor’s performance is still inadequate after the end user has provided written documentation of the issues, the end user is to contact the Purchasing Office and provide the documentation given to the vendor. The Purchasing Office will review the documentation, and if believed necessary, schedule a counseling meeting with the vendor to formalize a plan for the vendor to meet these expectations. This may be further formalized by setting a probationary period using the District’s Conditional Probation Agreement form (attached as an exhibit).
Acceptance of Gifts from Awarded Vendors
Any item of value received from a vendor, be it awarded vendor or not, should be considered questionable in the mind of the DIstrict employee. Vendors provide such items to gain favoritism and loyalty. In a public school district environment, this could create issues for both the vendor and the employee. Items, favors, gifts, payments for expenses that should be covered by the District (e.g. conference trips, dinners, etc.) can and will be perceived by the public, other vendors, and the District’s administration as means to gain favoritism in future business with the District. If such situations occur, the District employee should discuss prior to receipt and acceptance of the item or gift with their supervisor. The Purchasing Office will also be available to discuss such situations.
Vendors that did not receive an Award
The vendor is to click on the “Awarded Bids/Proposals” to find the complete list of tabulations. It is the vendor’s responsibility to review this information. Specific tabulations can be found by entering in the solicitation number into the “Bid Number” search.
Please note that the District does not contact vendors that did not receive an award.
Every vendor should do research on why they did not receive an award, which may include meeting with the District personnel to discuss their areas to be improved prior to the next solicitation response. We encourage this in what is called a “Debrief.” In such a meeting, the Purchasing Office will request that the department / campus representative be present especially if a technically evaluation was performed. The Purchasing Office is not the “subject matter experts” and may not be able to address specific areas of the evaluation. Please note that no comparisons are to be made between competing responses.
Vendor References for Other Entities
A key to awarding to reliable vendors is to provide feedback to other entities when requested. Our District relies on this type of information, so it is fair to provide feedback as requested. If a District employee does receive a request to provide a reference for a vendor that has performed under contract with the District, the employee can respond but must be honest with the response, providing only factual information. Opinions should be kept internally and not made public. If the employee does not feel comfortable with a direct response to the requesting entity, please contact the Purchasing Office for assistance.
District Awarded Vendors
Vendors that have gone through a bid process (informal or formal) and have been awarded specific items or services are entitled to the District’s business for those items or services. A not all inclusive list of awarded vendors can be found on the Active Contracts website.
Note that vendors in the eROC system or the District’s Accounts Payable’s system may not have an award. The District does not create an “Approved Vendor’s List”.
Cooperative Contracted Vendors
The decision to use a cooperative contract is to be made by the Purchasing Office not the department or campus. It is the Purchasing Office’s role to insure if the best interest of the District is being met by whichever process is available to secure such products or services. The department/ campus must always consider all procurements as competitive opportunities and no one vendor should be consider without such due process.
No Potential Bid in the Future
This area is not much different than the “Prior to Bid” section with the exception that the department/campus has no current plans to bid or will not be required to go through the bid process due to the annual purchase cost.
Again, access to the District personnel should be equal for all vendors, and it is highly suggested that the District personnel not accept any special treatments or privileges.
Unsolicited Offers or Communications
Vendors will contact District staff unsolicited, either by drop‐in sales calls, phone calls or emails, since they are paid to cultivate business. Again, District personnel are not obligated to talk to vendors. This decision to meet with these vendors is the decision of the department / campus. Vendors should always be encouraged to sign up for the District’s suppliers list managed by the Purchasing Office.
Every effort must be made to use a bid vendor in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. Bid vendors normally offer a discount off catalog prices and/or free shipping. Therefore, it is to the district’s advantage to consistently use bid vendors.
In some cases, however, a new vendor must be added because the item(s) needed is a:
- Sole source
- Consultant, staff development presenter or doctor, psychologist, etc.
- New workshop, membership or conference registration
1. The requesting campus/department must make a request to the Purchasing Office via email with a current W-9 taxpayer identification form to add a new vendor.
2. The Purchasing Office will set up the new vendor in the system and notify the requesting campus/department of the vendor number.
- The Purchasing Office will make every effort to expedite this process including the use of the fax machine.
- If such documentation is not received from the vendor, the vendor will not be added and other arrangements for purchase will have to be made.
3. Once the new vendor is added, the requesting campus or department can enter the requisition using the online purchasing system.
4. All new vendor purchases will be approved by the Director of Purchasing and the approval done before a purchase order is issued to the vendor.
The Purchasing Office maintains an Active Contracts list on the district’s web site that includes the major contracts and the names of the vendors that have been awarded a contract through the District. The Purchasing Office updates the Active Contracts list monthly to provide a complete and functional list of contracted vendors with whom the District is to conduct its business.
Vendors that have been awarded a contract for goods or services, through a district specified solicitation process, for either a one-time purchase or the purchase of certain goods and services for a specified contract period.
Texas Education Code 44.031 states that in determining contract awards to vendors, the district may consider:
- The purchase price
- The reputation of the vendor and of the vendor’s goods and services
- The quality of the vendor’s goods or services
- The extent to which the goods or services meet the district’s needs
- The vendor’s past relationship with the district
- The impact on the ability of the district to comply with laws and rules relating to historically underutilized businesses
- The total long-term cost to the district to acquire the vendor’s goods or services
- Any other relevant factor that a private business entity would consider in selecting a vendor. Factors that a school district may consider under this criteria would include:
- Vendor response time
- Compatibility of goods/products purchased with those already in use in the district
It is important to note that under Section 44.035, Texas Education Code, the district must publish in the request for bids, proposals, or qualifications for construction services the criteria that will be used to evaluate the offers and relative weights, if known at the time of the publication, given to the criteria.
Communications to vendors may be made directly to the vendor or through the Purchasing Office.
- Placing an order
- Follow up of order already placed
School district officials and employees cannot accept anything of value from a vendor, such as personal gifts or gratuities, which may be construed to have been given to influence the purchasing process. Although such practices may be legitimate and generally accepted in the private sector, giving and receiving gifts in the public sector may constitute a violation of law.
Some of the factors to consider in the evaluation of vendor’s performance are:
- Timeliness of deliveries
- Service availability
- Completeness and accuracy of order
- Quality of products or services received
- Document the problem, noting the date and an accurate description of the problem and forward a copy of documentation to the Purchasing Office.
- Contact the vendor immediately. Keep a record of all phone calls, including dates and what was discussed.
- If the problem is not resolved or continues to occur, written notification must be made to the vendor stating the problem, the corrective action required, and that failure by the vendor to correct the problem will be considered a breach of contract and could result in the cancellation of the contract.
- If significant problems are encountered, consult with the Purchasing Office, who will involve Legal Services or other departments as required.