The Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) 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, RRISD 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 RRISD 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.
Any questions related to these procedures can be directed to the RRISD Purchasing Office at ext. 6950.