Methods of Purchase
The following purchasing methods are used by the District to acquire products, services, and equipment:
- Written Quote ($10,000 to $25,000): (A minimum of three vendors is required.) Written quotes on single or multiple like-items are required for purchases that fall within this dollar range. These requests may be sent via facsimile (FAX) or e-mail. The request for quotes details the number of items being purchased and includes a description of the required item(s). Vendors must complete and return the written quote within a designated time period. Buyers then review quotes and seek department/school concurrence as to which vendor is the lowest and best quote meeting specifications.
- Formal Quote (Purchases exceeding $25,000.00 up to $50,000): (A minimum of three vendors will be solicited.) When it is determined that the purchase amount will fall within the dollar limits above, the Purchasing Department will issue a request for a formal quote. Specifications will be sent by and responses will be returned to the Purchasing Department.
- Formal Sealed Bids: Invitation To Bid (ITB) or Requests For Proposals (RFP) (Purchases exceeding $50,000): all purchases greater than $50,000, whether one time purchases or an accumulation of like-items, are acquired through this process (unless specifically exempt from competitive bidding - as indicated in section "Bid Exemptions").
Bid packages or requests for proposals are prepared with appropriate terms and conditions and detailed specifications, including items to be bid, units, instructions for bidding, delivery information, and any special requirements for bidding. Assigned dates for pre-bid meetings (if any) and for the public bid opening are also included.
ITBs or RFPs are publicly opened and read at the time designated in the documents. The public opening is usually held in the Purchasing Office's bid room, 101 Old Venice Road, Osprey, Florida.
All merchandise called for in District ITBs/RFPs shall be delivered in good order F.O.B. destination, freight prepaid, inside delivery, within the time specified. Packing lists must accompany all shipments. Failure to read or comply with the ITBs/RFPs general information in no way will relieve the bidder(s) from their liabilities arising in the ITB/RFP.
Vendors are to return their ITBs/RFPs in envelopes, sealed and clearly marked on the outside "SEALED BID OR SEALED RFP." A cut-out label is included with all packets for this purpose and can be sealed to the envelope with adhesive tape.
All ITBs/RFPs must be submitted on the District's forms, signed by an authorized representative of the company, with company name, date, etc.; otherwise, the bid is subject to being rejected.
Failure to properly execute the official signature page of the bid/RFP document will result in automatic disqualification of the ITB/RFP.
ITBs/RFPs are evaluated and recommendations are forwarded to the School Board for review, approval, and award.
The School Board reserves the right to waive minor informalities in any bid and to accept any bid which they consider to be in the best public interest and to reject any part of, or any and all bids. However, awards will be made to the lowest and best responsive bidder in the opinion and at the option of the School Board. Their decision shall be final and conclusive.
Tabulations are posted in accordance with the Florida Administrative Procedures Act: Bid or RFP tabulations/recommendations are posted for a minimum of 72 hours prior to the School Board meeting on which official action will be taken. It shall be the interested party's responsibility to ascertain the actual date of posting and/or School Board meeting for the specific bid of interest.
The School Board Of Sarasota County holds regular meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month. In accordance with the Florida Administrative Procedure Act, all bid recommendations are posted in the Purchasing Office and on the School District website: (School Board--agenda) on the Tuesday preceding the Board meeting. Interested parties may obtain posting dates of bids from the Purchasing Office; however, individual bid recommendations will not be given over the telephone due to the length of time involved. Bidders are encouraged to review the bid tabulation/recommendation postings available on the website or during normal School Board working hours in the Purchasing Office.
General Procurement Information
Bid Exemptions: Additional exemptions may be granted by the purchasing agent when in the School Board's best interest and allowed by a referenced statute, rule or regulation. Typical exemptions are:
- Sole source purchases (restricted)
- State contracts
- Other governmental bids (restricted)
- Cooperative bid agreements
- Purchases from other governmental agencies
Purchase Orders: Before entering into any agreement, contract, or arrangements that obligate the School Board to pay a sum of money or otherwise perform in some manner, a properly executed purchase order must be issued. The purchase order should contain such essential information as quantity, description, and price; applicable terms and conditions; delivery and transportation criteria, and other factors or references pertinent to the purchase and execution by the vendor. Acceptance of a purchase order constitutes a contract.
Substitutions: Substitution is defined as the shipment of an item that materially conforms to the specifications, but is technically different from the item bid. Substitution requires the approval of the buyer prior to shipment. Any products delivered that do not meet the specifications, or substitute products shipped without prior approval will be returned to the vendor at the vendor's expense. When a shipment or product is returned, the vendor must make an immediate replacement with acceptable merchandise or the District may seek remedies for default.
Invoicing and Payment: to ensure prompt payment of a purchase order, invoices containing the proper information must be submitted to the Accounts Payable address indicated on the purchase order (1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34231). Invoices must be in triplicate, reference the purchase order number, and must contain the proper quantities, unit and total prices as stated on the purchase order. Payments are normally issued within 30 days from receipt of invoices, provided the goods and/or services have been received in a satisfactory, proper, and timely manner.
Conflict of Interest: Any award made by the District is subject to provisions of Chapter 112, Florida Statutes. All bidders must disclose with their bid, the name of any officer, director, or agent who is also an employee of The School Board of Sarasota County.
Gifts and Gratuities: The process of public purchasing should be conducted in an impeccable and open manner, without conflicts of interest, in order to eliminate any possibility of, or even the appearance of, improper business relationships. In this regard, the School Board prohibits the acceptance of gratuities, gifts, or other favors that might give rise to doubts of impartiality.
Helpful Hints: Some helpful hints to a business interested in selling to The School Board of Sarasota County include:
- The Certification Page in the Invitation To Bid must be signed by an authorized person with the authority to legally bind the bidding firm.
- Written quotations must be signed by an authorized member of the firm when required.
- Bid security must accompany your bid when required by the Invitation To Bid.
- Supporting literature (if required) must accompany bid documents.
- Addenda (when issued) must be signed and returned with your bid to acknowledge receipt.
- Items must be delivered exactly as the bid by the awarded bidder.
- Contact the Purchasing Office immediately to clarify any questions you may have.