New Purchasing Policy Approved by School Board

By Alex Malm

The School Board approved the district’s purchasing policy during its most recent board meeting.
The policy change makes it so purchases from $0 to $5,000 need to be authorized, by a District Administrator and a Business Administrator or Finance Director, and purchases $5,000 or above need to be approved by the District Administrator and Business Administrator.
In addition, the policy also creates different thresholds for when purchase orders need to go out for a formal bidding process.
Purchases $0 to $5,000 would not be required to go through a bidding process.
Any purchases in the $5,001 to $15,000 range would need to have three written quotes request when available, and if unavailable, “the reason the quotes are unavailable and any attempts made to obtain quotes must be documented.”
For purchases $15,001 and above would require a request of at least three written quotes in “compliance with policy DJE Bidding Requirements.”
During the previous meeting, Business Administrator, Lisa McKenney, was asked to get data on the amount of purchase orders they had in the last year, and what thresholds they would have fallen under, in relation to the policy.
“In fiscal year 23 we did 4,031 purchase orders,” she said.
Out of those, 3,673, would have fallen under the $5,000 or less threshold.
A total of 358 would have fallen under the written quotes, or bidding process, based on the costs, however, 213 would have been excluded from it due to provisions in the policy.
“It leaves 145 purchase orders approximately,” she said.
Out of those, she said 99 would fall under the $15,000 threshold and 46 would fall under the formal bidding process, along with other purchases that would normally require approvals.
She stated that if they were to go with the $25,000 threshold as she first proposed, it would leave them with about 14 purchase orders.
“I think we could give it a try,” McKenney said.
McKenney said she’s worried about timing, saying it will take time to get bids, and then bring them back to the next School Board meeting.
“That’s a concern,” she said.
But McKenney said if it delays necessary purchasing, they can address the concerns as they come.
School Board Chair, Bob Slater, said he is hopeful through the new policy they will be able to save money on different items.
“Any dollar we can save here can go towards the education pieces we’re trying to implement,” Slater said.

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