topleft >  Services >  Governance Technology > 

Vista USD |  AR  3311  Business and Noninstructional Operations


arrow Previous bar Next arrow

Advertised Bids

Whenever expenditures exceed $15,000 for public works, construction, or work to be done, services rendered, or $78,500 for materials, supplies, or equipment, the Chief Business Officer or designee shall call for bids by advertising in a local newspaper at least once a week for two weeks. Unless otherwise authorized by law, contracts shall be let to the lowest responsive bidder who shall give such security as the Board of Trustees requires, or else all bids shall be rejected. The Board reserves the right to reject all bids for any reason.

When letting a contract for the procurement and/or maintenance of electronic data processing systems and supporting software, the Board may contract with any one of the three lowest responsible bidders.

The Board shall secure bids for any transportation service expenditure of more than $10,000 when contemplating that such a contract may be made with a person or corporation other than a common carrier, municipally-owned transit system, or a parent/guardian of students who are to be transported. The Board may let this contract to other than the lowest bidder.

The Board shall secure competitive bids for personal service contracts for non-instructional services when the justification for outsourcing personal services is based on cost savings as outlined in Education Code 45103.1.

Instructions and Procedures for Advertised Bids

Bid instructions and specifications shall include the following requirements and information:

1. All bidders, including bidders for printing contracts, may be requested to specify the minimum, if not exact, percentage of recycled product in the products offered, and both the post-consumer and secondary waste content.

2. All bids for construction work shall be presented under sealed cover and shall be accompanied by one of the following forms of bidder's security:

a. Cash

b. Cashier's Check

c. Certified Check

d. Bidder's Bond executed by an admitted surety insurer.

3. The security of unsuccessful bidders shall be returned in a reasonable period of time in no event any later than 60 days after the bid is awarded.

4. Under no condition shall bids be accepted after the advertised bid opening time, regardless of whether the bids are actually opened at that time.

5. When two or more identical bids are received, the Board may determine by lot which bid shall be accepted.

6. Any subsequent change or alteration of a contract shall be governed by the provisions of Public Contract Code 20118.4.

7. After being opened, all advertised bids shall be made available for review by all interested parties in the Business Services or Purchasing Departments. Bids will not be removed by interested parties from the department maintaining the records.

Supplementary textbooks, library books, periodicals, educational films, audiovisual materials, text materials, workbooks, and instructional computer software packages may be purchased without advertised bidding.

The district may, upon a case-by-case determination of the Board, purchase, lease, or contract for equipment and supplies through a public corporation without advertised bids to the extent permitted by state law.

Perishable commodities such as foodstuffs can be purchased through bid or on the open market, depending on district preference. In its purchases, the district shall give preference to products grown, manufactured, or produced in California and to foods grown or processed in the United States.

Professional services, personal services, and advisory services as outlined in Government Code 53060 are exempt from competitive bids unless the contracts meet the criteria outlined in Education Code 45103.1. If the justification to provide the services is based on cost savings, then the district will be required to competitively bid for the services regardless of the contract amount.


For any contract for which bids are legally required, the Board may require that each prospective bidder complete and submit a standardized questionnaire and financial statement. For this purpose, the Chief Business Officer or the Director of Purchasing shall supply a form, which includes a complete statement of the bidder's financial ability and experience in performing public works. The questionnaire and financial statement shall be verified as prescribed by law. The questionnaires and financial statements shall not be public records and shall not be open to public inspection.

The Chief Business Officer or the Director of Purchasing shall establish a uniform system for rating bidders on the basis of completed questionnaires and financial statements in order to determine the size of contracts on which each bidder is qualified to bid.

The Chief Business Officer or the Director of Purchasing shall furnish each approved qualified bidder with a standardized bid/proposal form. Bids not presented on the standard form shall be disregarded.

Regulations Relative to the Bidding Activity

1. The Purchasing Department shall periodically estimate requirements of standard items or classes of items and make quantity purchases, thereby effecting economics.

2. Bid instructions and specifications should be clear and complete, setting forth all necessary conditions conductive to competitive bidding.

3. The Purchasing Department shall seek bids from those sources able to offer the best prices, consistent with quality, delivery, and service.

4. Competitive Pricing/Bidding:

Whenever practical, competitive quotes/bids from qualified vendors handling the same or similar product will be secured. The Director of Purchasing may choose to bid any item that lends itself to competitive bidding/pricing.

Individual sites/departments may, for their own information, wish to secure inquiry pricing information on items they intend to purchase; however, it must be understood that these price quotations may not be usable at the time of purchase due to time lapse, quantity changes, or incomplete information. Pricing quotations obtained by individual sites and departments are not binding on the district or the purchasing department. Requisitioners should allow sufficient time for the Purchasing staff to obtain quotes/bids, place the order, and receive shipment.

Competitive pricing/bids will be secured in accordance with the following guidelines:

Supplies, Equipment, and Services:

$ - $2,000 Pricing/quotations will not normally be solicited unless the items are of a price volatile nature, such as office supplies, software, and others.

$2,000 - $5,000 The Purchasing staff will obtain at least three quotes either in writing or by telephone.

$5,000 - up The Purchasing staff will solicit at least three quotes in writing.

$78,500 Formal bidding including advertising and Board award of contracts as required under Public Contract Code 20111. Projects cannot be split into smaller orders to avoid bidding (Public Contract Code 20116) This amount is annually updated by the Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 1 of each year.

For Work to be Done - Public Works:

$15,000 - up Formal bidding including advertising and Board award of contract is required as per Public Contract Code 20111. Projects cannot be split into smaller orders to avoid bidding.

5. Legal formal bids are required for:

Public works/Services (each public works project/services) Over $15,000

Supplies, equipment, and materials Over $78,500 or legal limit as prescribed by Public Contract Code 20111

Formal Bidding Procedures

Formal bids will be requested in all cases required by law and will be accomplished as follows:

1. A notice inviting sealed bids shall be published at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation in the district and shall contain the time and place of opening of bids. Bids shall also be sought from those sources able to offer the best prices, consistent with quality, delivery, and service.

2. Bids will be opened by the Chief Business Officer or designee in advance of Board meetings to permit time for tabulating and evaluating the bids to make recommendations for Board acceptance, at least five days prior to the meeting date. The bid results will be provided to all companies participating in bid process within three working days after bids are opened. Bid documents will not be removed from the either the Business Services or Purchasing Departments.

3. Bids will be received at the prescribed time and place indicated in the Notice to Bidders. No bid may be accepted after said advertised time unless bid opening time and place are changed through an authorized issued addendum. All authorized issued addenda will be issued no later than 72 hours prior to advertised bid date.

4. Bids will then be returned to the designated office at the prescribed time and place indicated on the Notice to Bidders for opening and evaluation. Review of submitted bids by interested parties will be allowed after issuance of bid results. Appointments will be made with the appropriate department, to review the documents.

5. Construction bids are advertised and opened in the same manner. However, the construction contract documents approved by the District's legal counsel are the bid documents used for all construction requiring bids.

6. Formal Bid Review/Protest Procedure

The district review/protest procedure must be followed by any bidder who believes a bid award recommendation is not within the published specifications and contract language.

a. A protest on a bid must be filed in writing with the Director of Purchasing within two working days after receipt of the bid summary.

b. Only those bidders who submitted a bid will be allowed to protest an award.

c. The Director of Purchasing will respond in writing to the bid protest outlining the District's decision regarding the protest.

d. If the bidder is unsatisfied with the written response, the bidder must request, in writing, a formal request for the Director of Purchasing to convene a meeting to attempt to resolve the problem.

e. In the event the protest is not resolved, the protest will be referred to the Chief Business Officer.

7. Should the protest not be resolved at this level, it shall be referred to the Board along with all documentation and correspondence regarding the protest and the responses at each level.

8. The Board will not act upon a protest until each of the preceding steps has been exhausted.

Alternative Bid Procedures for Technological Supplies and Equipment

Upon a finding by the Board that a particular procurement qualifies for the alternative procedure, the district may acquire computers, software, telecommunications equipment, microwave equipment, and other related electronic equipment and apparatus through competitive negotiation. This procedure shall not apply to contracts for construction or for the procurement of any product that is available in substantial quantities to the general public. (Public Contract Code 20118.2)

The competitive negotiation shall include, but not be limited to, the following requirements: (Public Contract Code 20118.1)

1. The Chief Business Officer or designee shall prepare a request for proposals (RFP) that shall be submitted to an adequate number of qualified sources, as determined by the district, to permit reasonable competition consistent with the nature and requirement of the procurement.

2. Notice of the RFP shall be published at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation, at least 10 days before the date for receipt of the proposals.

3. The District shall make every effort to generate the maximum feasible number of proposals from qualified sources and shall make a finding to that effect before proceeding to negotiate if only a single response to the RFP is received.

4. The RFP shall identify all significant evaluation factors, including price, and their relative importance.

5. The District shall provide reasonable procedures for the technical evaluation of the RFPs received, the identification of qualified sources, and the selection for the award of the contract.

6. An award shall be made to the qualified bidder whose proposal meets the evaluation standards and will be most advantageous to the district with price and all other factors considered.

7. If an award is not made to the bidder whose proposal contains the lowest price, then the District shall make a finding setting forth the basis for the award.

8. The District, at its discretion, may reject all proposals and request new RFPs.

Rights of the Board Concerning Bids

The Board shall reserve the right to reject any and all bids and waive any irregularities or informalities in any bid or in the bidding.

The Board also reserves the right to enter into a continuing contract with an accepted vendor as per Education Code 17596 which states, "Continuing contracts for work to be done, services to be performed, or for any apparatus or equipment to be furnished, sold, built, leased, installed, or repaired for the district, or for materials or supplies to be furnished or sold to the district may be made with an accepted vendor or lessor as follows: for work or service, or for apparatus or equipment, not to exceed five years; for materials or supplies not to exceed three years."

Bids Not Required

Without advertising for bids and upon a determination that it is in the best interest of the district, the Board may authorize, by contract, lease, requisition, or purchase order, another public corporation or agency to lease data-processing equipment or to purchase materials, supplies, equipment, automotive vehicles, tractors, and other personal property for the district in the manner that the other public corporation or agency is authorized to make the leases or purchases from a vendor ("piggyback"). (Public Contract Code 20118)

Alternatively, if there is an existing contract between a public corporation or agency and a vendor for the lease or purchase of personal property, the district may authorize the lease or purchase of personal property directly from the vendor by contract, lease, requisition, or purchase order and make payment to the vendor under the same terms that are available to the public corporation or agency under the contract. (Public Contract Code 20118)

Supplementary textbooks, library books, educational films, audiovisual materials, test materials, workbooks, instructional computer software packages, or periodicals may be purchased in any amount without taking estimates or advertising for bids. (Public Contract Code 20118.3)

Perishable commodities, such as foodstuffs, needed in the operations of cafeterias may be purchased through bid or on the open market. (Education Code 38083)

In an emergency when any repairs, alterations, work, or improvement to any school facility is necessary to permit the continuance of existing school classes or to avoid danger to life or property, the Board may, by unanimous vote and with the approval of the County Superintendent of Schools, contract for labor and materials or supplies without advertising for or inviting bids or may authorize the use of day labor or force account for the emergency purpose. (Public Contract Code 20113)

Sole Sourcing

Specifications for contracts for construction, alteration, or repair of school facilities may not limit bidding, either directly or indirectly, to any one specific concern. Specifications designating a specific material, product, thing, or particular brand name shall follow the description with the words "or equal" so that bidders may furnish any equal material, product, thing, or service. (Public Contract Code 3400)

However, specifications for such contracts may designate a product by brand or trade name (sole sourcing) if the Board has made a finding, described in the invitation for bids or RFP, that a particular material, product, thing, or service is designated for any of the following purposes: (Public Contract Code 3400)

1. To conduct a field test or experiment to determine its suitability for future use

2. To match others in use on a particular public improvement that has been completed or is in the course of completion

3. To obtain a necessary item that is only available from one source

4. To respond to the Board's declaration of an emergency, as long as the declaration has been approved by four-fifths of the Board when issuing the invitation for bid or RFP.


approved: September 9, 2010 Vista, California