Cf:  DJE





The Natchitoches Parish School Board has established the following regulations and procedures governing purchasing by the school district:






For purposes of efficiency in administration and management, the responsibilities for the purchasing supplies, materials, services, and equipment from outside vendors for all Natchitoches Parish Schools shall be centralized in the Central Office.  The operation of the Central Purchasing shall be designed to relieve the faculty and other staff of most of the details connected with purchasing.


The procedures set forth herein shall be applicable in all cases where the expenditure is from funds administered by the Natchitoches Parish School Board regardless of whether the funds arise from Local, State or Federal appropriations, student fees, gifts, grants or other fund sources.


Special or unusual purchasing problems should be brought to the attention of the Purchasing Supervisor.



The general responsibilities and functions of Central Purchasing shall be as follows:



To purchase supplies, material, equipment and services related thereto for the various schools of the Parish in such a manner that maximum value is obtained for every dollar spent, and to insure that qualified suppliers are given equal opportunity to participate in furnishing Parish requirements.



To expedite the delivery of material to meet the requirements of the using School or Federal Program.



To handle complaints, claims and adjustments, and to negotiate for the return of material or arrange for other settlements.



To conduct all correspondence with suppliers relating to quotations and purchase orders.



To set up standard specifications for materials and supplies commonly used by the School System.



To consolidate purchases wherever possible and thus obtain quantity discounts for such volume purchases.



To furnish upon request, prices or estimates of cost of materials and supplies to appropriate persons.



Purchasing Criteria



General Responsibilities



Parish policy concerning financial commitments provides that no employee of the Parish has the authority to make and purchase commitment, enter into any contract for materials or supplies, or otherwise take action, with respect to third parties which may be construed as financially binding to the Parish except through the usual channels under the authority of the Purchasing Supervisor.  The Purchasing Supervisor shall receive all bids and enter into all negotiations with suppliers.



The purchasing policy does not preclude a department from contacting sources of supply for preliminary information concerning price, quality, or usage of equipment, supplies, etc., in which it is interested.  The Purchasing Supervisor will supply names and addresses of vendors on request.  Such preliminary contracts shall not produce firm commitments as this is the function of the Purchasing Supervisor or appropriate designee.  Copies of letter estimates and of other information relative to desired purchases received by a school or program from sources of supply should be forwarded to the Purchasing Supervisor with the original requisition.



There will be no deficit spending of District Funds unless prior approval is granted by the School Board.



Competitive Bidding



All purchases shall be based upon the principle of competitive bidding. Before any bids are advertised, each request for Advertisement for solicitation of bids for goods and services shall be accompanied by a statement from the Superintendent or his/her designee certifying the source or availability of funds for such purchase.  Whenever possible, all specifications for materials, supplies, equipment and services shall be worded or designed so as to permit open and competitive bidding for the supplying of the article, commodities or services to which they apply.  Whenever specifications are not so worded or designed, or specify a single brand "or equal," the person responsible for the recommendation shall be required to justify the necessity for the specification in writing.  The normal time allowed for bidding is 14 to 30 days.  Schools or Programs are requested to anticipate their needs as far in advance as possible to assure that deliveries can be made when needed.  Copies of bids may be referred to by the requesting program or school for review and approval before award if requested.


Note:    If a department wishes to accept a bid other than the low bid or wishes to select a "brand" name, a letter of justification must be attached to the bid sheet.  This letter must give in detail the advantages of the preferred item over that of the low bid and must be signed by the Principal, Program Director or Supervisor.



Invitations for Bids


Invitations to bidders shall specify the time and place that bids shall be received and opened, the articles or services for which such bids are to be submitted and the specifications for such articles or services, the amount or number of articles required, the time of delivery, the amount, if any, of bonds or certified checks to accompany the bids, and any other requirements, conditions or information in reference to the purchase deemed necessary.  All sealed bids received shall be publicly opened and examined at the time and place specified in the invitation to bidders, and all bids conforming to the invitation, together with the name of the bidder shall be recorded, become a matter of public record, and remain open to public inspection.



Acceptance of Bids


All bids shall be subject to rejection by the Natchitoches Parish School Board.  If awarded, the Contract for purchase shall be awarded to the lowest qualified and responsible bidder, taking into consideration among other factors the apparent ability of the bidder to perform the proposed contract, the conformity of the articles or services to the specifications, any discount allowed for prompt payment or for other reason, transportation charges, and the date of delivery specified in the invitation to bidders.  A bond for the faithful performance of any contract may be required in the discretion of the Natchitoches Parish School Board.  A complete written record on all procedures and justifications shall be maintained on each purchasing transaction in order to provide a clear audit trail on the purchase.



Restrictions on Certain Purchases



Items of a personal nature may not be purchased with Natchitoches Parish School Board funds.



The Natchitoches Parish School Board shall follow the Code of Governmental Ethics (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. ยงยง42:1101-42:1169) as it relates to all Purchases and contracts.



Contracts, Leases, and Agreements


Arrangements for leases, maintenance and rentals shall be handled by the Purchasing Supervisor.  Formal approval of leases and rentals shall be made by the Purchasing Supervisor after a School or Program has conducted the preliminary negotiations.  All such arrangements which commit funds of the School Board must be approved by the Purchasing Supervisor.  Any written documents in support of these arrangements which are received in the departments should be forwarded to the Purchasing Supervisor or signature on behalf of the School Board.  Items requiring Natchitoches Parish School Board approval will be forwarded by the Purchasing Supervisor to the Superintendent's Office for transmittal to the Board for approval.



Gifts or consignment of Equipment


If a School or Program is offered merchandise and/or equipment as an outright gift or on a consignment basis, permission to accept or receive such merchandise should be requested by letter to the Superintendent and Purchasing Supervisor.  A complete description of the merchandise or equipment and clear statement of the conditions under which the gift or consignment is being offered should be given.  When necessary, the Purchasing Supervisor will secure administrative approval for acceptance.  Acceptance should not be made until proper approval is received.



Blanket Orders


Upon departmental request, and with the Purchasing Department's approval, a blanket order may be placed with a specific vendor in cases where many small dollar volume purchases are anticipated.  A limit shall also be set for the total amount of each purchase.  Blanket orders shall be renewed for each fiscal year.  Where possible, bids shall be taken each year requesting quantity discounts based on estimated volume.



Procedures for Requisitions and Purchase Orders



The requisition for a purchase order:


The purchase order shall serve as a requisition until it is signed by the person in charge of purchases.  Once it is signed, it then becomes a purchase order.


All requests for materials, equipment, supplies, repairs, services, and contract work shall be prepared on the purchase order form.  It will be forwarded to the Principal, Program Director, and Purchasing Agent for approval.



Maintenance Department Purchases


The maintenance department shall use a Direct Purchase Requisition in making purchases of $200 or less.  All others must be approved by the Purchasing Supervisor.



Emergency Purchasing


Emergency purchasing shall be authorized only when bona fide emergencies exist.  If we rely on the definition of an emergency set forth by State Law we will have very few emergency purchases.  This definition is as follows:  "Those situations involving jeopardy to life and property, brought about by unforeseeable circumstances, which must be handled immediately and without delay in order to protect health and welfare, or to prevent loss or damage to physical property."  Obviously, a very stringent definition.  However, we must recognize that failure to anticipate a need is not, of itself, to be considered a bona fide emergency.


No individual shall be authorized to declare an emergency situation without prior consultation with the Superintendent.  Exceptions will be by written authority of the Superintendent.



Procedure Following Placing of Order to Vendor



Change Orders:


The Purchasing Department has exclusive authority to change a purchase order.  If such need arises, the Purchasing Department should be contacted immediately.





The Purchasing Department does not usually have knowledge of late delivery dates.  Follow-up on orders is not routine, but the Purchasing Department will expedite delivery if requested to do so by the requisitioning party.



Delivery Information:


In accepting delivery, it is the responsibility of the requisitioning party to inspect all purchases.  If the items received are not per specifications, such as color, model, size, etc., the Purchasing Department shall contact the vendor after notification by the proper person(s).



Receipt of Damaged Goods:


If damages are discovered after signing the delivery receipt, the department shall notify the Purchasing Department.



Vendor's Invoice:


If a vendor erroneously sends an invoice directly to the school concerned, the invoice shall be forwarded immediately to the Central Office.



Materials Returned:


The department should contact the Purchasing Office to discuss the proper procedure in each case for returning materials, newly received or old, to a vendor.



End of Fiscal Year Purchasing



Requisitions for purchases:


All requisitions for purchases from the current budget shall be in the Purchasing Office no later than May 1 of the current fiscal year.



Direct Payment requisitions:


All requisitions for invoices shall be submitted by May 1.



Use of State Contracts



Where the Division of Administration has executed a term contract for materials, supplies or equipment, all such purchases shall be pursuant to the term contract unless the institution can purchase the materials, supplies or equipment at a price lower than the term contract price.



Procedures for Inspecting Items Purchased to Assure Quality and Quantity



Before acknowledging receipt from the Receiving Department signature on the bill of lading, freight bill, delivery ticket, the employee accepting delivery should check the shipment to see that the number of cartons or packages agrees with that specified on the document, and should also examine the shipment for possible damage in transit.



Any visible damage or shortage should be noted on the delivery ticket and the deliveryman's signature obtained thereto.



The material received should be checked against the purchase order as soon as possible to determine conformity with quantity and quality specifications.



Any damage, shortage, or discrepancy between materials ordered and that received should be immediately reported by phone to the Purchasing Department, and subsequently confirmed by a detailed written report.  The Purchasing Department shall initiate the required follow up or claim for damages, except in those instances where it may be desirable for the receiving department to conduct the follow up with the permission of the Purchasing Department.


Revised:  September, 2001



Ref:    Board minutes, 4-21-83, 8-9-84


Natchitoches Parish School Board