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Policy 4050 - Procurement of Goods and/or Services

The purpose of this policy is to set guidelines for the procurement process for all goods and/or services used by the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County expects that all funds provided to themfor all goods and/or services will be expended and handled in the most ethical, effective, and efficient manner possible and that procurement activities will be carried out in compliance with the Public School Laws of Maryland including, the Annotated Code of Maryland, Educational Article, §5-112.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set guidelines for the procurement process for all goods and/or services used by the Howard County Public School System(HCPSS).

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Contract – All types of agreements that are legally binding and are for the procurement of goods, services, or construction, regardless of the source of funds.

  2. Donations – Equipment, materials, money, or property given to a school or to the school system for use in or in conjunction with educational or extracurricular programs or activities with no expectation of return.

  3. Emergency Procurement – The awarding of a contract due to a sudden and unexpected occurrence or condition which was unforeseen whereby life, health, safety, property, or interruption of the regular operation of the school systemwould be impacted as determined by the Director of Purchasing.

  4. Goods – Tangible commodities provided to the Board in exchange for payment.

  5. Intergovernmental Purchase – The acquisition of goods or services from another government agency such as the county, state or other public entities.

  6. Minority Business Enterprises – Any legal entity, except a joint venture that is:

    1. Organized to engage in commercial transactions;

    2. At least 51% owned and controlled by 1 or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged, including but not limited to women, racial/ethnic minority individuals, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities, and

    3. Managed by, and the daily business operations of which are controlled by, one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

  7. Minority Business Enterprise Participation – The inclusion of a minority business enterprise as either prime or subcontractors in Board contracts.

  8. Procurement – The process of obtaining goods and/or services.

  9. Procurement Methods – The procedures and processes that outline the threshold levels and efforts required to establish a contract.

  10. Purchasing Cooperative – Participation in or use of a contract for goods and/or services that are awarded by other public agencies or by intergovernmental purchasing organizations.

  11. Response – A written or verbal quote, bid, proposal, or offer.

  12. School Activity Funds – All cash funds held in the name of a school including fundraising proceeds, cash donations, funds transferred fromthe Board, and funds provided to a school not allocated through the Board budget.

  13. Services – The rendering of time, effort, or work rather than the furnishing of a specific physical product. Includes, but is not limited to, the professional, personal, and/or contractual services provided by architects, engineers, attorneys, accountants, physicians, consultants, appraisers, land surveys, and where services are associated with the provision of expertise or labor, or both.

  14. Sole Source – The awarding of a contract compliance with one or more of the following:

    1. Only a single source exists that meets the requirements;

    2. The compatibility of equipment, accessories or replacement parts is the paramount consideration;

    3. A sole supplier itemis needed for trial use or testing;

    4. A sole supplier’s item is needed for resale;

    5. Certain public utility services are to be procured and only one source exists; and/or

    6. In the case of instructional related needs, staff has determined to the satisfaction of the Director of Purchasing that it would be impractical to seek or utilize another source.

  15. Solicitation – A requirements document that outlines the procurement process and selection criteria to obtain goods and/or services to be delivered or completed that is formally advertised to the general public.

  16. Solicitation Threshold – The dollar amountif equaled or exceeded, requires a solicitation.

  17. Supplier – A person or entity providing goods and/or services.

IV. Standards

  1. Provisions of this policy apply to all funds, including but not limited to, school activity funds and grants.

  2. Contracts and other purchasing activities will be in accordance with this policy and procedures.

  3. Procurement of goods with a value over $25,000 require a solicitation.

  4. The Board and Superintendent will approve all contracts above the solicitation threshold.

  5. The Board reserves the right to reject any and all responses, any or all items, or to waive defects of specifications or any specific(s) whenever such rejection is in the best interest of the Board.

  6. For contracts below the solicitation threshold:

    1. Approval of all contracts for Board appropriated funds will be made by the Purchasing Office.

    2. Approval of all contracts using school activity funds will be made by the school principal.

  7. Procurement methods for the solicitation threshold levels outlined in this policy and procedures will be established by the Purchasing Office.

  8. Proper execution of contracts, maintenance, and storage of all Board of Education contracts will be performed by the Purchasing Office.

  9. Training and other professional development opportunities to prepare employees in the proper administration of contracts will be provided by the Purchasing Office.

  10. Contracts not established in compliance with the Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §5-112, and this policy will be considered void.

  11. The Board requires competitive procurements except when the need for services is in compliance with the definition of Sole Source or Emergency Procurement.

  12. The Purchasing Office will encourage the participation of locally-owned businesses as well as minority business enterprise participation in procurements.

  13. The Purchasing Office will encourage the participationof minority business enterprise participation in procurements.

  14. The procurement of environmentally friendly and/or sustainable goods and/or services will be in accordance with the Public School Laws of Maryland specifically the Annotated Code of Maryland, Educational Article, §5-112.

  15. Contracts established through intergovernmental purchases are exempt from this policy.

  16. School events such as music festivals, proms, and fieldtrips as determined by the Purchasing Office may be exempt from this policy.

  17. Goods and commonalities acquired through a purchasing cooperative will follow public bidding procedures described in State Finance and Procurement Articles and are exempt from this policy.

  18. Procedures for architectural/engineering and construction management services selection are addressed in Policy 6030 Procurement of Architectural/Engineering and Construction Management Services and are exempt from this policy.

  19. Procurements related to legal services are exemptfrom this policy.

  20. Contracts with software providers, online services, and mobile applications will comply with federal, state, and local student data privacy protections, including those provisions identified in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §4-131 and HCPSS policies.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/Designee will establish the acceptable procurement method and process for establishing contracts at the threshold levels set in this policy and implementation procedures.

  2. The Superintendent/Designee will establish manuals or other documentation to inform all staff and community members of the appropriate expenditure of funds.

  3. All employees will follow this policy and implementation procedures and comply with Policy 2070 Ethics and HCPSS Ethics Regulations.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  1. Legal

    • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §4-131

    • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §5-112

    • Annotated Code of Maryland, Finance and Procurement Article, §14-301

    • Annotated Code of Maryland, State Finance and Procurement, §13-109

  2. Other Board Policies

  3. Relevant Data Sources

  4. Other HCPSS Ethics Regulations Procurement Manual

VIII. History

ADOPTED: December 3, 1968



REVISED: June 28, 1990, December 13, 2001, February 27, 2003, December 14, 2006, January 13, 2011, June 7, 2018

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2018