The following describes the source selection and contract formation for formal public procurement methods.
Request for Information (RFI)
A non-binding method of procurement whereby a jurisdiction publishes via newspaper, internet or directly mails its need for input from interested parties for an upcoming solicitation. The RFI is used to obtain comments, feedback or reactions from potential responders (suppliers, contractors) prior to the issuing of a solicitation. Generally, price or cost is not required, but a general budgeting amount may be obtained. Feedback may include best practices, industry standards, technology issues, etc.
Invitation for Bid (IFB)
The competitive sealed bid is a solicitation method used when its requirements are clear, accurate and complete for purchases oriented around obtaining the lowest possible price. This process is used in accordance with the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-20.21) and state law. Generally, contracts for the purchase of goods and services in excess of $25,000 and repair, maintenance, remodeling, renovation or construction on a single project exceeding $50,000 can only be awarded by boards of education after they have been let for public bid. If bid, such contracts must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder after due advertisement. Advertisement includes, but is not limited to, at least one public notice at least 10 days before the bid date in a newspaper published in the district.
Bids must be sealed by the bidder and must be opened by a member or employee of the district with a witness at a specific deadline which, if missed, normally dictates the rejection of the response. At the public bid opening, the bid(s) will be opened and the contents of them must be announced. The invitation to bid generally is awarded to the lowest responsible bidder whose past performance, reputation and financial capability are deemed acceptable.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The RFP is the document used to secure offers when the procurement of competitive sealed bidding is not practical or advantageous. In some instances, the RFP is used when precise specifications cannot be developed and price is not a major factor to be evaluated by purchasing. The RFP is usually utilized when an entity is seeking a solution to a problem and is looking to the contractor for guidance. The offeror’s technical and price proposal responses are provided in sealed envelopes and must be submitted at the respective due date and time. Only the offeror’s names are read publicly at the opening; price is not stated.
The contract award should be made based on the offeror’s technical response and performance in oral presentations/discussions rather the low bid “best value.” The technical response of an RFP usually requires a detailed response outlining the solution, past performance, qualifications, samples of works, references, licenses etc. The RFP also provides for the negotiation of all terms, including price, prior to contract award. The RFP may include a provision for the negotiation of best and final offers.
Request for Quotation (RFQ)
Purchasing method generally used for small orders under a certain dollar amount. A request is sent to suppliers that includes a description of the commodity or services needed. As part of this request, suppliers are asked to respond with pricing and other pertinent information by a predetermined date. Evaluation and recommendation for award should be based on the quotation that best meets price, quality, delivery, service, past performance and reliability.
Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
The request for qualifications (RFQ) is the document used to obtain a statement of qualifications from potential responders before the final solicitation document is issued. After eliminating respondents who do not meet the criteria of the RFQ, the bid document is issued to those certified as qualified.
The following are bidding exceptions to the School Code. These items DO NOT need to be bid under the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-20.21.).
- $25,000 or less
- Emergency expenditures
- Unforeseen revisions to contract for material or work already awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, provided revisions do not exceed 10% of the contract price
- Construction under $50,000
- Services from another governmental agency
- Services economically procurable from only one source
- Maintenance or service of equipment by the manufacturer or authorized service agent
- Data processing services
- Telecommunications and interconnect services
- Duplicating machines and supplies
- Data processing equipment and software
- Telecommunications and interconnect equipment and software
- Previously owned equipment
- Goods procured from another governmental agency
- Goods economically procurable from only once source
- Perishable foods and perishable beverages
- Provision of repair parts for equipment by the manufacturer or authorized service agent where the repair parts can best be provided by the manufacturer or authorized service agent
- Natural gas where the cost is less than that offered by a public utility
- Utility services such as water, light, heat, telephone or telegraph
- Printing finance committee reports and departmental reports
- Printing or engraving bonds, tax warrants and other evidences of indebtedness