All vendors must be approved by the Board of Trustees prior to a purchase order being processed. If a requisition is made to an unapproved vendor, it will be denied. If the vendor is a company wishing to do business with the district, the company must complete the Preferred Vendor Packet, be awarded a specific bid/proposal, or be a member of one of the purchasing cooperatives that RCISD participates in. If the vendor is for an employee (reimbursement), individual, hotel, conference, etc., contact the Finance Office with appropriate information consisting of name, address, phone, fax, and e-mail address. The Finance Office verifies the information and will then add the vendor to the vendor master list.
NOTE: The list of vendors on the Skyward software system is a financial database of all expenditures made to vendors.
Vendor Approval Process
A vendor wishing to do business with the district may complete a Preferred Approved Vendor Application form and submit it to the Purchasing Director. The Application is reviewed for completion of all required information and then submitted to the Board for approval at the next available meeting. This time line could take from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the timing of when the Application is received and the deadline for the Board meeting agenda.The vendor may not be used for requisitions until the approval process is completed and is added to the approved vendor list.
Sole Source Vendor
A sole source vendor is defined as one who confirms that the item or product to be purchased is precluded by the existence of a patent, copyright, secret process, or monopoly. The district must obtain and retain original documentation from the vendor which clearly states what qualifies the purchase to be made on a sole source basis. The RCISD Confirmation of Sole Source Compliance by Vendor form will be used to meet this requirement. This documentation is permanently kept in the Finance Office.
Some factors considered in the evaluation of a vendor’s performance are:
- Timeliness of deliveries
- Service availability
- Completeness and accuracy
- Quality of products or services received
Procedures to follow when there is a vendor problem:
- Document the problem, noting the date and an accurate description of the problem and forward a copy to the Finance Office.
- Contact the vendor immediately. Keep a record of all phone calls, including dates, the person to whom you spoke, and what was discussed.
- If the problem is not resolved or continues to occur, written notification must be made to the vendor stating the problem, the corrective action required, and that failure by the vendor to correct the problem will be considered a breach of contract and could result in the cancellation of the contract.
Vendor Award Criteria
Texas Education Code 44.031 states that in determining contract awards to vendors, the district may consider:
- The purchase price
- The reputation of the vendor and of the vendor’s goods and services
- The quality of the vendor’s goods or services
- The extent to which the goods or services meet the district’s needs
- The vendor’s past relationship with the District
- The impact on the ability of the District to comply with laws and rules relating to historically underutilized businesses
- The total long-term cost to the district to acquire the vendor’s goods or services
- Any other relevant factor that a private business entity would consider in selecting a vendor. Factors that a school district may consider under this criteria would include:
- vendor response time
- compatibility of goods/products purchased with those already in use in the district
- It is important to note that under Section 44/035, Texas Education Code, the district must publish in the request for bids, proposals, or qualifications for construction services the criteria that will be used to evaluate the offers and relative weights, if known at the time of the publication, given to the criteria.
Communications to vendors may be made directly to the vendor or through the Finance Office.
- Follow up of order already placed
Vendor Relations and Gifts
School district officials and employees cannot accept anything of value from a vendor, such as personal gifts or gratuities, which may be construed to have been given to influence the purchasing process. Although such practices may be legitimate and generally accepted in the private sector, giving and receiving gifts in the public sector may constitute a violation of law.
The District is a member of numerous purchasing cooperatives. This means the District does not have to process its own formal bid to purchase products from the list of numerous approved vendors as the purchasing cooperative has done this. All the vendors with current contracts with the purchasing cooperative are approved vendors. The district may purchase directly from these vendors.
Search the coop website for needed information for your purchase. The vendor contract number will be listed as well as discounts offered, contact information, etc. Some coop pricing is negotiable. Call the vendor with a request for additional discounted prices for items of substantial quantities.
When processing a purchase order with a purchasing cooperative approved vendor, the name of the cooperative must be noted in the narrative section of the PO.