Arizona School District Procurement Updates and Reminders

by Cynthia Rojo, CPA, Senior Associate

Posted on July 2, 2019

The start of a new fiscal year comes with changes, and one of the big changes starting July 1, 2019 that school districts will need to incorporate for day-to-day purchasing activities relates to guidelines for requesting quotes. Although, there had been discussions around the school district finance community that oral quotes would not be an appropriate method of procurement in the new fiscal year, the Office of the Auditor General recently released changes to the Uniform System of Financial Records (USFR) where this was confirmed.

Starting July 1, 2019, the minimum level of procurement requirement for purchases of like items costing between $10,000 and $100,000 will now be to obtain written quotes from at least three vendors. Districts should ensure that policies and procedures are adjusted for the change. When updating purchasing policies, districts should specify what level of documentation will be required to support the written quotes. The levels of documentation can vary from a formal vendor quote, an email quote from a vendor’s email address, website screenshots, etc. In the event that written quotes from at least three different vendors are not obtained, districts should document the efforts made to request quotes from different vendors, such as the vendors contacted with the reasons for not providing quotes or “no quote” emails from vendors.

When issuing request for quotes, districts should consider including the following factors:

  • Offer submission requirements such as offer due date and time
  • Purchase description, specification, delivery or performance schedule, and inspection and acceptance requirements
  • The minimum information that the offer should contain
  • Whether negotiations may be held
  • Contract options, including renewals or extensions
  • Uniform terms and conditions

As a reminder, other procurement changes also went into effect for fiscal year 2018-19. These changes relate to the use of cooperative contracts. The State Board of Education amended the procurement rules to include a requirement within R7-2-1004 that requires school districts to include a written determination when using a cooperative contract. This determination should include documentation on how the district came to the conclusion that the specific cooperative contract would be used.