Contracting Procedures

Approval

The Superintendent, or authorized designees, shall sign all contracts. In no event shall separate schools or departments enter into agreements with contractors for work to be done or goods to be purchased without the required approvals. Agreements outside the prescribed District procedures entered into by separate schools or departments will be deemed private agreements between the site principal or department head and the contractor, and District funds may not be expended or authorized for the goods or services.

Contract Term

Continuing contracts for work to be done, services to be performed or for equipment to be furnished, sold, built, installed or repaired, or for materials or supplies to be furnished or sold to the District shall not exceed three (3) years.

Contract Procedures

Each new contract will require completion of a Contract Request Form in the division electronic Contract Request Portal. The requester should enter all requested information to avoid a delay in processing the request. If District funds are to be expended, the requester must also include a requisition number. No contract will be approved for execution until the funds have been encumbered.

The following information must be provided in order to process any contract request:

  1. The date of the request, the requester’s name, school site location or department, and name and phone number for contact purposes.
  2. The type of contract requested.
  3. The funding source, including the appropriate budget account information. (A contract will not be approved for execution until after the budget check verifies that sufficient funding is available, and that amount has been encumbered via a requisition).
  4. The scope of services to be performed.
  5. The vendor’s name, address, city, state and zip code, and contact name, phone number and email address.
  6. The nature of any services involving contact with students.

If the vendor has supplied its own form of contract for review, that form may be uploaded into the Contract Request Portal.

The contract documents will be reviewed, prepared and approved, and an authorized District Contract Number will be assigned. If Board approval is not required, Contracts Management will forward two (2) originals of the approved contract to the Superintendent, or his or her designee, for execution.

Board Approval

When Board approval is required, Contracts Management will submit the contract to the Board Office for placement on the Board’s agenda for approval. The requesting department or school will be asked to complete a Board Information Template required by the Board. Upon Board approval, the contracts will be submitted to the Board President and Superintendent for execution.

Release of Purchase Orders

Upon receipt of the fully executed originals, Contracts Management will authorize Procurement Services to release the Purchase Order for the contract. The Purchase Order is the authorization to the vendor to proceed. No services should be performed or goods ordered until a Purchase Order has been issued.

An executed original of the contract will be sent to the vendor, the contract originator, Procurement Services, and one will be retained in the files of the Office of Contracts Management.

Contract Amendments

A contract can be amended to extend the period of performance, increase the fee to obtain additional services, allow for a minor change in the current contract scope of services, or any combination of the above. A Contract Request Form shall be used to request a contract amendment. A requisition will also be required if the proposed amendment increases the fee.

A contract cannot be amended if there is a significant change in the contract scope of services, or if the contract value increases to greater than 50% of the original contract amount. Under limited circumstances, the Director of Contracts or designee may waive the 50% Rule if it is in the best interest of the District. Adequate justification must be submitted and approved prior to continuation of the service.

Additionally a contract cannot be amended if the contract period ended prior to the date of the amendment request. In such cases, the contract sponsor will need to initiate a new contract instead.

After-the-Fact Contracts

The District prohibits a school or office from allowing a contractor to start providing services prior to contract execution. Exceptions will only be granted if the contract requester can demonstrate an urgent need based on an urgent and compelling circumstance. Only the Director of Contracts or his/her designee may approve an after-the-fact contract.

Examples of Urgent and Compelling Necessity

Delayed receipt of grant funds or grant award letter. This may occur when a school or office is awarded a grant, but the contractor’s services are needed prior to receipt of grant funds or grant funding will be lost if services do not begin by a certain date.

Protection of health and welfare. In order to avoid any interruption in the care provided through any health or welfare programs while funding is secured, requests for extensions or renewals of those contracts after the fact may be considered under the designation of urgent and compelling necessity.

Discovery of unanticipated issues. Occasionally, the unanticipated passage of legislation or other government actions affect the District’s ability to enter into a contract before the contractor starts services. An example would be where the District historically received essential services that are paid for by an outside agency, but new legislation requires that the District pay for the services directly. In this case, the District would be required to contract with the service provider in order to pay him/her directly. To avoid an interruption in service, the District may allow the contractor to continue providing services during the contract approval process, thereby creating an after-the-fact situation.

Emergency Situation. In the event of an emergency when repairs, alterations, work or improvements are necessary for the continuation of existing school classes or to avoid danger to life or property, a contractor may be permitted to begin services prior to final contract approval.

Contract Requirements

Insurance

The District requires that all vendors, contractors, and professional service providers comply with contractual insurance requirements and provide evidence of insurance, as appropriate. The Office of Contracts Management will request a Certificate of Insurance from the contractor prior to contract execution. A contract cannot be executed, and the vendor cannot receive payment, unless required evidence of insurance is provided.

Fingerprinting

Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-5-413 requires that all contractors and their employees who may come into contact with pupils submit to fingerprinting and a background check. When services will be provided on a District campus, Contracts Management shall include this code requirement in the contract terms. The contract sponsor must arrange for evidence of compliance prior to authorizing services on a school campus.

Terminating A Contract

All contracts for the provision of services must have a definite start date (the date when the contractor begins the services) and end date (the latest date by which the contractor is expected to successfully complete the services). Occasionally, the contract sponsor may need to terminate the contract prior to the contract end date.

Reasons for Early Contract Termination. Reasons for early contract termination may include but are not limited to, the following situations:

  1. Lack of funding, including implementation of a District-wide freeze on expenditures for contract services.
  2. Contractor completes services earlier and at a lower cost than originally contemplated.
  3. Contractor’s performance is unsatisfactory.

Importance of Written Documentation. In each of the above circumstances, the contract sponsor shall document any conversations he or she has with the contractor to notify the contractor why early termination may be required. Such documentation is especially important when the contractor’s performance is unsatisfactory.

Authority to Terminate a Contract. While a contract sponsor may suspend a contract’s performance, only authorized personnel in Contracts management may officially terminate a contract.

Procedure. To terminate a contract, contact the Director of Contracts and submit copies of any correspondence sent to contractor and a chronology of events leading up to the request for termination, if applicable. Contracts Management will work with the contract sponsor to either assist the contractor in improving his performance or terminate the contract in conformance with the contract terms.

Initiating A Contract For Professional Services When Funds Are Pending

Often schools and offices receive grant award notification and are required to begin service prior to receipt of funds by the District. In such cases, the contract sponsor is still required to submit the necessary forms to Contracts Management to initiate the contract. In addition, the sponsor shall provide a copy of the grant award notification letter as evidence of funds availability.

It is strongly recommended that grant recipients contact Accounting and Reporting to ensure funds are placed in an appropriate account as soon as grant award notification is received. Accounting can work with the grant recipient to establish a budget line, if necessary, to allow funds to be encumbered for expenditure of grant-funded contract services as soon as possible.

Using A Requisition To Order Services Under Master Purchases Agreements

Schools and offices may process orders for goods or services under a Master Purchase Agreement (MPA) using a requisition, regardless of the dollar amount of the order, as long as the order does not exceed the sponsor’s budget. The usual administrator approvals based on dollar amount will apply. Procurement Services will distribute and maintain a list of all Master Purchase Agreements available for use by departments and school sites. A list is also included in this website page.

Timeline For Processing Contract Requests

The timeline for processing a contract is dependent on three factors: the dollar value of the services, whether or not a competitive process is used, and/or the complexity of the contract terms.

In general, a school or office must complete a requisition, and complete and submit a Contract Request Form to Contracts Management for processing as soon as the need for services is determined. Contracts Management will engage in the appropriate action to procure the requested goods or services. However, Contracts Management cannot review any contract requiring a competitive process until after the RFP or bidding process is complete (see Procurement Policy and Procedures).

Competitive Process, i.e., Request for Proposal (RFP) – At Least Ninety (90) Calendar Days

Because of the complexity of the formal RFP and bid processes, the contract sponsor should submit contract request documents to Contracts Management at least three months (90 calendar days) prior to the date when goods or services are needed.

In a formal RFP or bid process, the contract sponsor, in concert with Procurement Services, uses the contract sponsor’s scope of work or product specifications and evaluation criteria to solicit bids or proposals from contractors capable of providing the goods or services. This process requires a significant amount of time in order to refine the scope of work and evaluation criteria, advertise the need for goods or services, review and evaluate proposals, select the prospective contractor, negotiate contract terms, and obtain Superintendent or Board approval.

Request for Quotes Process – At Least Fourteen (14) Calendar Days

In an informal request for quotes process, it is not necessary to advertise the bid or RFP nor have formal evaluation and negotiation teams (see Procurement Policy and Procedures). However, the contract sponsor must perform some evaluation of the quotes received. Once the contract sponsor completes the process, he or she should submit the necessary contract request documents, including the scope of work and the selected contractor’s proposal, to Contracts Management at least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the date when services are needed. Procurement Services will provide guidance to the sponsor on conducting the request for quotes process.

Non-competitive Process - At Least Seven (7) Calendar Days

The deadline for Contracts Management Branch to receive all contract request documents for goods and services that do not require a competitive process prior to purchase is seven (7) days prior to the date goods are to be delivered or services are expected to begin.

Revenue Contracts

Occasionally the District enters into professional services contracts with other entities where the District receives payment for services it renders to the outside entity. Contracts covering such relationships are called “Revenue Contracts.”

Examples of Revenue Contracts include:

  • Reimbursements Agreements where District staff provides services to other school districts or non-profit entities and will receive reimbursements.
  • District as sub-grantee, where a grant recipient contracts with the District for professional services.
  • Agreements to provide business services to other school districts or entities.

To initiate a Revenue Contract, the contract sponsor should complete as much of the Contract Request Form as possible and submit it with the scope of work and payment schedule to Contracts Management. It is not necessary to submit a requisition number.

No-Cost Contracts

Contracts where a contractor provides goods or services to the District at no charge also require processing through Contracts Management, since the provision of services or acceptance of goods may expose the District to potential liability. For No-Cost contracts, the originator should complete and submit a Contract Request Form to Contracts Management. It is not necessary to submit a requisition number.

School Activity Accounts

All contracts meeting the guidelines under this policy for review must be submitted to Contracts Management.

Contract Records

All original district contracts will be centrally filed in the Office of Contracts Management. A database of all contracts will be maintained to include the following information:

  1. Company Name;
  2. Contract Number;
  3. Contract Term;
  4. Brief description of services;
  5. Name of originating department or school site.

Contract file records and supporting documentation will be subject to audit.