A5200.05 Purchasing and Bidding

Operating Standard

Type: Administrative
Related Policies: A5200
Linked Procedures:
Related Laws:
Related Standards:
HLC Criterion:



The Board of Trustees, with a view toward maintaining integrity in purchases and meeting the needs of the College as well as providing safeguards to the tax dollars, does hereby establish the following policies:



Requests for purchases, with the exception of equipment purchases, shall be initiated and approved by supervisors via College credit card or Purchase Order. Requests for purchases of equipment must be initiated and approved by supervisors via an approved Purchase Order.  College credit cards may be used for equipment purchases if approved by the President or respective Vice President in advance.

All Purchase Orders go to the Business Office for final approval and distribution to the supplier/vendor.  Purchases shall be made with the intent to procure all equipment, supplies, and services using competitive practices that ensure that the College is receiving maximum value for the money expended. All departments are encouraged to standardize supplies and equipment and, where practicable, to consolidate receiving items for single purchase. Joint purchasing with the State of Illinois is encouraged.

The College will only assume obligations issued on duly authorized Purchase Orders or College Credit Cards.  The Purchase Order and College credit card are the College’s formal methods to buy goods and services and, upon acceptance by the vendor, become a legal and binding contract obligating the College and the vendor. 

Purchases made by Shawnee Community College personnel without an approved Purchase Order or College credit card are not valid claims against the District until validated by a confirming Purchase Order or College credit card and properly approved invoice. Any individual making such a purchase without a Purchase Order or College credit card will be held personally liable prior to such validation.

Due to both time and geographic constraints, College personnel can be reimbursed for limited purchases of commodities after proper submission of adequate documentation for such expenditures and after proper approval by their supervisor.

Whenever a purchase exceeds departmental budgetary allocations, a Budget Transfer Request form signed by the appropriate supervisor must be submitted to the Business office.   The Business office will review the transfer before final approval and forward the transfer to the Chief Financial Officer/President for approval.


Bid Requirements

Formal bids will be required for all items costing in excess of $25,000 for goods and services and $50,000 for construction.   When a bid is required, the Chief Financial Officer will assist supervisors with documents required for completing the formal bid process, including a sample advertisement of the public notice required to be published in a district newspaper at least ten (10) days before the bid due date.

Each bidder must receive at least three days’ notice of the time and place of such bid opening.   All competitive bids must be sealed by the bidder and must be opened by a member or employee of the Board at a public bid opening, at which the contents of the bids must be announced.  Upon approval by the Board of Trustees, the contract for such goods or services will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder considering conformity with specifications, terms of delivery, quality and serviceability.   The low bid need not be the sole criterion for purchasing; reliability of the supplier and quality and availability of service will also be taken into consideration.

In the event of a tie between an in-district vendor and an out-of-district vendor, all other factors remaining equal, the in-district vendor shall be favored with the award.   Tie bids between two in-district vendors shall be decided by the Board of Trustees.   The Board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.  At all times, the Board of Trustees will seek to purchase goods and services in a manner that will be in the best interest of the students attending the College and in the best interest of the taxpayers of the District.

Occasionally, circumstances will exist which necessitate the consideration of a single bid.   There may be items that are not compatible with presently owned equipment, or it may be of such technical nature that only one vendor can respond.   The Board of Trustees does not favor awarding a bid where there has been only one response, but a department should not be denied equipment that is needed to further the functioning of that department.   Single bid situations will be considered only in those instances when such an award is in the best interest of the College.   In such cases, it is the responsibility of the department making the request to furnish the Board of Trustees with sufficient justification for consideration of such an award.

Bid bonds will not be required unless specified in the bid specifications, like construction projects.   Specifications will contain a statement relative to payment, which, as a general rule, will be net 90 days.  Invoices will be ratified after payment is made.  Payment should be made in 45 to 60 days or less.  Where cash discounts are issued, bills are paid immediately in order to take advantage of the discount.

Complaints on College purchases and contract awards shall be made in writing and shall be considered during meetings of the Board of Trustees.


Bid Process Exemptions

Goods and services exempt from the formal bid process include:

  1. Contracts for the services of individuals possessing a high degree of professional skill where the ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part.
  2. Contracts for the printing of Finance Committee reports and departmental reports.
  3. Contracts for the printing or engraving of bonds, tax warrants, and other evidences of indebtedness.
  4. Contracts for materials and work which have been awarded to the lowest responsible bidder after due advertisement but, due to unforeseen revisions, not the fault of the contractor for materials and work, must be revised, causing expenditures not in excess of ten percent (10%) of the contract price.
  5. Contracts for the maintenance or servicing of, or provision of repair parts for, equipment which are made with the manufacturer or authorized service agent of that equipment where the provision of parts, maintenance, or servicing can best be performed by the manufacturer or authorized service agent.
  6. Purchases and contracts for the use, purchase, delivery, movement, or installation of data processing equipment, software, or services and telecommunications and interconnect equipment, software, and services.
  7. Contracts for duplicating machines and supplies.
  8. Contracts for the purchase of natural gas when the cost is less than that offered by a public utility.
  9. Purchases of equipment previously owned by some entity other than the District itself.
  10. Contracts for repair, maintenance, remodeling, renovation, or construction, or a single project involving an expenditure not to exceed $15,000 and not involving a change or increase in the size, type, or extent of an existing facility.
  11. Contracts for goods or services procured from another governmental agency.
  12. Contracts for goods or services which are economically procurable from only one source, such as for the purchase of magazines, books, periodicals, pamphlets and reports, and for utility services such as water, light, heat, or telecommunications.
  13. Where funds are expended in an emergency and such emergency expenditure is approved by three-fourths (3/4) of the members of the Board.

Revised:  January 2009, May 2015, July 2016


Change Log
Date Description of Change Governance Unit