Doing Business With Lincoln Public Schools: A Procurement Manual for Vendors

The purpose of this manual is to familiarize vendors with the procedures used by the Lincoln Public Schools Purchasing Department in the procurement of goods and services. Lincoln Public Schools welcomes you as a potential vendor, and hopes this manual will be of assistance to you.

Table of Contents

  • 1.0 Function of the Purchasing Office
  • 2.0 Purchase Orders
  • 3.0 Types of Goods and Services Purchased
  • 4.0 Application to Bidder’s List
  • 4.1 Removal from Bidder’s List
  • 5.0 Methods of Procurement
  • 6.0 Invitation to Bid
  • 7.0 Bid Preparation
  • 8.0 State and Federal Taxes
  • 9.0 Correction of Bids (Sealed Bids and Fax Bids)
  • 10.0 Alternate Bids
  • 11.0 All-Or-None Bids
  • 12.0 Bid Bond
  • 13.0 Performance Bond and Labor and Material Payment Bond
  • 14.0 Bid Openings
  • 15.0 Bid Information
  • 16.0 Tie Bids
  • 17.0 Bid Rejection
  • 18.0 Cancellation of Bids
  • 19.0 Request for Withdrawal of Bid
  • 20.0 Samples
  • 21.0 Awarding of Contracts (Purchase Orders)
  • 22.0 Notification of Award
  • 23.0 Grievances
  • 24.0 Vendor Default
  • 25.0 Cancellation of Purchase Orders
  • 26.0 Packing Goods
  • 27.0 Delivery Acceptance
  • 28.0 Payment
  • 29.0 Vendor Solicitation in School Buildings
  • 30.0 Contact with Curriculum Specialists
  • 31.0 Contacts, Purchasing Department

1.0 Function of the Purchasing Office: The Purchasing Department supports the educational program of the Lincoln Public Schools by procuring the necessary supplies, equipment and services.

2.0 Purchase Orders: The Purchasing Department is responsible for all procurement activities for the district. The primary authorization for a district commitment to purchase is an official signed Lincoln Public Schools purchase order. Verbal and/or other unofficial orders from district personnel may not be considered as a district commitment and may not be honored.

3.0 Types of Goods and Services Purchased: The Purchasing Office conducts bids in the following major groupings during the year:

  • Stock
  • Athletics – supplies and equipment
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Nutrition Services small equipment
  • Blanket Orders for both supplies and services
  • Custodial equipment and supplies
  • Additional bids for goods and services are sent out whenever the need arises.

4.0 Application to Bidder’s List: A vendor wishing to do business with the Lincoln Public Schools should first request a “Bidder’s Application Form” from the Purchasing Office. This form is to be completed and returned. Purchasing will review the application and approve the vendor for specific bid lists.

An approved vendor who has been placed on a bid list will periodically receive invitations to bid. A vendor who is not on the bidder’s list for a particular item may submit a bid, but will not receive the periodic invitations to bid.

Lincoln Public Schools reserves the right to limit bid lists, and to add or remove bidders in the best interest of the District.

The Bidder’s Application Form may be obtained from Lincoln Public Schools’ Purchasing Department by calling (402) 436-1750, or by writing to Lincoln Public Schools Purchasing Department, PO Box 82889, Lincoln NE 68501.

4.1 Removal from Bidder’s List: A vendor may be removed or suspended from the bidder’s list for the following reasons:

  • Failure to respond to three consecutive bid invitations (NOTE: A reply of “No Bid” is an acceptable response)
  • Late delivery
  • Failure to deliver or to complete a purchase order
  • Unauthorized substitution of goods other than specified.
  • Defective products or products which are damaged other than in shipment.
  • Service deficiencies
  • Billing error
  • Failure to contract as per bid specifications and/or bid price.
  • Unethical behavior on the part of the vendor or the vendor’s employees.

5.0 Methods of Procurement: Purchases will be made on the basis of competitive bidding whenever practical. The following are methods used for procurement of goods and services:

  • Competitive Sealed Bids: Bids are secured from vendors via a bid request form. Bids are due on a particular day at a specified time. Bids are opened and read aloud. Bids received late are not opened, and will not be considered. The award will be made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications. Telephone, voice or fax bids are not acceptable for competitive sealed bids.
  • Telephone Bids: Bids are secured and documented in a manner determined by the Purchasing Department to be the most appropriate for the goods or services involved. The award is made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications.
  • Fax Bids: Bids are secured and documented via a fax request form and bidder’s fax proposal. Fax proposals received after the stated time for bid closing will not be considered. The award will be made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications.
  • Request for Quotations/Proposals (RFQ’s): The Purchasing Department requests quotations/proposals from vendors to provide a product or service which meets a required outcome. RFQ’s usually allow vendors flexibility in some aspects of the specifications. RFQ’s may be due on a specific date, but may or may not be publicly opened and read aloud.

6.0 Invitation to Bid: Bid request forms are used to solicit bids from vendors, and contain the following:

  • Due date and time of the bid. Bids received after the specified time are considered late, and will not be considered in the award. Lincoln Public Schools Purchasing Department is not responsible for late bids or lost requests due to inadequate mail service, traffic, weather, or other similar reasons.
  • The name of the buyer responsible for the bid.
  • Description, quantity and unit of measure for each item desired.
  • Specifications may be based on a brand name “or LPS approved alternate” as a way of establishing the level of quality desired.
  • If the school district offices are closed due to inclement weather or any other reason, the bid due date may be changed to the next day the school district offices are open.
  • Prepare bid documents carefully. Note any deviation from bid specifications. Include explanatory literature when bidding an alternate product to that specified.
  • NOTE: Unit and total cost must be completed. If an error in arithmetic was made when the unit price was extended to the total cost, the unit price will prevail.
  • The individual authorized to make the bid or quotation must sign the bid or quote in the space provided. Unsigned bids/quotes may not be considered.
  • Enclosed with all bids are Terms and Conditions, to which bids must adhere. Sometimes specific requirements are stated on the bid. These supersede the General Terms and Conditions. Questions regarding bid conditions must be directed to the buyer listed on the bid.

7.0 Bid Preparation: Bids shall be typewritten or prepared in ink. All alterations on a bid must be initialed in ink by the bidder.

8.0 State and Federal Taxes: Prices bid by the vendor should exclude taxes. Lincoln Public Schools is exempt from the payment of Federal Excise, state and local taxes. Our Federal tax exempt number is 47-6003955, and our Nebraska tax exempt number is 05-0618144.

9.0 Correction of Bids (Sealed Bids and Fax Bids): Corrections may be made by a vendor on bids which have been received by the Purchasing Department if the correction is made or received prior to the bid due date and time. Corrections must be made in person or in writing; telephone corrections are not acceptable. Fax corrections are acceptable on sealed bids as an addition or subtraction to the final price, but must not reveal the final price prior to bid opening.

10.0 Alternate Bids: Alternate bids are encouraged unless “no substitute” is specified. Alternate bids must state in detail in what way the alternate deviates from bid specifications. An alternate must be identified by manufacturer and model number, and be at least equal in quality and workmanship to the item specified. Literature indicating specifications of the alternate items should be enclosed with the bid. The Purchasing Department is the sole judge of equivalency.

11.0 All-Or-None Bids:

  • The Purchasing Department may state that a bid will be awarded on an all-or-none basis. All items on such a bid will be awarded to only one vendor. All-or-none bids are usually due to the need for consistency of product and/or service on a specific bid.
  • A vendor may indicate that his/her bid is being submitted on an all-or-none basis. In these instances, the Purchasing Department will compare the total cost of the vendor’s all-or-none bid to the collective item by item bids of all other vendors.

12.0 Bid Bond: Bidders may be required to submit a bid bond with their bid as a guarantee that, if awarded, the bidder will promptly enter into contract at the prices, terms and conditions stated in the bid. Bid bonds are generally required to equal five percent or more of the total amount of the bid.

13.0 Performance Bond and Labor and Material Payment Bond: The successful bidder may be required to file a Performance Bond and Labor and Material Payment Bond. Performance and Payment bonds are normally in the amount of 100% of the contract amount.

14.0 Bid Openings: Competitive sealed bids are opened and read aloud at the date and hour specified on the bid request. Openings are generally held at the Purchasing Department, 5901 O Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, and are conducted by an authorized representative of the office. If an error is made in reading the bid aloud, the price specified in the bid will prevail. We invite vendors to be present at bid openings.

15.0 Bid Information: Notes may be taken at the public reading of competitive sealed bids or a personal inspection may be made of any bids after the bid reading has been completed. All materials submitted with a bid are open for public inspection.

A detailed bid tabulation may be obtained by visiting the Purchasing Department and recording the results. A copy of bid awards listing the item, quantity, amount and vendor who received the award may be obtained by sending the Purchasing Office a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Large bids may preclude reproduction and mailing. Vendors will be contacted and advised of alternate methods available for receipt of compilation on large bids.

16.0 Tie Bids: In the case of bids being equal in all respects and tied in price, preference will be given as follows:

  • Lincoln vendor over a non-Lincoln vendor.
  • Nebraska vendor over a non-Nebraska vendor.

Tie bids between Lincoln vendors or between Nebraska vendors or between non-Nebraska vendors will be resolved by the flipping of a coin.

17.0 Bid Rejection: Lincoln Public Schools reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids or any part thereof and to waive all technicalities. Bids may be rejected for the following reasons:

  • Any bid that does not conform to applicable specifications, unless the bid authorized the submission of alternate bids, and the alternates meet the requirements specified in the bid.
  • Any bid that fails to conform to the delivery schedule or permissible alternates stated in the bid.
  • When the bidder imposes conditions that would modify requirements of the bid or limit the bidder’s liability to LPS.
  • Bids received from bidders determined to be not responsible.
  • When a bid guarantee is required and a bidder fails to furnish the guarantee.

18.0 Cancellation of Bids: As a general rule, every effort will be to award bids to the lowest responsible bidder. However, there may be compelling reasons to reject all bids and cancel the bid.

  • Inadequate or ambiguous specifications were cited in the bid.
  • Specifications have been revised.
  • The supplies or services being contracted for are no longer required.
  • All otherwise acceptable bids received are at prices that are deemed unacceptable by the District.
  • The bids were not independently arrived at in open competition or were collusive.
  • For other reasons, cancellation is clearly in the District’s interest.

19.0 Request for Withdrawal of Bid: Certain conditions must be present before a contractor can be released from contracted obligations. Those conditions are:

  • The contractor’s mistake is related to a material feature of the contract. The mistake involves a dollar amount so large it would result in a substantial loss to the contractor if forced to perform for the dollar amount committed.
  • The mistake is of such grave consequence that enforcing the contract would be unconscionable. If the contractor can show the performance will result in a hardship, it is considered unconscionable.
  • The mistake occurred notwithstanding the exercise of reasonable care and was not the result of violation of positive legal duty or gross negligence. Generally, a contractor is relieved of liability when the figure submitted in the bid is erroneous because of a mathematical error or a clerical omission. Also, the contractor is usually permitted to avoid commitment when the dollar amount is so low that an error should be obvious to the school district. However, relief is generally denied for an error in judgment. This type of mistake involves a decision, although incorrect, which the contractor intended to make.
  • Except for loss of a lower cost, the bid must not work a substantial hardship on the school district.
  • Prompt notice of error must be given to the school district before the award is made.
  • The bidder may be required to address the Board of Education to formally request a withdrawal of bid, and, if applicable, a return of the bid bond.

20.0 Samples: Samples may be requested by the Purchasing Department. Lincoln Public Schools may pay for samples if they are consumed in the process of evaluation. When samples are required, they must be clearly labeled and identified by the vendor’s name submitting the sample, and, if applicable, the LPS bid number.

It is the vendor’s responsibility to make arrangements to pick up samples not consumed during the testing or examination period within 30 days after requested to do so. Samples which are not picked up will be disposed of by the Purchasing Department.

21.0 Awarding of Contracts (Purchase Orders): All purchases made on a competitive bid basis are awarded with reasonable promptness to the lowest, responsible bidder. In addition to price, consideration may be given to other factors when determining the lowest responsible bidder. Examples include:

  • Quality or performance of the goods or services to be supplied.
  • Adherence to specifications
  • Delivery time
  • Warranty coverage
  • Cost of maintenance after warranty
  • Bidder’s previous performance

22.0 Notification of Award: The notification of award to the successful vendor is accomplished by the issuance of a purchase order. The purchase order contains the following information:

  • Name and address of vendor.
  • Delivery address for shipment of goods or services.
  • Assigned Purchase Order Number. This number must be identified by the vendor on all packages, shipping documents, invoices, and correspondence pertaining to the order.
  • Description of the items the vendor is authorized to supply and deliver. Unauthorized substitutions of items from those specified in the description are not acceptable.
  • Quantity, unit of measure, unit cost and extended cost of each item ordered.
  • Instructions for correctly processing the purchase order.
  • Signature of the Director of Purchasing
  • Bid number if applicable.

23.0 Grievances: Vendor grievances related to the procurement process of the Lincoln Public Schools Purchasing Department should be addressed to the Director of Purchasing.

24.0 Vendor Default: If a vendor fails to carry out the requirements of a purchase order, the Purchasing Department may authorize cancellation of the purchase order and procure the items from another source. The original vendor may be held liable for any additional costs due to the cancellation.

25.0 Cancellation of Purchase Orders: The Lincoln Public Schools Purchasing Department may cancel a purchase order due to any of the following:

  • Shipment not received by the delivery date specified on the purchase order.
  • Goods or services do not comply with the specifications of the purchase order.
  • Goods delivered are damaged or defective.
  • Non-appropriation of District funds.
  • Any other reason relating to noncompliance with the purchase order.

The vendor will be notified when a purchase order has been cancelled.

26.0 Packing Goods: All items must be packed in accordance with prevailing commercial practices to insure delivery in good condition. Packages must properly identify the purchase order number and the consignee. A packing list must accompany each shipment stating what is being shipped and in what quantity.

27.0 Delivery Acceptance: All deliveries are subject to inspection and approval. Items which do not meet the specifications of the purchase order or are not in good condition will be rejected. Items rejected by the Lincoln Public Schools must be removed at the vendor’s expense.

28.0 Payment: Payment of a purchase order can be expected within 30 days once the order is completed, provided:

  • A copy of your invoice has been received by our Accounting Office.
  • Our purchase order number is included on your invoice.

Warrants are generally issued the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. All invoices must be received eight days prior to these days to be included for payment.

Questions concerning purchase order payments may be directed to the Accounting Department. The telephone number is (402) 436-1700.

29.0 Vendor Solicitation in School Buildings: Lincoln Public Schools strictly forbids persons conducting commercial activity on any school grounds except as specifically authorized by the appropriate school official. Approval must be obtained from the Purchasing Department prior to making contact with school locations for the purpose of solicitation.

30.0 Contact with Curriculum Specialists: The Lincoln Public School system has specialists in various curriculum areas. Contact the Purchasing Office for further information or to request an appointment.

31.0 Contacts, Purchasing Department: Please call (402) 436-1750 if you have questions or require information pertaining to the Purchasing Department. Your call or question will then be routed to the person most able to assist you.

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