“It’s too quick to change the policy [on Monday], and one of the things we want to look at — and the board might not agree at all — [is] do we have a threshold that is too low that requires bidding and the only way to know that ... is to look at what is Bartow doing, what is Calhoun [City Schools] doing [and other similar-sized systems],” Hinesley said during Thursday’s work session. “We currently have a bid requirement that says if you buy from any vendor over $10,000 during a quarter of a year as a system, then you must go out and write specifications and have bids.”
He said the board and central administration do not see the individual school expenses on a monthly basis.
“What happens is we know up here at central administration what we have spent through the school board-approved budget, but schools raise their own money and it goes into a school account and the board sees those budgets on a [quarterly basis] and they only review them to make sure they’re in the black,” Hinesley said. “... We’re not going to violate board policy, so we’re looking at flexibility [on school purchases]. In the meantime, while we’re looking for flexibility, we don’t want a school who needs ... another computer in the classroom or printer in the classroom that costs $150 and the system has already spent over $10,000 — we don’t want that to wait while we develop a change in policy.”
He continued, “Anything under $5,000, a school or department can purchase it. If it’s between $5,000 and $10,000, we have to have three written quotes, but they don’t have to have specifications ... If it’s over $10,000, we have to write specifications ... and mail it out 28 days [prior] to getting the bid under our policy.
“It’s a sealed bid and it is opened at a time where each of the companies can watch you come open it. The only state law requirement deals with construction, but the state does require [school boards] to have a policy.”
In other school news, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue was down for the September collection month, but Finance Committee Chairperson Kelley Dial said the drop was not cause for concern. The system collected $336,285 compared to its average of $350,000.
“The plan is always to be able to make our bond payments and I think we are still in good shape to be able to pay them off in 2015,” Dial said.