814 – Purchasing/Bidding


The Board supports economic development in Iowa, particularly in the school district community. As permitted by law, purchasing preference will be given to Iowa goods and services from local community and/or Iowa based companies if the cost and other considerations are relatively equal and meet the required and desired specifications.  However, when spending federal Child Nutrition Funds, geographical preference is allowed only for unprocessed agricultural food items.  Other statutory purchasing preferences will be applied as provided by law, including goals with regard to procurement from certified targeted small businesses, minority-owned businesses, and female-owned businesses.

The school board and superintendent will encourage targeted small businesses which are not certified with the Department of Inspections and Appeals to become certified targeted small businesses.  The school district will comply with applicable legal requirements regarding procurements from certified targeted small businesses.

Goods, Services, Supplies and Equipment 

The board shall enter into contracts as the board deems to be the best interest of the school district. It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent, or designee, to approve purchases, except those requiring board approval as described below or as provided by in law. The superintendent may coordinate and combine purchases with other governmental bodies to take advantage of volume price breaks. Joint purchases with other political subdivisions will be considered in the purchase of equipment, accessories, or attachments with an estimated cost of $25,000 or more.

Purchases for goods, services, supplies, and equipment shall conform to the following:

  • The superintendent, or designee, shall have the authority to authorize purchases without board approval and without competitive request for proposals, quotations, or bids for goods, services, supplies, and equipment up to $25,000.
  • For goods, services, supplies, and equipment costing at least $25,000 and up to $50,000, the superintendent, or designee, shall receive proposals, quotations, or bids for the goods, services, supplies, and equipment to be purchased prior to board approval. The quotation process may be informal and include written or unwritten quotations. Bids will be required for the purchase of school buses.
  • For goods, services, supplies, and equipment exceeding$50,000, the competitive request for proposal (RFP) or competitive bid process shall be used and received prior to board approval. RFPs and bids are formal, written submissions via sealed process.

Purchases of similar items should be assumed to be aggregated in arriving at dollar figures and not broken down into smaller segments to avoid the intent of this policy.

In the event that one quotation or bid is submitted, the board may proceed if the quotation or bid meets the contract award specifications.

The contract award may be based on several cost considerations including, but not limited to the following:

  • The cost of goods, services, supplies, and equipment being purchased;
  • Availability of service and/or repair
  • The targeted small business procurement goal and other statutory purchasing preferences, and;
  • Other factors deemed relevant by the superintendent, or designee, or the board.

The board may elect to exempt certain professional service contracts from the thresholds and procedures outlined above. The board further has the authority to reject any/all bids received.

Purchases using federal child nutrition funds shall be made in accordance with procurement procedures required by law.

The thresholds and procedures related to purchases of goods, services, supplies, and equipment do not apply to public improvement projects.

Cooperative Purchasing. The District shall cooperate with other governmental entities in making purchases. In such cases, the procedures of this policy need not be followed if the other entity has utilized bidding or other comparative purchase procedures. 

Public Improvements

The board shall enter into public improvement contract(s) as the board deems to be the best interest of the school district. “Public improvement” means “a building or construction work which is constructed under the control of a governmental entity and for which either of the following applies: (1) has been paid for in whole or in part with funds of the governmental entity, or (2) a commitment has been made prior to construction by the governmental entity to pay for the building or construction work in whole or in part with funds of the governmental entity. This includes a building or improvement constructed or operated jointly with any public or private agency.

The district shall follow all requirements, timelines, and processes detailed in Iowa law related to public improvement projects. The thresholds regarding when competitive bidding or competitive quotations is required will be followed. Competitive bidding is required for public improvement contracts exceeding the minimum threshold stated by law. Competitive quotations are required for public improvement projects the minimum threshold amount stated in law, but do not exceed the minimum set for competitive bidding. The board shall approve the competitive bids and competitive quotes. If the total cost of the public improvement does not warrant either competitive bidding or competitive quotations, the district may nevertheless proceed with either of these processes, if it so chooses.

The award of all contracts for the public improvement shall be awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. In the event of an emergency requiring repairs to a school district facility that exceeds bidding and quotation thresholds, please refer to policy 911. 

The district shall comply with all federal and state laws and regulations required for procurement, including the selection and evaluation of contractors. The superintendent or designee is responsible for developing an administrative process to implement this policy, including but not limited to, procedures related to suspension and debarment for transactions subject to those requirements.


Date of Revision: July 15, 2019

Legal References: 23A.3, Chapter 26, 28E, 72.3, Chapter 73, 73A.21, 278.1, 279.28, 285.10, 297.7, 297.8, 301.1, 362.3, Chapter 573, 721.2, Code of Iowa; 261 I.A.C. 54, 281 I.A.C. 43.25, 43.26, 481 I.A.C. 25

Cross Reference:

Policy 811: District Purchases; Preferences

Policy 812: Board Approval of Purchases

Policy 909: Maintenance Schedule

Policy 910: Request for Improvements

Policy 911: Emergency Repairs



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