1. “Purchasing agent” means the School Business Administrator/Board Secretary or the Business Manager of the Board of Education duly assigned the authority, responsibility and accountability for the purchasing activity of the Board and having the power to prepare advertisements, to advertise for and receive bids and to award contracts as permitted by this chapter, but if there be no School Business Administrator/Board Secretary or Business Manager, such officer, committees or employees to whom such power has been delegated by the Board.
2. “Aggregate” means the sums expended or to be expended for the provision or performance of any goods or services in connection with the same immediate purpose or task, or the furnishing of similar goods or services, during the same contract year through a contract awarded by a purchasing agent.
3. “Bid threshold” means the dollar amount set in N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-3, above which a Board shall advertise for and receive sealed bids in accordance with procedures set forth in N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-1 et seq.
4. “Contract year” means the period of twelve consecutive months following the award of a contract.
5. “Goods and services” or “goods or services” means any work, labor, commodities, equipment, materials, or supplies of any tangible or intangible nature, except real property or any interest therein, provided or performed through a contract awarded by a purchasing agent, including goods and property subject to N.J.S.A. 12A:2-101 et seq.
6. “Lowest price” means the least possible amount that meets all requirements of the request of a purchasing agent.
7. “Lowest responsible bidder or vendor” means the bidder or vendor: (1) whose response to a request for bids offers the lowest price and is responsive; and (2) who is responsible.
8. “Official newspaper” means any newspaper designated by the Board pursuant to R.S.35:1-1 et seq.
9. “Quotation” means the response to a formal or informal request made by a purchasing agent to a vendor for provision or performance of goods or services, when the aggregate cost is less than the bid threshold. Quotations may be in writing or taken verbally if a record is kept by the purchasing agent.
10. “Responsible” means able to complete the contract in accordance with its requirements, including but not limited to requirements pertaining to experience, moral integrity, operating capacity, financial capacity, credit, and workforce, equipment, and facilities availability.
11. “Responsive” means conforming in all material respects to the terms and conditions, specifications, legal requirements, and other provisions of the request.
12. “Proprietary” means goods or services of a specialized nature, that may be made or marketed by a person or persons having the exclusive right to make or sell them, when the need for such goods or services has been certified in writing by the Board to be necessary for the conduct of its affairs.
13. “Service or services” means the performance of work, or the furnishing of labor, time, or effort, or any combination thereof, not involving or connected to the delivery or ownership of a specified end product or goods or a manufacturing process. Service or services may also include an arrangement in which a vendor compensates the Board for the vendor’s right to operate a concession.
B. Solicitation of Bids
1. Bids will be solicited by advertisements placed by the Assistant superintendent for Business/Board Secretary in strict compliance with N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-21 and Policy No. 6320. Any advertisements placed without the prior approval of the Board will be reported to the Board at its next meeting.
2. Each specification will offer a clearly stated, common standard of competition and will assert the Board’s right to accept reasonable equivalents and to reject all bids in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-22 and to readvertise. Each specification will also include the Board’s right to disqualify a bidder in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-4 et seq. Bid specifications will not be proprietary as to exclude bidders without the opportunity to provide equivalent goods and/or services.
3. The Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary will maintain a copy of each bid advertisement and will record the newspaper in which it was advertised and the dates on which it was published.
C. Bid Requirements
1. Bids must be prepared on forms supplied by the school district and must be fully completed, in ink or typewritten, and signed by the bidder. Oral revisions will not be accepted.
2. Bid prices must include delivery to the point of use, unpacking when required, and installation when required. As necessary, bidders may be required to provide instruction in the use and care of equipment delivered both by demonstration and in written form.
3. Bids must include unit prices as well as the total price. In any error in extension, the unit price shall be considered the accurate figure.
4. Because the school district is exempt from the payment of sales and use taxes, all charges for taxes must be borne by the bidder.
5. The bid must note in detail any deviations from specifications. When the specifications indicate a product of a particular manufacturer, model, or brand, the bidder shall bid that particular manufacturer, model, or brand or, unless the specifications prohibit substitution, a substitute proven to be of equal or better grade. If a substitute is bid, the bid must include detailed documentation of its equivalency. Bidders may be required to submit samples of materials or products, to be retained by the Board. The Board shall determine the equivalency or acceptability of any substitute.
6. The manufacturer’s written warrantees and guarantees must accompany each bid. Bidders should state in writing any additional guarantees that will become a part of the bid and considered in making the award.
7. The bid shall include a delivery date or the date on which services bid upon will commence.
8. Where applicable, service facilities and convenience of service will be considered as part of the bid and should be included by the bidder. When necessary, a bidder shall submit evidence of his or her ability to provide proper installation, service, and supplies and/or indicate that the provision of the services and supplies is a regular and continuous part of the bidder’s business.
9. Where necessary, the bidder shall certify that all applicable Federal and State laws, municipal ordinances, and Board policies have been obeyed in the manufacture, processing, packaging, delivery, and sale of goods and services to the school district. The bidder must declare compliance with:
a. Affirmative action requirements, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-51,
b. Stockholders’ disclosure statement, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-2,
c. Non-collusion certification, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-8,
d. And all other documents so required by law and the bid specification.
10. The bidder must declare that no member of the Board or any officer or employee of the school district is directly or indirectly interested in the contract or purchase bid on.
D. Receipt of Bids
1. Bids will be received at the time and place announced and will be opened by the Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary in accordance with law. All bids will be submitted in sealed envelopes clearly marked with the words “BID OPENING,” the date and time of the opening, and the nature of the contract bid on.
2. Each bid will be accompanied by a deposit for bid security, which will be returned to unsuccessful bidders.
3. A written request for the withdrawal of a bid will be granted if the request is received by the Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary before the scheduled time for opening bids.
4. A bidder who claims, before bids are opened, that a mistake has been made in its preparation will be allowed to withdraw the bid but will lose the right to bid.
5. A bidder who discovers a mistake or omission after bids have been opened may withdraw the erroneous bid provided the bidder gives immediate written notice of the mistake or omission and certification supported by clear evidence, that he or she exercised reasonable care in the examination of the specifications and preparation of the bid. Any bidder who withdraws an open bid shall forfeit any bid security deposit with the bid.
E. Award of Contract
1. Bids will be opened by the Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary, in the presence of one or more witnesses, at the time and place advertised.
2. The Board will award and sign a contract or reject all bids in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-36 and within the time as may be specified in the invitation to bid, but in no case more than sixty days, except that the bids of any bidders who consent may, at the request of the Board, be held for consideration for such longer period as may be agreed.
3. The Board will award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder or will reject all bids. If all bids are rejected, the Board will readvertise or purchase under a state contract.
4. The Board reserves the right to reject any bid and may waive technical deficiencies in an otherwise acceptable bid when such waiver is in the public interest.
5. No contract or order awarded by the Board shall be sublet or assigned without the written consent of the Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary.
6. The successful bidder may be required in the bid specifications and upon award of the contract to furnish a surety or performance bond issued by a responsible surety company authorized to transact business in New Jersey, for 100% of the total contract price, insuring faithful performance of the contract. The bond pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-23 and 24, sha11 be payable to the Board and the cost of the bond is to be included in the bid.
7. The bidder’s failure to perform his or her contract with the Board in accordance with the bid accepted by the Board or failure to meet performance bond requirements may result in forfeiture of the bidder’s deposit as liquidated damages and not as a penalty.
8. Every bidder is assumed to be acquainted with all the information necessary for the submission of an informed and responsible bid. A successful bidder will be responsible for any errors in his or her proposal resulting from the bidder’s failure or neglect to obtain information and forecast costs. The Board will not be responsible for any change in anticipated profits resulting from such failure or neglect.
9. When a contractor fails to perform the terms of the contract promptly, the Board shall give written notice of default. If the contractor fails to cure the default within the time permitted by the notice, the Board may terminate the contract and, at the expense of the contractor or the surety, complete the contract or cause the contract to be completed.
F. Bidder Disqualification
1. The Board may, by resolution approved by a majority of the Board, and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-4 disqualify a bidder who would otherwise be determined to be the lowest responsible bidder, if the Board finds that it has had prior negative experience with the bidder.
a. As used in this section, “prior negative experience” means any of the following:
(1) The bidder has been found, through either court adjudication, arbitration, mediation, or other contractually stipulated alternate dispute resolution mechanism, to have: failed to provide or perform goods or services; or failed to complete the contract in a timely manner; or otherwise performed unsatisfactorily under a prior contract with the Board;
(2) The bidder defaulted on a contract, thereby requiring the Board to utilize the services of another contractor to provide the goods or perform the services or to correct or complete the contract;
(3) The bidder defaulted on a contract, thereby requiring the Board to look to the bidder’s surety for completion of the contract or tender of the costs of completion; or
(4) The bidder is debarred or suspended from contracting with any of the agencies or departments of the executive branch of the State of New Jersey at the time of the contract award, whether or not the action was based on experience with the Board.
b. The following conditions apply if the Board is contemplating a disqualification based on prior negative experience:
(1) The existence of any of the indicators of prior negative experience set forth in this section shall not require that a bidder be disqualified. In each instance, the decision to disqualify shall be made within the discretion of the Board and shall be rendered in the best interests of the Board.
(2) All mitigating factor shall be considered in determining the seriousness of the prior negative experience and in deciding whether disqualification is warranted.
(3) The bidder shall be furnished by the Board with a written notice
(a) Stating that a disqualification is being considered;
(b) Setting forth the reason for the disqualification; and
(c) Indicating that the bidder shall be accorded an opportunity for a hearing before the Board if the bidder so requests within a stated period of time. At the hearing, the bidder shall show good cause why the bidder should not be disqualified by presenting documents and testimony. If the Board determines that good cause has not been shown by the bidder, it may vote to find the bidder lacking in responsibility and, thus, disqualified.
(4) Disqualification shall be for a reasonable, defined period of time which shall not exceed five years.
(5) A disqualification, other than a disqualification pursuant to which a Board is prohibited by law from entering into a contract with a bidder, may be voided or the period thereof may be reduced, in the discretion of the Board, upon the submission of a good faith application under oath, supported by documentary evidence, ·setting forth substantial and appropriate grounds for the granting of relief, such as reversal of a judgment, or actual change of ownership, management or control of the bidder.
(6) An opportunity for a hearing need not be offered to a bidder whose disqualification is based on its suspension or debarment by an agency or department of the executive branch of the State of New Jersey. The term of such a disqualification shall be concurrent with the term of the suspension or debarment by the State agency or department.
Issued: 21 April 2005