(a) This chapter shall apply to county boards of education and city boards of education, or any combination of city and county boards of education as herein provided for the competitive bidding of certain contracts. With the exception of contracts for public works whose competitive bidding requirements are governed exclusively by Title 39, all expenditure of funds of whatever nature for labor, services, work, or for the purchase of materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property involving fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or more, and the lease of materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property where the lessee is, or becomes legally and contractually, bound under the terms of the lease, to pay a total amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or more, made by or on behalf of any city or county board of education, except as hereinafter provided, shall be made under contractual agreement entered into by free and open competitive bidding, on sealed bids, to the lowest responsible bidder.
(b) Prior to advertising for bids for an item of personal property, where a city or county board of education, thereof is the awarding authority, the awarding authority may establish a local preference zone consisting of either the legal boundaries or jurisdiction of the awarding authority, or the boundaries of the county in which the awarding authority is located, or the boundaries of the core based statistical area (CBSA) in which the awarding authority is located. If no such action is taken by the awarding authority, the boundaries of the local preference zone shall be deemed to be the same as the legal boundaries or jurisdiction of the awarding authority. In the event a bid is received for an item of personal property to be purchased or contracted for from a person, firm, or corporation deemed to be a responsible bidder, having a place of business within the local preference zone where a city or county board of education, thereof is the awarding authority, and the bid is no more than three percent greater than the bid of the lowest responsible bidder, the awarding authority may award the contract to the resident responsible bidder. In the event only one bidder responds to the invitation to bid, the awarding authority may reject the bid and negotiate the purchase or contract, providing the negotiated price is lower than the bid price.
(c) The governing bodies of two or more city or county boards of education, or any combination of two or more city or county boards of education, counties, municipalities, or instrumentalities thereof, may provide, by joint agreement, for the purchase of labor, services, or work, or for the purchase or lease of materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property for use by their respective agencies. The agreement shall be entered into by official actions of the contracting agencies adopted by each of the participating governing bodies which shall set forth the categories of labor, services, or work, or for the purchase or lease of materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property to be purchased, the manner of advertising for bids and the awarding of contracts, the method of payment by each participating contracting agency, and other matters deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of the agreement. Each contracting agency's share of expenditures for purchases under any agreement shall be appropriated and paid in the manner set forth in the agreement and in the same manner as for other expenses of the contracting agency. The contracting agencies entering into a joint agreement, as herein permitted, may designate a joint purchasing or bidding agent, and the agent shall comply with this chapter. Purchases, contracts, or agreements made pursuant to a joint purchasing or bidding agreement shall be subject to all terms and conditions of this chapter. Any participation by counties and municipalities authorized in this section shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of Section 41-16-50. In the event that utility services are no longer exempt from competitive bidding under this chapter, non-adjoining boards of education may not purchase utility services by joint agreement under authority granted by this subsection.
(d) The awarding authority may require bidders to furnish a bid bond for a particular bid solicitation if the bonding requirement applies to all bidders, is included in the written bid specifications, and if bonding is available for the services, equipment, or materials.
Last modified: May 3, 2021