Contract Signing Authority Policy


The Smithfield School Committee has the authority to enter into contracts under Rhode Island state law.  For the purpose of achieving efficient, timely, and orderly delivery of services the School Committee delegates contracting authority to the Superintendent in accordance with this policy in certain circumstances. This policy is limited in scope and is not intended to remove the authority of the School Committee to sign contracts on behalf of the School Department. A listing of all contracts and their amounts will be provided to the School Committee on a regular basis.


Smithfield Public Schools shall only be bound by written contracts to which it is a party that have been signed by an authorized official. No officer or employee of Smithfield Public Schools has the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the School Department in the absence of (i) authority granted by this policy, or (ii) a formal written delegation of authority granted by the authorized officials designated in this policy.

 Contract Review

All contracts shall be reviewed by the Superintendent or his/her designee and the Director of Finance as it relates to any financial commitments as contemplated by the contract. If, in the Superintendent’s judgment, legal review is warranted, the contract shall be reviewed by the School Committee’s attorney.  If the Superintendent, in his or her judgment, believes the School Committee ought to have final approval of a contract despite having authorization to sign such contract, the Superintendent may forward the contract for school committee approval. Even within the items listed in the limited scope below, the Superintendent may request the School Committee to review and authorize a contract that comes under the purview of the Superintendent.

Scope of the Contract Signature Authority

The Superintendent of Schools is authorized to enter into contracts between the School Department and a third party without prior School Committee authorization if the contract is

For non-emergency contracts that commit school department funds, such funds shall have been previously allocated in accordance with the School Department approved budget and any policy related thereto.  For the purposes of an emergency procurement the Superintendent shall consult with the School Committee Chair or Vice-Chair if the Chair is unavailable prior to signing the contract.  Such contracts shall be scheduled for the next School Committee meeting for review and/or retroactive approval, if necessary.

 All other contracts must be approved by the School Committee and signed by the Chairperson.

 Delegation of Contract Signature Authority

The Superintendent may delegate his/her authority to sign a contract to the Assistant Superintendent, the Director of Finance, or Special Education Director as appropriate. No other individual shall be delegated authority to sign a contract that the Superintendent is authorized to sign under this policy.

The School Committee Chair shall have the authority to sign all contracts that have been previously approved by a majority of the Smithfield School Committee at duly noticed meeting, unless the motion to approve such contract states otherwise.  In the event the School Committee Chair is unable to sign the contract, the Vice-Chairperson shall have the authority.

 All interim officials acting in the capacity of the officials named in this policy shall have the same power and authority to sign contracts as if they were serving on a full-time basis.

All delegations of signature authority must:

      Be in writing;

      On Smithfield Public Schools letterhead;

      Signed by the delegating official;

      Be delegated to specific titles and the individual holding such title

      State the scope of the delegation (e.g. specific contract, specific types of contracts, contracts under a certain dollar amount, etc.); and

      Be copied and maintained in the central office.

 All delegations shall not exceed the current academic year.

 All contracts signed by an individual not in compliance with this policy may be deemed void by the Smithfield Public Schools Superintendent or School Committee.

LEGAL REFERENCES: R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-55

ADOPTED:  April 22, 2024