All purchases shall be made in accordance with the Charter of the Town of Smithfield.  In addition, the Business Office shall make all reasonable efforts to identify efficiencies and to make sound purchasing decisions to both benefit students and be responsible to the taxpayers of Smithfield. These include seeking multiple cost estimates, utilizing state and regional Master Price Agreements (MPA), maintaining inventories, and evaluating needs.  

Central Purchasing

Items specific to instructional needs, including, but not limited to, textbooks, workbooks, and curriculum materials, may be purchased directly by the School Department. Other supplies, materials and equipment required by the School Department shall be processed for solicitation and purchased centrally by the Purchasing Agent under the direction of the Town Finance Director, including solicitation for contractual services. 

Competitive Bidding

No purchase of supplies, materials, or equipment, nor any contract for work performed for the School Department whose costs shall exceed an amount set by the Town Council, shall be authorized except after competitive bidding that will comply with state law.

Potential suppliers or contractors shall be notified publicly to submit bids in such a manner and under such general rules and regulations as the Town Council may prescribe by Ordinance. All such purchases and contracts shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder except that the Town Finance Director may be directed by the Town Manager to reject all bids and re-advertise. Bids, specifications, and all other factors being equal, preference shall be given to the bidder whose place of business is in the Town. No transaction which is essentially a unit shall be divided into a series of orders for the purpose of circumventing this requirement or State Law. 

Purchasing and Emergencies

In the event of an emergency of sufficient gravity that compliance with the competitive bidding requirements would endanger the health or welfare of the community or a portion thereof or would involve significant financial risk or loss to the Town, and upon certification by the Town Manager that such emergency conditions exist, a purchase whose cost would exceed the minimum bid limit may be made without competitive bidding. In any such case in which the gravity of the emergency permits, and in all cases of purchases whose cost shall exceed the minimum bid limit, three (3) or more verbal quotations followed by written confirmation shall be solicited and purchases made on the basis of the lowest feasible quotation received. Notation of said verbal quotations shall be entered in the record of each such purchase.

Procurement for Food Services

 The National School Lunch Act requires schools to purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, domestical commodities and products. A domestic commodity or product means an agricultural commodity that is processed in the United States, and a food product that is processed in the United States substantially using agricultural commodities that are produced in the United States. Purchases made in accordance with the Buy American provision must still follow the applicable procurement rules calling for free and open competition. Any entity that purchased food or food products on behalf of the SFA must follow the same Buy American provisions that the SFA is required to follow. Section 104(d) amended Section 12(n) of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) (42 U.S. 1760) to require SFAs participating in the NSLP and SBP in the United States to purchase for those programs, to the maximum extent practicable, domestic USDA Foods or products. For purposes of this provision, the term domestic food commodity or product means an agricultural commodity produced in the United States, including Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands, and food products processed in the United States SUBSTANTIALLY using agricultural USDA Foods that are produced in the United States. For products procured by SFAs for use in the Child Nutrition Programs, the food component of the product is the agricultural commodity. FNS defines food component as one of the food groups which comprise reimbursable meals. The food components are: meats/meat alternates, grains, vegetables, fruits, and fluid milk. All solicitations that involve the purchasing of a food component shall include a requirement that the SFA purchase domestic commodities to the maximum extent practicable and shall include procedures for limited exceptions.

The SFA shall include following language in solicitations: The Smithfield School Department participates in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program and is required to use the nonprofit food service funds, to the maximum extent practicable, to buy domestic commodities or products for Program meals. A ‘domestic commodity or product’ is defined as one that is either produced in the U.S. or is processed in the U.S. substantially using agricultural commodities that are produced in the U.S. as provided in 7 CFR 210.21(d). Exceptions to the Buy American provision are very limited; however, an alternative or exception may be approved upon request. To be considered for an alternative or exception, the request must be submitted in writing to a designated official, a minimum of 7 day (s) in advance of delivery. The request must include the: 1. Alternative substitute(s) that are domestic and meet the required specifications: (a) Price of the domestic food alternative substitute(s); and (b) Availability of the domestic alternative substitute(s) in relation to the quantity ordered. 7 2. Reason for exception: limited/lack of availability or price (include price): (a)Price of the domestic food product; and (b) Price of the non-domestic product that meets the required specification of the domestic product. 

ADOPTED:  February 4, 2019

REVISED:  May 6, 2019; October 18, 2021; October 2, 2023