FD school board seeks to revise purchase policy

Purchasing policy at Fort Dodge Community School District could be changed.

The new policy would change the thresholds for purchasing authority in the district.

The “superintendent’s authorization level, without quotes or board approval” would not change. It would remain $0 to $10,000.

The threshold, however, for “informal quotes required; pending board approval” is being recommended for change. The lowest amount remains at $10,001, but its maximum is being proposed to be raised from $24,999 to $39,999.

With that change, also recommended for update is the “competitive sealed bids required; pending board approval.” Formerly at $25,000 and up, it is recommended to be increased to $40,000 and up.

“A lot of it is just language updates as far as allowing for different vehicles of bid solicitation,” Brandon Hansel, FDCSD director of financial services, told members of the Fort Dodge school board. “Our current policy references direct mail and some other archaic language, and we’re updating that to allow some more flexibility to get bids via email and other types of modern communication.”

According to Hansel, the district has been going “above and beyond in our current policy.”

“We have a very comprehensive policy right now,” he said. “And we feel as a district that it goes above and beyond what is required of us. We want to put into place a simpler policy that is going to be easier for people who want to participate in district projects.”

The district also benefits by not having to post publicly for informal bids, according to Hansel.

“When we have a competitive bid situation a publication is required,” Hansel said. “And so anything below that threshold we won’t have to do a publication.”

Hansel recommended the board make these changes.

“I think it’s a modernization of our policy,” he said. “It was drafted by our legal council and is already in use by several Des Moines-area districts. I think it will give the district more flexibility in our purchasing procedure and allow us to manage the district resources better.”

The policy will appear before the board again at its next meeting on Aug. 12, when it can take action on the proposed changes.