Purchasing Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to ease the bidding process, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions.
Vendor – Company or Individual doing business.
Member – Education Entity - School District/College/Private/Parochial School
RFP: Catalog Discount Bid – A request for proposal bid process that meets EDGAR and TEC requirements for members up to the point of purchasing/pricing. Places companies on a multiple-vendor award (qualified/approved vendor list) for Region 7 Purchasing Members to utilize.
Multiple-Vendor Award – Once a catalog discount bid process has been completed and awarded by the Region 7 Board of Directors, the qualified/approved vendors on the award have met the minimum, legal requirements for members to utilize for pricing.
Approved Vendor – A company that has completed a bid process with Region 7 Purchasing and has been approved by the Region 7 Board of Directors.
Line-Item Bid – A bid process that meets all EDGAR and TEC requirements for members. The award is made by item.
Single-Source Bid – A bid process that meets all EDGAR and TEC requirements for members. The award is made to only one company.
Does the Region 7 Purchasing & Vendor Services Cooperative meet ALL EDGAR, TEC, & USDA requirements?
- The Cooperative is EDGAR compliant to our fullest extent.
- Through Line-Item/Single-Source bids, the Cooperative meets all State and Federal requirements.
- Through catalog discount bids, the Cooperative meets all State and Federal requirements up to the point of purchasing and pricing. This allows members flexibility when procuring qualified vendor(s) at the time of service/products needs.
Why are the schools charged a fee?
- The Cooperative fees for any education entity: $400 annually and $0.50 enrollment (capped at 20,000). The fee goes into:
- Administrative costs: The co-op employs four employees:
Child Nutrition Technician – 13 Years’ Experience
Assistant Deputy Director – RTSBA & 20 Years’ Experience
Purchasing Specialist I – CTSBO & 18 Years’ Experience
Adminsitatrative Secretary - One Year Experience
All employees obtain trainings available through TASBO and TDA in order to remain current on State and Federal Procurement Requirements.
- Advertising Requirements: The Cooperative advertises in each County of membership.
- Maintenance of Records: The Cooperative maintains all awards for a minimum of seven years.
- Website Maintenance: With the approval of electronic bids, the Cooperative has built a user-friendly website for acceptance and maintenance of all bid formats.
What are the benefits of being a Region 7 Purchasing & Vendor Services member?
- The Region 7 Purchasing & Vendor Services Cooperative has multiple means of assisting our members with their procurement requirements:
- The Cooperative facilitates three types of bids:
- Discount bid process - The Cooperative meets all State and Federal requirements up to the point of purchasing and pricing.
- Line-Item bids - The Cooperative meets all State and Federal requirements and awards one company per line-item.
- Single-Source - The Cooperative meets all State and Federal requirement and award one sole vendor the award.
- Members' bids, requests and auctions can be posted on the Cooperative site and multiple-vendors notified by the Cooperative on a member's behalf.
- Depending on the need of the individual member, the Cooperative has a process that can benefit your school.
Do the schools have to purchase from only awarded companies?
- No, our members may have access to other Cooperatives and choose who and what they purchase.
Can schools (that are not members) use the Cooperative list of qualified vendors?
- No, all Cooperative members are required to have an inter-local agreement on file with the Cooperative.
Can all members use the Cooperative line-item or single-source bids?
- No, all Cooperative members are required to actively participate in any line-item or single-source bids. This ensures accurate estimates and better pricing for all members participating. There are no additional fees involved to participate in these bids.
Can all members use the multiple-vendor awards?
- Yes, all Cooperative members have access to all multiple-vendor awards.
How is a multiple-vendor award EDGAR compliant?
- A catalog discount bid is a valid means of procurement per 2 CFR 200.
- This saves members time and money by meeting the advertising, bid submission, scoring, record maintenance, and Board approval requirements.
- This allows the members flexibility in having access to multiple qualified companies, ensuring best pricing at time of purchase. The members are not locked-in to one company at a specific price for the year.
A company is showing awarded but the date has passed; are they approved?
- No, each bid award is valid for one year only. If an ending date has passed, the award is expired.
For auditing purposes – previous year awards are accessible through legacy bids.
Ex. of legacy bids: Cafeteria Equipment & Supplies CAFEQ1213 (valid 04/19/2012 - 04/19/2013)
A company is showing under ‘Not Yet Approved’ does this mean they will be approved?
- No, pending approval does not guarantee award. The company bid submission is being reviewed and is pending until approved by the Region 7 Board of Directors on the validity date listed.
The company says they are 'Sole Source'. Can I purchase from them?
- Sole Source is now managed through TEA as a 'non-competitive procurement' and is no longer managed by the Cooperative: https://tea.texas.gov/Finance_and_Grants/Grants/Administering_a_Grant/Request_for_Prior_Approval,_Disclosure,_and_Justification_Forms/
- Overly-Simplified Flowchart - This is an over-simplified example only.
- TEA Non-Competitive Information
- Texas Education Code 44.031
- Copy Paper Bid History
- Substance & Alcohol Testing History
- Food Services History
- Best Value Form
- TEA ESC Noncompetitive Information
Will completing a bid notification place a company as a qualified/approved vendor?
- No, completing a bid notification request is a request to receive notice of bid(s), access available bids and browse current bid awards.
There is a $25.00 fee. Does that cover our company forever?
- No, the $25.00 administrative fee is required with each bid submitted and reoccurs ANNUALLY. The fee will be prompted before a bid submission is complete; by either credit card (PayPal interface) or electing to mail in a U.S. check or money order. (i.e.: If a company submits two bids every year, that company is prompted to pay $50.00 total.)
- The Cooperative does not invoice or charge additional vendor fees to a company approved under a multiple-vendor award.
How do I know if the members are using the Region 7 bid awards?
- Each Purchasing member facilitates their own purchases with companies directly. Since no purchase order is required to go through the Cooperative, we do not track vendor usage under discount bids. Requiring a reference or bid number on POs in the ‘Inclusions/Exclusions’ portion of a bid submission will allow the company to have the means to track member usage of that award.
- In addition, as no multiple-vendor award requires tracking, there are no additional percentages or fees charged to an approved vendor throughout the year.
My company is 'Sole Source'. Can the member still purchase from us?
- Sole Source is managed through TEA as a 'non-competitive procurement' and is no longer managed by the Cooperative: https://tea.texas.gov/Finance_and_Grants/Grants/Administering_a_Grant/Request_for_Prior_Approval,_Disclosure,_and_Justification_Forms/
If you have any additional questions, please email Region 7 Purchasing or call us at 903-988-6859.