P-12

Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

Questions and Answers

RFP #10-015
School District Management Systems Certification Center

Note: The Request for Proposal and Submission Documents have been updated to correct any discrepancies in the contract/budget period and the scoring of proposals. The contract period is July 1, 2011- June 30, 2014. Up to 70 points are available for the technical score and up to 30 points are available for the cost score.

Additional Q&A Added March 18 (Updated March 23)

Program

  1. Please describe in more detail the ‘data edit check’ process and who is currently responsible for these activities?

    Answer: The current data checks are implemented in the Level 0 application. The edit rules are on the vendor Website at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/vendors/validation-rules.html. Each LEA is responsible for the quality of their own data.

  2. The RFP states an expectation that the contractor will certify a minimum of 10 systems annually during the term of the contract. Under a three year contract this would be a minimum of 30 systems. Does NYSED have an estimate of what coverage this might be of all systems? Is there a desire that all systems be certified in this time period?

    Answer: While NYSED would like to have all systems certified, this process is voluntary on the part of the vendors. Thirty systems represents a large proportion of the systems in New York State.

  3. What is the current level of relationship between NYSED and vendors? Is there an existing network, forum, or communication channels that can be leveraged to communicate the objectives and process for certification?

    Answer: NYSED has a vendor listserv and a vendor Website (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/vendors/). These channels can be leveraged for the purpose of communication with the vendors.

  4. Are there further system categories, in addition to student management systems, special education systems, human resource systems and school lunch systems?

    Answer: Not at this time.

  5. Do the State Department’s goals for system certification include certification of a district’s system, in cases where there is no vendor? For example, if a district uses Microsoft Access or a program that was designed in-house to manage its student information, is it a part of the Department’s vision for these systems to be certified? Or only cases where a vendor has developed/provided the system?

    Answer: No. Homegrown systems are not subject to certification.

  6. The RFP indicates that the Project Manager (PM) will report directly to the State Department, and that the PM will be expected to travel to Albany for meetings approximately 4 times per year. Does the Department have an expectation or preference once the Center is operational (6 months into the project) for the Project Manager or members of the Project Team to be working on-site in Albany? Does the Department envision a physical site for the operation of the Center or does it envision it to be more of a virtual/remote operation?

    Answer: There is no requirement to be on site in Albany. Either a physical or virtual site is acceptable provided the vendor complies with all other requirements of the contract.

  7. In Section 2, Question 5 of the Technical Proposal, there are no points allocated to this question. However, the remainder of the sections with points total 100. Was this an oversight and will there be a redistribution of some points to this question from another question? Or will this question be allocated no points?

    Answer: This question is allocated no points.

  8. The RFP states that “Entities that produce, market, and support Management Systems that are being used or can be used in the Longitudinal Data System described in this RFP are NOT eligible to submit an application.” Does “management system” refer only to those systems being used directly in the Longitudinal Data System or to any systems used by New York districts that may interface with and/or provide data to the Longitudinal Data System?

    Answer: Management system refers to a student management system, a special education system, a human resource system, a school lunch system, or other system that supplies data to the LDS.

  9. I am writing to find out if you could please specify the minimum qualifications of the Project Manager and Technical Support staff you desire for this project. This would include minimum levels of education and experience.

    Answer: The Department expects each respondent to include staff that has the skill set to carry out the activities as described in the proposal.

  10. In item 8 of the Technical Proposal section of the referenced RFP, NYSED describes “establishing a series of real time tests to determine the certification status of systems submitted for the certification process”. Would NYSED consider an approach that may not include “real time” tests, but in this vendor’s experience would represent a “real world” testing approach?

    Answer: The purpose of the real time tests is to evaluate whether or not the system being evaluated meets a school or district's needs in complying with the State reporting requirements. The series of tests must, to the extent possible, replicate the process that schools and districts would use to extract and report the data to the State.

  11. Are Regional Information Centers operated by BOCES eligible to bid for this contract?

    Answer: BOCES that house Regional Information Centers are eligible to bid on this RFP.

  12. In reference to “…connecting to the submitted system, is the “system” the system’s extract, database, both? See Section 2.8 on Operational Plan.

    Answer: Both.

  13. Define maintain as in, “Maintaining a complete set of business rules….” See Section 2.3 of Operational Plan

    Answer: Tests used to evaluate systems must be accurate and up to date. Also, the vendor must be able to accurately communicate with vendors regarding current business rules.

  14. Is there an annual limit for budgeting purposes to the number of systems to be certified?

    Answer: NYSED is not asking for cost proposals based on the number of systems to be certified. Bidders are being asked to submit a cost proposal based primarily on its proposed staffing costs of the Center.

  15. Is there an annual limit for budgeting purposes to the number of rules in the criterion?

    Answer: NYSED is not asking for cost proposals based on the number of systems to be certified. Bidders are being asked to submit a cost proposal based primarily on its proposed staffing costs of the Center.

  16. Is the criterion limited to rules within SIRS?

    Answer: Rules will also include the validation checks posted on the vendor Website at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/vendors/validation-rules.html.

  17. What is the difference between 2.1 and 2.4 in the Operational proposal? Specifically what is the difference between “communication protocol” in 2.1 and “manner in which they will organize this (communications) effort” in 2.4?

    Answer: 2.1 refers to the actual communication procedures established by the respondent to fulfill the requirements of the RFP. 2.4 refers to the manner in which the organization will implement and support these procedures.

  18. Will SED give business rules, programmed for real-time testing by the Center, to Districts for their own use?

    Answer: No.

  19. Regarding RFP 10-015, is it correct that this RFP represents a new requirement and that there is no incumbent?

    Answer: This RFP represents a new requirement and there is no incumbent.

Fiscal

  1. The preamble to the RFP says “The contract resulting from this RFP will to begin on July 1, 2011 and will end June 30, 2014” which is a three-year period. The Contract Period/Implementation section of the RFP says “This contract will be in effect upon an approved contract, estimated to be begin June 1, 2011 and ending May 31, 2015” which is a four-year period with a different starting date. The Cost Proposal section of the RFP says “The Financial Criteria portion of the RFP will be scored based upon the grand total of the five year budget summary”. Can you please clarify this discrepancy and clearly explain the initial contract duration, and whether perhaps you are seeking a longer budget summary to understand what the total costs might be if the initial contract period is extended, or should the financial summary be for the same duration as the initial contract period.

    Answer: The contract will begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2014. The Request for Proposal and the Submission Documents have been updated to remove any discrepancies among the stated contract/budget periods.

  2. What are the correct contract dates: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2014 (page 1) or June 1, 2011 – May 31, 2015 (page 9.)

    Answer: The contract will begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2014. The Request for Proposal and the Submission Documents have been updated to remove any discrepancies among the stated contract/budget periods.

  3. Under the Financial Criteria section of the RFP, it states “The Financial Criteria portion of this RFP will be scored based upon the grand total for the five year budget summary.” In the Submission Documents, however, the cost proposal sheet indicates a requirement for a 3 year project budget, not 5 years. Can you confirm that you are seeking a 3 or 5 year project budget?

    Answer: The contract will begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2014. The Request for Proposal and the Submission Documents have been updated to remove any discrepancies among the stated contract/budget periods.

  4. Can a RIC applicant employ staff from another RIC without including the cost of the employed person in the 40% sub-contract limit?

    Answer: Yes, so long as the staff person is compensated as an employee.

  5. Can system vendors pay for Center costs leading to their certification?

    Answer: No.

  6. Regarding the budget, can employee compensation be stated in salaries instead of hours?

    Answer: Yes, and indicate also the amount of FTE involved. Express partial FTE’s in decimals.

  7. Are indirect costs allowed under this contract?

    Answer: Yes, but bidders should keep in mind that this is a competitive procurement where a bidder’s cost proposal represents 30% of overall score. There are no set indirect cost limits for this procurement.

  8. Is the request for a three year or a five year budget? The Budget Summary form requiring a signature provided in the RFP is for three years. Point 2 of the Cost Proposal narrative in the Technical Proposal requests “Five Year Budget Summary Signature Required

    Answer: The contract will begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2014. The Request for Proposal and the Submission Documents have been updated to remove any discrepancies among the stated contract/budget periods.

  9. Is there an anticipated or estimated value for the contract resulting from this RFP?

    Answer: This RFP is a competitive procurement. NYSED is not going to disclose the amount budgeted for the project. However, the suggested staffing level of FTE’s set forth in the RFP should assist in determining the budget for the project.

M/WBE

  1. If our chosen subcontractor is registered as both an MBE and a WBE, what is the participation goal? Is it the higher of the two goals (17%) or the sum of both goals (29%)?

    Answer: A bidder will not receive double credit for subcontracting with an MBE that is also a WBE. The bidder will have to choose whether to count the subcontractor as either a MBE or WBE in determining whether its goals have been achieved.

  2. Are there any exemptions to the M/WBE mandates?

    Answer: No.

  3. Can a bidder meet some portion of the M/WBE mandates through shared subcontractors, suppliers and/or services currently used by the organization that will be applied toward, but not specific to this procurement contract?

    Answer: Bidders are required to comply with NYSED’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) participation goals. The goals are 17% Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and 12% Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

    The M/WBE goals can be met by subcontracting or by purchasing services, materials or supplies from certified firms. See www.nylovesmwbe.ny.gov external link icon for a listing of currently certified M/WBEs.

    M/WBE forms will document the Minority and Women-Owned firms chosen by the bidder to meet the goals of this RFP.

Questions and Answers Added March 18 (Updated March 23)

  1. Is there a concern about the independence of Regional Information Centers from Student Management System Vendors?

    Answer: As stated on the first page of the RFP, “Entities that produce, market, and support Management Systems that are being used or can be used in the Longitudinal Data System described in this RFP are NOT eligible to submit an application.” A management system refers to a student management system, a special education system, a human resource system, a school lunch system, or other system that supplies data to the LDS.

    A current list of known vendors that supply Management Systems to the LDS is located at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/vendors/vendorscontact.html. These vendors cannot bid on the RFP.

    Please Note: Certica Solutions is on the list referenced in the preceding paragraph. However, Certica Solutions does not produce, market, and support a management system that is used or can be used in the LDS. Accordingly, Certica Solutions is eligible to bid on this RFP. Please note the list in the weblink cited in preceding paragraph is not intended to be the definitive list of all entities excluded from bidding. Please also refer to the criteria set forth in the RFP and Q&A. (Added March 23, 2011)

    Regional Information Centers (RICs) who are “Entities that produce, market, and support Management Systems that are being used or can be used in the Longitudinal Data System described in this RFP are NOT eligible to submit an application.” RICs that do NOT perform
    all three functions ARE eligible to submit an application.

  2. The RFP says “Entities that produce, market, and support Management Systems that are being used or can be used in the Longitudinal Data System described in this RFP are NOT eligible to submit an application”. Can you please clarify whether the LDS itself constitutes a “management system that is being used in the LDS”, and as such if eScholar is ineligible to submit an application?

    Answer: The LDS itself is not a “management system” as defined in the RFP. eScholar does not produce a student management system, special education system, human resource system or school lunch system. eScholar IS eligible to bid as a contractor or to participate as a subcontractor.

  3. If a company has multiple divisions, and one division (Division A) has a management system, would a different division (Division B) still be eligible to respond to this RFP?

    Answer: No. If there are two divisions under common control or the same ownership/ management there may be a conflict of interest.

  4. If NOT eligible as an applicant, can an entity be a subcontractor?

    Answer: “Entities that produce, market, and support Management Systems that are being used or can be used in the Longitudinal Data System” described in this RFP are NOT eligible to be a subcontractor.

    If the entity is NOT eligible to be a contractor solely because it is not any of the following: a not-for-profit entity, a for-profit entity, a private college or university, a Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or a municipality; the entity IS eligible to be a subcontractor.

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Last Updated: March 23, 2011