Transportation Contracts Awarded Through an RFP
Transportation Contracts may be awarded through a Request for Proposals (RFP), instead of by competitive bid, in accordance with Section 305(14) of Education Law and Section 156.12 of Commissioner's Regulations. Where the RFP method is chosen, each proposal must be evaluated using the ten weighted criteria that are specified in Section 156.12, and the contract must be awarded on the basis of the scores used to assess each criteria. No single criteria can be weighted in excess of 50 percent of the total weight of all criteria. In addition, any public notice soliciting proposals and any instructions provided to potential respondents must specify all of the criteria and the weightings.
The RFP method should not be confused with the process of awarding contracts that are not subject to competitive bidding. It is a method that is much more complex than simply obtaining price quotes from the contractors.
All contracts shall be submitted to the Education Department for approval together with the instructions used in making the request, the contract specifications, all proposals received, and the criteria, weights and scores used to assess the proposals.
Transportation RFP Update
School districts should be reminded of the following when they are awarding transportation contracts through a Request for Proposal (RFP).
- A public notice advertising the RFP must be placed in the official newspaper(s) designated by the Board of Education. The seven day rule for advertisement must be adhered to – i.e. there must be a full five days in between the date of advertisement and the date of bid opening.
- The notice must specify all of the criteria to be used in evaluating proposals received as well as the weightings assigned to each criteria. No single criterion may count for more than 50 percent of the total of the weightings.
- Each proposal received in response to the RFP must be scored by a committee of reviewers following prescribed evaluation criteria. In addition, the district must establish a minimum threshold score below which they will not award the RFP. Even if the district receives only one response, that response must be scored by the committee and committee member scores must be part of the information submitted to the Education Department for approval of the RFP process.
- A copy of all proposals received must be submitted to the Education Department, not simply the winning proposal.
- A copy of the contract specifications and the affidavit of publication must be submitted to the Education Department.
- Approval of the RFP process does not automatically approve the related transportation contract. The approval process of the contract is done separately by the Pupil Transportation Unit and the Office of State Aid. Districts should make sure that they have followed all the appropriate statutory and regulatory requirements for entering into and filing a pupil transportation contract (inc. voter approval for multi-year contracts, filing within 120 days of commencement of the contract, etc.).
We encourage you to contact the Pupil Transportation Unit before you begin the process to ask any questions. Questions regarding the Request for Proposal process should be addressed to Mary Sansaricq at 518-474-6541 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding the contracts themselves should be addressed to Bill Demski, also at 518-474-6541.