What are the most common mistakes districts make with pupil transportation contracts that will effect their transportation aid?
Answer: There are 10 broad categories of mistakes
1. Not following the requirements for issuing, scoring and awarding a transportation contract based upon an RFP process.
This process includes the following as established in Ed. Law section 305 (14) and GML 103:
- Develop specifications for the services to be delivered. (Recommend use of an add/delete clause for all areas of major expense: bus, route, child, attendant)
- Determine how cost will be bid (per bus, per child, per 4 hour bus, per attendant, etc).
- Establish clear quantities of service (routes, #students, etc).
Note: If this is a cooperative RFP only the districts who have quantity may make an award.
- Determine the number of points available for each of the 10 criterion used for scoring.
- Set a minimum score which must be met in order to win an award.
- Advertise the RFP in the district’s official newspaper. Ad to contain at least the 10 criterion and possible points for each, minimum score necessary to award, bid opening date and location.
- Form a committee to score every application that is received, even if only one is submitted. It must meet at least the minimum score to receive an award. (Recommend that Transportation Director not be on the scoring committee)
- Submit a copy of all RFP materials (advertisement, specifications and quantity information, applications received, scoring sheets, resulting contract(s).
2. Not following the requirement of Ed. Law section 305 (14) regarding bid advertisement and bid opening dates. The law provides that there must be at least 5 full days between the first day of advertisement (competitive bid or RFP) and the actual date of bid opening.
3. Not meeting the requirement to conduct competitive bidding if the total aggregate value of all new contracts to be awarded for new school year, are at or exceed the $20,000 threshold. If so, then all contracts must be bid, not simply the one which makes the aggregate total reach $20,000 or more. If a new contract is needed after the first day of school, then all other contracts issued 3 days before or after that contract would be combined for determining whether the $20,000 threshold would be met or exceeded. If so, then all must be bid.
4. If you are part of a Cooperative Bid, you must have specified a quantity of more than zero for the item to be awarded. Districts, including those that are part of a Cooperative, may not “piggy-back” on the award of another party to the Cooperative bid. You must have bid quantity.
5. Not filing a pupil transportation contract/extension within 120 days of the first day of service, will result in a loss of transportation aid for each day it is late filed. The Office of Educational Management Services can still approve the contract however the Office of State Aid will deduct aid for each day late.
6. Not executing a contract in the correct manner and date order for required signatures may result in disapproval. Leaving signatures blank (is considered not to be filed with SED), not calculating total cost. The following are basic signatory requirements:
- Agreement Date must be before the 1st day of service
- The Board President and the Contractor sign with the Agreement Date
- Superintendent must sign the contract on or after the Agreement Date
7. Missing the June 1st and July 1st deadline dates for bidding regular home to school and special education contracts. If district supplies a reason for the late filing the program office can accept it.
8. Beginning a Summer Contract/Extension before July 1st or running it after August 31st. Beginning a School Year Contract/Extension before September 1st or running it after June 30th.
9. Not completely filing out the Contract or Extension Forms. Not using the correct form (contract, extension, summer contract, summer extension) will lead to confusion and delays in approval.
10. Not responding to faxes sent to the Contract Contact Person. If you have a change in staff their faxes should be routed to someone in the Business Office for review and follow-up.