Purchasing Department


    The procurement function of Boston Public Schools (BPS) is centralized to efficiently and promptly serve the procurement needs of our district. This allows for implementing processes that provide the district with the best value for purchases while ensuring compliance with applicable laws and district policies. The Business Service office is responsible for managing and handling contract requests from schools and departments for the acquisition of supplies and services. 

    Purchasing Guidelines

    The State Procurement Law, also known as M.G.L. c. 30B sets out consistent procedures for local jurisdictions to follow when acquiring supplies and services. Boston Public Schools typically uses competitive bidding to purchase goods and services, but there are some exceptions where public advertising is not required. This guide aims to provide a concise summary of the requirements and procedures for successful purchases.

Purchasing Guidelines

  • Purchasing Guidelines

    All Boston Public School personnel seeking to purchase most materials or services must follow the following processes.

    Less than $10,000

      1. Standard for selection: Follow "Sound Business Practices." The school or department solicits three telephone, written, or catalogue quotes from vendors. The record of quotes remains on file at the school or department and is subject to audit.
      2. Required document: Requisition.
      3. Authorization: Purchase Order
      4. Turnaround time*: 1 -2 Weeks

    $10,000 - $100,000*

      1. Standard for selection: Seek written quotes from at least three vendors and award the contract to the responsible vendor offering the supply or service needed at the lowest price or submit as an exempt or sole source (one practicable source for the purchase).
      2. Required documents: Requisition, detailed specifications, or a sole-source letter addressed to the City Auditor must be sent to the Business Office/Purchasing by the school or department at least four weeks prior to the planned procurement.
      3. Authorization: Purchase Order and written quote contract (WQC), signed by the vendor and approved by the Superintendent and the City Auditor
      4. Turnaround time*: 2 - 4 Weeks 

    Over $100,000

      1. Standard for selection: Formal advertised Information for Bid (IFB) awarded to the responsible and responsive bidder offering the best price, or Request for Proposal (RFP) awarded to the most advantageous proposal from a responsible and responsive proposer taking into consideration price and non-price proposals., or unadvertised contract
      2. Required documents: Requisition and a completed Contract Request Form with a detailed written description of the items or services to be purchased.
      3. Authorization: Purchase Order and Duly Approved and Executed Contract
      4. Turnaround time*: 8 Weeks


    • These timelines may not apply to all procurement requests and should only be used as a guide when planning your activities.
    • The turnaround times listed above are approximate and do not apply to peak procurement periods from  08/15 to 09/30 and from 04/15 to 06/30.
    • As of November 25, 2022, the price quotation threshold (Written Quotes) changed for municipal or regional school districts only from $10,000 to $100,000.
    • A governmental body, the City, may require that any procurement in an amount of not more than $50,000 be subject to sealed bid procedures under M.G.L. c. 30B, § 5.

    Exempt Purchases

    The procurement statute allows the district to purchase certain categories of goods and services without a competitive bid process. The most commonly purchased goods and services that are exempt include direct professional development services, the purchase of textbooks, and the purchase of supplies or services from a vendor with an existing contract with the Commonwealth for that same good or service. 

    However, the fact that a particular good or service is exempt from bidding does not negate the need for an executed contract to be in place before a purchase is made.  All purchases over $10,000.00 require a written contract to be executed before services are performed or the receipt of goods. School districts have the sole discretion to determine whether to procure supplies or services under an exemption.

    Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

    BPS can use an MOU instead of a formal contract for an agreement with a non-government entity if such an agreement merely sets forth terms and obligations and does not involve the exchange of money. MOUs still must be reviewed internally by the City’s legal departments and may be amended, changed, or rejected. In addition, you may be required to execute a formal contract or other documents in any situation involving an MOU.  


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