Updated MASC Financial Policy – September 2023
We are pleased to bring you what we know are long-awaited updates in model policy language regarding purchasing. These model policies have been rewritten not only in light of Chapter 198 of the Acts of 2022, which went into effect last November, but also in light of the Office of the Inspector Generals updated 30B Manual, released in May. These changes have been incorporated in the MASC Online Policy Reference Manual.
These are three closely related policies: DJ, DJA, and DJE. In every case, we are recommending separate language for municipal and regional districts; the municipal language is designated by simply the letter code, the regionals with the addition of -1, which should be eliminated upon adoption.
The change to the purchasing law, providing for a higher threshold for school districts going out to bid for a supply or service, may be adopted by regional committee vote of the updated policies.
Municipal districts conducting their purchasing through the municipal purchasing office, however, must per the Office of the Inspector General, coordinate any possible change to process with their municipal purchasing office. Three options are available, per the June manual:
- The municipal office may change the procurement policy to decentralize the procurement function so the school department can conduct its own procurement process; OR
- the municipal side may make a limited policy change by using the Chief Purchasing Officers delegation to revert some school-related procurements back to the school department); OR
- the municipality may keep a centralized process but the Chief Purchasing Officer can make separate purchases for the school department using the higher school-related thresholds.
If none of these occur, the municipal district school committee must keep the thresholds as they stand.
Policies you should review
MASC has made changes to the following policies. Some of these changes are a result of legal changes, changes in practice, or simply an updating of language to reflect more modern needs. Some of these changes are very minor and will not require a change at the local level.
- DJ: PURCHASING – Clarifies the responsibility for developing the purchasing program of the district
- DJ-1: REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT PURCHASING – Aligns with the Office of the Inspector Generals manual, which provides for School Committee appointment of a regional district purchasing officer. It likewise clarifies responsibility for the purchasing program.
- DJA: PURCHASING AUTHORITY – Adds the legal limitations of a public contract, with a note on the process for longer contracts
- DJA-1: REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT PURCHASING AUTHORITY – Adds the legal limitations of a public contract, with a note on the process for longer contracts
- DJE: PROCUREMENT REQUIREMENTS – Adds the requirement of a public procurement process for any contract with the district. Eliminates language that is not allowed under Chapter 30B regarding rejection of bids. Adds how contract is awarded in line with 30B requirements. Adds language regarding the possible use of Requests for Proposals. Adds in a note the possible actions that may be taken in coordination with the municipal purchasing office to allow for a higher threshold
- DJE-1: REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT PROCUREMENT REQUIREMENTS – Adds the requirement of a public procurement process for any contract with the district. Raises the threshold for going out to bid. Eliminates language that is not allowed under Chapter 30B regarding rejection of bids. Adds how contract is awarded in line with 30B requirements. Adds language regarding the possible use of Requests for Proposals. Raises the cap on receiving quotes. Adds note that threshold change is at Committee discretion.