Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual


Section: IV - Purchasing
Page: 2
Subject: Policies of the State of North Carolina
Effective: July 1, 2000

It is the policy of the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract to:

  • require items covered by established state contracts to be purchased in accordance with these contracts
  • conduct all purchasing activities according to applicable laws, rules and regulations of good purchasing practices, and professional principles
  • establish a practical degree of standardization of equipment, supplies and materials,
    with reasonable allowance for varying requirements of the agencies served
  • encourage fair and open competition by legitimate and ethical means
  • obtain, whenever feasible, favorable prices through volume buying
  • extend honest, courteous and impartial treatment, along with fair and equal opportunity, to all interested and qualified suppliers
  • require satisfactory and proper performance of contractual obligations from all vendors.

Monetary Requirements

Requirements for items not covered by any existing contract(s) and totaling less than $90,000 may be purchased locally after seeking competitive quotations according to good purchasing practices.Requirements not covered by any existing contract(s) and totaling more than $90,000 are to be referred to the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract for handling.

These policies apply to all funds, regardless of source. The $90,000 maximum applies to the total cost rather than to the cost of any single item. Dividing an order to avoid the $90,000 maximum is not allowed.

State Contract

Any product on state contract must be purchased from the approved vendor regardless of the dollar amount of the individual purchase. The General Statutes clearly reveal that the executive officer of the purchasing agency will be liable for the costs of any purchase contrary to the provisions established by the General Assembly. (See G.S. 143-58 for information on this provision.)

Exemptions and Delegation of Authority

Section: IV - Purchasing
Page: 3 - 5
Subject: Pertinent Information
Effective: July 1, 2000

Some items and services are exempt from the policies listed on the prior page. The state delegates authority to local agencies to purchase the following:

  • athletic apparel
  • perishable food products
  • published material produced by others
  • maps, charts, globes, film, filmstrips
  • playground equipment,
  • service and maintenance contracts - except where provided for by state contract, andh shrink-wrapped software (off-the-shelf).


Emergencies are defined as situations which endanger lives, property, or the continuation of an important program which can be corrected only by immediate on-the-spot purchase or rental of equipment, supplies, materials or services. Emergencies will be handled by the Purchasing Department on an individual basis.


A purchase specification is restrictive in that it sets limits on what is acceptable. Specifications must not be unreasonably restrictive because this eliminates competition. Usually more than one make or brand of a particular item is satisfactory. In developing specifications, an attempt must be made to specify a quality which is suitable for the intended use, but not restricted beyond what is reasonable.

Sole-Source Items

Sole-source (franchise) items are items for which there is only one dealer, distributor, or manufacturer from whom to purchase those items in a particular area.

Sole-source items costing $90,000 or less may be purchased locally, provided that the purchase requisition documents that these are sole-source items.
Sole-source items costing more than $2,500 but less than $90,000 require a sole-source letter from the vendor as documentation.
Sole-source items costing more than $90,000 must be approved by the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract.

Efforts should continually be made to locate additional sources or satisfactory substitute items.

Ordering on Approval

Ordering on approval is not a recommended practice. However, if it becomes necessary, a purchase order requesting that the material be sent for preview must be sent to the vendor. Materials may not be sent from a vendor without a purchase order number.

Encumbering Funds

State law requires that funds be encumbered for each purchase prior to the actual placement of the order. All purchase orders must be signed by the Finance Officer and Purchasing Officer prior to the order being released.
The Guilford County Board of Education is not responsible for the payment of invoices for orders placed without authorization and without an assigned purchase order number.


Lease-purchases are to be handled in the same manner as outright purchases and are subject to the purchase procedures listed in this manual.

Lease-purchase or installment purchase contracts may only be utilized for:

  • automobiles
  • school buses
  • mobile classroom units
  • photocopiers
  • computers, computer hardware, computer software, and related support services

Affirmative Action Procedures for Minority, Disabled and Women's Business Enterprises

The Purchasing Department shall actively seek and identify qualified minority business enterprises (MBE), disabled business enterprises (DBE), and women's business enterprises (WBE) and offer them the opportunity to bid on items. The Purchasing Department is required by General Statutes to report all purchases made from MBE's, DBE's, and WBE's to the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract quarterly, for inclusion in a consolidated report to the General Assembly.

Construction or Repair Work - Contracted

Contracts for construction or repair projects of less than $30,000 do not require bids; however, schools /departments should contact the Purchasing/Maintenance Department for guidelines.  The award of the bid is determined at the discretion of the Purchasing Officer.

The Purchasing Department will solicit all needed bids for construction projects.

For contracts of $30,000 to $299,999.99 the school system must secure informal bids and keep a public record of those bids.

Contracts of $300,000 or more require formal bids with advertising and a 5% bid deposit. Other stipulations apply to contracts of $300,000 or more. (See G.S. 143-129.)

* The Purchasing Department will solicit bids for all construction projects.

Use of Own Force for Construction or Repair Work

Renovation projects with a total direct and indirect project cost of $125,000 or less may be undertaken by the Maintenance Department. Materials for such projects are subject to the purchasing regulations previously listed.

Regulations Regarding Expenditures of Funds

Section: IV - Purchasing
Page: 6 -7
Subject: Regulations Regarding Expenditures of Funds
Effective: July 1, 2000

Instructional Supplies and Materials - 1.5100.061.411.XXX*

Instructional Supplies and Materials - 2.5100.061.411.XXX

Items considered to be instructional supplies or materials include:

  • items consumed in use
  • items which lose their original shape or appearance with use
  • items which are expendable (that is, if damaged or if some of their parts are lost or worn out, it is usually more feasible to replace them rather than repair them)
  • items which are inexpensive (cost does not exceed $5,000) with the characteristics of equipment, or items which are a service (such as the rental of instructional equipment used as part of the instructional program)
  • library books for the school media center
  • textbooks in excess of the state's provision of adopted textbooks

Staff Development - 1.5930.028.312.XXX

Staff Development - 2.5930.028.312.XXX

Staff development expenditures include:

  • costs for workshops and in-service seminars
  • costs designed to enhance the quality of a program (includes reimbursement for mileage at the allowable rate set by the Internal Revenue Service to employees attending workshops in personal vehicles).

Principal Supplies - 2.6410.005.412.XXX

Principal supplies include office supplies and materials other than instructional supplies.

Custodial Supplies - 2.6540.003.412.XXX

Includes supplies concerned with housekeeping chores (necessary for the clean and healthy occupation of the physical plant).

* XXX represents the school number.

Furniture/Equipment - 4.9200.077.541.XXX.XXX.19*

Includes expenditures for the initial, additional, and replacement items of capitalized equipment (such as furniture and machinery) for both instructional and support areas.

Instructional Furniture/Equipment - 1.5100.061.541.XXX

Includes expenditures for the initial, additional, and replacement items of capitalized equipment (such as furniture and machinery) for instructional areas only.

Individual School Funds/Reimbursement from Other Entities

The following codes are to be used when individual school funds are used for a purchase or when the system will be reimbursed by another entity (such as the PTA):

  • Instructional Supplies and Materials - 2.5100.693.411.XXX
  • Instructional Equipment - 4.9200.693.541.XXX .19

*XXX.XXX represents the person with budget responsibility (first XXX) and the cost center (second XXX) for capital expenditures.