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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Who Completes This Task: Any Staff Authorized by a Budget Administrator


P-Cards are purchasing cards, similar to credit cards, used by district employees to make approved purchases. P-Cards are assigned to individual employees and are the sole responsibility of that employee. In addition to general purchasing use, P-Cards may be used for select expenses on authorized business trips.

P-Cards allow employees to place orders directly with suppliers, and generally expedite ordering and delivery of goods and services. They can be used where Visa is accepted, with some exceptions.

See the Purchasing & Contract Services Department's P-Card web page, including FAQ, forms, and training for more information.

Goods, services and equipment purchased by public and private nonprofit schools and used by schools are exempt from Minnesota sales tax (a Certificate of Exemption may be needed).

Criteria for Acceptable Purchase

Expenditures with total cost less than $3,500 for schools/$5,000 for departments

  • All book orders under $1,000
  • Clothing or athletic equipment purchases
  • Computer accessories (keyboard, mouse, power cords, covers)
  • Food (see Food Purchase Regulations)
  • Fund raising items (food, coupon books, wrapping paper, etc.)
  • Professional Memberships
  • Postage
  • Registration fees for meetings/workshops that don’t require an overnight stay
  • Supplies for the program/school (instructional and non-instructional materials)
  • Travel expenses if they have been authorized (see Travel Basics)
  • Miscellaneous items that apply to the card holder’s program or budget 

Purchases Not Allowed With P-Card

  • Items or total purchase of over $3,500 for schools and $5,000 for departments
  • Alcohol or tobacco products
  • Book orders totaling $1,000 or more
  • Cash advances or ATMs
  • Construction or installation (contact Facilities)
  • Dining expenses (use per diem)
  • Equipment that will be attached to the district network, including: copiers, desktop computers, laptops, printers, and iPads/tablets (contact Technology Services)
  • Fee for services & other 1099 payments
  • Field trip buses (contact Transportation)
  • Furniture (contact Facilities)
  • Gift certificates
  • Lottery tickets
  • Major appliances (stoves, dryers, etc)
  • Pagers, cell phones, and bills (contact Technology Services)
  • Software and apps

Steps - To Obtain

  1. Complete training and submit an application
    1. The application will not be processed until training is done
  2. Reference materials, resources, and training information is available on the P-Card web page

Steps - To Use

  1. Use for SPPS business only
  2. Only the cardholder should use it
  3. Prior to purchase, ensure the budget has the funds to pay for it
  4. Make purchase
    1. In a store
    2. By telephone, mail or fax
    3. Online, secure websites only
  5. When the materials arrive, inspect and determine that they are in good order
  6. If materials are not satisfactory, and the school/department wants to return them, contact the vendor and request permission
    1. Many vendors use a different address for returns
    2. When returning items, inform Accounts Payable and the Purchasing Office
  7. Reconcile your account activity via the  US Bank website
    1. Statement is available on the 15th of each month (or the following business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday)
    2. Update budget codes if needed (see pg 10 of the Access Online Instructions)
    3. Print and sign report
  8. Submit reconciled statement and supporting paperwork by the 25th of each month
    1. Use the interactive or printable Reconciliation and Documentation Checklist to ensure no steps are missed

For full details on P-Card use, including training and application process, visit the Purchasing & Contract Services Office P-Card page.

Relevant Documents and Forms

  • P-Card Log – to record and track purchases in real time

Documentation Required

  • Monthly reconciliation
    • Itemized receipts
    • Reviewed and corrected P-Card monthly statement
    • Food Authorization (if food was purchased)
  • Federally funded purchases up to $3,500 are considered micro-purchases and have special requirements.
  • Federally funded purchases by noncompetitive process are sole-source purchases and have special requirements.

Why This Is Important

  • It’s the law (see CFR 200.320a, CFR 200.67)
  • Expedite the completion of small purchases while minimizing burden and cost
  • Ensure timely payment of SPPS purchases to prevent additional fees
  • Failure to follow guidelines can result in revocation of P-Card privileges

Relevant Documents and Forms

P-Card Log

US Bank Access Online Instructions

Related Topics

Conflict of Interest


Purchase Account Code Quick Guide

Purchase Payment Quick Guide

Sales Tax on Purchases

Sole-Source Purchase