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


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Request for Proposal

Request for Proposal

Who Completes This Task: Administrator

Timeframe: 4 weeks to 3+ months


Request for proposal (RFP) is a complex formal method of solicitation for goods and services. Quality, expertise, and customer service are the primary features for awarding a proposal, with price usually secondary. The RFP process is a team effort between the program or school and the purchasing department.

Performance metrics must be clearly stated in the solicitation. Requiring a contractor to produce time-consuming reports or meet requirements not identified in the solicitation is grounds for legal challenge. The scope of work should identify the services required including, but not limited to, specific deadlines for completion of tasks and a schedule for submittal of deliverables, required meetings, presentations or other activities.


  • The need or scope is not easily defined or can vary depending on other elements
  • Negotiation between vendor and SPPS will be needed
  • Check with the Purchasing Office on goods or services that cost $25,000 or more
  • Any service contracts that cost $50,000 or more
    • Splitting orders of like items to circumvent the process is prohibited


  1. Identify need for RFP and notify the Purchasing Office
  2. Develop content
    1. Statement of Work
    2. Criteria for evaluation of proposals
    3. Any special terms or conditions
    4. Any other attachments
  3. Estimate the total cost; this will impact the posting and evaluation process
  4. Determine the timeline for the request for bid process
    1. Posting time varies with cost of goods or services
    2. Goods or services costing more than $175,000 are advertised and posted for at least two weeks
    3. Evaluation time can vary
    4. Some bids must be approved by the board
  5. Work with the Purchasing Office to finalize the request
  6. Recommend any vendors that should be specifically notified of the request
  7. Assemble a selection team with a minimum of three people
    1. SPPS staff are preferred
    2. Parents, community business leaders, and other stakeholders are permitted
  8. Hold a pre-approval conference, if needed
    1. As the subject expert, the requester can decide this is needed
    2. This is an opportunity to go over details not easily conveyed in a written document
    3. Example: for a snow plowing RFP, vendors visit the sites in person and hear about any issues, obstacles, and where snow needs to be placed
  9. Purchasing manager reviews all proposals, passing along any eligible for consideration
  10. Selection team conducts its evaluation
    1. Team members individually review and evaluate proposals
    2. Meet with selection team to discuss and reach consensus
  11. Purchasing manager reviews selection team recommendation
    1. Approval is not guaranteed, so no action should be taken until approval is final
    2. If recommendation is denied, the second-choice candidate will be considered
    3. If no candidates are acceptable, the purchasing manager will recommend next steps
  12. The Purchasing Office will work with the project manager to finalize the contract
  13. The administrator assumes responsibility for monitoring the contract
  14. If board approval is required complete the Board Agenda Item (BAI) process

Documentation Required

  • Purchasing retains all required documentation