Purchasing Policies and Procedures

Purchase Orders

There are several types of purchase orders.

  • Spot Purchases -- these are the daily orders we place with vendors for small dollar purchases.
  • Blanket Orders -- these purchase orders are for items we order repetitively through out the year. An example is pest control. We know that the vendor will be providing services on a regular basis. One purchase order can be entered at the beginning of the fiscal year with approximate expenditures from various accounts. Each time the service is needed, this PO can be given and the expenses are charged against what you have encumbered in the PO.
  • Emergency Orders -- these are orders that if not received someone could not hold class or there would be a safety hazard.
  • Cancellation of Purchase Orders -- If you should realize that you will not be using a purchase order, contact the purchasing office and they can cancel it for you. This will release the encumbered funds back into the appropriate account.
    Airline Reservations -- Obtain flight and pricing from the airline’s website.  Put in a travel requisition “vendor is Citibank” for the amount of ticket and wait for approvals. As soon as your requisition has been approved and given a PO number, go online and book the flight using your college credit card. 
Procurement Options

South Plains College is required to make all purchases within the laws and guidelines established by the State of Texas. This includes the Texas Education Code, Attorney General Opinions, Texas Local Government Code, Texas Government Code and Texas Uniform Commercial Code. In addition to these, SPC has initiated some guidelines of our own. Hopefully this manual will help you understand the procedures that must be followed in procuring materials and services for the college's use.

All items under $50,000, by law, do not require competitive bids. All purchases that equal or exceed $50,000 must be acquired through the competitive purchase process. The Texas Education Code 44.3031 (a);(b) states that all contracts, except contracts for the purchase of produce or vehicle fuel, valued at $50,000 or more for each 12-month period are to be made by the methods or methods that provide the best value to the district. Although the state has set this limit, the purchasing office will many times competitively bid or request that you bid item(s) that are less than $10,000. This will help the college keep costs down while providing the item(s) specified by the departments.

Competitive Procurement

Competitive bidding can be one of the most complex procurements methods used by districts due to the detailed management necessary and to the legal and procedural constraints that govern it. There are various resources for the numerous exceptions, special situations and requirements that may complicate or change the requirement for bidding. Certain processes are essential if competitive bidding is to work effectively in a district:

Requirement planning: A district needs to plan for the major purchases to be made during the next 12-month period. This includes identifying the products or services and when they are needed. The award of the bid will insure timely delivery so that operations are not disrupted.

Sequential Purchasing: "The time period for which sequential purchases of $10,000 or more in the aggregate must be combined for requesting Competitive bids are not well defined. Depending on the individual Circumstances and the type of property being purchased, the district's best interest may be better served by requesting bids for a quantity of items sufficient for a few months or an entire year (this also applies to construction, repair, or renovation work). The Texas Attorney General's office has taken a conservative position that, if purchases will be or are reasonable anticipated to be $10,000 or more during the entire year, then the district is to request competitive bids. Purchasing officers should determine whether an amount that is $10,000 or more was allocated in the budget for certain categories of items, or for like or related types of work." Handbook on Competitive Bidding for Texas Public Schools published by Texas Education Agency, Austin, Texas 1990.

Component Purchases: "If the competitive bidding law applies to the aggregate purchases, districts are not to circumvent the bidding law by purchasing under separate purchase orders related items (component parts) that cannot serve in and of themselves the purpose and function for which the purchase is being made, such as, a refrigerator shell, a freezer shell, and a compressor equipment for food storage." Handbook on Competitive Bidding for Texas Public Schools published by Texas Education Agency, Austin, Texas 1990.

Purchases are divided into levels based upon dollar value and method of procurement. In obtaining bids by the process mentioned in the next section (Cost Limitations) all departments must ask if the purchase is a product or service and if it is an Aggregate Purchase: Common purchase made by the College District. (Example: Office supplies. An individual may not make split, separate, sequential or component purchases, to avoid the bid process The State has two other categories but the majority of our purchases fall in the Aggregate Category.

Cooperative Contracts

South Plains College is a member of several Cooperative Groups. Purchasing through these agreements alleviates the need to bid items. This information can be obtained from the purchasing office.

Department of Information Services Purchases

South Plains College had standardized all computer purchases through Dell’s Premier website.  The district has several computers and projectors available through this site.  In addition to the PC, you may obtain a quote from Apple for all apple products at www.apple.com look for the higher education link.  All other technology related pieces of equipment should be purchased from an approved vendor registered with the State of Texas, Department of Information Services or other co-op membership.  Contact purchasing for the approved vendors.  For all purchases equal to or greater than $5,000, you must obtain quotes from 3 sources. If you are unable to obtain the 3 quotes this should be documented and provided to the purchasing office along with your purchase requisition.

State Contract Purchases TPASS / TXMAS

The Texas Procurement and Support Services awards contracts to many vendors for a variety of items.  The purchasing office with review all State contract orders to assure the order meets the State’s strict requirements.


Emergency Purchase

An emergency purchase is a purchase made without following normal purchasing procedures in order to obtain goods or services to meet an urgent and unexpected requirement where health and public safety or the conservation of public resources is at risk. A situation where the safety of students or where business could not be conducted at all would be considered an emergency situation and could required emergency purchases. All emergencies must be justified with a memo submitted to the purchasing office for audit purposes.

South Plains College has established a procedure to follow when needing to purchase items on this basis:

  1. Enter purchase requisition for item(s) needed with cost estimate
  2. Give vendor the requisition number
  3. When item(s) are received, go into purchase requisition and complete with correct costs and quantities. Forward delivery ticket to purchasing office.
  4. Submit through approvals with emergency purchase justification.
  5. Purchasing will contact vendor with PO number and process paperwork through normal procedures.

Sole Source Purchase

A sole source or proprietary purchase is justified only when equivalent product or service competition is not available. This does not mean that your specifications can be so restrictive that the limit competition to one manufacturer, product or service provider. A written justification for this type of purchase will be required. Included in the justification should be an explanation of the need for the proprietary specification and the reason competing products are not satisfactory. The justification should be signed by the requisitioner and department chair.

Construction Contracts

All construction contracts are handled through the President's Office.

Quote/Bid Requirements:

  • Purchase orders under $5000 - no bids are required
  • Purchase orders from $5000 to $10,000 - 3 verbal quotes are required, the informal quote sheet can be used to tabulate your quotes
  • Purchase orders over $10,000 - these must be competitively purchased. Specifications should be sent to the purchasing office and they will secure the bids required.
  • Computers and Related Items - these items can be purchased through the state Catalog Information Systems Vendors (CISV) list with 3 verbal quotes. We are also able to purchase items through Department of Information Resources without having to bid items.
  • Cooperative Purchasing - SPC is a member of several purchasing cooperatives. When purchasing from these vendors all bidding requirements have already been met and we can place order direct with the vendor.
  • Emergency Purchases - this is a purchase made to meet an urgent and unexpected need. A justification should be attached to the requisition and the established procedure should be followed.
  • Sole Source - when a sole source or proprietary purchase is needed, a justification should be attached to the requisition.


Requisition Process

The purchase order has the sole authority to obligate the College's funds. South Plains College will not assume responsibility for the payment of purchases other than those made according to purchasing procedures.

The following procedures have been established for requisitioning of items:

Author will:

  1. Determine item(s) needed.
  2. Determine specifications, if necessary, for item(s). If specification and/or procurement assistance is needed:
    1. Contact Purchasing Office for vendor names
    2. Contact Purchasing Office to locate item(s)
    3. Purchasing Office will obtain specifications on item(s) and forward to author
  3. Enter purchase requisition with all information required by the system and individual lines for each item(s) requested. This should include part/model/catalog number(s) and additional specifications for each item(s) and a contact name at the vendor.
  4. Submit purchase requisition in the DPS system.

Purchasing will:

  1. Receive requisition.
  2. Review line items in purchase requisition.
  3. If needed, contact multiple vendors to determine best value.
  4. Enter new vendor information if needed.
  5. If better value can be obtained from another vendor:
  6. Contact author by e-mail to make changes to purchase requisition
  7. Forward requisition for approval process.

Approvers will:

  1. Review item(s) on purchase requisition.
  2. If approved, forward purchase requisition to next approval level.
    1. Approval Process-
      1. Author
      2. Purchasing
      3. Approver 1
      4. Approver 2, etc.
      5. VP for Finance and Administration
  3. If rejected, return requisition to author at any of these levels
  4. After final approval the requisition will come back to the purchasing office.

Purchasing will:

  1. Convert requisition to purchase order.
  2. Print purchase order
  3. Place order with vendor when requested
  4. Process paperwork as requested in message box:

    1.  (1) Purchasing will fax order

    2.   (2) Department will Order

    3.   (5) Travel Approval

    4.   (6) Personal Reimbursement

    5.   (7) Prepay

  5. Maintain purchase order file and all supporting documentation to await delivery of item(s).


Receiving Process

All item(s) are to be delivered to individual departments unless the item(s) need to be added to the fixed asset inventory. Inventory items will be received by designated Physical Plant personnel and then delivered to the appropriate department. Upon receipt of the item(s) the:

Department will:

  1. Review item(s) to determine if packing slip/delivery ticket matches item(s) received
  2. Packing Slip will be signed by authorized department personnel and will be forwarded to purchasing office
  3. If there is no packing slip/delivery ticket, complete a receiving report ( attachment A), sign, date and forward to purchasing office.

Purchasing will:

  1. Match delivery ticket with purchase order
  2. Place in pending file for invoice.
  3. Upon receipt on invoice, the purchase order, receiving document and invoice will be forwarded to the Business Office for payment processing.

For more payment information, contact the Business Office.


Purchasing Organization

The purpose of the Purchasing Department is to provide service to the campus community on all procurement matters and related activities to include (but not limited to) locating and developing sources of supply, developing and assisting departments in developing specifications, soliciting bids, quotations and proposals, negotiating contracts and interacting with vendors. It is our desire to serve you well in all areas. We hope there will be an open line of communication at all times and we welcome your ideas and suggestions.

South Plains College has delegated this function to the Purchasing Department. The Vice President for Finance and Administration has responsibility for the direction, performance and accountability of the procurement administration. He has directed this function to the Director of Purchasing. The department is made up of the following persons:


Dennis Churchwell
Director of Purchasing

ext. 2105

Marilyn Rodriguez
Buyer I

ext. 2107

Irene Baca
Administrative Assistant to the Director of Purchasing

ext. 2106

In addition to the activities listed above, the purchasing department will be responsible for encumbering funds, issuing and voiding purchase orders, and following up with vendors for invoices and credits. They also can assist you when placing orders with vendors, tracking lost orders, returning orders.



Vendors are selected by their ability to serve the needs of the college in the most economical and efficient manner possible. When a new vendor needs to be added to the list, please contact the purchasing office or add a note to your requisition.



Employees of South Plains College will be held to the highest of ethics in procuring materials and services. They shall not accept or receive gifts or gratuities with any value from representatives of companies or directly from the company. This pertains to supplies, equipment, or construction for the College. The employees may not promise or obligate future awards or compensation based upon gifts, gratuities, rebates or discounts given. The College District does not enter into purchasing contracts with students, faculty, staff, or members of faculty or staff immediate families. An acquisition from a business in which an employee has financial interest is prohibited, unless full disclosure of the background facts is presented in writing to the President.