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Dollar Limit Guidelines

Purchases under $2,000

Purchase and selection of vendor is at the discretion of the Requestor/Requisitioner. Use of the District procurement card is encouraged for most purchases under $1,000.

Purchases between $2,000 and $5,000

One written quote should be obtained for purchases of goods and services when the total dollar amount of the order is between $2,000 and $5,000.  PLEASE NOTE:  Purchases between $3,500 and $5,000 made with Federal grant funds require three written quotes.

Purchases between $5,001 and $20,000

Three written quotes should be obtained for purchases of goods or services when the total dollar amount of the order is between $5,001 and $20,000.

Purchases between $20,001 and $88,300

For purchases of goods or services when the total dollar amount of the order is between $20,001 and the legal bid limit of $88,300, a Request for Quotations (RFQ) is required and should be forwarded to multiple vendors.  Purchasing may be able to assist with the RFQ process.

Purchases over $88,300, except Public Works Projects and Professional Services

The formal bid process is required for purchases of goods or services when the total dollar amount of the order exceeds the legal bid limit of $88,300. Remember, it is illegal to split or separate purchases to avoid competitive bidding.

Before a purchase order can be issued, the item(s) must be legally advertised (California Education code section 81641 requires that a bid or proposal be published in a newspaper at least once a week for two weeks), formally bid, and awarded by the Board of Trustees to the lowest responsive bidder. The requesting department should coordinate the development of bid specifications with the Director of General Services or designated Buyer. Since this process can take as long as 30-90 days, depending upon the complexity of the bid, the Purchasing Department should be contacted well in advance of the desired delivery date.

There are two exceptions to the $88,300 bid limit:

  1. Public works projects require a formal bid if expenditures are greater than $175,000.  
  2. Certain professional services (e.g. lawyers, architects, engineers) are exempt from formal bid requirements, however, Board approval is needed for a new vendor or new services valued above the legal bid minimum or for continuing services in excess of $500,000.