Guidance on Non-competitive Procurement During an Emergency

According to the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), grant recipients who use federal grant funds to procure property and services must follow general procurement standards (2 CFR 200.318). Federal grant recipients must select a procurement method that is most appropriate according to the circumstances involved. The procurement methods available to the federal grant recipient are: 

  1. Micro-purchase
  2. Small purchase
  3. Sealed bids
  4. Competitive proposals
  5. Non-competitive proposals (also commonly thought of as ‘sole source’)

One allowable use of a non-competitive procurement is a public exigency or emergency that will not allow for a delay in services, caused by the competitive solicitation process.  In the event of an emergency, such as Hurricane Harvey, a grant recipient may choose to solicit a non-competitive proposal from only one source to avoid delay in procuring items or services (2 CFR 200.320(f)(2)).

Local educational agencies (LEAs) in Texas affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey may need to use the non-competitive proposal method of procurement to quickly purchase needed items or services. When using the non-competitive procurement method, all costs must still be allowable under the specific program.

For example, an LEA that received damage from Hurricane Harvey may need to quickly replace or acquire materials or services that were damaged, destroyed, or lost in the storms.  Also, an LEA receiving a number of evacuated students may need to choose the non-competitive procurement option to more quickly procure needed items or services to be able to serve the unexpected growth in enrollment numbers.

LEAs that determine a need for non-competitive procurement are not required to obtain prior approval from TEA. Local documentation on how the determination was made would be kept locally. However, if the LEA prefers to obtain prior approval from TEA as their documentation for auditors, appropriate forms will be available on the TEA website.

Follow the instructions on the Request for Prior Approval Forms webpage for completing and submitting the appropriate form and reference need created by Hurricane Harvey.

  1. For LEAs located in counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration that received damages in the storms, an automatically approved form will be available for downloading. Submission to TEA is not required.
  2. For LEAs outside the counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration that enrolled evacuated students from Hurricane Harvey, a prior approval request may be submitted to the Associate Commissioner for Grants Compliance and Oversight.  Approvals will be processed within three business days.