This time of year, the legal division always receives an increase in questions about whether paving projects must be competitively bid. The Ohio Revised Code (RC) and federal law require competitive bidding in three situations, the most relevant of which appears in RC 3313.46, which requires competitive bidding to “build, repair, enlarge, improve or demolish a school building” if the cost of the work is over $50,000. Arguably, paving, because it does not involve a school building, probably does not need to be competitively bid.
Boards should consider requesting a comfort letter from board counsel opining on whether paving projects need to be bid. While Ohio courts and the Ohio Attorney General have yet to weigh in on this issue, auditors generally defer to comfort letters if the topic later becomes an issue for the board. It’s also important to review board and district-level policies and procedures to be sure a more stringent standard hasn’t been set at the local level.
For more on competitive bidding requirements, stop by the legal resources by topic page of OSBA’s website and take a look at the competitive bidding fact sheet. For more on the competitive bidding threshold increase that became effective this past March, see the Jan. 6 Legal Ledger post.