Procuring necessary goods and services to support educational programs is one of the most important operational functions of all school districts. Districts find it necessary to procure everything from "pens and pencils" to information technology, as well as construction, architectural, and construction management services. Depending on the need, districts make acquisitions of goods and services through competitive sealed bidding, requests for proposals, and other methods of source selection.
All government procurement must occur in accordance with procurement codes and policies. In this state, all political subdivisions, including school districts, were required to adopt ordinances or policies embodying sound principles of appropriately competitive procurement no later than July 1, 1983. Under state law, any school district whose budget of total expenditures, including debt service, exceeds $75 million annually is subject to the S.C. Consolidated Procurement Code; however, the district may adopt an alternative code if, in the opinion of Materials Management Office of the State Budget and Control Board, it is substantially similar to the State Code. Districts whose total budgets do not exceed $75 million annually may adopt the so-called "small district" code or policy, based on a model code originally developed by the S.C. School Boards Association. The underlying purpose of procurement codes or policies is to provide increased economy in district procurement activities and to maximize to the fullest extent practicable the purchasing value of funds while fostering effective broad-based competition for public procurement within the free enterprise system.