Doing Business with IPS

We work with a diverse portfolio of vendors within the community to ensure we offer the best services to our students. Here you can find information on how to work with IPS as one of our vendors.

Vendor Registration Packet

How to Receive Bids and Quotations

All Suppliers wishing to market goods and services to the Indianapolis Public Schools district may make a determination of need in one of several ways:

  1. Review Publishes & Posted Bid Information
    • Purchases of goods and projects $150,000 and over are advertised for sealed bids in publications of general circulation. IPS posts legal notices for bids in the Indianapolis Court & Commercial 317.636.0200 and the Indianapolis Recorder 317.924.5143 at least ten days before bids are due. The advertisement will outline how to request bid specifications.
    • Purchases of goods and projects $150,000 and over are also posted on the IPS bid board in Room 117 of the Education Services Center, 120 E. Walnut Street, Indianapolis Indiana 46204 for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the bid due date. The posting will outline how to request bid specifications.
  2. Request Placement on Bidders List for Specific Bids & Quotes
    • IPS maintains an annual schedule of annual bids and quotations. This schedule is used to establish contracts for goods and services that are required on an on-going basis. Suppliers must contact the applicable buyer via email or fax to request that their company be added to the solicitation list for these scheduled bids and quotations. You must provide us with your company name, complete address, contact person, fax and phone numbers as well as an indication of which bids or quotes you would like to receive. You will receive a confirmation of your request if you make that request via email.
  3. Meet with IPS Buyers that Specialize in Your Products or Services
    • It is highly advised that you should set up an appointment with the applicable buyer that specializes in your specific goods or service offerings. Maintain an on-going relationship with this buyer and request that you be sent applicable bids and quotations in your area of expertise.
  4. Send or Provide Specific Product and Service Information Directly to Targeted Customers Within IPS
    • IPS has incorporated some site based decision making in many areas. Certain purchases may be made on a confirming or local basis depending upon authority granted to the school or location. Goods and services may be marketed to specific locations, but the needs of the site must always be taken into consideration. Do NOT visit a site without a specific appointment, and always sign in at the main office before making contact with any IPS staff member. A school official or other IPS staff member is never obligated to meet with a vendor if they do not desire to do so. If you do not have a hard copy Purchase Order, IPS does NOT have an obligation to pay you for any product or service, so make sure that the client you are working with has the authority to commit to you.



Bids: How to Respond to Invitations

It should be understood that all procurement decisions will be made with the interest of enhancing student learning and achievement as a paramount objective. IPS strives to ensure fair and equitable purchases and allow equal access by all qualified suppliers that meet the needs of the IPS district.

Certain benchmarks have been established as minimum criteria for the response to formal bids and quotations. These criteria are listed below:


  • Suppliers must be capable of providing the goods or services required by IPS. This means that the firm has verifiable facilities and resources to meet the stated needs of the district, both in its product and service areas and in its financial base. IPS reserves all rights to reject any supplier which is (in IPS’ opinion) judged to be either financially unstable, undercapitalized, or unable to provide the stated needs of the district.


  • Suppliers must respond to all stated requirements in bid and quotations. This means that the supplier shall meet ALL business and technical requirements outlined by the district. Failure to meet any technical specification, business qualification, or requirement to complete a form or response item shall be sufficient cause to reject a prospective supplier’s response.


  • Each formal bid or quotation released by the district has required forms which must be completed for a supplier to be considered responsive to the request. Prospective suppliers must carefully read all bid and quotation information and complete all requested and required forms. Failure to complete any required form correctly will generally result in your bid or quotation being rejected. Sealed bids always require the following forms to be completed:

Required Sealed Bid Forms


  • BID AFFIDAVIT: This form must be completed in its entirety, must be signed and notarized with the signature and seal of a commissioned Notary Public. It must be submitted with each sealed bid submitted to the district.
  • SUPPLIER DIVERSITY: Complete and sign Form A and Form C (if applicable), and return with your bid. Please note on EACH form if you do not intend to subcontract any portion of this contract. Please contact the Supplier Diversity Office at 317.226.3825 with any questions regarding these forms. These forms are to be completed by all Bidders.
  • MINORITY CERTIFICATION: If you are a Woman (WBE) or Minority-owned (MBE) business enterprise, please make certain that a copy of your most recent certification is on file in the IPS Supplier Diversity Office, 120 E. Walnut Street, Room 601-S, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. IPS recognizes certifications from the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis, the Indiana Business Diversity Council (IBDC), the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
  • BID SURETY: All Public Works and many supply contracts require bid and performance sureties to be submitted. Please review all invitations carefully to determine the particular surety requirements for the solicitation. Bid and Performance Sureties are submitted on VENDOR SUPPLIED DOCUMENTS.


  • A due date and time are stated in all bids and quotations. Failure to submit a sealed bid prior to the date and time at the place stated in the invitation will result in the rejection of your sealed bid. IPS reserves all rights to reject any quotation not received by the due date and time.

Bonds: Surety Bonding Requirements

Where Surety Instruments are Used

IPS uses surety instruments in the majority of its sealed bids. Generally, there will be TWO types of sureties in any bid process:

Bid Surety

  • A bid surety is used to provide firm price protection to the district. Bidders responding to a bid invitation will be asked to provide a surety WITH THEIR BID. This surety provides insurance to IPS that the Bidder will keep its price commitment firm until IPS awards a contract. As a rule, bid sureties are set at 5% of the total bid, but Bidders should always review all bid instructions, as this amount may change, or be waived from time to time. A Bidder that is awarded a bid and cannot hold prices firm, or a Bidder that fails to accept an award may have its bid surety liquidated in response to its failure to meet its bid commitment.

Performance Surety

  • A performance surety is used to protect the district from a supplier/contractor’s failure to meet the performance standards of the contract. A supplier that fails to deliver goods or services, a supplier that fails to meet IPS’ order schedules, or a supplier that delivers goods or services that do not meet IPS’ performance criteria may have its performance surety liquidated. Performance sureties may be in any amount, up to 100% of the total awarded contract amount, and Bidders should review all bid instructions to determine the actual amount of the performance surety. Only a Bidder receiving an award will be responsible for submitting a performance surety.

Acceptable Surety Instruments

IPS accepts several types of financial instruments for both bid and performance sureties. IPS will retain the instrument in its original document form, and no cash instrument will be liquidated (cashed) unless the vendor fails to meet its price and performance commitments.

Surety Bond

  • A surety bond prepared by an insurance company authorized to do business in the State of Indiana is acceptable for both bid and performance sureties. A bid bond must be entitled BID BOND, and a Performance Bond must be entitled PERFORMANCE BOND, CONTRACT BOND, SUPPLY BOND or CONSTRUCTION BOND (on a public works contract).

Cashiers or Certified Check

  • IPS will accept a cashiers or certified check in the proper amount for bid and performance surety purposes. All such checks shall be made payable to the BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS.

Money Order

  • A money order in the proper amount is acceptable for bid and performance surety purposes. Money orders shall be made payable to the BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS.

Official or Bank Check

  • An official or bank check written BY the issuing bank is acceptable for bid and performance surety purposes.

Unacceptable Surety Instruments

Certain instruments ARE NOT acceptable to IPS for bid and performance surety purposes:

  • Business Check: A standard company check is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
  • Cash: For Bidder protection, cash is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
  • Letters of Credit: Without prior arrangements, letters of credit are NOT ACCEPTABLE.
  • Escrow Deposits: Without prior arrangements, escrow deposits are NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Submitting a non-acceptable instrument may result in the rejection of your bid or the cancellation of your contract.

Return of Surety Instruments

Unless a vendor requests otherwise, all bond instruments will be retained by IPS in its procurement files. All cash instruments (secured checks, money orders) will be returned as follows:

Return of Bid Surety-Unsuccessful Bidder

  • Cash instruments will be returned to vendors NOT receiving an award upon award of the contract to another vendor.

Return of Bid Surety-Successful Bidder

  • Cash instruments will be returned to vendors receiving an award upon receipt of the proper performance surety from the successful bidder.

Return of Performance Surety-Successful Bidder

  • Cash instruments will be returned to successful Bidders only upon the successful completion of the contract (including warranty and ongoing performance) requirements.

Buyers and Commodities: Who to Contact

The IPS Purchasing Department has organized its Purchasing Department with Buyers that are specialized into specific commodity and service areas of expertise. The applicable Buyer should be contacted for information regarding your particular commodity or service area.

Purchasing Department Services and Information

Office & Curriculum

Buyer: Cathy Robinson

  • Art Equip/Supplies
  • Library Books (not textbooks)
  • Catalog Discount Items
  • Copiers, Supplies and Parts
  • Office Equipment/Supplies (not IPS warehouse)
  • First Aid Supplies
  • General Supplies
  • Incentives & Rewards Home Economics
  • Instructional & Classroom Materials (non-books)
  • Magazine Subscriptions/Memberships (not on line)
  • Music Equipment/Supplies
  • Science
  • Xerographic Paper
  • Custodial Supplies/Equipment
  • Health Safety/First Aid

Technology & Professional Services

Buyer: Laraine Zook

  • Catering Services
  • Computer Equipment
  • Electronics
  • Hand Held Radios
  • Incentives/Awards
  • Network Technology
  • Professional Services
  • Projection Lamps
  • Software
  • Telecommunications
  • Audio Visual Equipment & Supplies
  • Books (Not Textbooks)
  • Office Equipment
  • Postage & Postage Meters
  • Printing & Mailing (Outside Vendors)
  • Testing & Assessment

Building/Grounds, Transportation & Books

Purchasing Coordinator: Kristi Hardin

  • Audio-Visual Equipment
  • Building Equipment/Services
  • Bus & Vehicle Parts
  • Custodial Equipment
  • Custodial Supplies
  • Electrical/Lighting
  • Floor Coverings
  • Furniture
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Maintenance Equipment
  • Pest Control
  • School Buses
  • Special Education Equipment
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Vehicles
  • Vocational Education Supplies
  • Waste Disposal

Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity Coordinator: LaVon Bradley


Interim Purchasing Agent: Kristi Hardin

  • General Purchasing Inquiries
  • How to Do Business Printing Services
  • Printing Services
  • State Adopted Textbooks
  • Warehousing


IPS Construction, Building Alterations & Improvements (Public Works Projects)

Contact: Roxann Wilson
Facilities Management Division
Fax: 317.226.3895

Bond Project Construction, Building Alterations & Improvements (Public Works Projects)

  • Alterations to Building/Grounds Projects
  • Construction Projects
  • Improvements To Building/Grounds
  • Prevailing Wage Jobs
  • Public Works
  • Renovations
  • Roofing Projects


Foodservice Procurement Specialist: Linda Bickett

  • Evaluation of Quotes & Bids
  • New Product Testing & Cuttings
  • Prepares Foodservice Specifications
  • Purchase of Produce & Perishable Foods
  • Quotations for Food less than $10,000
  • Supplier Consulting and Appointments New Product Testing & Cuttings
  • Prepares Specifications for Foodservice Foods and Supplies
  • Prepares Foodservice Quotes, Competitive Quotes, Bids and RFP documents
  • Advertise Foodservice Food and Supplies
  • Evaluation of Quote, Bid and RFP submissions
  • Prepares Documents for Board Approval
  • Prepares and Sends Awards to suppliers
  • Order and Purchase of Foodservice Food and Supplies

Ethics: Code of Vendor Conduct


Suppliers should discuss any and all ethics and conduct issues with their own legal counsel. The following should be considered general suggestions for appropriate conduct, and not a legal offering. All formal laws, rules and regulations prevail.

General Information

Public purchases utilize public (tax supplied) funds from many sources. The care and responsibility for the expenditure and care of public funds cannot be overestimated. IPS staff and vendors share this significant responsibility. Suppliers must always avoid any impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. The following provides examples of ethical guidelines, but issues may not be limited to these areas. If you are in doubt about any situation regarding purchasing ethics or conduct, contact the IPS Board Secretary, Zachary Mulholland at 317.226.4000.

Consequences of Unethical Conduct

Vendors involved in questionable conduct may be prohibited from doing business with the Indianapolis Public Schools, and are subject to all laws, rules, sanctions and regulations of the State of Indiana and the Federal Government.

Non-Collusion Requirement

Vendors may not, nor may any member, representative, or agent of the firm, company, corporation or partnership represented by him, enter into any combination, collusion or agreement with any person relative to any price to be bid by anyone at such letting nor to prevent any person from bidding nor to induce anyone to refrain from bidding, and that its bid is made without reference to any other bid and without any agreement, understanding or combination with any other person in reference to such bidding.

Vendors further agree that no person or persons, firms, or corporation has, have or will receive directly or indirectly, any rebate, fee, gift, commission or thing of value on account of any sale.

Gifts to Individuals

Vendors are not to offer, nor entertain requests for gifts, gratuities, products, entertainments or rebates to any individual employed by (or retained as an agent ) by the Indianapolis Public Schools, whether or not in exchange for any favorable consideration or treatment.

Gifts to Schools or Departments

Suppliers are encouraged to participate in recognized support activities to schools and the educational process through free will donations of time, management expertise and where appropriate, products. Such programs as Partners in Education provide channels whereby Vendors may positively impact the instructional process through donations to particular schools and/or the greater district. In no instance shall such donations be considered anything other than community service, and no preferential treatment will be granted to any supplier that provides such donations. No obligation of any description will be assumed by IPS, regardless of the size and nature of corporate donations.

Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation

The IPS Foundation is an independent fund raising organization which may, from time to time, invite corporate entities to donate funds to the Foundation. No firm is under any obligation to contribute to the Foundation, and no obligation of any description will be assumed by IPS, regardless of the size and nature of corporate donations. In addition, failure of any entity to contribute to the IPS Foundation will have no bearing on the consideration of any entity for the provision of goods and services to IPS.

Conflicts of Interest

Any and all conflicts of interest, or potential conflicts of interest must be reported to the Board of School Commissioners, pursuant to Board policy. Any such reporting shall be made to the IPS Board Secretary, Zachary Mulholland at 317.226.4000.

Fair Dealing

Products and services offered to the Indianapolis Public Schools shall be of the highest quality available, and pricing shall always be fair and the best available to similar clients. The provision of substandard goods or services, overcharging, or the billing of any good or service not provided shall be sufficient cause for IPS to refuse any future business with any entity, to liquidate surety instruments, and to pursue all remedies available under the law.

Vendor as an Independent Contractor

All vendor relationships to the Board shall be that of an independent contractor, and not as an agent, employee, partner, or joint venturer, and that the employees or agents of the vendor shall not be deemed or construed to be employees of the Board for any purpose whatsoever.

General Guidelines: An Overview of the Purchasing Process

Multi-Faceted System

The IPS School District is a large district with many needs for goods and services. The IPS Purchasing Department works with a number methods to procure these needs, always with an eye on the varied needs of the customer. Recent changes in Indiana Procurement laws have allowed even more flexibility in the procurement process. IPS’ practice is to use competition as much as practicable in every situation.

Legal Requirements

  • The purchase of goods $150,000 and over must be bid (sealed competitive bid) by the Purchasing Department unless the purchase fits the parameters of a “Special Purchase” as defined by IC 5-22-10. (All General, Capital Projects, Federal & Grant Funds)
  • The purchase of goods between $50,000 and $149,999 must be formally quoted by the Purchasing Department. (All General, Capital Projects, Federal & Grant Funds)
  • Purchases of goods under $50,000 are purchased utilizing a number of procurement methods, depending upon the needs of the IPS customer. (All General, Capital Projects, Federal & Grant Funds)
  • Any Public Works (alteration, improvement or new construction) Project exceeding $25,000 to buildings must be bid or quoted (sealed competitive bid) by the Facilities Management Division.
  • Professional Services are not required to be bid, but the district often uses a competitive quotation or negotiation to ensure the highest level of service at the best price. Service contracts over $10,000 or contracts involving liability issues or student safety are required to be reduced to a formal written agreement.
  • Regardless of the Procurement Method for goods and services, any procurement $10,000 and over must be formally approved by the Board of School Commissioners.
  • Generally, school purchases from Extra-Curricular and P.T.A. Funds are exempt from the requirements of the Purchasing Laws.

Purchasing Parameters

Items purchased with regularity (computers, telephones, classroom and office furniture, etc.) are maintained on annual requirements contracts established by the Purchasing Office. This allows standardization and a timely solution to the recurring needs of school and administrative clients. Suppliers wishing to bid on annual requirements contracts should contact the appropriate buyer and make arrangements to receive a bid solicitation upon the scheduled bid letting.

Purchases of a more specialized nature may be purchased on the open market, may be procured at a discount from established catalog contracts, or may be quoted by the Purchasing Department or, in some instances, by the client school or administrative location. Suppliers should always make sure that they have informed the Purchasing Department of the goods and services which they have available. In addition, the names of contact persons in client agencies will be provided upon request where direct marketing to the client school or administrative location is deemed to be in IPS’ best interest.

The Purchasing Process

Client schools and administrative locations communicate their needs for goods and services by the submission of a Purchase Requisition (request) to the Purchasing Department. The Department then confirms the funding source and determines the most appropriate procurement method given the needs of the client.

The Purchasing Department sources the client request, selecting a supplier or suppliers to meet the needs of the client. Often suppliers are contacted for competitive quotations, and the selected supplier(s) is/are issued a purchase order.

A purchase order formally encumbers (sets aside) funds for the particular purchase.

Vendors are expected to deliver goods and services in a timely fashion, consistent with the stated needs of the client school or location.

IPS communicates its orders through a formal, hard-copy purchase order system. Suppliers are not prohibited from delivering without a hard copy purchase order, but IPS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY INVOICE THAT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY A FORMAL WRITTEN PURCHASE ORDER. Vendors that ship on a verbal request do so ENTIRELY AT THEIR OWN RISK.

Upon delivery of the order, a supplier should issue an itemized invoice, only for product actually delivered. All invoices are to be sent to the:

IPS Accounting Department
120 E. Walnut Street, Rm. B05
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

The Accounting Department will audit the invoice against the purchase order, and forward a copy of the invoice with an accounts payable voucher to the client school or location.


Supplier Diversity

A Diverse Urban System

The IPS School District is richly diverse in its programs, students and staff. The Board is committed to maximizing its business relationships with Minority/Woman owned firms. The district does not have a formal set-aside or preference policy.

Minority/Woman owned businesses are defined by IPS as:

An organization at least 51% owned (if a partnership) or 50% owned (if a corporation) by one of the following groups:

  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Asian American
  • Women

Minority/Woman owned firms desiring to do business with IPS should contact LaVon Bradley, at 317.226.3825 to set up an appointment to explore available opportunities.

Indiana Public Purchasing Laws: The Legal Base for Decisions

New Legal Parameters

As of July 1, 2007, the Indiana Procurement and Public Works Codes were updated with new bid limits effective for almost all public entities in the State of Indiana.

Suppliers and others that may wish to review the text of these new laws are invited to visit a public library, or look up one of the several web sites that provide legal information and statutory text.

Indiana Code Cite for Indiana Purchasing Statute:

Please see Indiana Code IC 5-22 Effective July 1, 2007.

Indiana Code Cite for Indiana Public Works:

Please see Indiana Code IC 36-1 Effective July 1, 2007.