Report 2016-139 Recommendation 6 Responses
Report 2016-139: California Department of Education: It Has Not Ensured That School Food Authorities Comply With the Federal Buy American Requirement (Release Date: July 2017)
Recommendation #6 To: Elk Grove Unified School District
To help ensure that they consistently comply with the Buy American requirement, Elk Grove should establish written policies and procedures related to the Buy American requirement by October 1, 2017. At a minimum, those policies and procedures should include the following:
- An explanation of how it will ensure that it consistently includes language related to the Buy American requirement in its bid solicitation documents and contracts.
- A minimum expectation for how regularly it will verify that food items its vendors provide are domestic commodities or products.
- A requirement that its staff identify the need to purchase foreign-sourced items as early as possible in the food purchasing process and that they begin documenting the justification for such exceptions to the Buy American requirement at that time.
- Guidance for how it will maintain documentation showing that its purchases of foreign-sourced food items meet one of the two allowable exceptions.
60-Day Agency Response
Draft Board Policy and Administrative Regulations: Board Policy 3551 and Administrative Regulation 3551 detail the requirements and procedures the district will follow and maintain in regard to the Buy American Provision. It is anticipated that these policies will be adopted by the EGUSD Board of Education on or prior to January 16, 2018.
Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) Procurement Procedure: Per the audit, EGUSD FNS's procurement procedure was in draft form at the time of the audit. Since the date of the audit the procurement procedure has been finalized and further refined to include more specific direction in regard to the Buy American Provision. This procedure is now in practice and all appropriate staff have been trained and counseled on the procedure and practice.
Bid/RFP Procurement Specifications: Per the audit, EGUSD included adequate language in its bid/RFP notifications related to the Buy American requirement in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. However, EGUSD has strengthened the language which will be included in all future bids/RFP's to ensure that prospective and contracted vendors fully understand the requirement including the requirement of providing the necessary documentation throughout the procurement and contractual duration. This procedure is now in practice.
Contract Language: EGUSD will immediately include appropriate Buy American language in all food procurement contracts to ensure that contracted vendors will be required to produce necessary documentation throughout the procurement and contractual duration. This procedure is now in practice.
- Estimated Completion Date: January 16, 2018
- Response Date: September 2017
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented
Elk Grove has finalized procurement procedures that describe that it will include language related to the Buy American requirement in its bid solicitations and contracts. However, as it indicates in its response, formal policies have not yet been approved by the board of education. Also, the procurement procedures that Elk Grove developed do not set minimum expectations for how often staff will verify that the food items its vendors provide are domestic commodities or products or describe how the district will maintain exception documentation.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.