October 5, 2012

By: Adam Dauksas

Public Act 97-951, which took effect in August, amended the portion of the School Code relating to contracts in excess of $25,000 to provide that contracts for the transportation of all students – not just those with special needs or disabilities – are now exempt from the lowest responsible bidder requirement.

Transportation contracts must still be advertised in the same manner as other competitive bids, but are now to be awarded by first considering the bidder or bidders most able to provide safety and comfort for the students, the stability of their service, and any other factors set forth in the district’s RFP regarding quality of service, then price.

In addition, language was also added to the law which provides that no cause of action will lie against a school board for awarding a transportation contract in accordance with these changes unless “the cause of action is based on fraudulent conduct.”

Prior to these recent changes in the law, only transportation contracts for students with special needs or disabilities were exempt from the lowest responsible bidder requirement, and no limitation on a school board’s liability pertaining to transportation contracts was provided.  Thus, Public Act 97-951 represents a significant development in the law affecting school districts throughout Illinois.  Should your district have any questions about these changes or need assistance in developing a transportation bid package, please do not hesitate to contact Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.