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School District Purchasing Surveys by NC State University

Promoting Local and Regional Markets for Value-Added Wood Products Manufacturers

The Wood Products Extension Department at North Carolina State University is surveying school district purchasing departments in three locations in three states as part of a research project to learn how school districts purchase furniture.  The goal is to transfer this knowledge to wood products manufacturers who would like to better serve this market.

Here is the link for a MS Word version of the survey that the purchasing departments of school districts outside of the study can fill out to provide us with additional study information =  Link for MS Word School District Public Furniture Purchasing Survey

Below is the School District Public Furniture Survey that also can be completed and mailed to Harry Watt, 132 Beckham Road, Statesville, North Carolina  28625, or scanned and emailed to

School District Purchasing Department Public Furniture Survey

Purchasing Survey for School Districts for Furniture

Contact Person-Harry Watt, NC State University, 704-880-5034,

132 Beckham Road, Statesville, North Carolina 28625

Survey Contact Information and School District Statistics

1-School district name


2-Contact person name/title




4-Mailing address


5-Phone number


6-Email address


7-School district web site


8-Are you a member of a professional purchasing society or association?

If so, which one?


9-Number of students


10-Number of schools


 11-# of new schools in last 4 years


12-Number of purchase orders in last four years for furniture products


13-$ Total for last four years for furniture products


Wooden Furniture

14-What is your preference for wooden furniture relative to metal and plastic without looking at price?  (Please circle one).

         Lower                     Same                        Higher

1                2                3                4                5

15-What is your preference for wooden furniture relative to metal and plastic when looking at price?  (Please circle one).

          Lower                     Same                               Higher

1                2                3                4                5



16-Of the following wood species for wooden school furniture, what is your preference for each species?  (Please mark + or -)

Wood species



No preference







Yellow poplar








Sweet gum


17-What is your preference of painted furniture as compared to stained or clear finish wooden furniture?  (Please circle one).

           Less                        Same                               More

1                2                3                4                5

18-What is your preference of domestic versus imported made wooden furniture?  (Please circle one).

           Less                        Same                      More

1                2                3                4                5

19-Where in school facilities do you think wooden furniture should be preferred versus metal and plastic furniture?  (Please check all that apply).

  • Staff offices
  • Libraries and media rooms
  • Art and craft rooms
  • Classrooms
  • Dining halls
  • Assembly rooms

20-Would it be helpful for wooden furniture manufacturers to support their products with the following:  (Please check all that apply).

  • Posters of forestry and trees
  • School  logos and designs on furniture pieces
  • Use local wood species
  • Identify the type of wood on each piece of furniture
  • Innovative designs
  • Use strips alternate dark and light wood for desk tops

21-Do you have a preference for the following wooden furniture construction?

Positive, negative or no preference

Wood Construction Type


Solid Lumber


Melamine paper over particleboard


Veneer over particleboard


Veneer over veneer core


Plastic laminate (like Formica) over particleboard


22-What can wooden furniture manufacturers provide that you would find helpful when purchasing furniture?



23-What is your opinion of wood as compared to metal and plastic in terms of being “Green” and “Sustainable”?   (Please circle one)

           Less                       Same                       More

1                2                3                4                5

Purchasing Policies

24-Please describe the process of how you buy furniture for new facilities-





25-Please describe the process of how you buy replacement furniture for existing facilities-





26-Is there $ limits or thresholds that adjust how you buy furniture?  If so, what are the limits?



27-Do your department’s purchasing policies encourage or require consideration of or have preferences for specific groups or goals (Please check all that apply):

  • Diversity; small/minority-owned/women-owned businesses
  • □ Sustainability/“green” considerations
  • “Buy local” considerations
  • In-state preferences
  • Utilization of state correctional/prison industries
  • Other-please list



28-Please describe state statutes, regulations and policies that significantly impact your procurement practices.




29-Who (what position) in your organization starts the process of buying furniture?  _________________

30-Who on the school district’s staff are included in the process of buying furniture?  (Please check all that apply).

  • Users like teachers and librarians
  • Facility personnel
  • Finance personnel
  • Principals
  • Upper level administrators
  • Others-

31-Do any outside professionals assist in the selection of furniture, if so, who are they?


32-Does your purchasing department offer online information on bids, like Request-To-Bid?  □ Yes  □ No

33-Please feel free to describe other institutional or system policies that significantly impact your procurement practices and ability to contain costs.



34-Over the last four years, how has the expenditures for furniture been split between furnishing new buildings and replacements?

New construction-%




Vendor Relations

35-Does your purchasing department maintain a prospective bidders list for various types of goods and services that is different from the state approved bidders list?                      

□ Yes                          □ No

36-If yes, then how is your prospective bidders list created? (Please check all that apply.)

  • Use vendors who have bid in the past
  • Vendors ask to be placed on the list
  • Use lists from other schools
  • Use bidders in trade associations
  • Use state approved vendors
  • Other-

37-Are you limited to the state approved bidders list unless for custom items?      □ Yes      □ No

38-Does your unit have a manual for vendors that explain the policies and practices used to procure goods and services?                                     

□ Yes                           □ No

General Procurement Practices

39-Does your purchasing department  maintain a purchasing calendar (a listing of upcoming purchasing events)? 

                  □ Yes                           □ No

40-Does your purchasing department buy furniture from the state’s prison industries?                    □ Yes         □ No

41-Please indicate which procurement method you use most frequently for the following goods and services. (Check one method per product category.   Please leave blank if you do not procure certain items.)

Product Category

State Contracts*

County/City Contracts

Cooperatively Bid Contracts

Competitive Bidding/RFP

No Bidding = Negotiation

Chairs and Tables






Office Furniture






Computer Furniture






Dining Furniture






Storage Furniture






Specialty Furniture and Accessories






Furniture Services






*Includes preferred source commodities and services from Industries for the Blind, etc.

42-What do you think of the benefits of the state central purchasing department?  (Please circle one answer per row).


Not at all

Slight Level

Moderate Level

Great Level

Provide lower prices or better value





Save time and administrative costs of bidding





More choices in vendors and products





Provide better quality goods and services





Other - - please describe-





Electronic procurement

43-Does the purchasing department have a web site that includes information about how it procures goods and services?                                    □ Yes                         □ No


44-What type of information and functions are available for vendors on your web site if your unit has one? (Please check all that apply).

  • Purchasing policies information
  • Contacts in the purchasing department
  • On line vendor registration
  • Requests to Bid
  • Bid documents for downloading
  • Notices of awards
  • Information on invoicing and payment
  • Other-

45-Please indicate the tasks the procurement staff perform using the Internet or an internal network in procuring goods and services for your unit.  (Please check all that apply).

  • Research products and prices
  • Make small $ furniture purchases
  • Research vendors specifications
  • Accept bids and proposals online
  • Communicate with other gov’t buyers
  • Other-

46-What is the principal means that departments use to requisition goods and services in your unit? (Please check one.)

  • Paper forms
  • Electronic purchase order system
  • Phone call
  • Fax
  • Emails
  • Other-

47-Can vendors submit bids electronically?            □ Yes                         □ No

48-What is the average time from the publication of the contract notice to the award of the contract?


49-How are the winning bids and vendors evaluated?


50-How can bidders get information on the evaluation of bids? 


51-How many days are bids held open?


52-When/how will the final choice be communicated?


53-Is it possible to receive e-mail alerts for notices of future bids?


54-Is there a standard policy for vendor certification and qualification before bids are awarded ?                

□ Yes                         □ No


55-Is vendor bonding necessary before bids are awarded?            □ Yes                         □ No

Purchasing School Furniture Problems and Solutions Recommendations

56-What problems have you experienced in purchasing furniture that you feel should be addressed as a long term reoccurring problem and what is the solution you recommend?


Recommended Solution


Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.  Your assistance in providing this information will help us present an accurate picture of procurement practices in your school district. If you have additional comments please list them below:


North Carolina State University Non-Discrimination Policy Statement-It is the policy of the State of North Carolina to provide equality of opportunity in education and employment for all students and employees. Educational and employment decisions should be based on factors that are germane to academic abilities or job performance. Accordingly, the North Carolina State University (“NC State”) does not practice or condone unlawful discrimination in any form, as defined by this policy.

USDA/USFS Non-Discrimination Policy Statement -The work upon which this web site is based was funded in whole or in part through a grant awarded by the Wood Education and Resource Center, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service.