Frequently Asked Questions

LEGISLATION AFFECTING PCA CONTRACTS DATED SEPT. 1, 2017 OR LATER     Texas law prohibits contracting with companies boycotting Isreal or doing business with Iran or Sudan or foreign terrorist organizations on the U.S. Government's SDN List. Other states may have similar laws. All new PCA contracts and current contract holders at annual contract renewal will be required to sign off on this legislative requirement. TX GOV'T CODE, Chapters 2252 and 2270, respectively.

ELECTRONIC STATE BUSINESS DAILY (ESBD)     PCA posts its solicitations to the ESBD system of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA), in addition to newspaper notifications and posting on Region 3 ESC and PCA websites.

PCA NOW USING THE BONFIRE E-PROCUREMENT SYSTEM     Vendors will respond to PCA solicitations via the Bonfire system. To access solicitations. Step 1 - New Vendors: Complete the online Vendor Registration on the VENDOR tab. Step 2 - First Time Vendors (upon approval) and Returning Vendors: log in with USERNAME and PASSWORD on the VENDOR tab and then go to the SOLICITATIONS tab and select the "Solicitations Link" to go to the Bonfire system. After you do this once and then register in the Bonfire system, you may access your solicitation of choice directly through the Bonfire system. Bonfire will automatically CLOSE responses promptly at the designated due date and time. Also PCA posts all CONTRACTS and DUE DILIGENCE DOCUMENTATION to Bonfire; PCA Members have full access to the information upon request through pcamerica@pcamerica.org.

EDGAR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EDGAR regulations govern expenditures of third party recipients of U. S. Dept. of Education Federal grant funds. PCA is current with the EDGAR December 2014 update.

REBATES TO NON-FEDERAL RECIPIENTS OF FEDERAL GRANTS from procurement cards, credit cards or purchasing cooperatives: A percentage of the rebate--based on the percentage of expenditures from federal funds with that p-card, credit card or purchasing cooperative to total expenditures with that p-card, credit card or purchasing cooperative--must be returned to the Federal Government either (1) as a credit to the expenditure account if the grant program is still open OR (2) by check made payable to the Federal Government if the grant program has closed. [2 CFR 200.406. Applicable Credits]

PCA contracts are IDIQ contracts. In all cases wherein the Member is using federal funds at or above $150,000 to purchase goods or services through the PCA Co-op, PCA recommends that the Member conduct their own independent price or cost analysis in compliance with 2 CFR 200.323 before issuing a purchase order or entering into a contract with an awarded contractor.

ABOUT PURCHASING COOPERATIVE OF AMERICA

Region 3 ESC Open Records Policy. Region 3 ESC, the administrative agency for PCA, is an agency of the state of Texas and subject to the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA). If a Vendor believes that parts of its response may be exempted from disclosure under Texas law, Vendor must specify which exception(s) to the TPIA are applicable and provide detailed reasons to substantiate the exception(s). More information may be found in the solicitation. Region 3 ESC/PCA assumes no obligation or responsibility relating to the disclosure or nondisclosure of information submitted by Vendors.

Is PCA a national cooperative? Yes! PCA is based in Texas; all PCA contracts are written to be used by local, state and federal government agencies, educational institutions, Indian tribal governments, and non-profit, non-taxed organizations in all 50 states, U.S. Territories, Canada and Mexico.

PCA contracts are awarded following legally mandated procedures? Contracts are competitively bid and procedures meet Texas and other states' procurement and contracting statutes as well as the applicable Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) by reference.

How are PCA contracts awarded? PCA contracts are awarded by the Board of Directors of Region 3 Education Service Center, using a competitive solicitation process consistent with Texas procurement and contracting laws and regulations.

Does PCA perform contract reviews? To ensure member/awarded contractor accountability, PCA selects contracts on a random basis to review. PCA will also perform a review upon request. PCA provides for member-awarded contractor liaison in the event of contract questions. Otherwise, members work directly with awarded contractors.

PCA MEMBERSHIP - CUSTOMERS

Is there a membership fee to join PCA? No. Eligible entities join and participate in PCA for free. PCA operations are supported through an administrative fee paid by awarded contractors; the administrative fee does not impact the cost the the Member because it is an element of the awarded contractor's overhead cost.

Who is eligible for membership in the PCA? IN ALL 50 STATES AND U.S. TERRITORIES: Public, Private and Charter Schools; Cities/Municipalities; Counties; Local, State, Federal and Other Government Agencies; State and Private Colleges and Universities; Non-Taxed Non-Profit Organizations; and Religious and Charitable Organizations.

I registered more than 48 hours ago and I haven't received my login information yet.
Members: First verify that your login information/password email is not in your spam/junk file. If it is not there, please contact our office at 844-722-6374. If applying over the weekend; you may not get access until Monday because  an actual person is vetting you to give you access to the website.
 
How do eligible entities in Texas become members of the PCA Cooperative? Certain entities in Texas (including school districts), according to Tex. Gov't. Code, Chapter 791, Interlocal Cooperation Act, and Tex. Local Gov't. Code, Chapter 271, Subchapter F. Cooperative Purchasing Program, must sign an interlocal agreement with another governmental agency to participate in their cooperative purchasing program.

How do eligible entities outside Texas become members of the PCA Cooperative? MEMBERS IN STATES OUTSIDE TEXAS are responsible for knowing the interlocal contracting requirements of their state. Most entities just complete the Membership Form to become a Member and participate in the time and money savings offered by the PCA program.

Can my public agency use the PCA program without going out for solicitation? Yes. PCA Members meet Texas' and other states' competitive bidding requirements and benefit from volume purchasing power. The entire process has been completed following Texas' and other states', AND the FAR, purchasing and contracting statutes. Due Diligence documentation is available in the Bonfire system to PCA Members; access will be provided to you upon request at pcamerica@pcamerica.org.

Can more than one person sign in from my organization? Yes! Your organization can have multiple users just as long as they create their account with a unique USERNAME and PASSWORD and EMAIL ADDRESS. 

USING THE PCA CONTRACT

Historically Under-utilized Business (HUB) --  including Minority and Women's  Business Enterprise (MWBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) -- Participation. Region 3 ESC/PCA encourages the use of HUB, including MWBE, SBE and VOSB, both as prime contractors and subcontractors. Subcontractors must meet the same minimum standards and requirements as the prime contractor. It will be the responsibility of the prime contractor to pre-qualify any subcontractors offered as HUB participants. Some PCA Members have specific goals for HUB requirements and will require that a plan be presented by the prime contractor to meet their goals. A Vendor shall indicate in their submitted proposal whether or not they are HUB and with whom they are certified. Upon utilization of a contract, a PCA Member may require verification of the Awarded Contractor's or their subcontractor's HUB status. PCA allows Members to negotiate with the Awarded Contractor they are dealing with to use HUB subcontractors in order to meet their HUB goals. 

Can Federal agencies use PCA contracts? Yes, according to federal contracting officers. PCA contracts are nationally advertised and legally procured per Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), give contracting control over purchases and projects to the contracting agency, and allow for supplemental contracts and agreements between the agency and the Awarded Contractor. The FAR specifies the procurement process; it does not say that an agency of a state cannot carry out the procurement process. PCA contracts qualify under the FAR because the Regulations are met and PCA contracts are awarded by an agency of the State of Texas. Federal agencies can become members of PCA at no cost.

Do GSA (U.S. Governmental Services Administration) customers benefit from using PCA contracts? Yes. Many PCA contracts offer equal to or best price available for federal, state and local governments.

How is the contract identified for procurement justification? The Member will reference the PCA contract number and project title on the purchase order. Copies of the complete terms & conditions and other due diligence documentation are available upon request--email PCA at pcamerica@pcamerica.org.

VENDORS - AWARDED CONTRACTORS

Vendor Registration is free. Companies providing goods and services register online on the PCA website and are put on the PCA mailing list to receive notices of solicitations as they become available. If the company responds to a solicitation and is awarded a contract by the Region 3 Board of Directors, then the company is a PCA Awarded Contractor. Awarded Contractors pay an administrative fee to PCA that funds PCA operations and a portion goes to Region 3 ESC. The administrative fee does not increase costs to the Member because it is an element of overhead cost. 

How does a company register? Go to www.pcamerica.org and complete the Vendor Registration form and select your area(s) of expertise from the ‘Categories’ drop-down box (up to 5 plus ‘Other’). Your company will be vetted by PCA and receive a password and notifications of future solicitations.

I registered more than 48 hours ago and I haven't received my login information yet.
Vendors: First verify that your login information/password email is not in your spam/junk file. If it is not there, please contact our office at 844-722-6374. If applying over the weekend; you may not get access unitl Monday because a real person is vetting your company to give you access to the website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Can I, a PCA awarded contractor, solicit members for PCA? Yes. If your customer wants you to provide your products and/or services and they are eligible for PCA membership, they will not hesitate to sign up. Membership is FREE. 
 
SOLICITATIONS & THE SOLICITATION PROCESS

Click here to download the PCA SOLICITATION PROCESS handout.

What does a company do if they have questions while preparing their response to a solicitation? Questions must be posted on Bonfire at least 3 working days prior to the bid opening date; subsequently, all questions and answers will be posted in the Bonfire application. Answers to questions will NOT be discussed by phone or in person during the response period.

What if changes are made to a solicitation subsequent to its advertisement? If a change occurs subsequent to the issuance of the original solicitation, an addendum will be made available to all entities that have registered for that solicitation in the Bonfire application. It is the vendor’s responsibility to check Bonfire for an addendum and include the signed addendum in their response.

Does PCA provide a complete contracting solution? Yes! The entire solicitation-contract award process has been completed following Texas (and other states) purchasing and contracting statutes; the Due Diligence backup documentation will be provided to Members upon request. 

CONTRACT AWARDS

Because PCA is a national cooperative, it may be in PCA Members best interests of offer multiple contract awards. Region 3 ESC reserves the right to award multiple contracts for the following reasons: 1) Geographic location of offices/services; 2) Different offerings, such as product lines; 3) 'Value Add' offerings; 4) Vendor qualifications/market presence; 5) Small businesses and large companies offering quality products/services; and 6) Other reasons vendors provide value to PCA membership.

VENDOR PROTEST / APPEAL PROCEDURE HANDOUT

Click here to download the Vendor Protest/Appeal Procedure Handout.