Maybe our local paper will keep up with the legal wrangling the Chester-Upland School District is in as they identify new entities to run certain parts of the school district. I’m not going to provide the play-by-play you’d get from a real newspaper reporter, but I’ll let you know when something new happens if someone sends me the information. 

I believe the elected school board should be charged with educating parents on what’s going on during this selection process conducted by the Receiver. But, that’s just my opinion. 

A reader asked me to explain what a RFP is. That term is thrown around quite a bit as the receiver prepares mounds of hard to read documents to select who will run the schools. It’s noted that there will be at least 3 RFPs…

  • 1) Request for Proposal Proposed Outsourcing of Functional Areas,
  • 2) Request for Proposal Special Education Audit Services, and
  • 3) Request for Proposal Audit Services for District Organizational Chart.

If you were trying to follow what’s going on, you’d read court filing language like this…

Without prior Court review or approval, on July 30, 2020, the Receiver issued a 23 page document titled “Request for Interest and Case Statement Potential Outsourcing of Management for Operations of District Schools Chester Upland School District July 30, 2020” which detailed the first part, the Request for Interest, of what the RFI described as a two part process of the CUSD Strategic Options Initiative Process. By way of further response, Parent Representative have been unable to locate a copy of the RFI described in this paragraph and note that the RFI is not accessible on CUSD’s public website. 

As if reading this stuff isn’t hard enough, apparently, some of the paperwork should be posted on the school district’s website for us to read and it isn’t there. The parents brought up issues like this to the judge and he agreed with them. He’s making the school district present the paperwork as he instructed. 

Back to the purpose of this blog post. What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

Let’s tackle all three – Request for Information (RFI); Request for Quotation (RFQ) and; Request for Proposal (RFP). They all have different definitions and serve different purposes within the procurement process.

An RFI educates — RFI responses explore how a vendor might solve a problem or fill a need.

Purpose: When you’re looking for information or you’re not sure what solution might solve your problem

Asks: General questions designed to educate and inform

Style: Casual, asking for help

Advantage: They’re fast and help inform next steps to meet business needs

An RFQ quantifies — RFQ responses provide the cost of meeting a specific need

Purpose: When you know exactly what you want and why, but need to explore all of the financial details

Asks: Questions about what it will cost to meet the requirements

Style: Structured and prescriptive

Advantage: Removes distractions and allows buyers to focus on price

An RFP compares — RFP responses evaluate the merits of each vendor compared to others

Purpose: When you’re ready to shop around and evaluate many factors before making a choice

Asks: Specific, detailed questions about the service, product and vendor’s business

Style: Formal and direct

Advantage: Provides a clear comparison of vendor offers and capabilities

Sometimes you’ll need to start with a request for information to better understand your market, and then with that knowledge you may move to issue an RFQ or RFP.

There you go. Hope that helps.