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    Ohio competitive bidding thresholds: Public school threshold increased to $50,000

    Effective March 16, 2017, the competitive bidding threshold for Ohio public school districts increased from $25,000 to $50,000. Senate Bill 3 modified Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 3313.46 which defines the competitive bidding requirements for public school districts. As revised, the statutory competitive bidding process is required if the cost “to build, repair, enlarge, improve, or demolish any school building” is more than $50,000.  Note, however, that it is still essential to review the board of education’s purchasing/procurement policies and regulations to determine if competitive bidding will be required for work costing less than $50,000 or for other types of purchases and construction projects.

    Each type of political subdivision in Ohio has its own competitive bidding threshold. The State bidding threshold increased to $200,000 in 2011 as part of the construction reform legislation; the State bidding threshold applies to the State and all State agencies. Construction reform legislation in ORC Section 153.53 provided a mechanism to review and adjust the State bidding threshold every five years. Effective January 13, 2017, the State bidding threshold increased to $215,000. The next review and potential adjustment will take place by January 13, 2022.

    The chart below summarizes these thresholds. However, this brief chart does not capture the full statutory requirements for each political subdivision, which are not the same; laws also are subject to change. Note that there may be exceptions to competitive bidding requirements for specific public entities, as well as other statutory exceptions available to public owners (including, but not limited to, the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program and other joint purchasing programs, as authorized by ORC Section 9.48). Each public owner should review the applicable statutory requirements and its own policies in consultation with legal counsel to determine the proper procedures for procurement, including bidding for construction contracts and other types of purchases.

    Political Subdivision

    Competitive Bidding Threshold*

    ORC Citation

    Cities and Villages


    §§ 735.05, 731.14, 731.141



    § 307.86

    County Sewer Districts


    §§ 6117.27, 307.86

    Hospitals, County

    $50,000 (unless a county hospital commission has jurisdiction over the hospital)

    §§ 307.86, 307.92

    Hospitals, Joint Township Hospital Districts

    No threshold requirements are found in the Ohio Revised Code.


    Hospitals, Municipal

    $50,000 for construction projects subject to approval of the board of hospital trustees

    § 749.26



    § 3375.41

    Metropolitan Housing Authorities

    All projects, regardless of cost, are subject to competitive bidding.

    § 3735.36

    Municipal Utilities (Water, Sewer, Gas and Electric)


    § 735.05

    Port Authorities

    $100,000 or a higher amount as determined by the director of commerce

    §§ 4582.12(A), 4582.31(A)(18)(b)

    Public School Districts


    § 3313.46(A)

    Regional Airport Authority


    § 308.13(A)

    Regional Sewer Districts


    § 6119.10

    Regional Transit Authority


    § 306.43(E)(3)

    Soil and Conservation Districts


    §§ 940.06(H)(1), 307.86

    State of Ohio and its agencies

    $215,000 (effective 1/13/2017; to be reviewed and adjusted every five years)

    §§ 153.01; 153.53


    $50,000 for most projects, but requirements vary depending on the purpose of the contract

    §§ 505.37, 511.12, 515.01, 515.07, 521.05, 505.35, 505.50


    This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.

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