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Procedures for Obtaining Wiring Services in Schools

Procedures for obtaining E-rate computer wiring, non-E-rate computer wiring, and other wiring work paid for by schools.

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. Computer Wiring Work Under E-Rate Year 2 Individual School Contracts
  3. Computer Wiring Work Under E-Rate Year 2 District-Wide Ameritech Contracts
  4. Wiring Paid for by Schools
  5. Computer Wiring
  6. Non-Computer wiring
  7. Option for Schools to Pay for Wiring Work: The CPS FINSS Program

General

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There is a "Wiring Board Report", 99-1117-PR6 (Pre-Qualification of Contractors to Provide Communications Wiring/Component and High Voltage Infrastructure Installation) that is used for a significant amount of the computer wiring at CPS. However, this board report does not cover all wiring work at CPS. When using that board report, schools must provide their own budget lines. Schools may not charge to the Capital Planning budget line that is specified in the Wiring Board Report.

Computer Wiring Work Under E-Rate Year 2 Individual School Contracts

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Schools that signed individual contracts for wiring and received Year 2 E-rate funding commitments from the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) must wait for Board ratification of their contracts before starting any contract work, including wiring. The Board ratified contracts for 35 schools in December, 82 schools in January, 82 schools in February and 54 schools in March.

Schools with ratified Year 2 E-rate contracts may begin their wiring work after their pre-construction meeting with Capital Program construction professionals. Schools with unratified contracts will be put under the Ameritech Information Services district-wide E-rate contract to build a "minimum LAN configuration". For elementary schools, the minimum configuration will provide 7 wireless classrooms, 1 hard-wired computer lab, 1 hard-wired library, and 1 hard-wired math or science lab. For high schools, the minimum configuration will provide 10 wireless classrooms, 1 hard-wired computer lab, 1 hard-wired library, 3 hard-wired science labs, and 2 hard-wired math labs. Schools should call 3-5930 with questions concerning Year 2 individual school E-rate wiring work.

Computer Wiring Work Under the E-Rate Year 2 District-Wide Ameritech Contract

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CPS will be providing all schools with an instructional LAN over the next two years. The Department of Operations and Ameritech, not the individual school, will obtain suppliers from the Wiring Board Report for E-rate work under the Ameritech Contract. The goal of CPS is to ultimately provide all schools with a "minimum configuration" as stated above. Schools should not contact the wiring suppliers directly. Schools should call 3-5930 with questions about E-rate wiring work under the Ameritech Contract.

Wiring Paid for by Schools

Computer Wiring

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Schools that need substantial computer wiring but do not have an individual E-rate Year 2 contract are encouraged to wait for work under the Ameritech district-wide E-Rate contract. By waiting for the work to be done under the Ameritech contract, a school will not have to spend its own funds. A school that wants to spend its own funds on wiring should realize that Central Office cannot apply for E-rate reimbursement for such work. Also, the school cannot apply for E-rate reimbursement on its own for such work.

However, where a school is willing and able to pay for minor E-rate eligible work, the school may obtain wiring work using the procedures below. Schools should note that creating a computer learning environment requires not only the installation of low voltage data cabling, but possibly the provision of sufficient high voltage wiring and outlets as well as proper heating and cooling (HVAC).

The procedures are:

  1. Determine whether the work is in fact E-rate eligible. Please call Estelle Maajid in the Budget Office at 3-2506 for assistance in determining if the work is eligible. If the work is in fact E-rate eligible, schools should reconsider whether to proceed without the benefit of E-rate.
  2. Discuss the proposed project with the school's assigned property advisor and obtain an estimate for the work. Self-directed schools should discuss this with Louis Jones-Tishman.
  3. Determine the source of funds that will be used to pay for the work. Neither O&M funds (552-000-4450-5370) nor capital maintenance funds may be used for this kind of work. Schools are also strongly discouraged from using government funds. (Title I, etc.) If the school proposes to use government funds for this work, it is likely that the property advisers will not be able to manage the project for the school.
  4. If the work required to complete the project is estimated to cost $10,000 or more, at least three competitive bids must be obtained for the work. However, schools are not required to use the suppliers on the Wiring Board Report for such work. Board authority for such work comes from Board Report 99-0825-PR65, which covers work performed or subcontracted by a property advisor. Any work valued at $10,000 or more must be performed by a firm that is currently or is willing to become a signatory to the applicable union agreement with the Chicago Building Trades Council in accordance with the Project Labor Agreement.
  5. Contact the office of Paula McCabe, Director of Asset Management and Department of Operations, at 3-2960 to arrange for a transfer of the school's funds into a budget line that can be used to pay for the work.
  6. If funding for the project is transferred to the Department of Operations, the property advisor will manage the wiring project for the school. If funding is not transferred to the Department of Operations, the school must obtain appropriate Board authority prior to proceeding with the work. Failure to obtain Board authority will result in an inability to pay the contractor(s) for the work.

Non-Computer Wiring

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A school requiring routine repair and maintenance wiring (moving a light switch, installing electrical outlets, etc.) must follow the procedures for the Department of Operations' Repairs and Maintenance Program. This type of wiring should be funded out of the school's O&M budget. To obtain this type of wiring,

  1. Discuss the project with the school's property advisor and have the property advisor obtain estimates. Self-directed schools may elect to use Louis Jones-Tishman to provide specifications for this work.
  2. Schools are not required to use the suppliers on the Wiring Board Report for such work. Board authority for such work comes from Board Report 99-0825-PR65, which covers work performed or subcontracted by a property advisor. However, any work valued at $10,000 or more must be competitively bid and awarded to a firm that is currently or is willing to become a signatory to the applicable union agreement with the Chicago Building Trades Council in accordance with the Project Labor Agreement.

Option for Schools to Pay for Wiring Work: The CPS FINSS Program

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One option available to schools to fund their wiring project is using the FINSS (Financial Solutions for Schools) Program. This program was designed to help a school purchase everything necessary upfront to complete a project, rather than purchasing it on a piecemeal basis. In turn, the school will be able to pay for the project over a number of years rather than funding all of it upfront. It is imperative that before the school completes a FINSS application for its wiring project that it must follow all Purchasing Procedures as described above.

A school should undertake the following steps when applying for FINSS financing for a wiring project:

  1. Call David Burrow, FINSS Administrator (FA), at 3-2798, and request a FINSS Application Packet.
  2. Follow the new Purchasing Procedures detailed above, based on your school's decision to fund a wiring project internally, in order to obtain a winning supplier's quote.
  3. Complete the FINSS application, which will incorporate the detailed paperwork, consisting of the winning supplier quote and its related approvals. Obtain the necessary signatures on the application and return to the FA. At this point, the FA will work on your school's application to obtain the necessary approvals for the financing portion. This primarily entails verifying that your school's intended means of repayment on your purchase is adequate.
  4. Sign and return the Agreement for the Purchase of Equipment (APE) legal document. Once the FA has all necessary approvals, a Board Report is initiated by the FA on behalf of the school that details the purchase itself and the intended use of financing to pay for this purchase. However, before the Board Report can be completed, it is critical that the FA has a completely signed APE from your school. The signatures on the APE show that both the Principal and the LSC of your school have read and completely understand the contractual obligations of all parties. One of the major impetuses toward the completion of the APE is the payment schedule itself. This payment schedule will give a good estimate to your school on what you can expect to pay back each year. The annual payments will take into account the total purchase price, any applicable down payment, the number of years your school wants to finance for, and the prevailing market interest rates.
  5. Work with the FA to track the status of the Board Report approval process in order to determine when a requisition may be entered into the system so that a purchase order can be issued to the selected supplier for the goods and services itemized on the quote. Once the goods and services have been delivered and installed by the supplier, your school will sign an Acknowledgement of Receipt indicating that the supplier has satisfactorily supplied your school.

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