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How to Become a Vendor

There are two ways to become a vendor for Chicago Public Schools:

  • 1. Contract

    Receive a contract award from a contracting opportunity open to the public

    If your firm is interested in seeking a contract award, check our Contracting Opportunities page daily and follow the instructions to respond to the solicitation (bids, request for proposals or request for qualifications). The Department of Procurement will release solicitations daily for the general public and pre-qualified contractors.

  • 2. Sponsorship

    Obtain a CPS Principal, CPS Network Chief, or CPS Department Director Level Sponsorship

    If a School, Network or Department has the intent to use your goods or services, they must log into Oracle and go under Internal Accounting or Web Inquiry begin the process. Please note: This process must be initiated by CPS and approved by the Principal, Network Chief, or Department Director, not the vendor.

    Once sponsorship information has been approved by a Principal, Chief or Director, the Procurement team will review the vendor sponsorship request. If the sponsorship is accepted, a CPS Supplier Application will be sent to the prospective vendor for completion. If the sponsorship request is not accepted, Procurement will notify the sponsor with a reason for the rejection. Only applications sent directly by Procurement will be processed. Please note: This process must also be followed for vendors who need to be reactivated for a school or department to use.

    Sponsoring a vendor has been moved to Oracle iProcurement. Click here for a step-by-step training video (must be logged in to the CPS Network)


    Contact Us

The Department of Procurement does not accept unsolicited vendor applications. This means we do not on-board vendors who have not won a contract through our Solicitation process or who schools do not have the intent to use.

Important Reminders for Vendors

  • Vendors must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances and statutes.
  • Potential vendors who are not participating in a solicitation event MUST be sponsored by a Principal, Chief, or Director. It is the responsibility of the Principal, Chief, or Director to submit the formal sponsorship documentation.
  • Do not start any work without an approved PO. If you deliver goods and/or provide services without an approved purchase order, payment is not guaranteed or invoice processing will be delayed.
  • Vendors will become inactive within 15 months of no activity. Inactive vendors must follow the same process as a new vendor.
  • Do not attempt to bypass the procurement rules. This is stringing, which is strictly prohibited and against Federal and State law.
    • Prohibition Against Stringing. “Stringing” is dividing or planning any procurement program, activity, transaction, invoice, purchase order or agreement involving the Board or any of its operational elements (including offices, departments, bureaus, programs, units and schools) to avoid either: (a) any of the competitive procurement processes set forth in Board Rules 7–2 and 7–3; or (b) any of the limitations on delegated authority set forth in Board Rule 7-13 or 105 ILCS 5/34–8.1. Stringing is prohibited under Illinois State Law and can result in jail time and termination of employment.

      720 ILCS 5/33E-2(i-5) "Stringing" means knowingly structuring a contract or job order to avoid the contract or job order being subject to competitive bidding requirements.

      720 ILCS 5/33E-18 Sec. 33E-18. Unlawful stringing of bids.(a) A person commits unlawful stringing of bids when he or she, with the intent to evade the bidding requirements of any unit of local government or school district, knowingly strings or assists in stringing, or attempts to string any contract or job order with the unit of local government or school district. (b) Sentence. Unlawful stringing of bids is a Class 4 felony.

      730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-45 Sec. 5-4.5-45. CLASS 4 FELONIES; SENTENCE. For a Class 4 felony: (a) TERM. The sentence of imprisonment shall be a determinate sentence of not less than one year and not more than 3 years.

  • All vendors are subject to the Procurement spend limits (no more than $25,000 in total biddable and non-biddable goods or services), unless authorized by a fully executed Board contract. Biddable purchases cannot exceed $25K annual cumulative total with non-strategic source suppliers. See Board Rule 7–2. Non-biddable purchases cannot exceed $25K annual cumulative total (single FY) with non-strategic source suppliers without additional procurement approvals through a CPOR. See Board Rule 7–3.
  • Pursuant to the Debarment Policy of the Chicago Public Schools (08-1217-PO1), the vendors on the Debarred Vendor List (PDF | Spreadsheet) have been disqualified and are prohibited from doing business with CPS.
  • Vendors also must comply with the Chicago Public Schools' Code of Ethics Policy and Indebtedness Policy.
  • All vendors must comply with the Remedial Plan For Minority And Women Business Enterprise Economic Participation (M/WBE Program). In order to be designated as a minority or women-owned business, you must be certified by the City of Chicago. For information on becoming certified by the City, please read about M/WBE certification at the City's web site. More information about the M/WBE Program is available.
  • Vendors must submit a valid Certificate of Insurance to our certificate monitoring service (Topiary) to confirm that you and/your firm are compliant with our Insurance Requirements.

Approved CPS Purchase Order Requirement

Chicago Public Schools Board Rule 7-1(b) requires that all CPS vendors must obtain an approved Purchase Order (PO) prior to providing any goods or services.

If you deliver goods and/or provide services to a CPS School or Department without an approved purchase order, payment is not guaranteed and invoice processing may be delayed.

Insurance Requirements & Registration

In order to maintain an active CPS vendor number, Chicago Public Schools requires that all active CPS vendors maintain a valid Certificate of Insurance on file. We have partnered with Topiary Communications, Inc. to ensure that our insurance liability requirements are met. If you have received an email from Topiary regarding insurance certification, be sure to reply in order to avoid any potential delays to your vendor number activation.

Topiary Communications Inc.
676 N. LaSalle - Suite 230
Chicago, IL 60654
312-494-5709 (Website)

Debarment Policy and List of Debarred Vendors

The Debarment Policy of Chicago Public Schools (08-1217-PO1) has been adopted by the Board to further its goal of protecting the Board from engaging in business relations with dishonest, unethical, or otherwise irresponsible individuals. Firms and individuals listed on the Debarred Vendor List (PDF | Spreadsheet) are prohibited from doing business with CPS.

Department of Procurement


773-553-2251 (Fax)