Emergency Resolutions

  • When an emergency exists in your district, your governing board may enter into a contract without bidding and advertising as required by law even though the contract exceeds the bid thresholds of $15,000 for a public project or $96,700 for purchases, services, and repairs for calendar year 2021.  This may be done only if specific criteria are met.

     Adoption of an emergency resolution by your governing board and approval by the county superintendent of schools is required pursuant to Public Contract Code §20113 for K-12 districts or §20654 for community colleges.

     The emergency provision only provides relief from bidding and advertising and not from obtaining the written contract, necessary bonds, certificates of insurance, change orders or any other required documentation or procedures.  

     If you have any questions, please Todd Humphreys at extension 5372.

Emergency Resolution Guidelines

    1. There must be an emergency. An emergency exists when any repairs, alterations, work, or improvement is necessary to permit the continuance of existing school classes, or to avoid danger to life or property pursuant to Public Contract Code §20113 for K-12 districts or §20654 for community colleges. 

    1. A school or community college district board may declare an emergency by unanimous vote and pass an emergency resolution to award a contract without advertising for bids. The county superintendent must also approve this resolution. 

    1. When preparing your resolution, provide a thorough description of the emergency and circumstances surrounding it. State why the standard bidding process cannot be utilized. Do not assume what seems obvious to you as an emergency is obvious to a vendor who feels they should have been given an opportunity to bid on work done or purchases made.  Ask yourself if a reasonable person would agree that there is an emergency.  Cite in your resolution at least one of the reasons listed under Public Contract Code §20113 or §20654.

           Consider the following issues and respond to the applicable items within the resolution. Be sure to include supporting documentation for your board.                           

           The items listed below are not meant to be all inclusive:

    • What is the emergency? Describe in detail what happened, when, and where. 
    • Why is this an emergency? Explain the consequences if your district does not immediately make the repairs or purchase. 
    • Is there danger to life or property?
    • Are there immediate safety or health issues for staff and students?
    • Is there a financial impact to your district? Can school begin or continue?  Would there be a loss of ADA?
    • Are there available classrooms to move students into while waiting to go through the standard bid process and/or while work is being done?
    • Is timing critical? Explain the consequences if you went through the standard bid process instead of using the emergency provision. State how many weeks it will take to go through the bid process and the time needed to complete the repairs. 


    1. In the past, our office has received late notification and emergency resolution language that is too vague. Please notify School Business Advisory Services as soon as possible after the emergency and fax or email a copy of the draft resolution that you plan to present to the board.
    1. Our staff will review your resolution for completeness and assist you with any changes or additions needed to clearly document the specific facts surrounding your district’s emergency under Public Contract Code §20113 or §20654. This will expedite processing by the county superintendent.
    1. After your board passes the emergency resolution, send the original copy to our office for the county superintendent’s approval. We will forward the resolution for review and notify you if it is approved.

Template and Examples