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Purchasing Q&A

From the Division of Contracts and Purchasing

What is the preferred way to purchase supplies?

The preferred way to order is through FAMIS at FAMIS has replaced FASTRACK.

Do we still have to use contracted vendors?

Yes, we must order from contracted vendors. On FAMIS the awarded vendors catalog number is located on the “I” icon. We are basically dealing with three contracted vendors at this time. Sargent Welch has the contract for aquarium and earth science supplies. Frey has the contract for everything else. Staples has the contract for office supplies.

What do I do if a chemical or a supply is not on FAMIS?

There are two ways to do this. First call the Client Services help desk at 718-935-4444. Ask to speak to Evelyn. The Help Desk is there to help you in all areas of ordering. If you need further assistance you can call or email Marc Eiselman at 718-935-2097 or

How do I cross reference items on FAMIS so I know I am ordering the correct item?

You can cross reference items by going on awarded vendor’s website and search by vendor’s catalog number. On FAMIS the awarded vendors catalog number on the “I” icon.

How can chemicals be ordered?

Chemicals are regulated and must be monitored and therefore, bought only on FAMIS.

Who has the contract for chemicals?

FREY has the contract for chemicals.

How do you look up chemicals on FAMIS?

Go to FAMIS and type in chemical and search by description. FAMIS has trouble recognizing plurals.

How do we pay for hazardous shipping fees?

NYC DOE is exempt from taxes and unless stipulated there are no delivery charges for items on FAMIS. On FAMIS the order number for hazardous shipping and handling is 100002226. When ordering your chemicals do not forget to include this number for shipping. This number is only to be included once per order regardless of how many chemicals you are ordering.

What about the shipping fee for living specimens?

On FAMIS the number for Living Specimens is 1000017757. This number should be entered only once per order regardless of how many specimens are ordered.

Are there minimum order fees?

There is still a $25 minimum order fee.

Does it pay to order excess chemicals to make the $25 minimum order fee?

Plan ahead when ordering chemicals. Order enough chemicals for the year. Remember it is recommended to keep chemicals only for five years. FAMIS allows you to find out by vendor what other items they have on contract. This way you do not have to over order chemicals. You can order other items you need to make the $25 minimum from that vendor.

How do we find out what a contracted vendor has to offer?

To find out go to the FAMIS portal. Under OPTIONS click on Contracted Items E-Catalog. Go to the Preview Screen and in the Search Box move the arrow down to search by Vendor Name or by Vendor Code.

What do we do if a contract has expired?

Contact Client Services help desk at 718-935-4444 or Marc Eiselman at or by phone at 718-935-2097.

What is the timeframe for ordering?

The time frame depends on the contract. The contract terms allow 15 days after receipt of order. When ordering chemicals plan ahead next day delivery would be impossible.

What about ordering through IMPREST funds?

Imprest Funds have been replaced by SIPP. SIPP stands for Small Item Payment Procurement. This is used for reimbursements of monies spent up to $500. To receive reimbursement use FAMIS. Laboratory Specialists should use their Employee ID#. Your ID# is on your pay stub. Or you can use a Purchase Order and enter your name as the PO#.

What is a P-Card?

The P-Card is a Procurement Card. The P-Card is a debit card. The principal of your school has it and he puts money on it. He can put a maximum of $15,000 on it. It can be used as petty cash for emergencies or incidentals such as flowers, fish food or anything you purchase at the corner store. $5,000 is the maximum for a single transaction.

Are the Living Environment required labs and the Earth Science Part D supplies available on FAMIS?

The required labs and supplies are on FAMIS. They are either listed on FAMIS as a kit or as a line item. The Earth Science kits supply equipment for 24 students. However, the kits do not include the Electronic Scale.

Will there still be times when we need to get 3 BIDS for items not on FAMIS that are over $250?

If an item cannot be found please contact the Client Service help desk or Marc Eiselman first. If they cannot get a FAMIS number for the item the 3 BIDS are required.

What is the procedure for 3 BIDS?

Items not found on FAMIS totaling $250 or more must get 3 BIDS from three different vendors. You must call the vendor and speak to the Government Sales or BID Department and ask for a price quote for the items you are looking to purchase. Make sure the price include delivery to your school location. You cannot just get prices out of the catalog. There are special rates for NYC Schools. You have to fill out a BID form with the vendor's name and address. The name of the representative you spoke to and the quoted price. The form must then be submitted to the purchasing secretary of your school for purchase.

How do I get repairs for microscopes and scales?

Micro Optics has the contract for repairs through FAMIS. Micro Optics' phone number is 718-961-8883 if you need more details.