Q Section 31-7-13(d)(iv) contains language authorizing negotiation with the lowest and best bidder as long as the bid is not more than ten percent (10%) above the amount of funds allocated for the project. May a school district determine the amount of funds allocated after the bids have been received?

A The determination of the funds allocated as contemplated in Section 31-7-13(d)(iv) is a factual determination to be made by the board of trustees of the school district. Such determination should be made prior to the solicitation of bids to ensure that the public entity has sufficient funds available to it to procure the proposed construction contract. The board may not, after receipt of the bids, allocate other available funding sources that do not correspond directly to the request for bids in order to trigger its authority to negotiate under this section. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Watkins, dated April 20, 2012)