Schools dump old stuff online

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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Suffolk Public Schools has just begun selling its surplus inventory on the auctioneering Web site.

The site is designed especially for government agencies — only public agencies can sell merchandise there — but the auctions are open to the public.

“It really is amazing,” said Leo Gibbs, purchasing agent for Suffolk Public Schools. “You probably can get anything under the sun.”

For example, the Metropolitan Airports Commission in Minnesota is selling a collection of men’s watches, the city of Colton, Calif., is selling an animal control truck and Polk County in Florida is selling a trailer home.

Gibbs said Suffolk Public Schools has routinely hosted public auctions to get rid of surplus items, but administrators were looking for a way to cut down on costs.

“We were looking for something that wouldn’t involve us having to move things to a central site,” Gibbs said. “Talking to the surrounding school districts, this is what they have started doing.”

Last week, Gibbs started uploading some of the school system’s more antiquated equipment.

There is a set of 120 computers that was replaced recently; the high bid was $300 for the lot as of Tuesday evening. There is also a set of 67 televisions with a high bid of $25. A $50 bid was in the lead for a lot of more than a dozen computers. Auctions for all of the school system’s items are set to close in five to seven days, so those prices still have time to rise.

If the prices seem pretty low, Gibbs said, it’s because the school system is not worried about making the biggest buck. It’s worried about cleaning house.

“Our goal is to legally dispose of them,” Gibbs said. “And what funds we generate, we generate, but they are no longer of any use to us and we certainly don’t have any place to store them right now.”

He added that using the PublicSurplus site is a money saver in and of itself.

“It will end up saving us a lot of money in not having to move things,” Gibbs said. “If we have to pay an auctioneer to move our stuff to a central site for an auction, than that’s money we don’t have to spend right there.”

The first set of auction items will meet their deadline next week, and Gibbs said he is interested to see what price the merchandise will fetch.

“I’m exited about seeing what happens the last day,” he said. He added that the school system will use the site on a continuous basis as more items are available for sale.

To check out the site and the inventory, visit