Take Note

October 10, 2001 1 min read

One District’s Junk

Utah school districts are getting rid of surplus equipment over the Internet., a surplus and procurement auction service based in Orem that works with state and local agencies, isn’t likely to rival eBay any time soon.

But for the 73,500-student Jordan district, online public auctions are the way to go.

Richard Field, the district’s director of purchasing and warehousing, said live auctions usually had to be held every six months to free up warehouse space. While the auctions normally netted as much as $15,000, the high cost of moving things to and from an auction house, along with 25 percent sales commissions, were taking their toll.

“With the Web site, we can put items up for sale and reach more people in more places than a live auction ever could,” Mr. Field said. “It also lowers our labor costs substantially, and we only pay an 8 percent commission.”

The site sells just about everything: lockers, school buses, classroom items, cafeteria supplies, and maintenance equipment, such as snowblowers.

Derek McFarland, the vice president of product management at, said many districts are seeing good returns. The Jordan district has made close to $50,000 in six months using the online service. The site began hosting auctions last year for the 48,250- student Alpine district, which expects to surpass $100,000 from the online sales by Nov 1.

“Surplus is a very political issue for school districts, and our service gives them a means to supply items to each other and the public, and still have a good audit trail to show that they’ve attempted to use and recycle what they’ve received wisely,” Mr. McFarland added.

The company is going national. School districts and state organizations in California, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia have signed on to sell their wares.

— Marianne Hurst