Tucson district using Internet to unload old stuff - East Valley Tribune: Business

Tucson district using Internet to unload old stuff

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 11:38 am | Updated: 10:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

TUCSON - The Tucson Unified School District is moving its annual auction of kinda-junked-out and mostly used-up school equipment to a new venue.

This year, buyers are going to need an Internet connection if they want to bid.

After a trial run on the Web site Publicsurplus.com last year, which netted about $10,000 in bus and tool sales, the auction is going fully online.

The district had previously unloaded the used equipment during one big auction, complete with previews of the merchandise and a fast-talking auctioneer.

Imaginative sorts concocted a number of uses for old school buses with 10 years and 400,000 miles under the hood. Around the TUSD facilities office, there's a recollection of a man who wanted to take the wheels off one and use it as a barn to store his hay.

"It's amazing what people will buy," said the district's chief operations officer, Rudy Flores.

He said the district has sold everything from pianos to physical-education equipment, playground pieces, computers, air-conditioning units and desks.

District asset-management supervisor Pamela McFadyen said it's too early to see how successful the switch to online might be.

She plans to start posting items over the next week or so.

The online auction requires more monitoring than the old system because staffers have to monitor bids. There is the added inconvenience of having to show the properties to folks who literally want to kick the tires before paying out.

On the other hand, being able to sell throughout the year instead of at one big event means there's less frenetic preparation time for staff and fewer things that need to be stored all year.

The annual auctions are netting the district about $45,000, a fraction of what the district paid for the items.

Another Tucson-area district, Amphitheater Public Schools, started with Publicsurplus.com in 2006.

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