Warehouse manager earns his district thousands through online auction

Arizmendi has sold everything from buses to band equipment online.

While schools around the country are dealing with major budget cuts, one supply warehouse manager has figured out how to put money back into the hands of his district.

Gilbert Arizmendi, a supply warehouse manager for Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Greeley Tribune, Colo., used an online public auction service to rid the district of surplus materials while also earning it money.

With all of the old equipment Arizmendi and his team had to handle, space was filling up quickly.

“We had a facility building that was an old bus garage, and it just overflowed so much that we couldn’t even get to our lawn mowers. We also had a bus wash bay that we took over and filled up,” Arizmendi recalled.

The supply managing team examined a variety of different options to get rid of the unused items, but these all would have cost the district money.

Instead, Arizmendi turned to a website that specializes in auctioning public surpluses.

“We found that it’s a good way to help the district raise money on some items that normally would not have been sold,” he said.

The auction has raised significant funds for the district, with more than $40,000 raised between 2009 and 2011.

Arizmendi said he’s posted 200 items in that time, listing everything from school buses to shop equipment, band uniforms, and even five empty sewing machine cases that sold to a buyer from Texas.

“The auction has such a big audience. We have people not only from Colorado, but there are people from six other states that have purchased our items,” Arizmendi said.

He added that a variety of items sold were things the district didn’t expect to have buyers for.

“Most recently, somebody down in Denver just purchased some of our old kitchen equipment for a lot more than we thought the value of it was,” he said.

While earning his district money through the online auction, Arizmendi also was able to put a large portion of the items back into use.

“We’re a school in a budget reduction this year,” Arizmendi pointed out. “By doing the auction, it brought the awareness that we have these things—and surprisingly, a lot of these schools are taking these items and putting them back into use.”

The district was able to put more than 1,600 items back in use in its schools, at an estimate savings of $26,000.

The service Arizmendi used is called Public Surplus, based in Provo, Utah.

Arizmendi posts his items on the website for four days only. Payments are set up as a direct deposit to his district.

“I feel every district could use this as a way to generate money while saving their district the expense of having to dispose of any surplus. It has been very profitable for us, and we will continue to utilize this method of liquidating our surplus,” he said.

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