The company uses EBay primarily because of strict resale rules for the surplus materials that require bidding, said InterSchola founder and President Melissa Rich.
“It’s more of a listing service,” she said. “Craigslist, unfortunately, does not qualify for the requirement that these be sold through public auction.”
Because school equipment is bought with public funds, state law requires school boards to put surplus supplies up for competitive bidding. Glendale Unified doesn’t have the staff to comply with the regulations, so it’s more cost effective to work with InterSchola, Fenton said.
“You have to have a body to do it and someone to follow up, and we’re pretty thin,” he said.
InterSchola works with about 30% of California school districts in selling or buying exercise equipment, foot service machines, musical instruments, computers and athletic equipment, Rich said.
“Rather than reinvent the wheel, EBay has 84 million registered users, and those people are interested in buying the equipment or things school districts have to sell,” she said. “And most of those people are repeat buyers.”
Selling used or outdated equipment is a regular process, in good times and bad, Fenton said.
“It’s more routine than it is something out of desperation,” he said.
“We do this surplus property a lot, whether it’s computers, food service equipment or those types of items.”
Rich has seen both sides because the company opened in the Bay Area in 2004.
“It’s a sign of the times that there are these declining budgets,” she said. “School districts, especially in declining budget times, just don’t have the resources to focus on what to do with their old stuff.”