Effective Surplus Disposal Eases San Jose USD’s Burden

July 20, 2007

Patrick Day, then the Director of Purchasing and Contract Management of San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD), faced a familiar problem for education institutions – surplus disposal. His district was paying too much money to have its surplus items taken to a local dump. For the remaining surplus equipment that did have value, such as pianos, food service equipment and swimming pool pumps, the district had no effective model to capture the remaining value in these items. As a result, surplus items were piling up in his warehouse. Moreover, Day knew that with a number of school closings pending, the surplus pile – and its associated problems – would soon be growing.

In March 2004, Day attended a presentation by InterSchola at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. InterSchola offered a full-service solution to help school districts dispose of surplus assets, using eBay – the world’s largest auction marketplace – as its primary sales channel. InterSchola understood that most school districts have neither the time nor the proper resources to effectively manage surplus asset sales. Moreover, InterSchola demonstrated how existing venues for surplus disposal did not maximize the value of school districts’ excess property. To Day InterSchola seemed the perfect fit for SJUSD’s surplus needs.

An InterSchola representative visits the SJUSD’s warehouse to perform a complete inventory of surplus items, at the district’s request. InterSchola evaluates assets for feasibility of sale, tests equipment, takes digital photographs and gathers item-specific details. After sending documentation to ensure that SJUSD posts necessary public notice in accordance with California Education Code, InterSchola lists the items for public bid on eBay. Upon auction close, InterSchola collects payment from buyers and returns to the district to package and ship sold items or meet buyers for local pickup.

InterSchola’s services have become an essential part of SJUSD’s warehouse operations. In any given month, InterSchola may work with items from the district’s Transportation Department, Food Service Department, and/or the Buildings and Ground Department. A sample of items sold through InterSchola include 34 upright pianos, multiple pallets of salt (formerly used as water softener in the district), and a large quantity of kitchen equipment declared surplus when the district centralized its food service operations. “Our work with InterSchola started out as a new venture,” says Kelly Cefalu, SJUSD Supervisor of Operations and Warehouse, “and now it is a well-oiled machine.”

In two years, InterSchola has sold over $100,000 worth of surplus items on behalf of SJUSD. “InterSchola’s services have freed up my district staff to focus on more pressing items”, says Day, now SJUSD’s Director of Maintenance/Operations/Purchasing/Contract Management. “We don’t want to be experts at selling stuff. We want to be experts at educating kids, and InterSchola allows us to focus on the bigger picture.”

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Letter from the President – June 2007

July 7, 2007

June 16, 2007

Greetings from the floor of eBay Live, eBay’s annual user conference in Boston Massachusetts.  Several members of the InterSchola team were in Boston June 14-16th to share stories with eBay executives and eBay community members about InterSchola and to gain valuable strategies and selling tips from 3 days of live seminars taught by eBay staff.  We got a lot of great information to share with our buyers and sellers to further improve our selling results and our client and customer experience.  

 I wanted to share a few of the highlights from our eBay Live experience with you, our clients.The business and industrial, technology and vehicles (eBay motors) categories on eBay are seeing tremendous growth in terms of both supply AND demand on eBay.  These categories include many of the asset categories that InterSchola sells on behalf of our clients (maintenance and operations equipment, buildings and grounds equipment, food service equipment, facilities supplies, office equipment, technology, maintenance vehicles, buses and passenger vehicles). 

These trends bode very well for InterSchola clients that have these items to sell. There was significant discussion regarding listing strategies, start prices and eBay psychology.  Economists and psychologists agree that the strategy of setting low opening prices to spur interest is a significant factor in increasing sell through rates and final values in the online auction environment.  InterSchola has certainly seen the benefits of listing strategies using lower start prices and we encourage our clients to allow InterSchola to use these strategies to the fullest! 

InterSchola received strong accolades regarding our success to date as an eBay Top Seller (top .001% of the eBay seller community.)  We also received great praise regarding our positive feedback rating, our high average selling prices and our stellar average sell through rates (>70% on eBay)! 

My colleagues and I had ample opportunity to meet with senior executives of the eBay community during the 3 day conference to share information about our unique model of working with schools and other local government agencies.  There is tremendous support and praise for the work we are doing to help schools convert idle assets into much needed cash.  We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with eBay to the benefit of our clients!

Melissa Rich