Need a cafeteria table, some lockers or an upright piano?
Desks? Chairs? A violin, flute, clarinet or drum set?
You may be in luck.
The Wichita school district will unload more than 1,000 surplus items on Friday at a public auction in the former Dillons grocery store at 13th and Waco.
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The auction, at 10 a.m. inside the former Dillons store near North High School, is open to the public. McCurdy Auction of Wichita will conduct the sale and has been promoting it on social media.
“We buy stuff with taxpayer money, so we want to make sure we’re responsible with taxpayer money,” said Jose Martinez, supply manager for the district. “In order to be transparent … we sell any surplus at public auction and make that available to the community.”
Wichita, the state’s largest school district, tries to unload surplus items about once a quarter, Martinez said. The upcoming auction will be more expansive than most, though, because the district had to find a new auction company and hasn’t held a sale for about six months, he said.
The list of surplus items includes dozens of cafeteria tables left over after the district redesigned lunchrooms at several secondary schools. The old-style tables – mostly long rectangular tables with attached benches for seating – are “in really great shape” and would be perfect for churches or private schools, Martinez said.
“If there’s life left in it and we’re unable to put it in one of our schools, then we want to make sure it goes to a home where it’s going to be used,” he said.
Other items being auctioned include file cabinets, desks, chairs, tools, televisions, band and orchestra instruments and children’s books. Proceeds from the sale will go back into the district’s capital outlay fund, which finances building maintenance and improvements.
Previous auctions have brought in about $13,000 each, according to district officials.
Once all the auction items are assembled, Martinez and his staff will hold a “principals’ walk-through” at the auction site to allow school officials to shop for needed items. That will take place Monday, Martinez said, so some of the items listed in early advertisements for the auction may not end up being available.
“Not everybody knows what we have in other buildings, so we give all the principals an opportunity to walk through our warehouse and see if there’s something they can use in their buildings,” he said. “We repurpose it within the district before we go buy something new.”
Once that’s complete, a final auction list is assembled, Martinez said. Doors open at the auction site, 1435 N. Waco, at 8 a.m. on Friday; the auction is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
Some commenters on social media have questioned whether the auction is related to the Wichita district’s current financial crisis, a fire sale of sorts to try to make up for recent budget cuts.
Not really, Martinez said. The auctions have been held for years. But the additional revenue is especially welcome when the district is trimming its spending across the board.
“Everything that we sell is to better the schools,” Martinez said. “The money goes back into schools and the kids to make sure they have what they need.”
Doors open at the auction site, 1435 N. Waco, at 8 a.m. on Friday; the auction is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.