Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Evergreen schools surplus sale a hot commodity

Hundreds of people lined up in the heat to score iPads, computers, cameras — even vehicles

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
7 Photos
Vancouver resident Michael Nguyen waits for devices to turn on while he looks at a video camera during Evergreen Public Schools' surplus sale Friday. Nguyen, a 2012 Evergreen High School graduate, just earned his masters degree to become a teacher and came to Friday's event to help stock up for his future classroom.
Vancouver resident Michael Nguyen waits for devices to turn on while he looks at a video camera during Evergreen Public Schools' surplus sale Friday. Nguyen, a 2012 Evergreen High School graduate, just earned his masters degree to become a teacher and came to Friday's event to help stock up for his future classroom. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

What does a successful surplus sale look like? Lines hundreds deep at Evergreen Public Schools’ one-day surplus sale Friday is a good indication, but Scott Eppinger, the district’s senior director of facilities, went a step further.

“A success would be if everybody standing out there could go home with something,” he said.

Hundreds of shoppers arrived early — and many hoped for just a chance to get inside — to scour the thousands of old and outdated items and equipment available for purchase at discount prices at the district’s surplus sale Friday at Evergreen High School. By 10 a.m. — an hour into the event — roughly 500 people stood outside waiting to get in.

Once inside, most items available were used electronics: iPads, Chromebooks, computers, monitors, DVD players, cameras, printers and even projectors. Outdated textbooks and district vehicles also were available for purchase. The event was open to the general public.

State guidance prevents school districts from donating tax payer-purchased property. District officials said money from items sold goes back into EPS’ general and transportation funds. Unsold items will be sold elsewhere.

Shoppers had various reasons for spending part of their morning at Evergreen. Online learning is what drove Traicy Bernal, an employee and parent in Vancouver Public Schools, to attend Evergreen’s sale. She planned to purchase multiple iPads and Chromebooks, and she arrived 40 minutes before the door opened at 9 a.m. to a “massive” line. Some items, such as MacBooks, sold out early, she said.

“I got what I wanted,” Bernal said. … “You never know with COVID and when you’ll have to be online, and it’s a good way to get an iPad.”

As he waited for the line to purchase items to subside, Michael Nguyen found an area to test a projector, two iPads and two Chromebooks he planned to purchase for his new classroom — wherever that will be. Nguyen, a 2012 Evergreen High graduate, is a teacher for hire. He just wrapped up his master’s program at Pacific University in Oregon and student-taught second grade in 2020-21 at Grass Valley Elementary in the Camas School District.

Friday’s event was a good way to start stocking up on supplies as he waits to land his first job.

“It’s cheap, and if it works, that’s great,” he said. “Getting stuff that works is the biggest issue.”

Lori Schimmel arrived Friday morning to already long lines wrapped around parts of the school, through the main parking lot and around the high school’s tennis courts. She said she’s a bargain hunter, and saw a social media posting about the event earlier in the week. She’s dropped in at other school surplus sales in Clark County, but Evergreen had what she hoped to get: projectors at $25 apiece.

“If there’s one left,” Schimmel said, waiting in line, “that’s my summer project — building a backyard movie theater.”

Some buyers later on Friday reported issues with iPads and Chromebooks still being connected to the district’s management systems. The district said it is aware of the issue and its information technology department is working to fix the matter. People who purchased devices who are still experiencing problems can send an email to surplus@evergreenps.org or call 360-604-4128.

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