CHARLOTTE — On Tuesday night, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board voted in favor of auctioning off the 46,000 clear backpacks that were purchased this year.
CMS bought the bags for more than $441,000. A typical auction generates $500 to $15,000 for the school district.
The bags have been sitting in storage for months. Just days before they were scheduled to be handed out to iMeck Academy students, the district paused the rollout due to the discovery of Proposition 65 tags. Prop 65 tags are common. Proposition 65 is for California residents and “requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
The company that made the backpacks, AD Sutton, told Channel 9 the warning only applies to California and that the tags can be removed.
In May, the district told Channel 9 it did a risk assessment on the bags and determined they were unlikely to pose a risk to students. Despite that, the district announced with less than a week to go in the school year, that the bags would not be handed out to students.
“After exhausting options for return and resell, the superintendent’s recommendation to the Board of Education on Tuesday is dispersion of the inventory in surplus auction,” CMS spokesperson Cassie Fambro said.
If approved by the school board, the backpacks will be auctioned off on GovDeals.com, an “online marketplace provides services to government, educational, and related entities for the sale of surplus assets to the public.”
According to Fambro, the auction is expected to take place in late June or early July and anyone can bid on the bags. Due to their packaging, the backpacks can only be purchased in boxes of 12 or 24. According to Fambro, multiples of 12 and 24 work as well.
Fambro says CMS typically has items listed for auction on any given day. Auctions are held throughout the calendar year, not just at the end of the school year.
According to the agenda, the district is seeking to auction off more than just bags. Other items that may be sold include 15 fax machines, 30 wooden chairs and 15 library carts.
Clear backpacks were proposed by former Superintendent Earnest Winston as a solution to the increased number of firearms found on campus. Winston was fired by the CMS Board in April.
(WATCH BELOW: CMS pauses rollout of clear backpacks due to warning tags)
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