Tri-Board Meeting, January 24, 2011

7:30 in the Selectman’s Meeting Room in Town Hall.  Agenda here.

The School Committee, Selectmen and FinCom will discuss the proposed Trust Administration Order that the court required be revised as part of the agreement for judgment.

Points of interest compared to previous versions of this document are:

* A new policy requiring reinvestment means it will be more difficult to diminish the principal over time (good) , but also reduces the amount that the Feoffees will be able to distribute each year.  Given this change, the School Committee should present their analysis of how much they anticipate the Trust distributing in future years, and how this compares to the additional costs that the school system would have as a result of students from the new year-round residences so that we can see whether there is any money left for “enhancements”.

* The trust document doesn’t give the new trustees any say over the usage of the so-called “additional” $3M of back rent that distinguishes this deal from the original $29.1M deal that the School Committee has opposed for over a year.  This money is committed to be spent “off the top” and is not included in the calculation of the principal of the Trust fund for future generations.

* The primary concern that remains with this document is that it leaves too much control in the hands of School Committee, and only requires funds to be used for enhancement “when feasible” (see Section 3).  Our vision of the way this Trust should work – whether based on cash or land – is more like a foundation that makes grants based on the merits of an application for funds.  Earlier versions of this document hewed closer to this line.  As written, it will be much too easy for these funds to just be absorbed into the school budget over time.

Even though we do not believe this document will ever be put into practice, since the settlement will not go through, this is an important discussion to participate in.  The basic tenets of how the future Feoffees will operate and how funds are distributed are the same whether the asset is land or dollars.