Sandown Owes No Buyout to TRSD

At tonight’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Arthur Green made a brief presentation arguing that Sandown should owe no buyout fee to withdraw from the district.  As are all Mr. Green’s arguments, it is well supported by facts and a defensible reading of the law.  He did not have time to deliver the entire presentation tonight as he did not want to abuse public comment though the selectmen were certainly inviting and attentive.

Here is his presentation in full and I urge anyone interested in the buyout TRSD is demanding to look at these slides and form your own opinion.

Sandown Withdrawal – Buyout of Schools rev Aug10

18 Comments

Filed under Withdrawal Feasibility Study, Withdrawing from District

18 responses to “Sandown Owes No Buyout to TRSD

  1. Curt Springer

    I disagree with this analysis. It ignores the clauses “to said school building” and “toward such costs”.

    • Mark Acciard

      With all due respect Towards such costs, should reasonably be interpreted as the “capital improvement costs” apportioned to Sandown from the TRSD budget for the years in question. While Sandown in theory owes TRSD for the buildings, the District owes Sandown for the monies paid. While the Town forfeits equity upon withdrawal, they DO NOt forfeit it PRIOR to withdrawal, which is the Town’s position

  2. Erich Beyrent

    As Cathy Gorman is fond of saying, laws are written in plain English. Once you start interpreting them, you are trying to go around the law. I see this as a very creative interpretation, and despite the fact that I don’t have a law degree, I can see how this argument is flawed. Feels like Arthur is grasping at straws to justify claims of unfairness.

    I’ll also point out that as there’s no existing case law, fighting this in court will likely be quite expensive and I doubt the town is interested in following through to its judicial conclusion, especially when those funds are really needed to fix a closed bridge and crumbling roads.

  3. AAT

    Does AG’s analysis take into account Sandown’s responsibility for the remainder of the bond period? In fairness to the other town’s in the district, that should continue since all towns entered into the bond in good faith with the expectation that the other town’s would pay their share throughout the period. The thought being that it is a legal obligation so even if Sandown withdrew from the district, it still owes the payment.

    Others have mentioned this but I don’t think the state is trying to make things fair or simple for a town to withdraw from a school district.

    • Yes, paying back our share of the bond is beyond question and absolutely must be done both in the letter of the law and in fairness. It is the buyout the district is proposing that is the issue. AG plans to write a followup guest blog posting in a few days to address these other comments. Thanks for writing. Like your moniker.

  4. Peter Bealo

    With all due respect to Arthur, I am sure he is a heck of a Project Manager and probably knows some economics considering it is his only degree (BA from McGill, a super school), but he is neither an accountant nor an attorney and his resume (find him on LinkedIn.Com, you’ll recognize the handsome picture) shows no indication of classes or experience in either field. So following his tortured non-legal reasoning seems problematic at best.

    The people of Sandown would be well advised to get the opinion of someone schooled and experienced in these fields. Betting your (not mine!) multimillions of tax dollars on his opinions seems to me to be a huge gamble. If you follow Arthur and he rolls snake eyes, you end up owing on average $3,800 extra above your usual tax bill one year if Sandown leaves TRSD. That’s what an $8M bill would cause, a 1 year tax increase of ~$3,800. If you are all good with that amount and forcing all your neighbors to pay that bill as well, then by all means continue following this path.

    I am not saying I am an accountant or lawyer, but I am not suggesting you follow a perilous path with no professional backup either. AND I have heard the opinions of lawyers who have experience in district breakups that do not agree with Arthur’s arguements. So just be cautious out there. I have no skin in this game, and as a Plaistow resident I believe that Sandown leaving the district will actually lower my taxes, so I can’t be accused later of over-blowing my warnings, I have no reason to do so.

    • Curt Springer

      I think Arthur is wrong but I would prefer to deal with his logic as opposed to ad hominem commentary. I am one to publish my opinions of things legal from time to time and often when people can’t refute what I write they respond with the “you’re not a lawyer” stuff.

      It’s funny when people agree with my opinions they respond with comments like “you should have been a lawyer” etc., but when some of the same people disagree on another topic either there is silence or they trot out the “you’re not a lawyer” line.

      I always say that I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on TV. 🙂

      • Mr. Bealo goes right for the person and not the issue. My father always told me that was characteristic of a small mind, but I have learned otherwise. It is characteristic of people who can’t fight the argument with reason, facts and logic. Thank you for your perceptive comments (even though we seldom agree).

    • Len Mullen

      Peter, what are your qualifications to judge Arthur? My only exposure to your reasoning ability was your explanation as to why you would protect your children from the district’s pedophiles while protecting the district’s pedophiles from public opinion. I do not know what your education is, but I don’t like what it has done to your judgement. Arthur Green would subject your kids to nothing he would shield his kids from. He’s a better human that you are.

    • Mark Acciard

      Peter, with all due respect, I have always been of the opinion that when you choose to “shoot the messenger” rather than engage in the substance of the issue, you lose the argument. Just my humble opinion

  5. Jim Buckley

    Erich (and Majority Committee),
    I don’t understand the comments about wanting to see if Sandown and the BOS want to still go through with this. The people of Sandown voted 69.8% YES to go through with this study at the election on March 10th. YES, we most certainly want to go through with this. You seem to forget that a great majority of the voters want this study due to extreme dissatisfaction with TRSD, which continues to spend more money to educate less students year after year.
    The people of Sandown would probably vote to spend more money on “closed bridge” and “crumbling roads” if our school tax rate was not one of the highest in the entire state.
    Peter – It’s a nice scare tactic to throw out a figure of $3,800 per property. I would assume that we could get a bond (loan) to pay the amount over a 10 or 20 year time frame and get the cost to a reasonable figure. Nice try

    • Erich Beyrent

      Jim, “go through with a study”, yes. Present it to the NH DOE and actually withdraw from the district, no. That wasn’t the language in the citizen’s petition, it wasn’t what the voters agreed to.

  6. Curt Springer

    I don’t understand the distinction that people want to make between the circumstances “prior to” and “at” withdrawal. At the current time, the Sandown School District does not legally exist. It was extinguished when TRSD was formed. TRSD is the fee owner of all facilities subject to any lenders’ rights. If and when the Sandown School District is reconstituted as part of the withdrawal, it will once again be a municipal corporation. As of its formation it will have no equity in any TRSD facilities anywhere. Upon repayment of the money put into SC and SN by the other towns, TRSD will convey its interest in those facilities to the Sandown School District subject to any lenders’ rights. It might not be fair, but it is simple. There has been talk of legislative intent. My *guess* (admit it, you are guessing too) is that the legislature wanted to have a clear process that could be accommodated in the 180 day time frame of a withdrawal process, and which was not unfair to the towns in the cooperative district. It might or might not be fair to the withdrawing district, I think that was a secondary concern. Once you make fairness a paramount concern than you are inviting a drawn out litigious process. One way the divorce model does not hold is that if one of the parties is settled with a house that is bigger than s/he needs, s/he can sell it to somebody who can use it. That likely isn’t true with the TRSD middle school or HS. You could make the argument that there is no utility to TRSD for having full title to a HS that is one quarter empty, so why should Sandown get a credit for it. Or maybe it would save expansion costs to the remaining towns so therefore it would make sense to pay Sandown off. I don’t want to argue these hypotheticals, just to make the point that fairness is in the eye of the beholder and the whole separation could be in question while the parties wrangle over fairness and ultimately leave it to a judge to settle.

  7. Pingback: Threats of Expulsion Reach the Sandown BOS | timberlaneandsandown

  8. Pingback: Withdrawal Buyout: Legal Ransom? | timberlaneandsandown

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