Thursday, October 1, 2015

Speaking of revaluation….


Last week’s Bowdoin Orient, besides the usual cultural and social amusements, and the hi-jinx in the campus security report, contained the above lead article, which you can read at

We thought it a bit ironic that while the town moves forward on revaluation of properties in town, Bowdoin’s endowment has been ‘revalued’ for the most recent fiscal year (FY 15), which ended June 30th.  As you can see, it returned 14.4% in this year, which is absolutely remarkable in today’s near zero  interest rate economy.  We’re not a hedge fund aficionado, but we think any fund would be pleased with a 14.4% annual return.

In round numbers, the fund grew by $177 million last year, or in the range of $100,000 or so for each student.  That’s damn good!

This at an elite, highly selective liberal arts college where we’re quite sure the average student is immersed in anti-capitalist rhetoric, and regular group loathing of ‘the 1%.’  Which is what alumni of Bowdoin frequently end up becoming, and as a result, donate substantial amounts to the college, driving the endowment ever higher.  Allowing the average student to be the beneficiary of the very system they are so repulsed by.  (At least in public settings.)  Perhaps they should ask their parents how they feel about the system that so generously subsidizes their education.

The story got us to wondering, to no productive purpose, whether the upcoming town wide revaluation would include all Bowdoin facilities.  We’ve long swagged that appraised value would be in the $500 million or more range, effectively raising town valuation by nearly 50%.

Such information is only of ‘academic’ curiosity, since the college is classified as a ‘non-profit’ for property tax purposes, and therefore, with only a few small exceptions, its real properties are exempt from tax payments.

Pardon us if we have a hard time swallowing ‘non-profit’ stature for an entity that earns $177 million on their savings and investments in one year.

Which is why we’re looking for a board of trustees to charter Other Side College.  We’re working on a mission statement when we find the time, and in between scraping up shekels in our own musty accounts so we can pay our ever-growing property tax levy.


On the bright side, we’ve earned more than $1 dollar so far this year on the funds in our checking account, so that’s a big help.

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