2.8 million dollar windfall

The article is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/30/AR2006053001248.html?sub=new

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Basically, New Trier High School (one of the wealthiest schools in the nation – annual budget of $75 million average teacher salary of around $84,000) bought a painting for $62.50 ("‘Still Life With Flowers,’ a lively and whimsical work by Stuart Davis") and forgot about it. Recently they sold it at Christie’s auction house for $3.1 million.

They will use it for capital improvements in their art program. Legally, they can’t share the windfall (I don’t know the specifics) but many people are complaining that it is unfair that a school already so rich in resources should benefit even more from this experience.


Good for them! Sour grapes for the rest. Too bad. New Trier shouldn’t have to share a dime.

I don’t have any problem with it. The school owns a painting, and sells it and uses the money to support its art program.

How is it unfair that an entity that owns something of value cashes in on said item?

If the school sold the painting for $60 bucks, would it be unfair if they used that money?

Sounds like people are just sore that the wealthy got lucky. Nothing remotely unfair about it though.

The same folks that are whining that New Trier made a significant profit on the sale of that painting would be hollering if the school had discarded it years ago.

It’s a classic example of “you just can’t please everyone.”

So if I buy a painting at a garage sale for $20, and it turns out to be a long-lost Rembrandt and I sell it for forty million dollars, I am evil and must be destroyed?

Good for the school. Think of it this way…that’s $3.1 million that can be used for another school in the district.

I agree - good for them.

I’d love to see the painting - I love Stuart Davis. Pre-dated Warhol and even Jasper Johns in terms of what is now thought of as Pop Art in some of his work…

There’s a photo of it here.

It’s pure luck for them, but MAN, it’s a slap in the face around here in Chicago, where the school funding inequities are palpable.

Cool - thanks! And no surprise - I dig it. Looks pretty obvious where Chuck Jones got his inspiration for his later Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry work!

This wasn’t a school funding inequality. This was a school selling its property for a profit. Wouldn’t it be the same if Poor School had a killer bake sale, with desserts and pastries donated by Wolfgang Puck and Emerial Lagasse and raised one million dollars?

That’s less that 4% of the school’s budget. Chump change. Let them piss it away however they please.

You missed the point; I’m saying that, due to funding inequalities, there’s already a palpable tension in this area, so this windfall is a slap in the face to the schools that are already underfunded and struggling.

When you have all you need, and still benefit from an unplanned, unanticipated windfall, sour grapes are somewhat justifiable from someone on the outside looking in. That’s why we have philanthropy. That said, the school did nothing immoral or illegal or unethical, so I can’t fault the school exactly. Hey, even the rich get lucky sometimes.

That said, the average school doesn’t have $650.00 to buy art with, then “forget about it,” then auction it off for millions.

I’m just wondering why they can’t spread the wealth around, legally? What school rule or local law prevents revenue sharing to poorer schools or donating the proceeds to other schools or programs if the school so choses? Whenever budgeting comes around to cash-poor schools, the arts always get the ax first. Yet those students are no less talented or less deserving of cultural enrichment.

Will their arts program include talented, needy students from other local schools?