, Gloucester, MA

April 6, 2013

Charter's sale coming up short

Revenue far short of goals

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — Anyone who had hoped to scoop up a new desk chair, a guitar or maybe even some exercise equipment in the former Gloucester Community Arts Charter School’s asset sale may still have that chance.

The sale remains ongoing through this week, Trustees Chairman James Caviston confirmed Friday.

The initial online-only sale ran last Tuesday, March 26, and Thursday, March 28, with a goal of selling off the school’s assets to raise money to pay off all or most of the school’s creditors. But the trustees have been selling off the leftovers since, having drawn in just over $30,000 as of Wednesday, Caviston said.

“We had two good days,” Caviston said.

Had the charter trustees managed to sell all of the items at their “buy it now” prices, the school could have collected over $100,000. A March 5 invoice that estimated the school was in about $90,000 debt did not include some lease payments due and bookkeeper expenses, according to minutes from a meeting of the trustees. And those amounts are totaled to exclude a $45,734 bill from the law firm the school has used, Foley Hoag LLP., which is not seeking payment for the outstanding balance remaining as of March 5, according to the minutes.

Caviston said many schools have scooped up assets from the 2 Blackburn Drive building, including Cape Ann Waldorf School and a charter school in Southeastern Massachusetts. Still, he said, the sale would likely not cover the defunct school’s debt trail.

“It probably won’t be enough to pay everybody,” Caviston said.

Three trustees, Tony Blackman, Susan Hogue and Art Beane, have worked continuously with the sale and are familiar with what is left, Caviston said. The trustees are reachable at 978-879-7209 with questions about buying items and a listing of assets for sale still exists on the charter school website.

“It’s been six or seven hour days by three trustees but hopefully it will pay off,” Caviston said Friday.

The trustees are considering conducting another public walk-through the building for asset viewing next week, but the plans were indefinite as of Friday.

Typically when a school shuts down, the state swoops in and scoops up the assets. But, when the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School closed in January, after a tumultuous autumn of warnings and threats from the state, the school was left in such debt that the state allowed an asset sale with proceeds funneled toward debts.

The state approved the sale method, to consist mainly of a two-day online sale, by late March. Trustees had given preference to a wholesale buyer interested in buying the entire lot Tuesday, then to those interested in buying the largest quantity of an item on Thursday, but a single-buyer never materialized.

Those still interested in buying should plan to pay with an electronic funds transfer or a cashier’s check.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at