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Simsbury Schools Look to find 'Meaningful' and 'Sustainable' Use of $479,715 Gift

School officials will explore meaningful ways to spend a $480,000 from the Kathleen Magowan Revocable Trust, Superintendent Matthew T. Curtis told the Board of Education Tuesday.

This story of a local school teacher of more than 30 years and her surprise bequests of millions of dollars to local schools and organizations has captured the imagination of residents across the nation.

Curtis told the board that it would take some thought to figure out how to best use the money. He told the board with their concurrence, administrators would come to a future meeting with suggestions.

“I think that it’s important this should be something that’s sustainable and something that will honor her in a very respectful way,” Curtis said.

Magowan died in 2011 and only recently have organizations learned of the donations.

“What a time it’s been,” said Superintendent of Schools Matthew T. Curtis. “This gift has brought such positive attention” to Simsbury schools.

Attorney Lou George of Hassett & George, P.C., a co-trustee of the trust, was also at the meeting and reiterated some of the story how Magowan came to the firm approximately five years ago seeking help with her financial affairs.

“She knew she had some money but had no real idea of the investments,” George said.

Magowan had decades old stocks, even war bonds in old Quaker Oats cans, but it was just never her priority to check on them, George said.

“She lived a very humble, modest life,” George said.

Once she knew what she had, Magowan came to the firm with a very specific list of to whom she wanted to give. In Simsbury, she had taught first grade at Belden School, Central School and finally Squadron Line.

“She wanted to help people and return the favors,” George said.

Those involved also spoke of the attention the story has brought to Simsbury / Newspapers across the country and some internationally have carried it. It’s also been on the NBC Nightly news and other inquiries continue to come, including one from another major national news show.

“Never in a million years could we ever imagine it would get the recognition it did,” George said. “In this day and age, people are really thirsty for a good story.”
Joe Koniar December 11, 2013 at 07:50 AM
Perhaps instead of something new, they should use the money toward a current budgeted and item and return that money back to the town so the town can lower the tax rate a bit. Just a thought.
dominique avery December 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM
If you want to hear the full story about Kathleen Magowan's legacy, and how the public came to learn about it, SCTV has a half hour interview with the attorneys from Hassett and George who handled her estate. It is posted on their website at simsburytv.org
David Moelling December 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Let's make an honest effort to conform to the donors wishes, unlike the mess the town has made of the Eno bequest (Town Farm, etc.). If she wanted to support Girls sports do that. If she had only a general bequest, pay off some bonded debt. For someone who saved a lot in her lifetime, seems the right thing to do with the donation.
John Fitts (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Thanks Dominique. It looks like that video is at http://simsburytv.org/v/nReG13yZvsg
Evan Robert December 11, 2013 at 03:40 PM
put the money towards a better special ed program

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