"No Ram Centre on School District Property"
  • Petitioned Penns Valley Area School Board

This petition was delivered to:

Penns Valley Area School Board

"No Ram Centre on School District Property"

    1. Petition by

      David Braucht

List below are 13 concerns Penns Valley taxpayers have with this less than ethical behavior of those involved in the creation, promotion and voting of this project.
1) This community center is not offering any services that are not already available in our community.
2) It will not meet new needs of the community, but simply be taking away services and business that already exists to fund the building and financial needs of this project. In a number of these instances businesses and services that already are in place would no longer be funded or put out of business.
3) It will use taxpayer funded resources , ( ie land, sewer, roads, parking, heat, water ) to give it an unfair business advantage against already established businesses.
4) The contract between the school district and the RCC is open ended financially and states many "shared Access" and “Common Area” costs of 50% to the district along with the leasing of the land, but nowhere establishes what the value of those costs, except for lease, or how the values would be calculated.
5) PVASD School board members, PVASD Superintendent, and the business manager of PVASD all serve on both the Ram Club and RCC capital campaign committee. By doing this they created a nonprofit organization that is outside of the school districts control and were able to both lobby for and vote into action the leasing of school district resources for private use without the expressed support of the community owners. (ie taxpayers)
6) We believe due to the interrelationships between the groups involved in this business venture it is obvious they are one and the same group. There is no confidence that future decisions would or could be made in the best interest of the taxpaying community or the school district.
7) School Board members did not do their civic duty of informing and acquiring the consent of the taxpayer ( land owners).
8) Information and promotion of this business venture has only come from the voices of RCC Capital Campaign Members. The RCC have used the tools of the School Board votes and influence, School board legal and financial counsel, PV publications such as the PanaRam View which is mailed to every home in the district, and school district property to promote private, and competitive business. RCC is a business group that will require capital and income to realize and sustain its corporation. Just because it is has the name nonprofit does not mean it does not have to be financially sound, or that it will not have to be paid for.
9) School board members were elected to manage education that is mandated by the state. That management is to be carried out financially through taxation and state funding. School district resources are not for the private use of members or administrators to build businesses that benefit their own ideas and desires. The owners of those resources are the taxpayers and they are the voting stock holders.
10) School board members were not elected to create businesses and income to grow and fund the school district. This would result in the need to support a school district that has outgrown its natural size and tax base. Education is the primary purpose of the members and all other official’s employed by the taxpayers of Penns Valley.
11) The powers and scope of a school board is limited, and we believe it has gone beyond those responsibilities it was entrusted to fulfill. The danger of allowing this misuse of power is to have the school district resources become a business tool for those that hold the position and power to vote, while also using the unfair advantage of taxpayer funding to back those ventures.
12) The Ram Center/Ram Club/School Board cannot provide a documented guarantee that no financial or civil liability will fall to the school district and or the taxpayers. As taxpayers we want documentation that shows we are protected.
13) The safety and welfare of the students is a primary responsibility of the School district. To now locate the medical care, YMCA, Senior Center, physical therapy and child care on school property makes it impossible to control who comes and goes on or uses the Centre and shared accesses.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. CDT OP-ED 27 JUly 2012

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      I was at one of the original meetings for the Ram Community Centre — when the Ram Center was for the kids.
      The coaches were all asked what they needed. Basketball courts, wrestling room, referee changing rooms, opposing-team locker room and training room were some of the things brought up. All the money was to be raised by donations.
      Somewhere along the line, things changed. Now it is a commercial venture with a YMCA, physical therapy, senior center and a medical center with a mortgage.
      What happened? It is no longer for the kids.
      I am not interested in stopping the Ram Centre. All the signs I read say, “No Ram Center on School Property,” so most people are agreeing with that.
      I read on the Internet that I am a terrible sinner blocking progress and other unflattering names. All most of us are saying is that it doesn’t belong on school property. It is a commercial venture being placed on taxpayer property in the middle of kids crossing on foot to play and practice football, basebal

    2. WTAJ News report

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      SPRING MILLS, CENTRE COUNTY - Tempers will soon flare again over a controversial community center in Penns Valley.
      On Wednesday night, at a school district meeting, officials released restrictions for a public hearing on the $5 million project.
      In Penns Valley, there are people passionately in favor and opposed to the Ram Centre. Supporters think it'll strengthen the community and offer needed services. Others disagree and think that part of the school board is jamming the project down people's throats.
      Next Thursday, July 26, citizens will get three minutes to voice their opinions. Groups like the Ram Community Centre and an opposition group will have 15 minutes to explain their plans. There will be no question and answer session and there will be security.
      Ann Stapleton has a child who goes to school in the valley and she's concerned about the project.

      Use the link below for the read full article............

    3. School board exits lease, seeks public input CDT Jun 1, 2012 By Matt Carrol

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      SPRING MILLS — A lease allowing for construction of the Ram Community Centre on Penns Valley Area School District property is no more — at least for now.
      The school board voted 6-0 to rescind the land use agreement it originally approved almost a year ago.
      District officials will hold a public forum next month at the high school before determining what’s next.
      Superintendent Brian Griffith said the board will ultimately decide between pursuing a new lease, selling some land, or doing nothing and forgetting the deal altogether.
      At the time the lease was signed, the Ram Centre Inc., a nonprofit organization, sought to build a community center on school property.
      The center was to house a YMCA, space for the Centre County Office of Aging, and other tenants.
      School officials, however, ran into a vocal opposition who have been critical of the board’s actions leading up to the RCC agreement.
      Some of those.............. click on link below for rest of story

    4. Do RCC Donors and Supporters Know and Approve?

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Questions to ponder...........
      -Do those that donated to the RCC know that the Mission of the Penns Valley Health and Welfare demands that they provide Medical Health Care for the community, at the PV Medical Center?
      -Do supporters approve of the RCC's involvement in the halting of planned and funded expansion of medical service for the community? The same services said to be needed in our community.
      -Why were these services not supported and encouraged by these community supporters at this facility?
      -How many more than 4 of the PV school board members were aware of this expansion prior to voting?
      -Do donors approve of the use of taxpayer property and resources to unfairly compete with this Community organized, built and managed medical facility?
      - Do donors care about the financial future of our community built Medial Center?
      -Do donors approve of the business practices employed by the RCC to gain this revenue from our Community based facility?

    5. Reached 100 signatures
    6. Business not Community

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Question of the day: The PV Medical Center had invested $18,000 in engineering and planning to expand and build a new 10,000 square foot building. It was discussed in the Medical Center board minutes in January 2011. The PV "school board/RCC liason" attended the May 2011 meeting and was well aware of the plans for expansion. It is stated that after that meeting "school board/liason" went to Mount Nittany Physician's Group (MNPG) and told them that they should leave the PV Medical Center and commit to the RCC. WHY would the School District support these actions to undermine a Community, birthed, built and managed Organization that has brought health care to Penns Valley for 40 years? Is that what PV School Board and the RCC mean when they say this is building community?

    7. OPED CDT - School safety at risk 9 April 2012

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Mandated by education laws, taxpayers built public schools and their children attend them nine months a year. Duties of these schools are the education and safety of the community’s children. Elected citizens manage those mandates through a nine-member board and administrator.
      One of those duties, safety, has become a major concern of schools to the degree that they now resemble prisons, and rightly so, judging by recent news events. Penns Valley’s school board has recently made decisions that will have a major effect on the ability to control the level of safety that is presently enforced on our school campus. The commercial leasing of district land would require uncontrolled public access to those businesses, located behind the high school. These businesses, a medical facility, YMCA, senior center, day care and possibly others, are a district invitation for the public to use the access roads, parking lots and businesses while school is in session. Any invitation of that level of pub

    8. CDT OP-ED 3 April 2012 Keep school board decisions in check

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      The practice of marketing school property and assets without the consent of the owners through commercial leasing to separate corporations outside taxpayer control to fund building projects by the district should be getting more attention. This foreshadows the supposed authority and power that school boards think they possess and sets the case for precedent in other districts.

      The Penns Valley Area school board has partnered in forming a nonprofit corporation, the Ram Community Centre, and until March 24 the president and vice president were school board members and shared legal counsel.

      The 30-year open-ended commercial lease was granted without contest to this nonprofit along with access to utilities, roads and parking for an annual fee of $8,800. This commercial lease was not open to bidding.

      This unequaled business advantage given to the holder of this commercial lease is obvious and the possibilities of what school boards and corporations in partnership could do for good or bad

    9. Penns Valley Community Action Group (PVCAG) Mission and Goals

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Penns Valley Community Action Group (PVCAG) is a growing combined voice of community taxpayers that are focused on holding elected School Board Directors to their charter.

      Our Mission:
      The PVCAG’s mission is to stop the proposed Ram Community Centre(RCC) from being built on school property.

      Goals:
      · Have the lease agreement rescinded with the RCC and the County Office of Aging.
      · Have the School Board acknowledge and take responsible action to resolve the conflict of interest between members of the School Board and RCC Board.
      · Have the Penns Valley Area School Board amend its charter to prohibit the board from promoting revenue-producing businesses and allowing them to use School District property without the expressed majority of taxpayer support.

    10. CDT OP-ED Let’s take a vote 9 March 2012

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Let’s take a vote
      I suggest that instead of all the bickering about The Ram Centre we put it on the ballot during the next election.

      This would give an accurate accounting of what people really want for Penns Valley. People against it have a petition with more than 1,000 signatures. A letter in the CDT said they should not have spent money for signs and should have made a donation to the Centre? They did not spend their money unwisely or the Ram Centre would have been built without protest.

      I spent 20 years in the military protecting our rights, such as freedom of speech and the right to vote. There is truth in numbers. Neither the Penns Valley school board nor the Ram Centre committee should be allowed something without a community vote. Vote against the Ram Centre and vote out the people on the school board who wanted to push it through.

      Jim Hironimus Coburn

    11. School Board Ethics code, violation, MEMBERSHIP: ADOPTED: January 19, 2005

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      The lease and contract with sitting 2 board members of the RCC corp. Legal counsel and School Administrator as Head the Capital Campaign is a clear conflict of interest and a violation of their own Membership oath. PVCAG is demanding that the lease agreement be rescinded and the board to take action to resolve the conflict of interest of RCC board members. Also language adopted to prevent future abuses.

      PENNS VALLEY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT : LOCAL BOARD PROCEDURES
      Qualifications:
      Each member of the Board shall meet the following qualifications:

      a. Be of good moral character, and shall not be a holder of any office or position as specified in
      Section 322 of the School Code; nor shall the individual be a member of a municipal council.

      c. Shall not be engaged in a business transaction with the school district,

      d. Shall take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation prescribed by statute before entering the duties
      of the office.

    12. CDT OP-ED 3 March 2012 by Susan Dawson former RAM CLUB member

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Does Penns Valley need additional athletic facilities that include gym space? Yes. Would it be an asset to have the YMCA in Penns Valley? Absolutely. Would it benefit Penns Valley to have expanded medical facilities? Definitely. Does Penns Valley need the Ram Community Centre to make this a reality? No. Should the Ram Centre be on school district property? No.

      Read the rest of this OP-ED at the link below

    13. OP-ED CDT 21 Feb. 2012

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Redundant services OP-ED CDT 21 Feb 2012

      When Pennsylvania’s public universities are torn between maintaining existing infrastructure and providing the courses that students need to graduate, it seems that projects like Penns Valley’s Ram Community Centre are poorly conceived.

      Penns Valley already has a lovely community center in Spring Mills at the site of the Old Gregg School, and the push to build something “bigger and better” strikes me as unnecessarily glitzy, especially now.

      If the Old Gregg School were overflowing, I could understand the desire for an expansion of community services. But the existing community center is far from being overused. The proposed Ram Centre would offer redundant services and would be little more than a big, new building. What do we value, image or substance?

      Abby Minor Millheim

      Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2012/02/21/3098131/redundant-services.html#story

    14. CDT OP-ED 17 Feb 2012

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      Keep business separate

      The Penns Valley community needs to examine the proposed Ram Community Centre and the leap that has been taken regarding the level of business that will be operated outside the control of taxpayers by the RCC Corp.

      Our Penns Valley school district superintendent thinks the district is the hub of the community. That hub has effectively made it very difficult for private or nonprofit business to compete with advantages they have given to the RCC Corp. Consider how it has taken upon itself the medical care, senior centers, fitness business and now physical therapy of the valley.

      There are reasons for keeping entities (school district/business) separate. Many of those are to protect us from ourselves and the obstruction of individual rights (taxpayer). Opening the door to this new business venture/ community engineering position is out of bounds.

      Education and safety are the purpose of the district. There

    15. A reason to sign and promote this "NO RAM CENTRE" petition

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      This is a statement by District board president Sal Nicosia, taken from a 12 Feb piece from the VOICE of central Pennsylvania.
      Nicosia " said the school board was open to hearing the complaints captured in those circulating petitions but that the petitions hadn’t yet been submitted to the board.
      The school board wouldn’t act, he said, “until we get those petitions. Then we’d have to have a discussion.”
      I would encourage you to ask your friends to read this petition and support our effort to have this Center removed from school property and separate from the District in land, board members, and contractual financial responsibility of "Shard accesses" and "Common Areas"
      Protect our school district and taxpayers from the practice of using District resources to promote private and competing business to " grow the school campus".
      Thank you again to those that have supported out effort.

    16. Reached 50 signatures
    17. Link to Land lease agreement between the RCC and PVSD

      David  Braucht
      Petition Organizer

      This will help to show that the perception of RCC leadership, that NO TAX DOLLARS will use on this Ram Center project is not contractually true. It is where one of the 13 reasons of opposition is rooted in fact and not a play on words. RCC answers have not been forth right, timely and most certainly not complete. Read for yourself and see the interrelationship of business that is evident, as well as the lack of details of that relationship. The only dollars mentioned are those of the lease, when it is obvious there will be lots of other "shared resources" that will have a dollar value going to and from the parties involved. These costs have not been stated, nor a scale of how those costs will be determined. For instance, the district will have to rent space if they use any of the space. What is the per hour rate. The heat, water and sewer will be metered, what are the rates and additional fees that will be added for upgrades and repairs to the district system. link to contract is below

    18. Reached 25 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Denise Hudson WOODWARD, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      The RCC is and should be treated as a private business venture. It should not be located on school property, managed by school board members, EVER be supported by school tax funds.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • kathy holt CENTRE HALL, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      it's not needed!!! we have plenty of empty buildings in the valley that could and should, be used..for all the activities,that the board wants the ram center for!! PLUS.. it REALLY should have been put on a ballot,to be voted on..what happened to democracy,and the so-called sunshine law??? i do believe the school board ,was elected, to take care of the school district,and the schools in it. instead, they are out pimping for private businesses,and individuales,trying to make a name for themselves!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carol Clark-Baney CENTRE HALL, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      my biggest concern is the traffic going in and out of that area where students would be traveling (walking). I do think we need something like this in the area, but I don't believe on school property

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dawn Dean CENTRE HALL, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Not needed so close to school.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Linda Solt SPRING MILLS, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      It really would be nice to have community center but not school property because the school district would have too authority plus unbalanced funds to solely finance the project now nor in the future.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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