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.
- Penns Valley Area School Board
When trying to define the issues of this project the conversation often jumps from one category to another. Some want to discuss “Wants and Needs”, some “Businesses VS Community”. While others want to discuss “Law and Ethics” of such a project.
Each topic has plenty of points to ponder and have caused the community to examine them. The unfortunate truth is that because the Community was not involved in the conversation or the decision making process, the opportunity to approach this from the logical and time proven progression of a community project will not be applied.
With no factually supported reasons the decision by the School Board to place themselves in a position of Authority over community resources other than Education for which they were elected to execute, has now removed from the community its responsibility and right to manage and decide what the structure and personality of its community will be.
By this school boards taking of the Authority and Power to build our community in its image, places every service, or community business in the possible judgment seat to be managed or influenced by the Power and resources of the School District. The lengths and depths of which the borders will defined by the School Board.
If you believe the RCC’s timeline, in less than 5 months, which means 4 School Board meetings to discuss the merit of this project.
( March, RCC formed- to- 20 July lease Vote)This group of 9 quickly became the communities Authorities in these 4 areas of the community, and decided how those needs should be met.
1) Health Care
2) Senior Citizens needs
3) Physical Therapy needs
4) Organized Recreational needs
How did they do that without a single survey of the community?
How can they be an authority on services they have not studied?
How did they measure those needs?
What are the decided upon goals and measures?
Was the decision based on the Dollars those service contracts would provide?
A reading of the School Board minutes for that time period reveals that no community fact finding actions or conversations took place. Which suggests the conclusion that the community was not the primary concern. There are many possible reasons that can be suggested and have been, from school space, athletic space, business advantages, and income to the district, making the school the Hub of the community, expanded medical services. One reason that can not be said to be true is that this project was community birthed, organized, discussed, vetted, approved and presented as a request from the community to the school board to use taxpayer’s property to build a our community in the image it has for itself.
These are just some of the beginning discussions that the community would have faced and answered had the opportunity be given. It seems that the slogan. “ Not on School Property” is to simple. But without a doubt it solves every objection and puts this project back into the capable hands and wisdom of the community.
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