excerpts from the 11/15/21 great valley school board meeting

What is she trying to have a record of?
The meeting is recorded.
Was there someone special in the back of the room?

The school board meeting last evening for the Great Valley School District picked right up where meetings leading up to the election left off. The public comments were inane at times.

There were two appearances (for example) by local politician and former school board candidate Sallie Campbell. Sallie lost the election but she’s standing on her Alamo. I have to ask is she still a practicing nurse? She’s against masking and vaccinations for Covid, so when she enters a room or a hospital is she even vaccinated? If she is not what is the hospital doing about that? While it might be her right to make her choices, her choices affect other people because she goes to public meetings and she says she still a nurse correct??

Then there was the woman who also spoke a couple of times whose name escapes me who really dropped a bomb at the end of the meeting concerning the school superintendent’s past in Boyertown. It’s public information (CLICK HERE.) there is actually quite a bit out there on this, and other things because face it Boyertown as a bit of a hot mess of a school district. I guess y’all have to do your Googling I’m not going to list everything because I don’t know if the superintendent is really guilty of anything. I do however think that the school district needs to address this.

Then there was the older gent who seems rather homophobic? He also seems concerned with the functionality of women’s reproductive systems. Apparently women aren’t pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen enough?

I also take issue with the way the Great Valley School Board handles problems at meetings. I’ve watched enough of the meetings of other districts in Chester County and when there’s too much of a problem the solicitor for whichever district it is will tell people to either come to order or they will be removed. Instead they play the deny the presence card and say essentially if people don’t behave they all will leave the meeting. Sorry not sorry but that is crap because the taxpayers are paying for this. And they need to grow a pair and tell people to come to order or have them removed.

Anyway you can watch all the snippets from the November 15, 2021 meeting. You can find the balance of the meeting on their YouTube channel.

like january 6th except august at a school board meeting

Tonight there was supposed to be a Great Valley School District School Board Meeting. Except it was overrun quite literally by anti-maskers. (Here watch another video sent to me call it “takeover time”: https://vimeo.com/588137331 – not all but a lot of it)

Great Valley School District school board meeting was supposed to be recessed for this evening because of the people who refused to wear masks, which includes Republican Committee of Chester County school board candidates.

The police were called. F-ing ridiculous.

Kids first. Not freaking whatever self-serving politics.

Some random woman then running the meeting because she says that this is “their building” or something. Yeah, so January 6th, it is a little frightening and utterly UNACCEPTABLE. No clue who she was.

And these anti-maskers called those wearing masks “retarded” (their words) and they were wearing “face diapers”. Again, their words.

Chester County Republican School Board Candidate Sallie Campbell was observed flipping out and screaming at people in the audience….before the meeting. Obviously she is quite unstable isn’t she? And yes, Sallie the minute you became a politician as a a candidate for elected office (the school board) we can indeed wonder about you outloud.

Here is what got recorded that I could find so far by school district:

THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. IF YOU PAY TAXES IN THE GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, WE SHOULD BE ASKING THE CHESTER COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE TO PAY THEM FOR EVERY HOUSE IN THE DISTRICT. IF THEY WANT TO RUN THE WORLD, THEY CAN DAMN WELL PAY FOR IT TOO AND PAY OUR SCHOOL TAXES.

OUR KIDS AND PARENTS AND EDUCATORS ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS SHOULD FEEL SAFE. WHO FEELS SAFE WITH THIS CRAP? AND THE POLITICALLY CORRECT ANT MASKERS, ANTI VAXXERS? NOT VERY PC TO CALL PARENTS WEARING FACE MASKS LIKE GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT REQUESTED “RETARDED”

Oh and the people who were the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers were recording this entire debacle. No one is quite sure where.

To the Great Valley School District: if you are going to do these meetings, enforce your policies. If people are non-compliant, have them removed.

Also tonight? People have NO IDEA who was vaccinated or not among the anti-maskers.

This is NOT acceptable. NOT Acceptable!

To the Chester County Republican Committee, and every local Republican committee within the Great Valley School District: these people were out there representing YOUR party’s SUPPOSED values. So are we to assume the Chester County Republican Committee is therefore OK with the events of January 6th in our beloved Nation’s Capitol? This is what being a Republican means? So you are ok with your people doing things like the man who yelled at the school board and called them “little bitches” and someone else calling a school board member a “pussy”?

These are the candidates NOT to vote for: Alex Enderle, Sallie Campbell, Lauren Dicranian.

Here are observations from a parent who was there:

My recap of the GVSD SB meeting that almost was:
I got there around 7.10 and went straight inside. There were already 5 other masked people in there, and 3 non-masked. There were posted papers everywhere that said masks are mandatory, and boxes of surgical masks for those who didn’t bring one.
I asked Dr. O’Toole if the mask policy will be reinforced, and I was assured it will be as soon as the board members come in. It was uncomfortable sitting there as the number of unmasked people grew, and I knew at least a couple are not vaccinated.
By the time the board came in, I would say there were about 45ish people in attendance, half masked half not. The masked included 2 of the school board candidates(Andrea Rizzo Region 1 and Tricia Chasinoff Region 3). The unmasked were led by R candidate for Region 3 Sallie Campbell- who before the board came in turned to us and yelled that we don’t have her permission to take a picture of her- some of us had their laptops out doing some last minute work, some had their phones texting etc.
Board came in, and Dave Barratt asked everyone to comply with the mask requirement. Some angry dude called him the ‘p’ word, screamed that ‘this is our building, we pay taxes, we pay your salaries’ (nevermind that the SB positions are volunteer, apparently he doesn’t know such details). Same person insulted another mask wearing parent asking if they were retarded for wanting to wear a mask. It went on in the same style. Barratt called recess and said they will meet tomorrow on Zoom.
Most of the masked parents left. I stood in the hallway for a bit listening to what was going on. Some masked parents stayed. The R crowd decided to hold their own meeting and broadcast it somewhere- there were at least 2 people recording/streaming what people said. I have no idea where.
People were asked to state their name and address like in a SB meeting and speak; it was sickening to hear them and know that this shitshow will go on once school starts. Nurses stood up and spoke against masks and against the vaccine. Sallie C said a prayer and once again spoke against the book that teaches everyone that whites are racist, yada yada same old story as last meeting, and shed a tear as she told people how she had to leave certain FB groups where she wasn’t appreciated.
All had a common theme: the CDC ‘recommends’ and is not saying ‘mandatory’; the PA DOH ‘recommends’ and does not ‘mandate’. The government cannot tell them what to put on their kids(masks) and cannot force them to vaccinate; this is a public school and they can decide what is best for their children.
I am upset the police didn’t come and they were allowed to continue this nonsense, especially considering what happened in other states. I left as I feared for my safety. On my way out I chatted a bit with Dr Goffredo and Dr O’Toole- I don’t understand why the police wasn’t called or didn’t come(I left about 40min after the meeting was cancelled). I
I am so sad with how radicalized some of our own neighbors are, and how political this all is, and it will only get worse.”

~Parent at the meeting non meeting, storming of the school board/school district meeting

Here’s what was sent to me by people in the room (turn up the volume)

Litter some of the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers tossed aside as they were storming the school board meeting

51 n bacton hill road, frazer pa

51 N Bacton Hill Rd

I don’t know what else to call this post other than the address.  If you go on Bacton Hill Road, we all pass it. It is after the walking/running trail breaks over the road and it is farther up on the right.  It’s a parcel of land owned by Great Valley School District. It’s up the road from where the Great Valley Community Organization calls home.

Anyway, recently I saw the GVCO organization had an application in front of East Whiteland Planning Commission:

Applications: 1. Sketch Plan: Great Valley Community Organization: A.) Sketch plan for a proposed 41,128 SF athletic programs building, with a potential phase 2 for an additional 21,866 SF of building area. Playing fields are also proposed. The property is located on N. Bacton Hill Road, is 7 acres in size and zoned Industrial. B.) Conditional Use: To disturb an area of steep slope to permit the installation of an access driveway, parking and stormwater facilities as outlined as a conditional use in Section 200-57.F(4)

 

I have absolutely NO as in ZERO issue with the Great Valley Community Organization. They do great things in Chester County. BUT that land they are talking of acquiring part of was part of a huge extraordinarily controversial land purchase by Great Valley School District a few years ago.  So extremely controversial it even made a Wikipedia page on the district. Here is a screen shot in case it disappears:

bacton Hill controversy

Here is the verbatim text from the Wikepedia page:

On September 15, 2008, the school board voted and unanimously approved the purchase of 49.4 acres (200,000 m2) of land for approximately $6.6 million.[6] Located at 51 Bacton Hill Road, Malvern, this “Bacton Hill Land Purchase” generated some controversy amongst the public for two reasons: (1) the purchase was not discussed with the public prior to the meeting during which it was first announced, voted, and passed, and (2) the purchase price based on two land appraisals was brought under scrutiny when it was discovered that the brother of the real estate agent who set the price was involved with forming both appraisals.

Central to the controversy was the lack of public awareness, but also that the school board’s reason for the purchase was stated, “it is prudent to acquire real estate for the District’s potential future use.”[7] The number of students educated by the district has not significantly increased, so many objected that there is no foreseeable “future use” and that the purchase was made in haste.

The two independent appraisals of the land’s price were brought into question as well because of the high price. After the purchase was completed, the board released a statement about the land acquisition, saying, “the per acre cost may seem high (at $135,000). But the purchase price is lower than two appraisals conducted on the site.”[8]

Fueling the controversy, a member of the public requested the two appraisals be released under Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Laws. It was discovered that the two appraisals were both conducted by the same appraisal company, not two independent entities. Further, the appraisal company was owned by the brother of the real estate agent who first approached and ultimately sold the land to the district. Concerned over apparent misconduct, the appraisals and sale were eventually referred to the U.S. Attorney by this same member of the public. This information was presented to the Board during public comments at the School Board Meeting on March 16, 2009.[9] Several questions were asked concerning who was involved in the deal, and who knew what when. The Board did not respond during the meeting, but the District’s lawyer attached a recorded statement to the public video of the meeting, stating, “the board considered these statements after the meeting, and while certain of them were factually accurate, the presentation was incomplete.”[9]

The land is still held by the School District, and no confirmation or denial has officially been given. However, significant fallout appears to have occurred. Two weeks after the March 16 meeting, on April 1, Superintendent Rita Jones announced she intended to retire during the upcoming summer.[10] In addition, all 4 board members who are up for re-election in the November 2009 election announced they would not seek re-election.[11] Further, because Jack McDowell stepped down in April due to illness,[12] only 4 of the 9 board members who were involved in the land deal were still on the board as of December.

 

Apparently this land purchase was a huge issue. It appeared in a bunch of newspapers:

 

This issue apparently tore the area apart at the time. The former school superintendent in Great Valley had the reputation of ruling with an iron fist,  a veritable Queen Victoria. (Read an article placed in the Philadelphia Inquirer circa 1998.)   And she was no stranger to controversy (see her Main Line priced salary circa 2007):

A new contract at top dollar in Great Valley In a split vote, the school board OKd a $210,000 contract for its superintendent. 

POSTED: September 19, 2007

Despite pleas from dozens of Great Valley School District residents saying that Superintendent Rita Jones was paid too much and has not produced a top-quality academic program, a lame-duck school board voted by a narrow margin Monday to extend her contract for four more years.

About 150 people attended the meeting. The board vote was 5-4. Residents opposed to Jones’ new contract said that a 2006-07 salary listing they obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Education shows she was the seventh highest paid in the state during the last school year.

Jones’ current contract ends next year; the new one runs to August 2012. She is making about $204,000 this school year and will get just over $210,000 next August, with 3 percent increases in each subsequent year.

Jones, 58, who just started her 14th year in the 4,000-student district, is the longest-serving superintendent in Chester County.

Voting for the contract were board president Susanne Carr, Kevin McTear, Elizabeth McGarrigle, Katherine Pettiss and Melanie Scott. Voting no were vice president Nicholas Vastardis, Salwa Raven, Ralph Tang and Eugene Kozik….

Steven Kantrowitz said that Great Valley was a small district “with a very, very, very high superintendent’s contract.” To loud applause, he said: “It’s time, I submit to you, for a change.”

Jones and the board sat at the front of the room, listening impassively.

 

Then this:

Superintendent, group leader share their views on issues at Great Valley The way the school board went about extending the contract of Rita Jones raised questions.

POSTED: November 18, 2007

The rift became very public on Sept. 17 when the Great Valley school board, by a 5-4 vote, extended Superintendent Rita Jones’ contract four years, despite a contingent of residents at the meeting who spoke out against Jones.

Many district residents were incensed that the only notice of the vote on Jones’ extension was a posting on the district Web site on Sept. 14. About 20 residents formed Great Valley Stakeholders, a group organized with the goal of changing the direction of the school board.

Members of the group helped spread the word of a write-in campaign for David Barratt, 45, to unseat the current board president, Susanne Carr (who voted in favor of Jones’ extension), who was running for reelection in Region I….

Using Tredyffrin-Easttown and Radnor School Districts for comparison, Chambers contends that spending per student is too high in Great Valley, and hasn’t resulted in a concurrent increase in test scores.

“We’re not saying the district is horrible; it’s a good district, but when you look at what we’re spending per student, we’re not getting what other districts are getting,” said Chambers, 56, father of two Great Valley High School grads….

The school board and Jones

All of Chambers’ claims stem from his central complaint that the board works too closely with Jones and the district, rather than in the oversight role school boards are intended for by law.

“The concern we have is not focused strictly on Rita Jones,” he said. “Our concern is more that the school board is not doing its job, that they’re not holding the superintendent accountable, not establishing meaningful goals. That they’re essentially allowing the superintendent to run the school board as well as the schools.”

So then you skip forward to 2009 when this land deal occurs. And after the land deal there seems to be a mass exodus from the school board and even Superintendent Rita Jones announces retirement? (Here is an article about her replacement Alan Lonoconus. Now since he has retired it is Regina C. Speaker Palubinsky, Ed.D.)

Again to quote Wikipedia:

Two weeks after the March 16 meeting, on April 1, Superintendent Rita Jones announced she intended to retire during the upcoming summer.[10] In addition, all 4 board members who are up for re-election in the November 2009 election announced they would not seek re-election.[11] Further, because Jack McDowell stepped down in April due to illness,[12] only 4 of the 9 board members who were involved in the land deal were still on the board as of December.

I will note at this point that a lot of the articles that WERE online about these school district issues back then (including school board minutes) have disappeared off the Internet from their original sources. The GVSD has a couple of recent years of  archived video  recorded minutes but I have not checked them out because they use a non-supported plug-in.

In May of 2009, The Daily Local ran an article about seven candidates running for Great Valley School Board seats. At the end of May 2009, Main Line Media News ran an article about a Great Valley School Board member stepping down. That even garnered a mention in a Charlestown Township newsletter back then.

So flash forward to now and the school district is now selling this land? And supposedly at the same price per acre as they bought it? Really? Is that true? And this site is close to the old lethal Foote Mineral Site? Mind you Bacton Hill Road is no stranger to industrial stuff. See what I found on a Google cache.

EPA Region 3 RCRA Corrective Action Statement of Basis for James Spring Wire Co PAD002331635

Bacton Hill is such a weird configuration of quasi industrial and industrial sites along with warehouses and such.

If  the school district land is what is being sold or is under consideration for selling to that Great Valley Community Organization, I think there should be like two phases of environmental impact audits, right? And if the Great Valley School District isn’t interested in further testing, in my humble opinion the Great Valley Community Organization should pay for testing.

People have said there is some kind of report detailing past issues with railroads and chemicals and a pipeline company and clean outs across the road? Is any of this true?  I am just concerned because well, you have to admit there are quite a few environmental hot spots around there.

Sorry I have a thing about places that might leave people potentially glowing in the dark (figuratively speaking) .

So anyway, I posed my questions to the Great Valley School District and others and these are the documents I got out of the conversations:

RBRsoilanaylysis

BreslinRidyardFaderoanalysis

Bacton_Hill_Phase_I_Study_2008

bacton hill 2

Look sorry to stir the pot, but if the Great Valley School District is going to sell this land to the Great Valley Community Organization, fine. BUT if there are going to be a lot of kids and so on around and active on this property would it hurt for the Great Valley School District to do some additional testing?

(A) A bunch of years have passed and what they have is old data and

(B) the whole land purchase was so steeped in issues and controversy why not make a clean break of it?

Instead of (C) telling me and others “The school board did not deem any additional testing necessary after the follow up investigation and testing on the site”?

We know so much more now how to be better stewards of the land and testing in a lot of cases is faster and improved so why not do it? Why not do things right this time?

I am sorry but this is why people no matter where they live have issues with school districts. Everything is done like they are secret societies with their own language and secret handshakes yet we the taxpayers pay for it all?

Look I appreciate the Great Valley School District sending me documents and answering questions but does anyone want to relive 2008 with the Great Valley School District?  If the answer is “no”, how about some updated testing? Just to make sure that the amazing Great Valley Community Organization isn’t inheriting issues with this land that no one knows about? So many people have skeedaddled from the Great Valley School District since this land purchase happened on Bacton Hill Road, so why not better safe than sorry? After all even the current superintendent would have heard about this controversy considering she came from neighboring Phoenixville School District?

And again, if the Great Valley School District doesn’t want to do the testing, the Great Valley Community Organization should strongly consider it.

Thanks for stopping by.