Rebuttal

As a member of the board and concerned citizen of the Montoursville Area School District, I have seen more than enough of William Ruffing’s tactics on the Montoursville Area School Board. From walking out of a board meeting and refusing to listen to a citizen of the district to bullying fellow board members and citizens, his record is well known as a spend and then tax record.

Did I, as a citizen and taxpayer, file a lawsuit against the district costing approximately $42,000? Yes I did on behalf of over 2,000 taxpayers that asked the board to pause and look at an alternative to tearing down our 1931 high school and putting the district in massive debt. Mr. Ruffing was one of the sitting board members that scoffed at those taxpayers.

Did I and other board members vote to temporarily suspend construction of the new school costing approximately $600,000? Yes I did. The results were a savings for the district of over $1,700,000. Mr. Ruffing’s claim that the quality of the roofing and flooring was compromised is a complete fabrication. The project manager and our maintenance supervisor never said they were compromised. At every meeting with the architectural firm, it was stressed that quality of education and quality of material could not be compromised. I know because I attended every meeting since being elected to the board.

Did we new board members in 2015 hire a new solicitor? Yes. Was the new solicitor an acquaintance of mine? I knew who he was for about six months before he was hired. Did he make a contribution to my campaign? Yes, he did, in the amount of $20. Enough to make me an unethical board member? Absolutely not.

The owner of the engineering firm we hired that lived in my township, I had previously heard of his name but never knew what his occupation was. I met him approximately two months before being elected. The cost to the taxpayers was $60,000. His firm did show some possible alternatives. However the uncertainty of possible lawsuits from the contractors, since Mr. Ruffing and the old board pushed ahead signing contracts against the public’s will, made them impossible to consider.

When a vacancy needed to be filled on the board Mr. Ruffing publicly ridiculed, demeaned, and brutalized a prospective applicant. Just another example of how Mr. Ruffing treats community members that don’t agree with his stance.

With regard to the 30-year veteran educator, I will not comment on what was actually said as it was done in executive session because it was a personnel matter. Executive sessions are to be held confidential. There aren’t many things that can be discussed in executive session, but personnel is one of them. This isn’t the first time Mr. Ruffing has discussed matters from executive session, putting the district at risk for litigation.

Did I file Right To Knows? Yes, because of the lack of transparency by people like Mr. Ruffing. Case in point — the secret meeting he had with the teachers’ union without informing the entire board. Did I fight to have all committee meetings held in public? Yes, including budget committee meetings. Committee meetings are to be held in public, according to the Sunshine Act. The law states that decisions need to be made in public. In other words, decisions on what to cut or not cut in a budget need to be in public. I was not proven wrong by the solicitor. What the solicitor did was give his own legal interpretation of the law. Mr. Ruffing has openly opposed public committee meetings.

Am I proud of my term as a public servant of the Montoursville Area School District? Yes I am. There you are, the factual information.

Ron Snell

Barbours

Submitted via email

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