Dallas School District
|Dallas School District|
Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania School Districts with the Dallas School District in blue in the northern part of the county.
|2000 Conyngham Avenue
Dallas, Pennsylvania, Luzerne, 18612
|Enrollment||2729 students in 2010 |
|• Grade 1||201|
|• Grade 2||198|
|• Grade 3||212|
|• Grade 4||223|
|• Grade 5||212|
|• Grade 6||236|
|• Grade 7||216|
|• Grade 8||235|
|• Grade 9||210|
|• Grade 10||226|
|• Grade 11||216|
|• Grade 12||189|
|• Other||Enrollment projected to decline to 2515 by 2020|
The Dallas School District is a school district covering the Borough of Dallas and Dallas Township, Franklin Township and Kingston Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Dallas School District encompasses approximately 46 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 19,482. In 2009, the district residents' Per Capita Income was reported as $23,984 while the Median Family Income was $60,285. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Dallas School District provided basic educational services to 2,760 pupils through the employment of 160 teachers, 103 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 11 administrators.
The district operates Dallas High School, Dallas Middle School, Dallas Elementary School and Wycallis Elementary School.
- 1 School Year
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 Alert System
- 4 Wycallis Elementary School
- 5 Special education
- 6 Bullying policy
- 7 Budget
- 8 Extracurriculars
- 9 Sports
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The school year for 2008-2009 started September 2 and concludes on June 4. Snow days are added to the end of the year. This is the third year in which Dallas started to begin in September; it has historically begun in late August and ended in early to mid June. Next year, a new format will be set in place in which the school year will begin late August and end in late May due to construction for the new high school that is currently under construction.
The school year for 2015-2016 will start September 2nd and conclude on June 7th if there are no snow days. This year there are 7 emergency snow days built into the calendar.
Dallas School District was ranked 49th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance based on the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and two years of science.
In 2009, the academic achievement of the pupils in the district was in the 94th percentile among Pennsylvanian's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) 
In 2007, the student achievement at Dallas School District ranked 2nd among Luzerne County public school districts. At DSD, 92% of students were on grade level in mathematics, while 93% were on grade level in reading. In the county, 87% of pupils were on grade level in mathematics and 87% were on grade level for reading. Wyoming Area School District had the highest achievement with 94% of students on grade level in both mathematics and reading.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Dallas High School's rate was 91% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
Senior high school
The school reports achieving AYP in 2010 and 2009.
11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 81% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 78%, State - 65% 
- 2008 - 73%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 68%, State - 65% 
11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 70%, on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 56%, State - 56%.
- 2008 - 56%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 51%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 55% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 62%, 26% advanced, State - 40% 
- 2008 - 48%, State - 35.5%
In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the largest percentage of 11th grade students scoring Advanced in science achievement, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 23% of Dallas Senior High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a graduation project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor, and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Dallas Senior High School the Completion Project is composed of a written proposal, a research paper, and a written self-evaluation.
Beginning with the class of 2016, students must take the Keystone Exams in Literature, Biology 1 and Algebra 1.
The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state-funded program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,012 for its dual enrollment program.
Other students, that reside in the district, who attend a private nonpublic school, charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.
Serves grades 6th to eighth. The school reports achieving AYP in 2010 and 2009.
- 8th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 94% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 93%, State - 80%
- 2008 - 86%, State - 78%
- 2007 - 90%, State - 75%
8th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 90% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 83%, State - 71% 
- 2008 - 78%, State - 70%
- 2007 - 86%, State - 68%
8th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 79% on grade level. State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 76%, 32.9% advanced. State - 55% 
- 2008 - 71%, State - 52%
In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the second highest percentage of 8th grade students scoring advanced in science achievement - 32.9%, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.
7th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 86% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 87%, State - 71%
- 2008 - 84%, State - 70%
- 2007 - 78%, State - 67%
7th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 91% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 92%, State - 75% 
- 2008 - 87%, State - 71%
- 2007 - 82%, State - 67%
6th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 85% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 68% of 6th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 82%, State - 67%
- 2008 - 82%, State - 67%
- 2007 - 81%, State - 63%
6th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 95% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 78% of 6th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 91%, State - 75% 
- 2008 - 84%, State - 76%
- 2007 - 88%, State - 61%
New High School Building
In 2007 it was announced that a new high school would be built to replace the current high school, built in 1963. The building's condition has been declining over the past few years. The new high school is estimated to be completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 16, 2009. It will cost about $45 Million Dollars. As of November 2008, the district has begun to lay a new pipeline system for the new high school. This will run through the current one to supply city water, as the current water supply is unsanitary. Trash bags have been placed over drinking fountains to prevent consumption. Water coolers have been placed around the current high school to compensate for the lack of water.
The new High School contains a lunch room known as the commons, office, guidance office, nurse office, auxiliary gym that includes a wrestling mat, a multi purpose gym, a fitness room, a print lab, lgi lab used for extra curriculum needs, auditorium that can hold over 1,000 people, band and chorus room, 2 art labs, 1 food lab, security desk, over 200 class rooms, etc.
In the year 2014 the Dallas School Board voted on a brand new all purpose Turf Field. It was completed in just 2 months and Dallas held its first ever football game under the lights vs Wyoming valley west. Dallas lost that game.
In December 2007, Dallas adopted a method of quickly contacting student's homes. During school closings, delays, early dismissals, or other public announcements, the district will send a message to all homes that it may affect. Calls are put out as early as 5am during school closings or delays. This tool is known as "Connect-ED".
Wycallis Elementary School
The school achieved AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in 2009 and 2010. The attendance rate was reported as 95% in 2010. For the 2010 school year 97% of the students grades 3-5th were on grade level in mathematics and increase from 96% in 2009. This includes 96% of low-income children and 82% of special education children. In reading, 91% of the students were on grade level in grades 3rd-5th an increase from 89% in 2009.
In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the largest percentage of 4th grade students scoring advanced in science achievement - 70%, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.
Construction began in the first half of 2008 on Wycallis Elementary School. It is a separate wing for more classrooms. Because of recent Catholic School closings, as well as a higher population in the Back Mountain, there is an influx of new students every year. The new addition may bring with it the arrival of all-day Kindergarten, as Dallas is one of the only districts that has half-day Kindergarten in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education. The district makes use of Luzerne Intermediate Unit Operated Programs to meet the student's needs.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.
Dallas School District received a $1,112,033 supplement for special education services in 2010.
The District Administration reported that 168 or 6.16% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.
All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In 2008, the district reported a $1,178,619 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $1,347,619.
In 2007, the district employed over 155 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $47,943 for 180 days worked. In 2009, the district reported employing over 198 teachers with a salary range of $33,426 to $100,000 and a median teacher salary of $50,319. Additionally, the teachers receive a benefits package that includes: health insurance, life insurance, 10 paid sick, 2 personal days and emergency leave days, reimbursement for college courses and a retirement bonus based on longevity that is up to 75% of one year's salary. Teachers receive extra compensation for additional duties and for extracurricular advising and sports coaching.
In 2008, Dallas School District reported spending $10,260 per pupil. This ranked 459th in the commonwealth.
The Dallas School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $518.06 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2009, the district reported having over $49 million in outstanding debt in General Obligation bonds.
In March 2008, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a special investigation of the Dallas School District. It found that the athletic director, who also was a school guidance counselor, had misappropriated over $55,829.98 by overcharging students a fee for a SAT practice exam from 1997 to 2008 and by taking money from various student related accounts. The school board stated an intent to return the fees to the victims.
In February 2011, the school board approved a preliminary budget for the 2011-12 school year, in the total amount of $32,657,968, which includes: a property tax millage of 11.5624 mills, a per capita tax of $10.00, an earned income tax of 1% (shared 50/50 with local municipal governments), and an emergency municipal services tax of $52.00 (shared $5 for Dallas School District and $47 for municipal governments who have enacted such taxes).
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's level of wealth.
State basic education funding
For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Dallas School District was increased 7.21% for a total of $6,001,176. The highest increase in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at 12,61%. Sixteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase over 10%. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
For the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.57% increase in Basic Education funding for Dallas School District a total of $5,597,368. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,352,807.05. The highest increase in BEF for the school districts in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at a 13.36% increase. The highest increase in Pennsylvania went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.
In 2009, the district reported that 457 students were eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010-11 the Dallas School District applied for and received $172,174 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to reduce class size K-3rd grade, to improve instruction by using teacher coaches in classrooms and to increase instructional time for struggling students through before and after school tutoring and more.
Classrooms for the Future grant
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Dallas School District applied for funding in 2006-07 but was denied by the PDE. In 2007-08, it received $263,298. The district received $47,989 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $311,287.
Federal Stimulus grant
Dallas School District received an extra $163,479 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. The teachers' union agreed to support the effort. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of a majority of school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Dallas School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The school board levied a real estate tax of 11.0118 mills in 2010-11. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. On the local level, Pennsylvania district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
- 2009-10 - 10.6498 mills 
In 2008, Luzerne county conducted a property value reassessment.
- 2008-09 - 262.0000 mills 
Act 1 Adjusted index
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Dallas School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 3.9%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 3.4%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.1%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 4.8%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.4%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.7%, Base 1.4%
The Dallas School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011. In the Spring of 2010, 135 of 500 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief
In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Dallas School District was $53 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,071 property owners applied for the tax relief. In 2010 within Luzerne County, the highest reported amount went to Wilkes-Barre Area School District set at $210 per approved homestead. The property tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $641 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. CUSD was given $632 in 2009. This was the second year they were the top recipient.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially greater than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
The district offers a summer aquatics program that is open to all district residents. All lessons are taught by ARC certified Water Safety Instructors. There is a small fee for the swim lessons.
The district's students have access to a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by the school board policy.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
In March 2008, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a special investigation of the Dallas School District. It found that the athletic director, who also was a school guidance counselor, had misappropriated $4,869 from Dallas School District’s Athletic Fund.
The Girls field hockey team has won the 2007 PIAA District 2 championship and were state semi-finalists. They also peaked at #6 in the National Polls midway through the season. The Boys and Girls soccer teams also won district championships in the 2007-2008 school year along with the softball team and Girls Track and Field team which has won 3 consecutive district 2 titles (2005, 2006, 2007). In the 2008-2009 year, the teams from Dallas to win district titles are Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Girls diving, Girls Soccer, and Softball. State Championships from Dallas include, Football in 1993, Girls Cross Country in 2003 and 2005, and Girls Soccer in 2007.
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