Danville Area School District

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Danville Area School District
Map of Montour County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
600 Walnut Street
Danville, Pennsylvania, Montour County, Northumberland County, 17821
United States
Information
Closed Danville Elementary School, Riverside Elementary School, Mahoning Cooper Elementary School in 2011
School board 9 members elected at large
Superintendent Cheryl Latorre, M'ED, ($125,000 in 2011)
Faculty 205 teachers (2010)
Grades K-12
Age 4 years old preschool to 21 years special education students
Pupils 2,431 students 2012[1]

2,428 students in 2010 [2]

Kindergarten 201
Grade 1 187
Grade 2 187
Grade 3 167
Grade 4 171
Grade 5 160
Grade 6 157
Grade 7 180
Grade 8 175
Grade 9 197
Grade 10 176
Grade 11 186
Grade 12 217
Other enrollment declining to 2150 (2015)[3]
Student to teacher ratio 11:1 Student/teacher 2010
Color(s) Orange and Purple
Mascot Ironman
Budget $34.02 million (2013-14)

$32,850,131 (2012-13)

Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $8,934.40, HS - $9,808.87 [4]
Per pupil spending $12,124 (2008)
Per pupil spending $12,846.24 (2010)
Website
Map of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

The Danville Area School District ia a midsized rural public school district which spans portions of two counties. In Montour County it covers the Boroughs of Danville and Washingtonville and Cooper Township, Derry Township, Liberty Township, Mahoning Township, Mayberry Township, Valley Township and West Hemlock Township. In Northumberland County it covers the Borough of Riverside and Rush Township. The district encompasses approximately 120 square miles (310 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 18,894. In 2009 the residents' per capita income was $20,247, while the median family income was $46,435.[5] District officials reported that in school year 2007-08 the Danville Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,563 pupils through the employment of 200 teachers, 152 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 16 administrators.

The District operates Danville High School (Grades 9-12), Danville Middle School (Grades 6-8), Liberty Valley Intermediate Elementary School (Grades 3-5), and Danville Area Primary Elementary School (Grades K2). Of the 4 elementary schools formerly operated by the district until June 2011, only Liberty Valley remains open today (but not to students in Grades K2). Danville Elementary School, Riverside Elementary School, and Mahoning Cooper Elementary School all closed in the 2011 consolidation of the new Danville Area Primary Elementary School. [1]

Part of the Danville Primary School building

Danville Area School District experienced a significant decline in enrollment. The 2009-10 enrollment was 2,342. It had peaked at 2,837 pupils in 1998-99. The board added 36 professional positions and nearly doubled the number of nonprofessional positions by adding 23 workers over that period.[6]

Mascot and Colors

The district's school colors are Orange and Purple and its mascot is the Ironman. The Orange and Purple represent the colors of hot iron. Iron turns orange at forging temperatures and purple at even hotter casting temperatures. This is due to the historical significance of an iron refinery in downtown Danville. Danville Area was commissioned in 1900, within a few years of when the mill closed. The refinery stood idle for decades, but it was finally demolished in the 1930s.

History[edit]

Shortly before the turn of the 20th Century, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania called for special districts acting as their own local government units to run the state's public school system, whereas counties, boroughs, townships, towns, and cities had previously been allowed to run schools. In 1900, the legislature commissioned Danville School District. Originally, the district covered only Danville, but it was granted an increasing geographical region as the state decommissioned surrounding districts. It expanded to cover all but the very northernmost townships of Montour County. Later, with the decommission and annexation of South Danville School District, it took up part of Northumberland County as well. In 1957, Danville School District was awarded the designation of "Area" in its name. In 2007, a U.S. News & World Report study rated Danville High School in the top 5% as one of the best public high schools in the United States of America. In 2010, the high school was not listed in the Top US Schools Listing.[7]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2010, the Danville Area School District adopted an Instructional Model with the intent to strengthen student achievement in all grades.[8]

Danville Area School District ranked 136th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania School Districts in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in the past 3 years of PSSA results on: reading, writing, math and science.[9] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 136th [10]
  • 2011 - 135th [11]
  • 2010 - 127th [12]
  • 2009 - 113th[13]
  • 2008 - 124th
  • 2007 - 119th out of 501 school districts in 2007.[14]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Danville Area School District ranked 187th. [15] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[16]

  • 2011 - 201st
  • 2010 - 313th
  • 2009 - 282nd
District AYP Status 2012-2003

In 2010 through 2012, Danville Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance. From 2004 to 2009 Danville Area School District achieved AYP status. In 2003, the District was in Warning status due to lagging student academic achievement.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students was in the 72nd percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 schools districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best).[17]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Danville Area School District's graduation rate rose to 93.62%. In 2012, Danville Area School District's graduation rate was 92.3%.[18] In 2011, the graduation rate at Danville Area School District was 93.6%.[19] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Danville Area School District's rate was 91.98% for 2010.[20]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations
  • 2010: 90% [21]
  • 2009: 91.39% [22]
  • 2008: 92.45%
  • 2007: 87.75% [23]
  • 2006: 91.71%

High school[edit]

Danville Area High School is located at 600 Walnut Street, Danville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 720 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 122 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 61 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[24] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[25]

In 2009, Danville High School ranked 139th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[26]

2013 School Performance Profile

Danville Area High School achieved 92.7 out of 100. This was the highest score achieved by an IU16 region high school. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 92% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 92.8% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 50% showed on grade level science understanding.[27] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP History

In 2003 through 2012, Danville Area High School achieved AYP status each year, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[28][29]

PSSA Scores
11th Grade Reading:
  • 2007 - 79% on grade level. State - 65.4% of 11th graders on grade level
  • 2008 - 78.6% on grade level - State - 65%[30]
  • 2009 - 75.5%, State - 65% [31]
  • 2010 - 76%, State - 67%. The 11th grade ranked 6th in CSIU16 high schools for reading achievement.[32]
  • 2011 - 82.5%, (6% below basic). Ranked 2nd among CSIU16 region 11th grades. State - 69%.[33]
  • 2012 - 89% (5% below basic). State - 67%, CSIU16 region 11th grade rank - 1st.[34]
11th Grade Mathematics on grade level:
  • 2007 - 65.4%, State - 53.7%
  • 2008 - 60.4%, State - 56%
  • 2009 - 66.7%, State - 56% [35]
  • 2010 - 77%, State - 59%. The 11th grade ranked 2nd, in the CSIU 16 region, for math achievement.[36]
  • 2011 - 77.6% (10% below basic). State - 60.3%. The 11th grade ranked 1st, in the CSIU 16 region, for math achievement.
  • 2012 - 87% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 59% of 11th graders are on grade level. CSIU16 region rank - 1st.[37]
11th Grade Science on grade level:
  • 2008 - 39%, State - 36%
  • 2009 - 48.5%, State - 39.7%[38]
  • 2010 - 54%, State - 39%. In the CSIU16 region, Danville ranked 6th for science achievement.[39]
  • 2011 - 52.6% (8% below basic). State - 40%. In the CSIU16 region, Danville AHS ranked 5th for science achievement.[40]
  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 44% of 11th graders were on grade level. In the CSIU16 region, Danville AHS ranked 6th for science achievement.

Science in Motion Danville High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[41] The High School worked with Susquehanna University to provide the experiences.

College Remediation rate[edit]

In January 2009, research was presented to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. The research examined course enrollment trends at the state’s 14 community colleges and the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The data, provided by PASSHE and the community colleges, showed that during the 2007-08 school year 18% of Danville Area High School graduates required costly remediation in math and/or reading before they could take regular college courses.[42] 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.[43] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Danville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 530. The Math average score was 541. The Writing average score was 526. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[44]

In 2012, 148 Danville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 510. The Math average score was 527. The Writing average score was 501. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 137 Danville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 512. The Math average score was 526. The Writing average score was 488.[45] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[46] In the United States 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[47]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Danville Area School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 28 credits to graduate, including: mathematics - 4 credits, English 4.5 credits, social studies 3 credits, science 4.5 credits, Computer technology 1 credit, Physical Education and health 2.5 credits, Graduation project 0.5 credit and electives. In 2017 graduation requirements will be reduced by 1 credit to 27 credits and the student must score proficient or advanced on the following Keystone Exams: Algebra I, English Literature, and Biology.[48]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to complete a 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.[49] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[50]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[51][52][53] For the class of 2019, a composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[54] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[55] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Advance Placement courses[edit]

In 2013, Berwick High School offered 13 AP courses at a higher cost than regular courses. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. Danville Area High School gives credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP classes.[56]

ACE[edit]

Danville Area School District students have access to Bloomsburg University's Summer College and Advanced College Experience (ACE) during the summer of their sophomore, junior and senior years (after high school graduation). Tuition is deeply discounted to 75% of the regular rate.[57] Successful students earn college credits that can be transferred to other Pennsylvania public colleges and universities through the Pennsylvania TRAC system.

Middle school[edit]

In September 2011, Danville Area Middle School was heavily damaged by flash flooding of the Susquehanna River. Estimates put the damage at over $4 million. The District reports having $2 million in insurance on the building. The school is conducting classes, for the rest of the school year, by conducting 6th grade in one former, elementary school building and 7th and 8th grade in another former, elementary school building.[58] In February 2013, the School Board reported that most of the repairs were completed. In addition to insurance coverage, grants from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency covered most of the costs of repairs.[59] the school reopened to students in fall 2013.

2013 School Performance Profile

Danville Area Middle School achieved 94.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 80% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, 85.8% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 82% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 91% of the 8th grade students were on grade level.[60]

Adequate Yearly Progress History
  • 2012 - achieved AYP status.[61]
  • 2011 - achieved AYP status.[62]
  • 2009 and 2010 achieved AYP.
8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 87% on grade level (8% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[63]
  • 2011 - 84.9% (6% below basic). State - 81.8%. Ranks 9th in the CSIU16 region 8th grades.
  • 2010 - 87%, State - 81%. Ranked 6th in the region.[64]
  • 2009 - 89%, State - 80.9%.[65]
  • 2008 - 84%, State - 78% [66]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 88% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 93.4% (3% below basic). State - 76.9%. The 8th grade ranked 2nd in the CSIU16 region.
  • 2010 - 84.5%, State - 75%. The 8th grade ranked 5th in the CSIU16 region.[67]
  • 2009 - 89%, State - 71%[68]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 70% [69]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 76% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 67% (13% below basic). State - 58.3%. Ranks 11th, in 8th grade science, in CSIU16 region.
  • 2010 - 71%, State - 57%.[70]
  • 2009 - 68%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 50%

In 2010, the school administration set the goal that 90% of students would be on grade level. They developed an Instructional Plan to achieve that goal.[76]

Liberty-Valley Elementary School[edit]

Liberty Valley Elementary School remains in Warning status for student academic achievement in 2010 through 2012 due to declining student achievement.[62][77][78]

Low Income 3rd Grade Students Achievement Reading
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level. State - 59%
  • 2011 - 55.9% on grade level. State - 65.6%
  • 2010 - 64% on grade level. State - 61% [83]
Low Income 3rd Grade Students Achievement Math
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level. State - 66%.
  • 2011 - 50% on grade level. State - 73%
  • 2010 - 72.5% on grade level. State - 74%
4th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 85%, (4% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 85%, (3% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 82.6%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009 - 92%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 97%, State - 82%
2009 Academic Achievement Report Cards for elementary schools
  • Danville Elementary School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 [2]
  • Riverside Elementary School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 [3]
  • Mahoning Cooper Elementary School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 [4]

PreSchool[edit]

Danville Head Start provides a taxpayer funded, preschool program that provides education, health, and social services to children and families. It serves 111 pre-school aged children throughout Montour County and the Danville Area School District in 2010.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the District administration reported that 321 pupils or 12.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 44.5% having specific learning disabilities. In December 2009, the administration reported that 363 pupils or 15.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[87]

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 or Student Assistance 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.[88]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 for special education services. This funding was in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[89] The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[90] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[91] Overidentification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[92]

Danville Area School District received a $1,387,004 supplement for special education services in 2010.[93] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[94][95]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 75 or 3.09% of its students were gifted in 2009.[96] 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.[97]

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[98]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Danville Area School District was $54,799 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $18,444 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $73,244.[99] The District employed 222 teachers with an average salary of $55,734 and a top salary of $125,000.[100]

In December 2013, the teachers union voted to authorize a strike if their contract demands are not met by the school board.[101] The union and board had sought a state arbitrator review. The report rejected many of the Danville Area School Teachers Union's demands. In April, 2014, the Danville Teachers Union made good its threat, going out on strike for five days. This is the fifth teacher strike in Pennsylvania since 2010.[102] Of nearly 140 teacher strikes that occurred nationally between 2000 and 2007, 60 percent took place in Pennsylvania, according to a report released in August 2012, by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.[103] Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in which teacher strikes are legal. Pennsylvania has the highest rate of teacher strikes in the United States. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there were three teacher union strikes in 2010; one teacher union strike in 2011, one teacher union strike in 2012 and three teacher union strikes in 2013.[104] State law gives the Pennsylvania Department of Education the power to order the teachers to return so that students will complete 180 days of school by June 15.

In May 2012, Danville Area School District eliminated 3 teaching position through attrition. The positions were eliminated due to declining enrollment. The school board and administration are wrestling with repairs to the flood damaged middle school. The school was heavily flooded in September 2011. An empty elementary school was used to provide middle school classes through the 2011-12 school year. The Board has ruled out building a new building due to financial constraints.[105]

The Danville Area School District approved a preliminary budget that does not furlough any professional staff. There were several open teaching positions that will be eliminated. The budget calls for $500,000 for new capital projects and a $200,000 increase technology budget. Superintendent Price reported that class sizes remain ideal and lower than other schools in the region. Seventeen class aide positions were eliminated as well as an assistant food service director. Spending on sports was reduced by $25,000.[106]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Danville Area School District was $52,076 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $15,363 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $67,440.[107]

In 2009, Danville Area School District reported employing over 200 teachers with a salary range of $37,569 to $109,000 for 188 days.[108] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance employee pays 10%, dental and vision insurance, professional development reimbursement, 1 emergency day leave, 2 personal days, 3 bereavement leave, sick days, a retirement bonus and other benefits.[109] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[110]

In 2007, Danville Area School District employed 191 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $51,084 for 180 days worked.[111] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[112]

The Danville Area School District administrative costs per pupil were $613.26 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[113]

Per pupil spending District administration reported that in 2008 the its per pupil spending was $12,124, which ranked 261st among Pennsylvania public schools.[114] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[115] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[116] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[117]

Swap scheme loan In May 2011, the board took out a $8.4 million loan in order to buy out of an interest swap deal that was losing money. The board ended the employment of its business manager who had entered into the interest gambling swap contract.[118]

In June 2011, the Danville Area School District School Board voted to hire Cheryl Latoore as Superintendent, awarding her a 5-year contract with a beginning salary of $125,000 plus an extensive benefits package. At the time of hiring, Latorre was the Superintendent of neighboring Mount Carmel Area School District.[119]

In February 2013, the Board reported a $1 million deficit in the proposed budget for 2013-14. The district reports that 45% of the budget is salaries and 23% is the cost of the teachers' benefits. Additionally, student transportation costs $11,000 a day.[120]

Reserves In 2008, Danville Area School District reported a balance of zero in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $2,828,446. [121] In 2010, Danville Area School District Administration reported an increase to $3,153,083.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District reported zero in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[122]

Audit In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The results were provided to the board and administration.[123]

Tuition Students who live in the Danville Area School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Danville Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,934, High School - $9,808.[124]

Danville Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.15%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, 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. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless the of income level.[125] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds the local public schools.[126]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Danville Area School District received a 1.6% increase or $6,898,927 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $110,987 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Danville Area School District received $128,241 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the school districts in Montour County, Danville Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[127] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[128]

For the 2012-13 school year, Danville Area School District received $6,916,181.[129] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. Danville Area School District received $128,241 in ABG funding.

In 2011-12, the Danville Area School District received $6,787,940 in state Basic Education Funding.[130] Additionally, the district will receive $128,241 in Accountability Block Grant funding.[131] The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[132] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[133]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state gave a 3.22% increase in basic education funding to the Danville Area School District for $7,193,508. In the Commonwealth, the highest increase in state funding went to Kennett Consolidated School District which received a 23.65% increase. Among the 500 Pennsylvania public school district, 150 received the base 2% increase in 2010.[134][135] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.67% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,969,142. The Pennsylvania Department of Education gave 15 school districts an increase of Basic Education Funding of over 10% in the 2009-10 budget.[136] Mount Carmel Area School District received 6.23% which was the highest increase in Northumberland County in 2009. In Pennsylvania, ninety school districts were allotted the base increase of 2%. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received an increase of 22.31%. Fifteen school districts received Basic Education increases in excess of 10%[137] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[138]

The state Basic Education Funding to Danville Area School District in 2008-09 was $6,787,940.04. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that, in the 2007-08 school year, 749 students received a free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.[139]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

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 Kindergarten-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 Danville Area School District applied for and received $348,078 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to increase instructional time and to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.[140][141]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Danville Area School District received $76,123.[142]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

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), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Danville Area School District received $167,949 in 2006-07 and $300,000 in 2007-08. The district did not apply for funding in 2009.[143]

Other grants[edit]

Danville Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants [144] nor the 21st Century Learning grants.

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education grant[edit]

In August 2012, Danville Area School District received a $25,000 grant for The America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program. The grant is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, which provided $2.3 million in rural schools across the United States for the 2012-2013 school year. Tyrone was one of 8 Pennsylvania public school districts to receive an award.[145] Districts were nominated by local farmers. The District completed an application process which was reviewed by other school districts. There were 176 school districts in 35 states that received grants. The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Danville Area School District received an extra $1,543,773 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[146] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[147] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Danville Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district would receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[148] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[149] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[150]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Danville School Board elected 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.[151] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

In 2013-14, Danville Area residents who live in Montour County or in Northumberland County saw the property tax rate set at 14.7180 mills.[152] The Board used its exception to raise taxes above the Index due to the high cots of the teachers' pesion payments. 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.[153] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[154] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[155]

  • 2012-13 - Montour County and Northumberland County had property tax rate set at 14.7128 mills[156]
  • 2011-12 - Montour County and Northumberland County - 14.1545 mills [157]
  • 2010-11 - Montour County and Northumberland County - 14.8961 mills.[158]
  • 2009-10 - Montour County residents 16.2164 mills. Millage for Northumberland County 16.2164 mills.[159] For the real estate tax levied by the School District, other than interim real estate tax, taxpayers may elect an installment payment option.
  • 2008-09 - Montour County residents 9.0380 mills and Northumberland County residents 55.3220 mills.[160]
  • 2007-08 - 8.9010 mills Montour County and 52.4660 mills Northumberland County.[161]
  • 2006-07 - 8.5250 mills Montour County and 51.6190 mills Northumberland County [162]

The average yearly property tax paid by Montour County residents amounts to about 2.86% of their yearly income. Montour County ranked 689th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[163] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[164] 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%).[165]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2011, the property tax relief for residents of Danville Area School District is set $114 for 4,842 approved homesteads and farmsteads.[166]

In 2010 the property tax relief for residents of Danville Area School District was $115.[167] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Danville Area School District was $118 per approved permanent primary residence. This was among the lowest amounts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the district, 4665 property owners applied for the tax relief. The 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. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[168]

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, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate.

Act 1 Index[edit]

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 it 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: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increasing rising health care costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or declining local 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.[169]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Danville Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[170]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Danville Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index due to the high cost of teacher pensions. For 2013-2014, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[175]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Danville Area School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[175]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Danville Area School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Danville Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[176]

According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions: 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[177]

Danville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010-11.[178] In the Spring of 2010, 135 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.[179]

Wellness policy[edit]

Danville Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[180] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity hat are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[181] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for its approval.

The District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[182] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[183]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[184] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[185]

Danville Area School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[186] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2009, 1 school at Danville Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Danville Area High School received $4,000 which was used to purchase additional bikes and supplies for the Mountain Bike for Life program which was started in 2008 with the help of another School Challenge grant.[187] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5 year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

Extracurriculars[edit]

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.[188]

The District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Danville Area School District is a member of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference for all athletics and participates under the rules and guidelines of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The high school is also well known for its Forensics Team, which competes in the National Forensics League, National Catholic Forensics League, and Pennsylvania High School Speech League.

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports
  • According to PIAA directory July 2012 [189]

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[190] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C-" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[191]

References[edit]

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  110. ^ Legislature must act on educators' pension hole. The Patriot News. February 21, 2010
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External links[edit]


Coordinates: 40°57′36″N 76°36′25″W / 40.95990°N 76.60702°W / 40.95990; -76.60702