Dunmore School District
|Dunmore School District|
|300 West Warren Street
Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna, 18512
|School board||9 elected members serving 4 years term|
|Other||Enrollment to be 1671 in 2019|
The Dunmore School District is a small, suburban school district which serves the Borough of Dunmore in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, USA. The district operates Dunmore High School, Dunmore Middle School and Dunmore Elementary Center. Dunmore School District encompasses approximately 8 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 14,081. Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08 the Dunmore School District provided basic educational services to 1,673 pupils through the employment of 110 teachers, 37 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators.
- 1 Administration
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 High school
- 4 Graduation requirements
- 5 Special education
- 6 Bullying Policy
- 7 Budget
- 8 Enrollment
- 9 Extracurriculars
- 10 References
- Superintendent: Mr. Richard X. McDonald
- High School Principal: Mr. Robert Galella
- High School Vice Principal: Mr. Timothy Hopkins
- Middle School Principal: Mr. Robert Galella
- Elementary Center Principal: Mr. Matthew Quinn
- Elementary Center Vice Principal: Mrs. Margaret Hart
Dunmore School District was ranked 151st out of 498 Pennsylvania School Districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance based on the PSSA's on reading, mathematics and writing as well as three years of science.
- 2010 - 143rd
- 2009 - 168th
- 2008 - 126th
- 2007 - 151st
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Dunmore School District was in the 74th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best).
In 2008, students in Dunmore School District demonstrated the highest achievement among Lackawanna County school districts, on the state's science test. Additionally, the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development found that 5th grade writing achievement declined and remained low, while the district's 8th and 11th grades students showed strong writing skills acquisition from 2006-2009.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Dunmore High School's rate was 91% for 2010.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 70% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 80%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 73%, State - 65% 
- 2007 - 76%, State - 65% 
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 71% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 70%, State - 56% 
- 2008 - 58%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 65%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 57% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 60%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 48%, State - 39% 
College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 27% of Dunmore 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.
The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state 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 and programs 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.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $6,226 for the program.
The Dunmore School Board has determined that students must earn 22 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Physical Education/Health/Driver's Ed 1 credit, Arts and Humanities 2.25 credits, Music .25 credit, Computer Literacy .5 credits and Electives 4 credits.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must 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.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 199 pupils or 11.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
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 Special Education Department.
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.
Dunmore School District received a $812,062 supplement for special education services in 2010.
The District Administration reported that 7 or 0.49% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. 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. Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Dunmore School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.
The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying. 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. District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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 2009, the district reports employing over 70 teachers with a starting salary of $33,000 for 185 days for pupil instruction. The average teacher salary was $49,037 while the maximum salary was $104,985. 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. Additionally, Dunmore School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 1 - 2 paid personal days, 10 sick days, 5 paid bereavement days, and other benefits. Teachers are paid an additional hourly rate, if they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The school day is 7 hours 10 minutes. Retirees receive $50 for each unused accumulated sick days. Teachers who serves as department heads and team leaders receive $1000 in compensation. 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.
In 2007, the district employed 96 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,726 for 185 school days worked.
Dunmore School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $710.59 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2008, Dunmore School District reported spending $9,375 per pupil. This ranked 497th in the commonwealth.
In April 2011, the district spent over $3,700 to send the superintendent and one school board member to a national school board convention. Most Lackawanna County school districts had elected to not attend the conference due to budget cuts in the economic downturn.
In 2009, the district reported $3,845,483 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $575,000.
In August 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, 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. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.
State basic education funding
For 2010-11 the Dunmore School District received a 11.88% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $4,369,057 payment. Dunmore School District received the highest increase in BEF in Lackawanna County in 2011. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. 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.
In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 9.12% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $3,905,237. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,578,939.93. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more. Scranton School District received the highest increase in Lackawanna County for the 2009-10 school year at 9.46%. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.
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 Dunmore School District applied for and received $219,870 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.
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. Dunmore School District received did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $209,743. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $45,413 for a total of $255,156. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $1,098,128 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like Title 1, special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding was for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands in 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. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. 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.
Common Cents state initiative
The Dunmore School Board chose 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 any of the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The Dunmore School Board set property tax rates in 2010-2011 at 96.5500 mills. 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. Pennsylvania school 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
- 2009-10 - 96.5500 mills.
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized 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 Dunmore School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.
- 2006-07 - 4.9%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 4.3%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.6%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 5.3%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.8%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
Dunmore School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11. 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.
Property tax relief
In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Dunmore School District was $128 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,419 property owners applied for the tax relief. The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's 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. In Lackawanna County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in Scranton School District at $334. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. This was the second year Chester Upland School District was 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 more 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%).
Dunmore School District is experiencing low enrollment in K-12. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects the district's enrollment will be less than 1700 pupils through 2018. Shifting population trends across the U.S. and Pennsylvania are affecting school enrollment. Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline is projected to be in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts may have a 16 percent decline. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).
A study done by Standard and Poors in 2007 (at the request of the PA General Assembly) examined whether the consolidation of small school district's administrations would yield saving where the resulting district had approximately 3000 pupils. Superintendent were asked about savings, if their district were to merge with another district at the administrative level only, but not close any of their schools. It found 42% of survey respondents thought consolidation could achieve cost reductions. Additionally, 63% of responding superintendents believed that consolidation with another district would help provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for the students. In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports.
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.
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