Great Valley School District

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Great Valley School District
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Map of Chester County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts. Great Valley School District is in orange in the eastern part of the county.

The Great Valley School District is located in southeastern Pennsylvania, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It is in the Delaware Valley region known as the Main Line, in eastern Chester County, and provides education for the residents of Charlestown, East Whiteland, and Willistown townships, and the borough of Malvern. The district is in the broad area named Great Valley.

District Administration[edit]

Superintendent[edit]

The district superintendent is selected solely by the 9-member school board. On September 17, 2007, then-Superintendent Dr. Rita Jones, serving her 16th straight year in the position, received a new four year contract, by virtue of a 5-4 vote of the school board.[8] On April 2, 2009, Dr. Jones announced her early retirement, effective in August of that year [9]. Dr. Melody Wilt served as interim Superintendent until Dr. Alan Lonoconus was appointed to fill the position on October 20, 2009.[10]

School Board[edit]

There are nine members of the school board, elected publicly.

  • David Barratt, Region 1 (President)
  • Jennifer Armstrong, Region 2 (Vice President)
  • Philip Foret, Region 3 (Treasurer)
  • Ellen Behrle, Region 1
  • Andrew Daga, Region 2
  • Patricia Gillespie, Region 1
  • Stephanie Gunderson, Region 2
  • Ted Leisenring, Region 3
  • Mary Ravenfeld, Region 3

District Funding[edit]

The majority (84.66% for 2007-08) of the district's funding comes from district property taxes. The 2007 millage rate at 17.44 brings in $62 of the $74 million budget. The budget is set yearly by the current superintendent which then must be approved by the nine-member school board. The millage rate has been raised each year since 2002 when it stood at 12.28 [1] , a 42% increase over the current 17.44 millage rate .[2][3]

The budget serves the district's 4207 students and 479 staff members. The student body has increased 15% since 2002. [3]

District Schools[edit]

Kathryn D. Markley Elementary School[edit]

Kathryn Donahue Markley Elementary School[11] is one of four elementary schools in the Great Valley School District. It is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania. A new building was made in 2001, and the previous building became the district office.

Mrs. Victoria Morris is the current principal of Kathryn D. Markley Elementary School.

The school teaches students in Kindergarten to 5th Grade.

The school was named after a former long-time principal.

Sugartown Elementary School[edit]

Sugartown Elementary School is one of four elementary schools in the Great Valley School District. It is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Student school hours are from 9:00 a.m.-3:38 p.m., morning kindergarten hours are from 9:00-11:45 a.m., and afternoon kindergarten hours are from 12:40 p.m.-3:38 p.m. [12]

Dr. Karen L. Schneck was the former principal of Kathryn D. Markley Elementary School, but was made the principal of Sugartown Elementary School after its rebuilding and reopening. [13][14][15]

Administration[edit]

  • Principal: Dr. Karen L. Schneck

Charlestown Elementary School[edit]

Charlestown Elementary School is one of four elementary schools in the Great Valley School District. It is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

Student elementary school hours around the school district generally are from about 9:00 a.m.-3:38 p.m., morning kindergarten hours are from about 9:00-11:45 a.m., and afternoon kindergarten hours are from about 12:40 p.m.-3:38 p.m. [16]

The school was part of a redistrict in 2001 due to the opening of General Wayne Elementary School[citation needed], previously the General Wayne Middle School. The building was renovated in the early 2000s, and students and faculty were temporarily relocated.

The school teaches grades Kindergarten to 5th Grade. The school enrolls about 367 students per year. The student to teacher ratio is about 14:1. [17]

Administration[edit]

  • Principal: Christpher Pickell [18]

General Wayne Elementary School[edit]

General Wayne Elementary School is one of four elementary schools in the Great Valley School District. It is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Student school hours are from 8:55 a.m.-3:33 p.m., morning kindergarten hours are from 8:55-11:40 a.m., and afternoon kindergarten hours are from 12:35 p.m.-3:33 p.m.[19]

Administration[edit]

  • Principal: Mrs. Bonnie Citron [20]

Great Valley Middle School[edit]

Great Valley Middle School is a middle school in eastern Chester County. It is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It is located on the same campus as Great Valley High School. [21] It is the only middle school of the Great Valley School District.

General Wayne Middle School (earlier called General Wayne Junior High School), now General Wayne Elementary School, was the district's middle school from 1958 to 2000, and became General Wayne Elementary School after the Great Valley Middle School building was built next to the high school campus, and became Great Valley School District's middle school. [22]

The school teaches grades 6th Grade to 8th Grade. The school enrolls about 950 students per year. The student to teacher ratio is about 16:1. [23]

Administration[edit]

  • Principal: Dr. Edward Souders
  • Assistant Principal: Mrs. Amanda Pierce

Schedule[edit]

Great Valley Middle School's regular student schedule, as of the 2011-2012 school year, is 7:40 a.m.-2:29 p.m. The school also operates on a 6 day (1-6) cycle.[24]

Great Valley High School[edit]

Grades 9 - 12

  • Principal: Mr. Michael Flick
  • Assistant Principal: Mr. Marshall Hoffritz
  • Assistant Principal: Mrs. Heidi Capetola

School Organization[edit]

Four elementary schools cover the subsections of the district. The four are merged into the sole middle school.

Formerly General Wayne Middle School, a recent growth in the school district's population motivated the need for the new Great Valley Middle School to be built for the larger student body. After the new school was complete, General Wayne was closed for repairs and turned into a fourth elementary school. Sugartown Elementary students temporarily used this new building to allow for Sugartown's own renovation. Upon completion, the district had four functioning elementary schools that now feed into Great Valley Middle.

The high school also underwent a 4-year renovation that was completed during the 2006/2007 school year.

Redistricted[edit]

After Sugartown's elementary renovation, redistricting was required for Sugartown to reopen. This process was started in June 2004 and implemented before the 2006-2007 school year. [25][26][27]. Some students throughout the school district were moved into Sugartown, from either KDM, General Wayne, or Charlestown. [28]

Bacton Hill Land Purchase Controversy[edit]

On September 15, 2008, the school board voted and unanimously approved the purchase of 49.4 acres (200,000 m2) of land for approximately $6.6 million.[4] Located at 51 Bacton Hill Road, Malvern, this "Bacton Hill Land Purchase" generated some controversy amongst the public for two reasons: (1) the purchase was not discussed with the public prior to the meeting during which it was first announced, voted, and passed, and (2) the purchase price based on two land appraisals was brought under scrutiny when it was discovered that the brother of the real estate agent who set the price was involved with forming both appraisals.

Central to the controversy was the lack of public awareness, but also that the school board's reason for the purchase was stated, "it is prudent to acquire real estate for the District's potential future use". [5] The number of students educated by the district has not significantly increased, so many objected that there is no foreseeable "future use" and that the purchase was made in haste.

The two independent appraisals of the land's price were brought into question as well because of the high price. After the purchase was completed, the board released a statement about the land acquisition, saying, "the per acre cost may seem high (at $135,000). But the purchase price is lower than two appraisals conducted on the site." [6]

Fueling the controversy, a member of the public requested the two appraisals be released under Pennsylvania's Sunshine Laws. It was discovered that the two appraisals were both conducted by the same appraisal company, not two independent entities. Further, the appraisal company was owned by the brother of the real estate agent who first approached and ultimately sold the land to the district. Concerned over apparent misconduct, the appraisals and sale were eventually referred to the US Attorney by this same member of the public. This information was presented to the Board during public comments at the School Board Meeting on March 16, 2009. [7] Several questions were asked concerning who was involved in the deal, and who knew what when. The Board did not respond during the meeting, but the District's lawyer attached a recorded statement to the public video of the meeting, stating, "the board considered these statements after the meeting, and while certain of them were factually accurate, the presentation was incomplete." [7]

The land is still held by the School District, and no confirmation or denial has officially been given. However, significant fallout appears to have occurred. Two weeks after the March 16th meeting, on April 1, Superintendent Rita Jones announced she intended to retire during the upcoming summer. [8] In addition, all 4 board members who are up for re-election in the November, 2009 election announced they would not seek re-election. [9] Further, because Jack McDowell stepped down in April due to illness, [10] only 4 of the 9 board members who were involved in the land deal were still on the board as of December.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chester County Audit Chester County Audit of District, Retrieved on May 7, 2008
  2. ^ District Communication: Great Valley School District Budget Comparison, Retrieved on March 17, 2008
  3. ^ a b GV School District Budget Page Official Great Valley School District Budget, Retrieved on May 7, 2008
  4. ^ School Board Minutes Sep 15, 2009 [1], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  5. ^ School Board Purchase Resolution [2], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  6. ^ School Board Released Factsheet [3], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  7. ^ a b Video of School Board Meeting Mar 16, 2009 [4], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  8. ^ School Board Minutes Apr 13, 2009 [5], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  9. ^ Daily Local News [6], Retrieved on September 2, 2009
  10. ^ Daily Local News [7], Retrieved on September 2, 2009

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°03′25″N 75°34′06″W / 40.05705°N 75.56842°W / 40.05705; -75.56842