Great Valley School District
|Great Valley School District|
|Type and location|
|Location||47 Church Rd.
Malvern, PA 19355
|Superintendent||Alan J. Lonoconus|
|Asst. Superintendent(s)||Daniel F. Goffredo|
|Budget||$84.4 million (2014-2015)|
|NCES District ID||4210870|
|Students and staff|
|Students||Approx. 4,000 (2014–15)>|
|Athletic conference||PIAA Ches-Mont League|
|Teachers union||Great Valley Education Association (GVEA)|
The Great Valley School District is located in southeastern Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia suburbs, specifically in the Delaware Valley region known as the Main Line, in eastern Chester County. The district provides public education for students in Charlestown, East Whiteland, and Willistown townships, as well as Malvern borough. The district is located in the general area known locally as the Great Valley.
- 1 District Administration
- 2 District funding
- 3 District schools
- 4 School organization
- 5 Former schools
- 6 Bacton Hill land purchase controversy
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The district superintendent is selected solely by the nine-member school board. On September 17, 2007, then-Superintendent Dr. Rita Jones, serving her 16th year in the position, received a new four-year contract, the result of a 5-4 school board vote. On April 2, 2009, Dr. Jones announced her early retirement, effective in August of that year. Dr. Melody Wilt served as interim superintendent until Dr. Alan Lonoconus was appointed to fill the position on October 20, 2009. On December 1st, 2014, Lonoconus announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
The nine school board members are elected publicly; one non-voting student representative is appointed by Great Valley High School. The members are:
- 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
- Carol Palmaccio, Region 3
- Mary Ravenfeld, Region 3
- Zachary Heisey, Student Representative
The majority of the district's funding comes from property taxes (84.66 percent for 2007-08). The 2007 millage rate of 17.44 generated $62 of the $74 million budget. The budget is prepared yearly by the current superintendent and then must be approved by the nine-member school board. The millage rate has been raised each year since 2002, when it was 12.28, a 42 percent increase in six years.
The budget funds the district's 4,207 students and 479 staff members. The student body has increased 15 percent since 2002.
Charlestown Elementary School
Charlestown Elementary School is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, within Charlestown Township. Student hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:38 p.m., with morning kindergarten hours from 9:00 to 11:45 a.m. and afternoon hours from 12:40 to 3:38 p.m. Kindergarten through fifth grade students attend the school.
The school enrolls about 367 students per year, and the student-teacher ratio is approximately 14:1. The school building was renovated in the early 2000s, when students and faculty were temporarily relocated.
Christopher Pickell is the school principal.
General Wayne Elementary School
General Wayne Elementary School is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, within Willistown Township. Student hours are from 8:55 a.m. to 3:33 p.m., with morning kindergarten hours from 8:55 to 11:40 a.m. and afternoon kindergarten hours from 12:35 to 3:33 p.m.
Kathryn D. Markley Elementary School
The Kathryn Donahue Markley Elementary School is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, within East Whiteland Township. A new building was constructed in 2001, and the previous building became the district office. Victoria Morris is the current principal. Kindergarten through fifth grade students attend the school, named after a former long-time principal.
Sugartown Elementary School
Sugartown Elementary School is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, within Willistown Township. Student hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:38 p.m., with morning kindergarten from 9:00 to 11:45 a.m. and afternoon kindergarten from 12:40 to 3:38 p.m.
Great Valley Middle School
Great Valley Middle School is located in Malvern, Pennsylvania on the same campus as Great Valley High School. The school enrolls about 950 students per year in the sixth through eighth grades. The student to teacher ratio is about 16:1. 
The regular student schedule, as of the 2014-2015 school year, is 7:40 a.m. to 2:29 p.m. The school also operates on a six-day (1-6) cycle. The principal is Dr. Edward Souders and the assistant principal is Dr. Amanda Pierce.
Before 2001, the middle school was located in the building now known as General Wayne Elementary School.
Great Valley High School
The high school serves students in ninth through twelfth grade. the high school is located on the same campus as the middle school. The principal is Michael Flick and the assistant principals are Dr. Marshall Hoffritz and Dr. Heidi Capetola.
By the 1990s, when the school had three functioning elementary schools, district population growth necessitated construction of a larger middle school and addition of a fourth elementary school. Once the new middle school was completed, the General Wayne facility was closed and converted into the fourth elementary school. Thereafter, Sugartown students temporarily used the renovated General Wayne school to allow for Sugartown's renovation and expansion. Thereafter, the high school underwent a four-year renovation that was completed during the 2006/2007 school year.
After Sugartown's elementary renovation, reassignment of students to schools within the district was necessary. This process began in June 2004 and was implemented in time for the 2006-2007 school year.. Some students throughout the district from the other three elementary schools were relocated to Sugartown.
Two older elementary schools — Greentree Elementary in Willistown Township and Malvern Elementary in Malvern Borough — were closed in the early 1980s and the buildings sold. Green Tree was renovated and enlarged to become a commercial office building while the Malvern school was renovated and enlarged to become the Malvern borough town hall, police station, and public library.
Bacton Hill land purchase controversy
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. 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".  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." 
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.  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." 
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.  In addition, all 4 board members who are up for re-election in the November, 2009 election announced they would not seek re-election.  Further, because Jack McDowell stepped down in April due to illness,  only 4 of the 9 board members who were involved in the land deal were still on the board as of December.
- "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Great Valley High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- Chester County Audit Chester County Audit of District, Retrieved on May 7, 2008
- District Communication: Great Valley School District Budget Comparison, Retrieved on March 17, 2008
- GV School District Budget Page Official Great Valley School District Budget, Retrieved on May 7, 2008
- School Board Minutes Sep 15, 2009 , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- School Board Purchase Resolution , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- School Board Released Factsheet , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- Video of School Board Meeting Mar 16, 2009 , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- School Board Minutes Apr 13, 2009 , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- Daily Local News , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- Daily Local News , Retrieved on September 2, 2009
- KDM Website
- Sugartown Website
- Charlestown Website
- General Wayne Website
- Middle School Website
- High School Website