Hazleton Area School District

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Hazleton Area School District
Map of Luzerne County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts.
Address
1515 West 23rd Street
Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Luzerne, 18202
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent Dr. Francis X. Antonelli
Grades K-12
Pupils 10,339 pupils in 2010[1]
 • Kindergarten 748
 • Grade 1 748
 • Grade 2 722
 • Grade 3 724
 • Grade 4 780
 • Grade 5 790
 • Grade 6 790
 • Grade 7 814
 • Grade 8 759
 • Grade 9 935
 • Grade 10 851
 • Grade 11 790
 • Grade 12 819
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Red, Silver, and White               
Mascot Cougar
Team name Cougars
Per pupil Spending $9,240 (2008)
Website

The Hazleton Area School District is a large, urban public school district in Pennsylvania, stretching over portions of Luzerne, Schuylkill, and Carbon Counties. The large district is centered on the city of Hazleton and serves the surrounding Luzerne County municipalities of Freeland, Jeddo, Foster Township, Butler Township, Conyngham, West Hazleton, Hazle Township, Sugarloaf Township, and Black Creek Township. In Schuylkill County, the district encompasses Kline Township, North Union Township, and East Union Township, plus the borough of McAdoo. Beaver Meadows and Banks Township in Carbon County are also within district boundaries. The Hazleton Area School District encompasses approximately 250 square miles (650 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 70,042. In 2009, the district resident's per capita income was $18,055, while the median family income was $42,206.[2] Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08 the Hazleton Area School District provided basic educational services to 10,442 pupils through the employment of 697 teachers, 482 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 42 administrators. Hazleton Area School District received more than $46.6 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The district operates ten schools. Arthur Street (K-2), Arthur Street Elementary School Annex (PreK-2), Maple Manor Elementary-Middle School (3-8), McAdoo-Kelayres Elementary School (K-8), Drums Elementary-Middle School (K-8), Freeland Elementary-Middle School (K-8), Heights Elementary-Middle School (K-8), Valley Elementary-Middle School (K-8), West Hazleton Elementary-Middle Schools (K-8); and Hazleton Elementary-Middle School (K-6). Students culminate their schooling at the Hazleton Area High School, Career Center and Academy of Science buildings.

Governance[edit]

The Hazleton Area 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.[3] 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.[4]

In March 2010, Superintendent Sam Marolo sought a policy of limiting his responses to school board member's inquiries.[5]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2011, Hazleton Area School District declined to Warning status due to chronic low student achievement. In 2010 the school had achieved AYP status.[6] In 2009, the district was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action II for chronically low student achievement.[7]

Hazleton Area School District was identified by the PDE as having significant, statistically atypical test results on the 2008-09 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. After investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, determined, that for the 2012 testing, the district move teachers to different classrooms so no teacher is administering the test to his or her own students. Philadelphia School District was the only other school district under this mandate. The PDE also recommended an official from outside the district sit in the classroom with the teachers while the test is being administered to increase the integrity of test results.[8] According to district officials, two investigative officers and an attorney representing the Department of Education interviewed teachers at the Heights-Terrace, West Hazleton and Hazleton elementary/middle schools and the high school as part of the investigation into testing impropriety.

Hazleton Area School District was ranked 409th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing 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.

  • 2011 - 402nd [10]
  • 2010 - 401st [11]
  • 2009 - 394th
  • 2008 - 371st
  • 2007 - 368th of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[12]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Hazleton Area School District ranked 13th. In 2011, the district was 25th. [13] 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."[14]

District AYP status history

In 2012, Hazleton Area School District remained Warning status In 2011, Hazleton Area School District did not achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). 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.[15][16]

  • 2010 - achieved AYP
  • 2009 - Making Progress in Corrective Action
  • 2008 - Corrective Action 2 (first year)
  • 2007 - Corrective Action 1
  • 2006 - Making Progress School Improvement
  • 2005 - School Improvement 2
  • 2004 - School Improvement 1
  • 2003 - Warning status

Locally, in 2007 Hazleton Area School District had the lowest mathematics achievement and ranked 10th of 11 school districts for reading in Luzerne County. Additionally, SAT scores from 2006-2008 remained among the lowest in the county.[17]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Hazleton Area School District graduation rate was 81%.[18] In 2011, the Hazleton Area School District graduation rate was 81%.[19]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Hazleton Area School District's graduation rate was 76% for 2010.[20]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 82% [21]
  • 2009 - 88%
  • 2008 - 88% [22]
  • 2007 - 88% [23]

High school[edit]

The mission of the Hazleton Area School District is to educate all students to become self-directed, life long learners, and responsible, contributing members of society.[24] ug

Vision precedes action and growth. Vision establishes the destination. Vision is a strong positive force. Vision enables. If an organization is to continually improve itself and perform well its assigned tasks, it must create for itself a vision of continuing success. The vision of the Hazleton Area High School District is one of providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to meet the challenges of life in a new century, a century which promises to bring change in all aspects of their lives. Schools are envisioned as safe and orderly, with students actively involved in learning. Our students will learn how to learn, how to manage information, and how to use that information to achieve goals. They will learn to problem solve in a wide variety of settings. Students will learn the interrelationships of the subjects they are learning. This will increase for them the pertinence of the educational experience. This committee envisions a community which supports, reinforces, and extends the work of the school. We envision also the efforts of the schools strengthened by the collaborative effort of faculty, administration, parents, students, and the community. We foresee schools that manage their resources effectively, squeezing the most benefit from each dollar spent. We envision a faculty able to exercise its full professional potential with ample opportunity for professional growth and development. Schools in this vision are in excellent repair and contain all the resources necessary for effective teaching and learning. Most importantly, we envision schools as places with high expectations so that all students will have the opportunity to reach their maximum potential.[25] ug Hazleton Area High School is located at 1601 West 23rd Street, Hazleton. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 the school had 3,442 students enrolled in grades 9th through 12th, with 1,911 students qualified for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 170 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 20:1.[26]

Hazleton Area Career Center

In addition to the Hazleton Area High School, Hazleton Area also has a career and vocational program. Offereing courses in Law Enforcement, Culinary Arts, Welding, Construction, HVAC, and many others, the Career Center offers students the ability to learn a trade while still earning their high school credits. The Career Center has all the state required graduation courses located in the same building as the vocational classes.

In 2012, Hazleton Area High School declined further to Corrective Action II 6th Year due to chronic low achievement of the students.[27] In 2011, the high school declined further to Corrective Action II 5th Year due to low achievement of the students.[28] In 2010, Hazleton Area High School declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year due to continuing, low achievement of the students. In 2009, the high school was in Corrective Action II 3rd Year.[29] The school administration was required to develop a School Improvement Plan to address low student achievement. The plan was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for approval. The school was mandated by No Child Left Behind law, to notify parents of the low achievement and to offer a transfer to a successful school in the district.

PSSA Results:
11th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 56% on grade level, (27% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[30]
  • 2011 - 60%, (25% below basic). State - 69.1% [31]
  • 2010 - 53%, (26% below basic). State - 66% [32]
  • 2009 - 52%, State - 65%.[33]
  • 2008 - 54%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 60%, State - 65% [34]

11th Grade Math

  • 2012 - 41% on grade level (38% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 42%, (37% below basic). State - 60.3% [35]
  • 2010 - 42% (39% below basic). State - 59% [36]
  • 2009 - 42%, State - 56%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 49%, State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 30% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 25%, (33% below basic). State - 40% [37]
  • 2010 - 22%, (33% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 30%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 20%, State - 39%

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 21% of Hazleton Area School District 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.[38] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduates in three years.[39] 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.

Dual enrollment[edit]

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, including the graduation ceremony. 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.[40] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[41] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $14,678 for the program.[42]

Graduation Culminating Project[edit]

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.[43]

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 426 Hazleton Area students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 449. The Math average score was 458. The Writing average score was 425.[44] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[45] 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.[46]

Heights Terrace Elementary/Middle School[edit]

Heights Terrace Elementary/Middle School is located at 275 Mill Street, Hazleton. In 2010, the school enrolled 1,027 pupils in grades kindergarten through 8th, with 849 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 65 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1. Six hundred five students were Hispanic, 360 were caucasian and 33 were black.[47]

In 2012, Heights Terrace Elementary/Middle School declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement. In 2011, Heights Terrace Elementary/Middle School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status due to continuing low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action I.[48] In 2009 the school was in Corrective Action I due to chronic low performance of its students.[49] The school was mandated by No Child Left Behind, to notify parents of the poor achievement and to offer the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the district. Additionally, the school administration was required to develop a School Improvement Plan which it had to submit the plan to the PDE for approval.

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (18% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[50]
  • 2011 - 78%, (8% below basic). State - 81.8% [51]
  • 2010 - 81%, (9% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 62%, State - 80.9% [52]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 70%, State - 75%[53]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 70% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 76% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 76% (12% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 68%, State - 71% [54]
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 66%, State - 67%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 42% on grade level (33% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 49%, (25% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 49%, (27% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 43%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 46%, State - 50%
4th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 57%, (16% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 80%, (2% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 88%, (3% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 80%. State - 83%
  • 2008 - 74%, State - 81%

West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School[edit]

West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School is located at 325 North Street, West Hazleton. In 2010, the school enrolled 1,000 pupils, in grades kindergarten through 8th grade, with 842 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 64 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1. Five hundred twenty-seven students were Hispanic, 421 were caucasian and 34 were black.[55]

In 2012, West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to low student achievement.[56] In 2011, the school is in Making Progress: in School Improvement II AYP status. In 2010, the school declined to School Improvement II AYP status.[57] Under No Child Left Behind, the school was mandated to inform parents of the low achievement and to offer students the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the district. The school administration was mandated to develop a school Improvement Plan to address the low student achievement. West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School was in School Improvement I due to chronic low performance of its students.[58]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[59]
  • 2011 - 63% (21% below basic). State - 81.8%[60]
  • 2010 - 68% (19% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 69%. State: 80.9% [61]
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 78% [62]

In 2009, 57% of males (2008–69%) and 77% (2008 - 64%) of females are on grade level for reading in eighth grade.

8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 65% on grade level (20% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 60% (18% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 73%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 50%, State - 70%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 34% on grade level (33% below basic). State – 59%
  • 2011 - 31% on grade level (41% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 24% (53% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 32%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 40%, State - 50%

4th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 64%, (13% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2011 - 89%, (4% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 87%, (5% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 93%. State - 83%
  • 2008 - 90%, State - 81%

Drums Elementary Middle School[edit]

Drums Elementary Middle School is located at 82 South Old Turnpike Road, Drums. In 2010, the school enrolled 814 pupils, in kindergarten through 8th grade, with 218 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 45 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1. Forty-four students were Hispanic, 746 were Caucasian, 11 were Asian Pacific Islander and 7 were black.[63] In 2011, the school is in Warning status due to lagging student achievement in mathematics. In 2010, the school was in AYP.[64]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 80%, (10% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 76%, (8% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 93%, 66% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 92%, 57% advanced. State - 81%

Hazleton Elementary Middle School[edit]

Hazleton Elementary Middle School is located at 700 North Wyoming Street, Hazleton. In 2010, the school enrolled 1,028 pupils, (3rd-8th grade) with 859 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 78 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1. Six hundred seven students were Hispanic, 382 were Caucasian, 6 were Asian Pacific Islander and 29 were black.[67] In 2011, the school is in Warning status due to lagging student achievement in reading. In 2010, the school was in AYP.[68]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 26% on grade level (53% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 36%, (42% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 68%, (11% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 74%, (11% below basic), State - 81%

Freeland Elementary Middle School[edit]

Freeland Elementary Middle School is located at 400 Alvin Street, Freeland. In 2010, the school enrolled 895 pupils ( kindergarten through 8th grade) with 510 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 55 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1. Seventy-eight students were Hispanic, 784 were Caucasian and 21 were black.[71] In 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[72]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 44% on grade level (32% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 39%, (33% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 93%, 59% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 87%, 49% advanced. State - 81%

Valley Elementary-Middle School[edit]

Valley Elementary Middle School is located at 100 Rock Glen Road, Sugarloaf. In 2010, the school enrolled 1,143 pupils, in kindergarten through 8th grade, with 380 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 69 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1. Forty-six students were Hispanic, 1,062 were Caucasian, 10 were Pacific Islanders/Asian and 13 were black.[75] In 2011 the school declined to Warning status due to lagging achievement in mathematics. In 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[76]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 82% on grade level (9% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 69% (15% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 90%, 55% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 93%, 56% advanced. State - 81%

McAdoo-Kelayres Elementary School[edit]

McAdoo-Kelayres Elementary School is located at 15 Kelayres Road, Mcadoo. The school enrolled 467 students grades kindergarten through sixth, with 291 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Sixty-eight students were Hispanic, 385 were Caucasian and 9 students were black. The school employed 31 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[79] In 2011 and 2010 the school achieved AYP status.[80]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 86%, 55% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 84%, 52% advanced. State - 81%

Primary Schools[edit]

Arthur Street Elementary School is located at 424 East 9th Street, Hazleton. The school enrolled 368 students grades kindergarten through second, with 313 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Two hundred nineteen students were Hispanic, 121 were Caucasian and 12 students were black. The school employed 30 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[83]

Arthur Street Elementary School Annex is located at East Fourth Street, Hazleton. The school enrolled 130 students grades preschool through second, with 96 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Sixty five students were Hispanic, 57 were Caucasian and 4 students were black. The school employed 16 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 8:1.[84]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 1,226 pupils or 11.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[85] In 2009 the administration reported that 1,270 students (12%) received special education services.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school 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 .[86] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, 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 Special Education administration. 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 district's Special Education Department.[87][88][89]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for 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.[90] 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.[91] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[92] 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.[93]

The School District received a $4,562,862 supplement for special education services in 2010.[94] 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.[95]

Budget[edit]

In 2010 the district reports employing 724 teachers (whose salaries are public information in the state of Pennsylvania and disseminated at the following web link; www.blogginghazleton.blogspot.com). Two teachers have doctorate degrees, 241 have masters plus 60 credits, 33 have masters plus 45, 46 have masters plus 36, 49 have masters plus 15, 82 have master's degrees, 214 have bachelor degrees, and 8 have standard vocational degrees.[96] In 2009, the district reported employing 959 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $57,717 with a top salary of $125,000.[97] Teachers work 185 days per year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days which accumulate, 11 paid sick days, 4 paid bereavement days and other benefits. Severance pay included payment for unused sick days to a maximum of $20,000.[98] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[99]

In 2007, the district employed 533 teachers and the average teacher salary in the district was $50,057 for 180 days worked.[100] 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.[101]

In September 2006, the Board of Education and Hazleton teachers' union agreed to a four year contract that gave 4% increases in the first two years and 4.25% raises in the second two years.[102] In 2010 over 213 Hazleton administrators and teachers earn over $70,000 annually plus benefits.[103][104]

Hazleton Area School District administrative costs was $438.92 per pupil in 2008. The lowest administrative cost in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[105] In March 2009, the Board of Education awarded a contract to Sam Marolo, as superintendent, with an initial salary of $125,000. In July 2009, the board appointed Francis X. Antonelli as acting deputy superintendent with an initial salary of $122,500.[106] Both positions include extensive benefits packages.

In 2008, Hazleton Area School District reported spending $9,420 per pupil. This ranked 498th among the 500 school districts, in the commonwealth.[107] In 2010, per pupil spending rose to $10,709.37.

In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[108]

Reserves - In 2008, the Hazleton Area School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,698,292.[109] In 2010, Hazleton Area Administration reported an increase to $6,618,556 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and an unreserved designated fund balance of $549. Pennsylvania 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. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[110] In 2012, Hazleton Area School District held over $6.7 million in reserves which it did not use to balance its budget. To save $65,908, the board approved elimination of the administrative Director of Transportation and Warehouse Supervisor position and terminated the employment of its director, who received a $20,000 "life restructuring" severance payment.[111]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Both pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state income tax and local income tax regardless of the level of wealth.[112]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $32,277,232 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[113][114] Additionally, the Hazleton Area School District received $498,262 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $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.[115] 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.[116] In 2010, the district reported that 6,119 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[117]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Hazelton Area School District was increased 12.61% for a total of $35,336,465. This was the highest increase in Luzerne County. Sixteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase over 10%. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Among all Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[118] The amount of increase each school district receives was determined by then Governor Edward G Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February 2010.[119] 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 G. 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 the Governors policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 13.36% increase, in Basic Education Funding for Hazleton Area School District for a total of $31,381,865. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $27,682,357.04. Hazleton Area received the highest percentage of state funding increase in Luzerne County and among the highest among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009. Ninety school districts received the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received an increase of 22.31% which was the highest in the Commonwealth.[120] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by Governor Edward G Rendell and Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[121]

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 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 district applied for and received $1,352,408 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year; to provide a variety of teacher trainings and teacher coaches to improve instruction and for paying teacher to write new courses.[122][123]

Classrooms for the Future Grant[edit]

This statewide initiative provided high schools with computers and other technology equipment like whiteboards with the intent to improve student achievement in core courses like math and science. Training for teachers getting the equipment was required by the state. Districts had to apply for funding. In 2006-2007 Hazleton Area School District did not apply for the grant. In 2007-2008 it received $998,439. In 2008-09, Hazleton Area received an additional $168,344 for a total funding of $1,100,352.[124] The grant was terminated in 2009 due to a state economic crisis.[125]

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 Hazelton Area School District received $242,256.[126]

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Hazleton Area School District receives state funding to provide preschool its elementary school. For the 2011 school year, Pre-K Counts was funded at the 2010 levels of $83.6 million statewide in Gov. Tom Corbett`s proposed budget,. The state also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional $37.6 million. Pre-K Counts funding was initiated during the Rendell administration. In 2007-08, the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. Hazleton Area School District received funding in 2007-08 through 2011-12.[127] For 2010-11 the district received $1,082,300.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The Hazleton Area School District received an extra $7,291,203 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[128] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[129] 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. In 2009, the district reported that 5.284 students received a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.[130]

Race to the Top[edit]

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. The district is identified as a turnaround district due to the chronically low academic achievement of its students. When approved for the grant, the district will receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Turnaround status also brings an extra $700 per student, in supplemental funding above the basic grant amount.[131] 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.[132] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[133]

Real estate taxes[edit]

The school board levied a real estate tax of 29.3187 mills for residents in Carbon County, 9.0446 mills for residents in Luzerne County and 30.7130 mills for residents in Schuylkill County, in 2011-12.[134] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. School districts located in more than one county are required to apportion the tax levy based on the market value in each county as determined by the State Tax Equalization Board pursuant to section 672.1 of the School Code. As a result, the tax rate increases are not the same for each county in a multi-county school district.[135] 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.[136]

  • 2010-11 - 29.2753 mills in Carbon County, 8.8627 mills in Luzerne County and 39.6520 mills in Schuylkill County.[137]
  • 2009-10 - 30.1430 mills in Carbon County, 8.6980 mills in Luzerne County and 38.0040 mills in Schuylkill County.[138]
  • 2008-09 - 29.5620 mills in Carbon County, 187.3920 mills in Luzerne County and 36.5880 mills in Schuylkill County.[139]
  • 2007-08 - 28.8060 mills in Carbon County, 174.3920 mills in Luzerne County and 35.6380 mills in Schuylkill County.[140]
  • 2006-07 - 28.9010 mills in Carbon County, 170.3920 mills in Luzerne County and 33.9010 mills in Schuylkill County.[141]

Act 1 Adjusted 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 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 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.[142]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Hazleton Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[143]

  • 2006-07 - 5.3%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.7%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.1%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.4%, Base 1.7% [144]

For the 2011-12 school year, Hazleton Area School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue, Pension costs, School Construction Grandfathered Debt and Special Education Costs. Each year, Hazleton 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.[145]

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.[146]

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.[147]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Hazleton Area School District's property tax relief amount was set at $136 to 19,924 approved homestead owners. In 2010 within Luzerne County, the highest amount went to Wilkes-Barre Area School District set at $210 per approved homestead. Dallas School District received $53 per homestead. The property tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $641 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[148] CUSD was given $632 in 2009. This was the second year they were the top recipient. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General released a report finding that 35% of Pennsylvania property owners did not get property tax relief in 2009. One issue identified was the failure of the property owner to apply for tax relief.[149]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially greater than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[150]

Extracurricular Activities[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The school board sets policies regarding eligibility to participate in these activities.[151]

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.[152]

Extracurricular Sports Include:

  • Boys & Girls Basketball
  • Football
  • Boys & Girls Volleyball
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Boys & Girls Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Cross Country
  • Track & Field
  • Boys and Girls Tennis
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Water Polo
  • Bowling
  • Wrestling

The Hazleton Area Athletic Department web page; including coach contacts, sports schedules, and announcements can be found linked to the HASD website.[153]

Wellness policy[edit]

Hazleton Area Board of Education established a district wellness policy in 2006.[154] 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 Superintendent annually reports to the Board on the district’s compliance with law and policies related to student wellness. The policy establishes a Wellness Committee that serves as an advisory committee regarding student health issues and developed a Student Wellness Policy.

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 and physical education that 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.[155]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

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External links[edit]