Juniata Valley School District

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Juniata Valley School District
Map of Huntingdon County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
7775 Juniata Valley Pike
Alexandria, Pennsylvania, 16611
Information
Type Public
Grades K-12
Enrollment 788 (2010)
 • Kindergarten 45
 • Grade 1 56
 • Grade 2 53
 • Grade 3 72
 • Grade 4 62
 • Grade 5 48
 • Grade 6 55
 • Grade 7 69
 • Grade 8 77
 • Grade 9 55
 • Grade 10 68
 • Grade 11 68
 • Grade 12 60
 • Other enrollment projected to decline to 661 by 2019 [1]
Color(s) Green and White
Mascot Hornets
Website

The Juniata Valley School District, commonly abbreviated JVSD, is a rural public school district based in the borough of Alexandria, Pennsylvania. The school district includes all of Alexandria borough, Petersburg borough, Barree Township, Logan Township, West Township, Morris Township and Spruce Creek township. The district encompasses approximately 125 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 5,334. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the JVSD provided basic educational services to 833 pupils through the employment of 72 teachers, 37 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators.

Schools[edit]

The Juniata Valley School District operates one junior/high school, one elementary school. The school also sends students to the regional career & technology center, used by other three school districts in Huntingdon County. The district office is located on 7775 Juniata Valley Pike, Alexandria, PA 16611.

  • Juniata Valley Junior-Senior High School - Alexandria - Grades 7-12
7775 Juniata Valley Pike, Alexandria, PA 16611
  • Juniata Valley Elementary School - Alexandria - Grades K-6
7855 Juniata Valley Pike, Alexandria, PA 16611

Governance[edit]

The 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.[2] 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 "D-" 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.[3]

Academic achievement[edit]

The Juniata Valley School District was ranked 373rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2010, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on four years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and two years of science.[4]

  • 2009 - 370th
  • 2008 - 372nd
  • 2007 - 351st of 501 school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[5]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Juniata Valley School District, was in the 38th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [6]

Graduation rate[edit]

  • 2010 - 100%[7]
  • 2009 - 98%
  • 2008 - 100% [8]
  • 2007 - 100% [9]

High school[edit]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 69% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.[10]
  • 2009 - 63%, State - 65% [11]
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 65%[12]
  • 2007 - 48%, State - 65% [13]
11th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 60% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 50%, State - 56%
  • 2008 - 53%, State - 56% [14]
  • 2007 - 46%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 52% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 35%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 31%, State - 39%
College remediation

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 20% of Juniata Valley 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.[15] 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.[16] 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 senior high school offers the Pennsylvania 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.[17] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[18] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[19]

In 2010 the district received $5,138 in a state grant to be used assist students with tuition, fees and books.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Juniata Valley School Board has determined that, in order to graduate, a student must earn 24 credits, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Science 3 credits (include biology and ecology and at least one elective from the following: environmental science, chemistry, physics, and earth science.), Social Studies 4 credits, Arts and Humanities 3 credits, Health, Physical Education and Drivers education 3 credits and Electives & technology 4 credits.[20]

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.[21]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 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.[22]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 78% on grade level. State - 81% [23]
  • 2009 - 75%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 61%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 85%, State - 75%[24]
8th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 82% on grade level. State - 75%
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 70% [25]
  • 2007 - 80%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 57% on grade level. State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 52%, State: - 54% [26]
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 52% [27]
7th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 66% on grade level. State - 73%
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 71.7%
  • 2008 - 70%, State - 70%
7th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 86% on grade level. State - 77%
  • 2009 - 87%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 72%

Elementary School[edit]

In 2010, the school reported that the attendance rate was 96%.[28]

6th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 66% on grade level. State - 68%
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 67%
  • 2008 - %, State - 67%
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 63%
6th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 82% on grade level. State - 78%
  • 2009 - 76%, State - 75.9%
  • 2008 - 83%, State - 72%
  • 2007 - 68%, State - 69%
5th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 73% on grade level. State - 64%
  • 2009 - 70%, State - 64%
  • 2008 - 64%, State - 62%
  • 2007 - 68%, State - 60%
5th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 81% on grade level. State - 74%
  • 2009 - 81%, State - 73%
  • 2008 - 62%, State - 73%
  • 2007 - 80%, State - 71%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 66%, State - 72%
  • 2009 - 72%, State - 72%
  • 2008 - 83%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 61%, State - 70%
4th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 80%, State - 84%
  • 2009 - 89%, State - 82%
  • 2008 - 70%, State - 80%
  • 2007 - 79%, State - 78%
4th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 76% on grade level. State - 81%
  • 2009 - 90%, State - 83%[29]
  • 2008 - 83%, State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 72%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 79%, State - 72%
  • 2008 - 76%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 53%, State - 72%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2010 - 83%, State - 84%
  • 2009 - 71%, State - 82%
  • 2008 - 77%, State - 80%
  • 2007 - 76%, State - 78%

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 149 pupils or 17.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[30]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[31]

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.[32]

Juniata Valley School District received a $480,950 supplement for special education services in 2010.[33]

In 2006, the district received an extra $20,000, from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to make the schools more inclusive for students with disabilities by supporting the development and expansion of effective instruction that encourages meaningful participation in regular education settings.[34]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 7 or 0.99% of its students were gifted in 2009.[35] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. 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.[36]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Juniata Valley School District administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[37][38]

The Juniata Valley School Board has not posted a bullying policy in its website. Prohibition against bullying is mentioned in the student handbook. 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41]

Career & Technology Centers[edit]

Students in high school may choose to attend Huntingdon County Career & Technology Center - Mill Creek - Grades 10-12 (AM session)

11893 Technology Drive, Mill Creek, PA 17060

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reports employing over 70 teachers with a starting salary of $32,791 for 185 days work.[42] The average teacher salary was $46,554 while the maximum salary is $92,803.[43] In Pennsylvania, the average teacher salary for Pennsylvania's 124,100 public school teachers was $54,977 in 2008.[44] 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.[45] Additionally, Juniata Valley School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, a retirement bonus, professional development reimbursement, compensation for extracurricular activities, 3 emergency leave days, up to 2 paid personal days, 5 paid bereavement days and 10 sick days, life insurance and other benefits.[46] 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.[47]

In 2007, the district employed 100 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $44,846 for 185 school days worked. This was the highest average salary in the county.[48]

Juniata Valley School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $951.60 per pupil. The district is ranked 78th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[49]

In 2008, Juniata Valley School District reported spending $11,380 per pupil. This ranked 356th in the commonwealth.[50]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported a $1,062,005 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $606,788.[51] The Pennsylvania General Assembly sets a limit on how much money a district can have in its fund balance. The limit is based on the amount of the district's budget. As the total spending in the budget rises, the district is permitted to hold greater amounts in reserve.[52]

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[53]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, 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.[54]

State basic education funding[edit]

For 2010-11 the Juniata Valley School District received a 2.90% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $5,059,745 payment.[55] Huntingdon Area School District received a 5.49% increase which was the highest increase, in BEF, in Huntingdon County. 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.[56]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.54% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $4,917,355. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $4,795,468.13. The district also received supplemental funding for Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[57] Ninety school district received the base 2% increase for 2009-10. Huntingdon Area School District received the highest increase in Huntingdon County for the 2009-10 school year at 5.59%. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[58]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 273 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[59]

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 Juniata Valley School District applied for and received $164,989 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide increased instruction time, full-day kindergarten and lower class size K-3rd grade.[60][61]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Juniata Valley School District was denied funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $62,355. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $42,863 for a total of $105,218. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[62]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $240,000 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[63] The funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

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.[64] 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.[65] 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.[66]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Juniata Valley School Board did 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.[67] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The school board set property tax rates in 2010-2011 at 86.5000 mills.[68] 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.[69] The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.

  • 2009-10 - 79.5000 mills.[70]
  • 2008-09 - 71.5000 mills for Huntingdon County and Mifflin County - 20.4400.[71]

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 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.[72]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Juniata Valley School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[73]

  • 2006-07 - 5.6%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.2%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Juniata Valley School District was $131 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,600 property owners applied for the tax relief. This was the lowest property tax relief allotted in Huntingdon County for 2009.[74] 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. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Auditor General 64.95% of homeowners in Huntingdon County had applied for the tax relief.[75] 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.[76] This was the second year they were 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.[77]

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%).[78]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.

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.[79]

Athletics[edit]

State Championships

References:

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  2. ^ Pennsylvania School Code 2009
  3. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 6, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll Ranking 2010". 
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County,". 
  6. ^ "2009 PSSA RESULTS Juniata Valley School District,". The Morning Call. Retrieved February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Juniata Valley School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010 data table". Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
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  64. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Press Release (January 2009). "Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support". 
  65. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support
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  71. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania School District Real Estate Tax Rates 2008-09". 
  72. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010-11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines.
  73. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2011-2012". 
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  76. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, (May 2010). "Tax Relief per Homestead 5-1-10. Report". 
  77. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program". 
  78. ^ Tax Foundation, (September 22, 2009). "New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners,". 
  79. ^ Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, (November 10, 2005). "Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities,". 

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