Muhlenberg School District
|Muhlenberg School District|
|801 Bellevue Avenue
Laureldale, Pennsylvania, Berks, 19605
|Superintendent||Dr. Theresa D. Haught|
The Muhlenberg Area School District is a public school district serving parts of Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA. It encompasses the borough of Laureldale and the Muhlenberg Township. The district encompasses approximately 13 square miles. Per the 2000 federal census data it serves a resident population of 20,064. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the MSD provided basic educational services to 3,434 pupils through the employment of 245 teachers, 184 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 17 administrators.All students attend the same schools on a four step education process that features an elementary (K-4), intermediate (5-6), middle (7-9), and high (10-12) school. The 9th grade moved from the high school to the middle school in the 2010-2011 school year. All four of the schools share the same campus and are separated by athletic fields.
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.
Academic achievement 
In 2011, Muhlenberg School District was ranked 361st out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on five years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and three years of science.
- 2010 - 319th 
- 2009 - 302th of 498 districts
- 2008 - 293rd
- 2007 - 255th of 501 school districts 
In 2010, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Muhlenberg ranked 357th. In 2009 the district was 370th. The paper 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 lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students at the district ranked 30th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) 
Graduation Rate 
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School's rate was 88% for 2010.
Former AYP graduation rate:
High school 
In 2010 the high school is in Warning level for low academic achievement of 11th graders. In 2009, the high school was in Warning level.
11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 66% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 64%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 74%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 69%, State - 65% 
11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 48% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 55%, State - 56% 
- 2008 - 53%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 50%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 30% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 33%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 32%, State - 39%
College remediation 
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 38% of Muhlenberg 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. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
Dual enrollment 
The high school offers a Dual Enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. 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.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,380 for the program.
Graduation project 
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.
Muhlenberg Middle School 
The school is in School Improvement Level II for chronically low student academic achievement. Muhlenberg Middle School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009  In 2010 the school is in Making Progress: in School Improvement II AYP status. Report Card 2010 
8th Grade Reading:
2010 - 78% on grade level. State: 81% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 81%, State - 80.9%
2008 - 77%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math:
2010 - 76% on grade level. State - 75% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 75%, State - 71% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 73%, State - 70% on grade level
8th Grade Science:
2010 - 52% on grade level. State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 49%, State - 55%
2008 - 43%, State - 50%
7th Grade Reading:
2010 - 69% on grade level. State - 73% of 7th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 70%, State - 71%
2008 - 77%, State - 70%
7th Grade Math:
2009 - 73% on grade level. State - 77% of 7th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 77%, State - 75%
2008 - 68%, State - 70%
Special Education 
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 556 pupils or 15.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 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.
Muhlenberg School District received a $1,323,903 supplement for special education services in 2010.
Bullying policy 
The Muhlenberg School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online. 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. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In 2007, the Muhlenberg School District employed 210 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $55,904 for 187 days worked. In Pennsylvania the average teacher salary for Pennsylvania's 124,100 public school teachers was $54,977 As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, life insurance and other benefits. 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.
The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $646.87 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In October 2009, Dr. Theresa D. Haught, Superintendent, resigned her position effective immediately. On October 7, 2009, the school board voted 5-4 to extend a new 5 year contract to Dr. Haught with an initial salary of $134,408 and an additional $100,000 in benefits over her previous contract. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.
In 2008, the Muhlenberg School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $3,611,300.00.
The district reported spending $12,358 per pupil in 2008.
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 can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the income level.
State basic education funding 
For the 2010-11 school year, the state gave a 8.17% increase in basic education funding to the Muhlenberg School District for $20,838,732. This was the highest increase in BEF allotted to schools in Berks County. In the commonwealth, the highest increase in state funding went to Kennett Consolidated School District which received a 23.65% increase. Among the 500 Pennsylvania public school district, 150 received the base 2% increase in 2010.
For the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 22.31% increase in Basic Education Funding to Muhlenberg School District, for a total of $4,366,206. This was the highest percentage of increase in state funding in the 500 school districts of the commonwealth. Nine Berks County school districts received increases of less than 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2008-10. Reading School District received an 13.29% increase. In Pennsylvania, 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Ninety Pennsylvania school districts received a base increase of 2% including two districts in Berks County. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Muhlenberg School District in 2008-09 was $3,569,899.42. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.
In 2008 the district reported that 887 students participated in the federal free and reduced lunch program due to low family income.
Accountability Block Grants 
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, All Day Kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For the 2010-11 school year, the Muhlenberg School District applied for and received $307,946 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to reduce class size K-3rd grade.
Classrooms for the Future grant 
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Muhlenberg School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07 nor in 2007-08. In 2008-09 it received $158,935. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards 
Federal Stimulus Funding 
The district received an extra $1,452,152 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students. This funding was for 2009-10 to 2010-2011 school years.
Race to the Top grant 
School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district will receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative 
The Muhlenberg 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. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes 
The Muhlenberg School Board set property tax rates in 2008-09 at 25.5600 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.
Act 1 Adjusted index 
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 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 flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect on or before 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Muhenberg School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 4.7%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 4.1%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.5%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 5.1%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.7%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
The Muhlenberg School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011. In the Spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief 
In 2010, property tax relief for Muhlenberg School District was set at $186 for 6,441 approved properties. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Muhlenberg School District was $187 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,422 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Pennsylvania the highest 2010 property tax relief was for Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which was given $632 per homestead. This was the second year Chester Upland School District got the highest amount. The 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Berks County, 65% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.
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, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
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- School District Policy Manual Policy 122 Extracurriculars and Policy 123 interscholastic Athletics.
- Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005