Dallas School District

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Dallas School District
Map of Luzerne County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania School Districts with the Dallas School District in blue in the northern part of the county.
Address
2000 Conyngham Avenue
Dallas, Pennsylvania, Luzerne 18612
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent

Dr Thomas J Duffy contract July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2020, salary

Frank Galicki, former superintendent
Administrator Grant Palfey, Business Manager
Staff 148 non teaching staff members (2013)
Faculty

164 teachers (2014)

185 teachers (2013)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

2,700 pupils (2016)[1]
2,680 (2014)[2]

2,729 pupils (2010) [3]
 • Kindergarten 156 (2013),[4] 155 (2010)
 • Grade 1 181 (2013), 201
 • Grade 2 188 (2013), 198
 • Grade 3 2014 (2013), 212
 • Grade 4 187 (2013), 223
 • Grade 5 208 (2013), 212
 • Grade 6 211 (2013), 236
 • Grade 7 224 (2013), 216
 • Grade 8 233 (2013), 235
 • Grade 9 216 (2013), 210
 • Grade 10 226 (2013), 226
 • Grade 11 210 (2013), 216
 • Grade 12 234 (2013), 189 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to decline to 2515 by 2020[5]
Language English
Mascot Mountaineers
Budget

$38.3 million (2016-17)[6]
$35,414,539.20 (2014-15)[7]

$33,244,000 (2013-14)
Per pupil spending

$10,260 (2008)[8]

$12,262 (2013)[9]
Website

The Dallas School District is a school district covering the Borough of Dallas and Dallas Township, Franklin Township and Kingston Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Dallas School District encompasses approximately 46 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 19,482. By 2010, the District's population rose to 20,558 people.[10] The educational attainment levels for the Dallas School District population (25 years old and over) were 92.9% high school graduates and 35.6% college graduates.[11] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 15.5% of the District's pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[12] In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that fewer than 10 of the students in the Dallas School District were homeless.[13] In Luzerne County, the median household income was $44,402.[14] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[15] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[16]

In 2009, the district residents' per capita Income was reported as $23,984 while the median family income was $60,285.[17] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [18] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[19]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Dallas School District provided basic educational services to 2,760 pupils through the employment of 160 teachers, 103 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 11 administrators. In school year 2013-14, the Dallas School District reported an enrollment of 2,751 pupils. District employed 185 teachers, 40 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 11 administrators.[20] The District received $10,035,422 in funding from the state in 2013-14. The Federal government provided $788,331.

The Dallas School District operates four schools: Dallas High School, Dallas Middle School, Dallas Elementary School and Wycallis Elementary School. High school students may choose to attend the West Side Area Vocational Technical School for training in the construction and mechanical trades. For the 2014-15 school year, 35 resident students chose to enroll in public, cyber charter schools, rather than attend the District's schools.[21] The Luzerne Intermediate Unit IU18 provides the District with a wide variety of services like: specialized education for disabled students; state mandated training on recognizing and reporting child abuse; speech and visual disability services; criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Dallas School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[22] 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 Pennsylvania public 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.[23]

  • 2006-2011 - achieved AYP status each school year.[24]
  • 2005 - improved to Making Progress - School Improvement Level I AYP status
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement[25]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement.[26]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2016, Dallas School District ranked 97th out of 494 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[27] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[28] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.[29]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the pupils in the Dallas School District was in the 94th percentile among Pennsylvanian's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best)[33]

In 2007, the student achievement at Dallas School District (DSD) ranked 2nd among Luzerne County public school districts. At DSD, 92% of students were on grade level in mathematics, while 93% were on grade level in reading. In the county, 87% of pupils were on grade level in mathematics and 87% were on grade level for reading. Wyoming Area School District had the highest achievement with 94% of students on grade level in both mathematics and reading.[34]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2016, Dallas High School graduation rate was 95.9%.[35]

  • 2015 - 98%
  • 2014 - 95.07%[36]
  • 2013 - 94.14%[37]
  • 2012 - 98.10%
  • 2011 - 92.04%[38]
  • 2010 - 91%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[39]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 96% [40]
  • 2009 - 97%
  • 2008 - 96% [41]
  • 2007 - 96% [42]

High school[edit]

Dallas High School is located in Dallas Pennsylvania. In 2016, enrollment was reported as 888 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 19% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 14.6% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[43] The school employed 58 teachers.[44] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[45] Dallas High School is the sole high school operated by the Dallas School District. The school is not a federally designated Title I school.

2016 School Performance Profile[edit]

Dallas HIgh School SPP was 88.7 out of 100 points. Dallas High School Keystone Exams mandated testing results were: 79.9% of students were on grade level in reading.literature and 70% of students demonstrated on grade level in Algebra I. In Biology I, 75% of pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the Biology course.[46][47] The requirement that pupils pass the Keystone Exams in reading, algebra I and bIology I in order to graduate was postponed until 2019 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly because less than 60% of 12 grade pupils statewide would have been eligible for graduation from high school due to failing one or more Keystone Exams.[48] Fifty-four percent of the 2,676 public schools in Pennsylvania achieved a passing score of 70 or better.[49]

2015 School Performance Profile[edit]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) withheld the HIgh School's SPP for 2015. The PDE reported that 78.6% of the Dallas High School's students who took the Keystone Exams were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, just 56% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 71% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[50][51] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[52][53]

2014 School Performance Profile[edit]

Dallas High School achieved 87 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 77.9% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 66% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, only 56% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[54][55] Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.[56]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[57] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[58][59]

2013 School Performance Profile[edit]

Dallas High School achieved 72 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 65.5% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 64.9% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 44.8% showed on grade level science understanding.[60] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[61]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Dallas High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging student achievement in reading and math missing multiple academic metrics.[62] Effective with Spring 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education discontinued administering the PSSA's to 11th graders.

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status[63]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status[64]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status[65]
  • 2008 - achieved AYP status[66]
  • 2007 - achieved AYP status[67]
PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[68] In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[69] The state announced the change in 2010 and made it in order to comply with Governor Edward G. Rendell's agreement to change to the national Common Core standards.[70]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level, (10% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[71]
  • 2011 - 74% (8% below basic). State - 69.1%[72]
  • 2010 - 81%, State - 66%[73]
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 65% [74]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 68%, State - 65% [75]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[76]
  • 2011 - 60% (16% below basic). State - 60.3%[77]
  • 2010 - 70% (15% below basic). State - 59%[78]
  • 2010 - 70%, State - 59%
  • 2009 - 56%, State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 56%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 51%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 55% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[79]
  • 2011 - 49% (8% below basic). State - 40%[80]
  • 2010 - 55%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 62%, 26% advanced, State - 40% [81]
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 35.5%

In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the largest percentage of 11th grade students scoring Advanced in science achievement, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[82]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 23% of Dallas Senior 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.[83][84] 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.[85][86] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Dallas School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: a required English class every year in math - 3 credits, social studies 3 credits, science 3 credits, Physical Education and electives. The high school is not one of 37 Pennsylvania public high schools that require students take a personal finance course in order to graduate in 2012.[87] The students are required to take a career exploration and consumer science class.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a graduation 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.[88] At Dallas Senior High School the Completion Project was composed of a written proposal, a research paper, and a written self-evaluation.[89] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[90]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[91] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[92][93] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams have replaced the PSSAs for 11th grade.[94]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[95][96] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[97] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[98] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state-funded 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 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.[99] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[100] 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.[101]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,012 for its dual enrollment program.[102]

Other students, that reside in the district, who attend a private nonpublic school, charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[103]

Dallas Middle School[edit]

Dallas Middle School is located at 2020 Conyngham Avenue, Dallas. In 2016, the school enrollment was 639 pupils, in grades 6th to eighth, with 19.5% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of pupils received special education services, while none of pupils were identified as gifted.[104] According to a 2016 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[105]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 668 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 129 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 40 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.[106] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[107] The school was a federally designated Title I school.

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 66.3 out of 100 points. Dallas Middle School PSSA mandated testing results were: 77% of students in 8th grade were on grade level in reading, while only 31% of students demonstrated on grade level in mathematics. In science, 69% of eighth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding.[108] In 7th grade, 78% of pupils were on grade level in reading, while just 43% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 81% were on grade level in reading and only 62% were on grade level in math. Statewide just 31% of eighth graders demonstrated on grade level in math and 58% of eighth graders were on grade level in reading. In science, 57.7% of eighth graders showed on grade level proficiency. Among 7th graders, just 37% of students demonstrated on grade evel skills in mathematics. In seventh grade reading, 58% were on grade level. Sixth graders had 61.5% showing on grade level math skills. In reading, 61.5% of sixth graders were on grade level.[109]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 68% of 8th grade students at Dallas Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 24% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 75% of the school's 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 77% were on grade level in reading, while 34% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 78% were on grade level in reading and just 53% were on grade level in mathematics.[110] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[111]

2014 School Performance Profile

Dallas Middle School achieved 73.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature 83.23% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 85.87% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 72% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 87.7% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[112]

2013 School Performance Profile

Dallas Middle School achieved 76.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 85% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 84.6% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 72.6% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 88% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[113] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP status

In 2012, Dallas Middle School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing 4 out of 8 metrics measured.[114]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status[115]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status[116]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status[117]
  • 2003 - 2008 - achieved AYP status each school year[118]
PSSA results

Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[119] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[120] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[121] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[122]

8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level, 34% advanced (10% below basic). State - 59%[128]
  • 2011 - 78% 38% advanced (7% below basic). State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 79%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 76%, 32.9% advanced. State - 55% [129]
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 52%

In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the second highest percentage of 8th grade students scoring advanced in science achievement - 32.9%, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[82]

Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Dallas School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the middle school.[130] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil's: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[131]

New High School Building[edit]

In 2007 it was announced that a new high school would be built to replace the current high school, built in 1963. The building's condition has been declining over the past few years. The new high school is estimated to be completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 16, 2009. It will cost about $45 Million Dollars. As of November 2008, the district has begun to lay a new pipeline system for the new high school. This will run through the current one to supply city water, as the current water supply is unsanitary. Trash bags have been placed over drinking fountains to prevent consumption. Water coolers have been placed around the current high school to compensate for the lack of water.

The new High School contains a lunch room known as the commons, office, guidance office, nurse office, auxiliary gym that includes a wrestling mat, a multi purpose gym, a fitness room, a print lab, lgi lab used for extra curriculum needs, auditorium that can hold over 1,000 people, band and chorus room, 2 art labs, 1 food lab, security desk, over 200 class rooms, etc.

In the year 2014 the Dallas School Board voted on a brand new all purpose Turf Field. It was completed in just 2 months and Dallas held its first ever football game under the lights vs Wyoming valley west. Dallas lost that game.

Alert System[edit]

In December 2007, Dallas adopted a method of quickly contacting student's homes. During school closings, delays, early dismissals, or other public announcements, the district will send a message to all homes that it may affect. Calls are put out as early as 5am during school closings or delays. This tool is known as "Connect-ED".

Wycallis Elementary School[edit]

Wycallis Elementary School is located at 2010 Conyngham Avenue, Dallas. In 2016, the School's enrollment was 562 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 20.6% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 11.7% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[132] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 3% of the teachers were rated non-highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[133] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

2016 School Performance Profile

Wycallis Elementary School PSSA mandated testing results were: 80% of students in 5th grade were on grade level in reading, while 74% of students demonstrated on grade level mathematics skills. In 4th grade, 85% were on grade level in reading, while 85% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 93% of fourth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding of science concepts in the state standards. Among the school's third graders, 86% were on grade level in reading and 82% showed on grade level mathematics skills.[134][135]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 87% of 5th grade students at Wycallis Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 88% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 82% were on grade level in reading, while 82% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 99% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 83% were on grade level in reading and 78% were on grade level in mathematics.[136] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[137]

2014 School Performance Profile

Wycallis Elementary School achieved a score of 92.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 84.64% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 87% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 92.51% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 97.78% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 89.89% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[138]

2013 School Performance Profile

Wycallis Elementary School achieved a score of 94.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 87% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 90.8% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 93.8% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 97.78% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 91.49% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[139] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP history

Wycallis Elementary School achieved AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in 2009 through 2012.[140] The attendance rate was reported as 95% in 2010. For the 2010 school year 97% of the students grades 3-5th were on grade level in mathematics and increase from 96% in 2009. This includes 96% of low-income children and 82% of special education children. In reading, 91% of the students were on grade level in grades 3rd-5th an increase from 89% in 2009.[141]

In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Dallas School District had the largest percentage of 4th grade students scoring advanced in science achievement - 70%, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[82]

Construction began in the first half of 2008 on Wycallis Elementary School. It is a separate wing for more classrooms. Because of recent Catholic School closings, as well as a higher population in the Back Mountain, there is an influx of new students every year. The new addition may bring with it the arrival of all-day Kindergarten, as Dallas is one of the only districts that has half-day Kindergarten in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Dallas Elementary School[edit]

Dallas Elementary School is located at 2000 Conyngham Avenue, Dallas. In 2016, the School's enrollment was 611 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 18.5% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 12% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[142] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[143] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP was 83.7 out of 100 points. Dallas Elementary School PSSA mandated testing results were: 85% of students in 5th grade were on grade level in reading, while 70% of students demonstrated on grade level mathematics skills. In 4th grade, 76% were on grade level in reading, while 70% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 94% of fourth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding of science concepts in the state standards. Among the school's third graders, 84% were on grade level in reading and 78% showed on grade level mathematics skills.[134][135]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 83% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 72% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 79% were on grade level in reading, while 58% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 95% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 85% were on grade level in reading and 71% were on grade level in mathematics.[144] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[145]

2014 School Performance Profile

Dallas Elementary School achieved a score of 91.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 89.8% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 96.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 91% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 100% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 81% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[146]

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, the District administration reported that 382 pupils or 13.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 45% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[147] In 2013, the District administration reported that 347 pupils or 12.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 47% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[148] In 2011, the administration reported that 363 pupils or 13% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 47.1% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[149] The district administration reported that 348 students or 12% were receiving special education services in 2009.[150][151]

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[152] Dallas School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2015. The District has seen an increase in the number of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

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. 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.[153] The district makes use of Luzerne Intermediate Unit Operated Programs to meet the student's needs.

By Pennsylvania law, the District has 60 calendar days, after receiving parental consent, to complete the evaluation.[154][155][156] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and school website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.

Dallas School District students, who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[157] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[158] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[159]

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.[160] IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. 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.[161] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[162] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[163]

Dallas School District received a $1,112,033 supplement for special education services in 2010.[164] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding was 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.[165][166] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

  • 2014-15 school year, Dallas School District received an increase to $1,133,927 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[167]
  • 2016-17 school year, Dallas School District received a 1.5% increase in state special education funding to $1,176,682.[168]

In 2013, the state's Special Education Funding Reform Commission provided a report on the state of funding for special education in the Commonwealth.[169] Funding for special education programs is borne largely on a local basis at 60%, with the state contributing $1 billion or 30% and the federal government providing 10% of the funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 168 or 6.16% of its students were gifted in 2009.[170] 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. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[171]

Bullying policy[edit]

The school district administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[172][173]

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.[174] 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.[175]

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.[176]

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania's Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[177]

Teacher union strikes

On December 19, 2016, the Dallas Teachers Union returned to work under the terms of their old contract.[178] The strike lasted five weeks. The Board was required to reset the school calendar eliminating many holidays in order to finish the school year by June 15.[179] On November 14, 2016, Dallas School District Teachers Union went on strike, due to not receiving their demands for higher pay and more costly benefits.[180][181] There have been multiple teach union strikes in Pennsylvania in 2016, including: Shamokin Area School District, Highlands School District[182] Montrose Area School District[183] and Athens Area School District. In December 2016, Ambridge Area Teachers Union went on strike.

Of the nearly 140 teacher strikes that occurred nationally between 2000 and 2007, 60 percent took place in Pennsylvania, according to a report released in August 2012, by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.[184] Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in which teacher strikes are legal. Pennsylvania has the highest rate of teacher strikes in the United States.[185] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there were three teacher union strikes in 2010; one teacher union strike in 2011, one teacher union strike in 2012 and three teacher union strikes in 2013.[186] Crestwood School District in Luzerne County went on strike in 2009. Neshaminy School District teachers union went on strike twice in 2012.[187][188] Wyoming Area School District, Old Forge School District and Shaler Area School District went on strike in the fall of 2013.[189] Wyoming Area School District and Danville Area School District teachers went on strike in the spring of 2014.[190] In the fall of 2014, three Pennsylvania public school district teachers unions went on strike including: Millville Area SD, East Allegheny School District and Old Forge School District.[191] In 2015, Peters Township School District teachers went on strike[192] as well as teachers in Scranton School District.[193] Line Mountain School District teachers in Northumberland County also went on strike.

In 2015, the average teacher salary in Dallas School District was $63,805 a year. The District employed 182 teachers with a top salary of $118,000.[194][195] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[196] Dallas School District teachers receive a daily preparation period and a retirement incentive that is up to 70% of the prior year's salary.[197] Dallas School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[198] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[199] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[200]

In 2007, Dallas School District employed over 155 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $47,943 for 180 days worked.[201] In 2009, the district reported employing over 198 teachers with a salary range of $33,426 to $100,000 and a median teacher salary of $50,319.[202][203] Additionally, the teachers received a benefits package that included: health insurance, life insurance, 10 paid sick, 2 personal days and emergency leave days, reimbursement for college courses and a retirement bonus based on longevity that is up to 75% of one year's salary. Teachers receive extra compensation for additional duties and for extracurricular advising and sports coaching.[204]

Reserves

In 2008, Dallas School District reported a $1,178,619 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $1,347,619.[205] In 2010, Dallas School District Administration reported an increase to $3,250,838.00 in its fund balance. In 2013-14, Dallas School District reported having $1,598,178.00 in designated fund balance. The District also held $955,573.00 in its undesignated fund balance. In 2014-15, Dallas School District reported having $2,011,550 in its fund balance.[206]

Pennsylvania public 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.[207] In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion.[208] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[209][210][211]

Per pupil spending

In 2008, Dallas School District reported spending $10,260 per pupil. This ranked 459th in the commonwealth.[212] By 2013, the District's per pupil spending had risen to $12,262.25.[213]

Administrative spending

The Dallas School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $518.06 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[214] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[215][216]

Tuition

Students who live in the Dallas School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2013 tuition rates were Elementary School - $7,264.69, High School - $9,399.81.[217] In 2015, the tuition rates were Elementary School - $7,421.83, High School - $10,096.33.[218]

Loans/debt

In 2009, Dallas School District reported having over $49.878 million in outstanding debt in General Obligation bonds.[219]

Special investigation theft

In March 2008, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a special investigation of the Dallas School District. It found that the athletic director, who also was a school guidance counselor, had misappropriated over $55,829.98 by overcharging students a fee for a SAT practice exam from 1997 to 2008 and by taking money from various student related accounts.[220] The school board stated an intent to return the fees to the victims.[221]

2011-12 budget

In February 2011, the school board approved a preliminary budget for the 2011-12 school year, in the total amount of $32,657,968, which includes: a property tax millage of 11.5624 mills, a per capita tax of $10.00, an earned income tax of 1% (shared 50/50 with local municipal governments), and an emergency municipal services tax of $52.00 (shared $5 for Dallas School District and $47 for municipal governments who have enacted such taxes).[222]

Audit In October 2014, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the Dallas School Board and the District's administration. Two teachers lacked state certifications and taught for several years. The PDE was notified of their misconduct. The District was fined by the state.[223] A principal received a $6000 bonus to retire early the propriety of which was questioned by the auditors. The amount was also reported as ordinary employment income, thereby illegally raising her pension. The PSERS was notified and the pension reduced.

Dallas School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, per capita 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 individual's level of wealth.[224] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits. Both retirement benefits are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[225] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[226][227]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Dallas School District receives 29.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[228]

In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Education Funding Reform Commission conducted a hearing. The commission developed a new basic education funding formula which sets a new way to distribute state basic education dollars. It abolished the practice of "hold harmless" funding, which gave districts at least the same as they got the previous school year regardless of declining enrollment. The plan became law in June 2016 (House Bill 1552).[229][230][231]

For the 2016-17 school year, Dallas School District received $5,851,514 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a 2.6% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Luzerne County was 6.9% awarded to Wilkes-Barre Area School District under the state's Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[232] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[233] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher's pension fund.[234] Statewide Conestoga Valley School District received the highest increase a 13.3% increase in state BEF funding. Five Pennsylvania public school districts received an increase of 10% or greater in Basic Education Funding over their 2015-16 funding.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of just $2,735,816 to Dallas School District, in January 2016.[235] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[236] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[237] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Eductaion funding under Governor Wolf.[238][239]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[240] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Dallas School District received a total of $5,705,537 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.99% increase yielding a $255,430 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $187,825 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[241]

For the 2014-15 school year, Dallas School District received $5,594,193 in State Basic Education funding. Additionally, the District received another $187,825 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State's enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[242] The Education budget also included Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State paid $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania's Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[243]

In the 2013-14 school year, the Dallas School District received a 2.5% increase or $5,597,627 in Basic Education Funding. This was $134,645 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Dallas School District received $63,433 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Luzerne County, Hazleton School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 5.4%. The District had the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth's budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[244] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[245] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[246]

For the 2012-13 school year, Dallas School District received $5,462,978.[247] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[248] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett's first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011-12, Dallas School District received a $5,461,811 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[249][250] Additionally, the School District received $147,710 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[251] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District of Allegheny County, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[252]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Dallas School District was increased 7.21% for a total of $6,001,176. The highest increase in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at 12,61%. Sixteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase over 10%. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Among 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.[253] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[254]

For the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.57% increase in Basic Education funding for Dallas School District a total of $5,597,368. The highest increase in BEF for the school districts in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at a 13.36% increase. The highest increase in Pennsylvania went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen (16) public school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.[255] In 2009, the district reported that 457 students were eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.[256]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Dallas School District in 2008-09 was $5,352,807.05.

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 Dallas School District applied for and received $172,174 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to reduce class size K-3rd grade, to improve instruction by using teacher coaches in classrooms and to increase instructional time for struggling students through before and after school tutoring and more.[257][258]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-15 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[259]

Dallas School District received $255,430 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars, for 2015-16 and 2016–17, in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

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. Dallas School District applied for funding in 2006-07 but was denied by the PDE. In 2007-08, it received $263,298. The district received $47,989 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $311,287.[260]

Hybrid Learning grants[edit]

Dallas School District participated in a pilot year of the state’s Hybrid learning initiative. Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning uses three learning models to increase student achievement: instruction from the teacher, group activities, and self-instruction through digital content. According to state testing results, among the pilot schools, 88 percent achieved higher academic performance in hybrid classes compared to traditional classes in the same district or statewide benchmarks, 75 percent reported better academic achievement, and all of them met or exceeded academic growth.[261] In 2013-14, the state awarded $633,000 in federal Title 2A funds to accelerate teacher training in the implementation of hybrid learning programs in 50 school buildings in 34 school entities. In 2012, $1.1 million was awarded to 15 districts to launch the first hybrid pilot schools in the state that included more than 1,900 students and 48 teachers.[262]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[263][264] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[265] Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[266] 2013 Safe Schools grants; Project 720 High School Reform grants[267] (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget); nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Dallas School District received an extra $163,479 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[268][269] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[270] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, 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

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[271] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. The teachers' union agreed to support the effort.[272] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of a majority of school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[273]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with “High Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[274] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[275] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Dallas School District received $95,039 in federal Title II funding.[276] In 2014-15, Dallas School District applied for and received $90,657.[277]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[278] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[279][280]

In 2012-13, Dallas School District received $1,358 in Title III funding for English language learners.[281] For 2014-15, Dallas School District received $1,141 in Title III funding.[282]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Dallas School Board decided to 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.[283] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2016-17 were set by the school board at 13.1380 mills.[284] Dallas School Board has raised real estate taxes every year since 2005. 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. 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.[285]

Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and all government property (local, state and federal). Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[286] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[287] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region.

When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[288] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders like Dallas School District.[289]

In 2008, Luzerne County conducted a property value reassessment.[290] Under Pennsylvania law, districts were required to set real estate taxes to a new equal level yielding no added revenues.

The average yearly property tax paid by Luzerne County residents amounts to about 3.02% of their yearly income. Luzerne County ranked 586th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[301] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[302] 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%).[303] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[304]

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 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.[305]

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[306]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Dallas School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[307]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Dallas School Board applied for an exception to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit, due to the cost of the teacher's pension.[314] Statewide 299 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2016-17.

For the 2015-16 budget year, Dallas School Board applied for one exception to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit due to its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[315]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Dallas School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for special education cost and for its escalating teacher pension costs.. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[316] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[317]

The Dallas School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[318] In the Spring of 2010, 135 of 500 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.[319]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Dallas School District was $53 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,071 property owners applied for the tax relief.[320] In 2010 within Luzerne County, the highest reported amount went to Wilkes-Barre Area School District set at $210 per approved 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.[321] CUSD was given $632 in 2009. 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 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%).[322]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a summer aquatics program that is open to all district residents. All lessons are taught by ARC certified Water Safety Instructors. There is a small fee for the swim lessons. The district's students have access to a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by the school board policy[323] in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA mandates that student athletes must be passing at least four full-credit subjects to participate in sports.[324]

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.[325]

In March 2008, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a special investigation of the Dallas School District. It found that the athletic director, who also was a school guidance counselor, had misappropriated $4,869 from Dallas School District's Athletic Fund.[220]

Sports[edit]

The Girls field hockey team has won the 2007 PIAA District 2 championship and were state semi-finalists. They also peaked at #6 in the National Polls midway through the season. The Boys and Girls soccer teams also won district championships in the 2007-2008 school year along with the softball team and Girls Track and Field team which has won 3 consecutive district 2 titles (2005, 2006, 2007). In the 2008-2009 year, the teams from Dallas to win district titles are Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Girls diving, Girls Soccer, and Softball. State Championships from Dallas include, Football in 1993, Girls Cross Country in 2003 and 2005, and Girls Soccer in 2007.

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