Dunmore School District

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unga bunga warfunga
Map of Lackawanna County Pennsylvania School Districts.PNG
Go Bucks!
Address
300 West Warren Street
Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna 18512
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 elected members serving 4 years term
Superintendent Richard X McDonald Salary $113,552 (2012) (contract July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2015)[1]
Administrator

Mr Kevin R Clarke, Business Manager
Loughney, Frances, Salary $76,390 (2012)

Cerminaro, Maryjane, salary $74,720 (2012)
Principal

Quinn, Matthew, HS Retired 2012 Forgione, James, HS salary $97,721 (2012)[2]

Hopkins, Timothy, salary $85,859 HSVP (2013)
Principal Unga bunga warfunga
Principal Dr. Hamburger man
Staff 52 non teaching staff members (2012)[3]
Faculty 99 teachers (2012)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,560 pupils (2014)[4]
1,564 pupils (2012)[5]
1,567 pupils (2011)[6]
1,643 pupils (2009-10)

1,706 pupils (2006-07)[7]
 • Kindergarten 123 (2012), 107 (2010)
 • Grade 1 101 (2012), 142
 • Grade 2 114 (2012), 128
 • Grade 3 113 (2012), 115
 • Grade 4 125 (2012), 122
 • Grade 5 119 (2012), 128
 • Grade 6 115 (2012), 136
 • Grade 7 144 (2012), 117
 • Grade 8 138 (2012), 133
 • Grade 9 113 (2012), 119
 • Grade 10 115 (2012), 129
 • Grade 11 132 (2012), 139
 • Grade 12 112 (2012), 130 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment to be 1,545 pupils in 2020[8]
Language English
Mascot Bucks
Budget

$20,155,107 (2015-16)
$19.33 million (2014-15)[9]
$18,453,218 (2013-14)[10]

$17.7 million budget (2012-13)[11]
Per pupil spending $9,375 (2008)
Per pupil spending $11,068.92 (2012)
Website

The Dunmore School District is a small, suburban public school district which serves the Borough of Dunmore in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, USA. Dunmore School District encompasses approximately 8 square miles (21 km2) square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 14,081. According to the US Census Bureau 2010 federal census data, Dunmore School District resident population declined to 14,052 people.[12] The educational attainment levels for the Dunmore School District population (25 years old and over) were 92% high school graduates and 29.5% college graduates.[13]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 33.8% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty level as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[14] In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $19,851, while the median family income was $43,354.[15] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [16] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[17] In Lackawanna County, the median household income was $43,673.[18] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[19]

Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08, Dunmore School District provided basic educational services to 1,673 pupils through the employment of 110 teachers, 37 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators. Dunmore School District provided basic educational services to 1,535 pupils in 2011-12. The District employed: 106 teachers, 34 full-time and part-time support personnel, and increased to nine (9) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $6.3 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

The Dunmore School District operates three schools: Dunmore High School, Dunmore Middle School and Dunmore Elementary Center. High school students may choose to attend Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna County for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit IU19 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

In the Spring of 2014, Dunmore School Board voted to combine the high school and middle school into Dunmore Junior/Senior High School beginning 2014-15 school year.[20]

Governance[edit]

The Dunmore School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[21] The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[22]

Academic achievement[edit]

Opportunity Scholarship - lowest achieving schools

In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one Dunmore School District school as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[23]

Dunmore High School is among the 15% lowest achieving schools in the Commonwealth in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[24] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[25] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, nine public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Steelton-Highspire School District, Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[26] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Statewide ranking

In 2015, Dunmore School District was ranked 276th out of 496 Pennsylvania 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.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Dunmore School District was in the 74th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best).[31]

Lackawanna county ranking

In 2008, students in Dunmore School District demonstrated the highest achievement among Lackawanna County school districts, on the state's science test.[32] Additionally, the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development found that 5th grade writing achievement declined and remained low, while the district's 8th and 11th grades students showed strong writing skills acquisition from 2006-2009.[33]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Dunmore School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[34] In 2011, Dunmore School District also achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of 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.[35][36] Dunmore School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003, Dunmore School District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[37]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2014, the District’s graduation rate was 95%.[38]

  • 2013 - 91%[39]
  • 2012 - 90.5%[40]
  • 2011 - 92%.[41]
  • 2010 - 91%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Dunmore High School's rate was 91% for 2010.[42]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Dunmore High School is located at 300 West Warren Street. In 2014, Dunmore High School enrollment was reported as 471 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 24% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 13.8% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 35 teachers.[47] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 479 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 88 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2011, the School employed 35 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[48] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[49]

2014 School Performance Profile

Dunmore High School achieved 79.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 79% of students were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 61% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 56% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[50][51] 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%.[52]

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.[53] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[54][55]

2013 School Performance Profile

Dunmore High School achieved 64.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 72.7% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 62.8% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 47.54% showed on grade level science understanding, at the end of the course.[56] 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.[57]

AYP history;

In 2012, Dunmore High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to missing all academic achievement metrics measured.[58] In 2010 and 2011, Dunmore High School achieved AYP status.[59] Effective with Spring 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education discontinued administering the PSSA's to 11th graders. Dunmore High School achieved AYP status each school year from 2004 through 2010. In 2003, Dunmore High School was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.

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.[60]

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 course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[61]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 55% on grade level, (13% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[62]
  • 2011 - 70% (12% below basic). State - 69.1%[63]
  • 2010 - 70% (14% below basic). State - 66% [64]
  • 2009 - 80%, State - 65% [65]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 65% [66]
  • 2007 - 76%, State - 65% [67]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 47% on grade level (28 below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[68]
  • 2011 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 60.3% [69]
  • 2010 - 71% (12% below basic). State - 59%[70]
  • 2009 - 70%, State - 56% [71]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 56% [72]
  • 2007 - 65%, State - 53% [73]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[74]
  • 2011 - 43% (9% below basic). State - 40%[75]
  • 2010 - 57% (6% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 60%, State - 40% [76]
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 39% [77]

Science in Motion High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[78] Wilkes University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 27% of Dunmore 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.[79] 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.[80] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Dunmore 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.[81] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[82] For the 2009-10 funding year, Dunmore School District received a state grant of $6,226 for the program.[83] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Dunmore School Board has determined that students must earn 22 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Physical Education/Health/Driver's Ed 1 credit, Arts and Humanities 2.25 credits, Music .25 credit, Computer Literacy .5 credits and Electives 4 credits.[84]

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.[85] 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.[86]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[87] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[88]

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.[89][90] 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.[91] 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.[92] 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.

Challenge Program[edit]

The Challenge Program offers $250.00 cash incentives to Dunmore High School students who excel in the categories of: Academic Improvement, Attendance, Community Service and Academic Excellence. The program partners with businesses to motivate students both in and out of the classroom by encouraging good habits in students that will last throughout their education and into their future careers. For the 2010-2011 school year, the top 10% of students in each of the categories will be eligible to win $250.00.[93]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Dunmore School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 482. The Math average score was 482. The Writing average score was 471.[94] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[95]

In 2013, 85 Dunmore School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 449. The Math average score was 464. The Writing average score was 458. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[96]

In 2012, 93 Dunmore School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 468. The Math average score was 460. The Writing average score was 471. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 125 Dunmore School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 466. The Math average score was 472. The Writing average score was 464.[97] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[98] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[99]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2014, Dunmore High School offered 3 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. Students may take the AP exam after they take an AP course. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[100] The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Dunmore High School 12.5% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam in 2014.[101] In 2013, Dunmore High School offered 4 AP courses, with less than 10 pupils achieving a 3 or better after taking the course.

Middle school[edit]

Dunmore Middle School (DMS) is located at 300 West Warren Street. Starting with the 2014-15 school year, the school is combined with the high school for data purposes becoming a grade 7th through 12 school. In 2013-14, enrollment at DMS was 265 pupils, in grades 7th and 8th, with 31.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 12% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[102] 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 is not a federal Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the Dunmore Middle School reported an enrollment of pupils, in grades 7th and 8th, with 57 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 14 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 18:1.[103] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[104] The school was a federal Title I school.

2014 School Performance Profile

Dunmore Middle School achieved 89.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 85% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 78% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 73% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 91% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[105]

2013 School Performance Profile

Dunmore Middle School achieved 87.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 79.9% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 76.98% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 70.3% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 88.19% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[106] 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

In 2012, Dunmore Middle School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to missing two academic metrics.[107] In 2011, Dunmore Middle School achieved AYP status. From 2004 through 2010, Dunmore Middle School achieved AYP status each school year.[108]

PSSA results

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.[109] 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.[110] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[111] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[112]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (16% below basic). State - 59%[124]
  • 2011 - 75% (9% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 62% (21% below basic). State – 57%[125]
  • 2009 - 54% (21% below basic). State - 55%[126]
  • 2008 - 52%, (15% below basic). State - 52%[127]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Dunmore School District did not implement a state dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the middle school.[128] The process identifies students at risk for droping 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.[129]

Elementary center[edit]

Dunmore Elementary Center is located at 300 West Warren Street. In 2014, the School's enrollment was 828 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 32% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 14% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[130] 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.[131] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 823 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 216 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 50 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.[132] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[133] The school has provided full day kindergarten to all its pupils since 2003.[134]

2014 School Performance Profile

Dunmore Elementary Center achieved a score of 79.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 67% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 76.9% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 66% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[135]

2013 School Performance Profile

Dunmore Elementary Center achieved a score of 82.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 74.78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 84.95% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 77.66% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 77.39% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[136] 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 history

In 2011 and 2012, Dunmore Elementary Center achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[137] Dunmore Elementary Center achieved AYP status each school year from 2003 to 2010.

In the 2003 school year, the District initiated full-day kindergarten[138] Proponents of full day kindergarten claim it will reduce special education numbers and it will raise primary student academic achievement especially in reading and math.[139]

PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[140] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[141][142][143] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[144] The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 91%, (3% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 85%, (4% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 85%, (4% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 90%, (3% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 94%, (2% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2012, the Dunmore School District administration reported that 215 pupils or 13.7% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 43% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[152] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 205 pupils or 19% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with % of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[153] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In December 2011, the District administration reported that 227 pupils or 14.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 41.9% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[154] In December 2009, the Dunmore School District administration reported that 199 pupils or 11.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[155]

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.[156] Dunmore School 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 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 Special Education Department.[157]

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.[158] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. 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.[159] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[160] 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.[161] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[162]

Dunmore School District received a $812,062 supplement for special education services in 2010.[163] 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 is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[164][165] For the 2014-2015 school year, DSD will receive an increase to $824,007 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[166] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 7 or 0.49% of its students were gifted in 2009.[167] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. 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.[168] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Dunmore School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.[169]

Bullying Policy[edit]

The Dunmore School Administration reported three incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[170][171]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[172] 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.[173] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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.[174]

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.[175]

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.[176]

In 2015, Dunmore School Board approved a new teacher contract for years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The teachers will receives raises of 3.03% while in 2016-17 raise is 3.82 percent increase on average. There was no change in teacher contributions to health insurance.[177]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Dunmore School District was $49,886 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $30,249 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $80,136.[178] Dunmore 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.)[179] After 40 years of service, a teacher 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.[180]

In 2009, the District reported employing over 70 teachers with a starting salary of $33,000 for 185 days for pupil instruction. The average teacher salary was $49,037 while the maximum salary was $104,985.[181] 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.[182] Additionally, Dunmore School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 1 - 2 paid personal days, 10 sick days, 5 paid bereavement days, and other benefits. Teachers are paid an additional hourly rate, if they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The school day is 7 hours 10 minutes. Retirees receive $50 for each unused accumulated sick days. Teachers who serves as department heads and team leaders receive $1000 in compensation.[183] 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.[184]

In 2007, the district employed 96 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,726 for 185 school days worked.[185]

Administration costs Dunmore School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $710.59 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[186] In April 2011, the district spent over $3,700 to send the superintendent and one school board member to a national school board convention. Most Lackawanna County school districts had elected to not attend the conference due to budget cuts in the economic downturn.[187] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains 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.[188] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[189]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Dunmore School District reported spending $9,375 per pupil. This ranked 497th in the commonwealth.[190] In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $9,818.75.[191] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $11,068.92.[192] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[193] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[194]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[195] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[196] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[197] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[198]

Reserves

In 2009, Dunmore School District reported $3,845,483 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $575,000.[199] In 2010, Dunmore School District Administration reported their reserves were $5,075,000. 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.[200] In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion.[201] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[202][203][204] In 2014, the District had $5,922,469.

Audit

In August 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[205] In June 2014, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted another performance audit of the district. Findings were that the transportation contractor had been paid in excess of state formula allowance.[206]

Tuition Students who live in the Dunmore 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 Dunmore 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 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $7,615, High School - $8,516.[207]

Dunmore School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, 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.[208] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[209] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[210]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Dunmore School District receives 37.9% of its annual revenue from the state.[211][212]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $2,033,139 to Dunmore School District, in January 2016.[213] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[214] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[215] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Eductaion funding under Governor Wolf.[216][217] In April 2016, Governor Wolf announced his finalized dispersement of 2015-16 state Basic Education Funding. Dunmore School District received a 1.76% increase for a total funding of $4,157,925.[218] This is $15,476 less than the District was to receive by law under the state’s Fair Funding Formula approved in 2015.[219][220] Wolf also altered the Ready to Learn Grant distribution. The District received another $174,267 in Ready To Learn grant which was $34,973 less than it would have received under the approved state formula for distribution.

The highest increase in funding statewide was awarded by Governor Wolf to Wilkinsburg Borough School District which got a 44.1% increase in state Basic Education Funding. The average BEF increase among the Commonwealth’s 500 public school districts for 2015-16 was 2.21%. In Lackawanna County, the highest percentage increase in state funding was awarded to Old Forge School District - 3.51%. The Pennsylvania education budget is $5.93 billion for basic education, a $200 million or 3.5 percent increase over 2014-15 allocation. Another $1.08 billion was allotted for special education funding, a $30 million or 2.9 percent increase over 2014-15. Additionally, the state paid over $500 million towards school employee social security payments and over $1 billion to the teacher's pension fund (PSERS).[221]

For the 2014-15 school year, Dunmore School District received $4,057,824 in State Basic Education funding. The District also received $164,087 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[222] The Education budget also includes 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 is paying $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.[223]

In the 2013-2014 school year, the Dunmore School District received a 2.2% increase to $4,056,096 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $86,324 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Dunmore School District received $81,006 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Lackawanna County, Mid Valley School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.4%. 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.[224] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[225] 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.[226]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Dunmore School District received $3,969,772 in state Basic Education Funding.[227] 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. Dunmore School District received $81,006. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[228] 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 school year, Dunmore School District received a 2.52% increase to a $3,969,390 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[229][230] Additionally, the Dunmore School District received $81,005 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.[231] 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.[232] In 2010, the District reported that 469 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[233] Some public school Districts experienced a reduction in total funding due to the abrupt loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

For the 2010-11 school year, Dunmore School District received an 11.88% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $4,369,057 payment.[234] Dunmore School District received the highest increase in BEF in Lackawanna County in 2011. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[235]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 9.12% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $3,905,237. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[236] Scranton School District received the highest increase in Lackawanna County for the 2009-10 school year at 9.46%. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[237]

The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,578,939.93. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 495 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[238]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[239]

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 Dunmore School District applied for and received $219,870 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.[240][241]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 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.[242]

Dunmore School District received $164,087 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant funding, PreK Counts funding, 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. Dunmore School District received did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the District received $209,743. For the 2008-09, school year the Dunmore School District received $45,413 for a total of $255,156. In Lackawanna County, Scranton School District received the largest funding. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[243] The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[244][245] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[246] Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[247] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[248] Project 720 High School Reform grants (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget); nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Dunmore School District received an extra $1,098,128 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like Title 1, special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[249] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[250] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, the Governor 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]

Dunmore School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[251][252] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[253] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[254] 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.[255]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Dunmore School Board chose 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.[256] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Dunmore School Board set property tax rates at 105.6381 mills for 2015-16.[257] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[258] 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. When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[259] 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.[260]

The average yearly property tax paid by Lackwanna County residents amounts to about 3.4% of their yearly income. Lackawanna County ranked 413th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[270] 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.[271] 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%).[272] 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.[273]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[274]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[275] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[276][277] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[278]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Dunmore School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[279]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Dunmore School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[285] 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.[286]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Dunmore School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[287]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Dunmore School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[288]

Dunmore School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[289][290] 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.[291]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Dunmore School District's 3,170 approved homestead properties received $105 each.[292] The decline in amount was related to a decline in table games tax revenues and an increase in approved properties. The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[293]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Dunmore School District was $109 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,058 property owners applied for the tax relief.[294] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Lackawanna County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in Scranton School District at $334. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[295] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income residents in Dunmore School District who are: aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[296]

Enrollment[edit]

Dunmore School District is experiencing low enrollment in K-12. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects the district's enrollment will be less than 1700 pupils through 2018.[297] Shifting population trends across the U.S. and Pennsylvania are affecting school enrollment.[298] Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline is projected to be in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts may have a 16 percent decline. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[299]

A study done by Standard and Poors in 2007 (at the request of the PA General Assembly) examined whether the consolidation of small school district's administrations would yield saving where the resulting district had approximately 3000 pupils.[300] Superintendent were asked about savings, if their district were to merge with another district at the administrative level only, but not close any of their schools. It found 42% of survey respondents thought consolidation could achieve cost reductions. Additionally, 63% of responding superintendents believed that consolidation with another district would help provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for the students.[301] In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.[302]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[303]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Dunmore School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program.[304] Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

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.[305]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[306][307][308]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[309]

All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[310]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[311][312]

The District funds:

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2014[313]

References[edit]

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