Greater Nanticoke Area School District

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The Greater Nanticoke Area School District is a midsized, public school district in Luzerne County. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania. The District serves the borough of Nanticoke and the surrounding townships of Plymouth, Newport, and Conyningham. Greater Nanticoke Area School District encompasses approximately 52 square miles (130 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 19,443. By 2010, the district's population declined to 19,097 people.[1] In 2009, the per capita income was $16,077 while the median family income was $37,672.[2] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [3] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[4]

Per Greater Nanticoke Area School District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Greater Nanticoke Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,323 pupils through the employment of 137 teachers, 110 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators.

The Greater Nanticoke Area School District operates five schools: a high school (grades 8-12), Educational Center (grades 6 & 7), Elementary Center (grades 3-5), Kennedy Elementary grade 2, K.M.Smith Elementary (grades K & 1).

Governance[edit]

Greater Nanticoke Area 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.[5] 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 Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[6]

Academic achievement[edit]

Student achievement at Greater Nanticoke Area is in the bottom 20% of school districts statewide. In 2010 the Greater Nanticoke Area School District missed 18 state averages in 21 testing categories on the state tests for reading, math and science. The District was the second lowest in 37 Northeastern Pennsylvania school districts.[7]

Greater Nanicoke Area School District was ranked 392nd out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[8] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and science.[9] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 413th[10]
  • 2011 - 414th[11]
  • 2010 - 439th[12]
  • 2009 - 423rd
  • 2008 - 442nd
  • 2007 - 435th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[13]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Greater Nanticoke Area School District ranked 79th. In 2012, the District ranked 108th. [14] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[15]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the pupils in the district was in the 11th percentile among Pennsylvanian's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [16]

District AYP status history

In 2011 and 2012, Greater Nanticoke Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[17] 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.[18] Greater Nanticoke Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010,[19]

  • 2005 - Making Progress in School Improvement Level I
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I[20]
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District’s graduation rate was 27.8%.[21] In 2011, the graduation rate was 93%.[22] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Greater Nanticoke High School's rate was 92% for 2010.[23]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 97% [24]
  • 2009 - 94%
  • 2008 - 93% [25]
  • 2007 - 93% [26]

Graduation requirements[edit]

In order to graduate from the Greater Nanticoke Area High School, a student must successfully complete 24 approved credits which include: 4 credits of English, 3 credits of Social Studies, 3 credits of Mathematics, 3 credits of Science, 2 credits of Arts & Humanities, 5 credits of electives and 1 credit of Health & Physical Education.[27] Students must also have scored at least at the proficient level of performance on the PSSA tests which are taken during their junior year.

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 determined locally, by the individual school district.[28] At Greater Nanticoke Area High School the graduation project involves students making one of four choices: Community service, Artistic/literary creativity, Career exploration or Academic research.[29] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[30]

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.[31][32][33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.

Greater Nanticoke Area High School[edit]

Greater Nanticoke Area High School is located at 425 Kosciuszko Street, Nanticoke. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 850 pupils in grades 8th through 12th, with 418 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 48 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[36] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 36 classes were taught by teachers who were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[37]

In 2012, Greater Nanticoke Area High School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to low student achievement in reading and mathematics.[38] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally, Greater Nanticoke Area High School administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[39] The High School is eligible for targeted, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[40]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to low student achievement[41]
  • 2010 and 2009 - Corrective Action Level I AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement.[42] The school has been identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as School Improvement Intervention eligible due to the low academic achievement of both the 8th grade and 11th grade.[43][44] The High School administration provided parents with notice that they could transfer their child to a successful high school within the district. The district operates only one high school.

In 2010, the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Greater Nanticoke Area 11th graders had the largest decline in math and reading achievement among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[45]

PSSAs
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 63% on grade level, (19% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[46]
  • 2011 - 61% (21% below basic). State - 69.1% [47]
  • 2010 - 59% (30% below basic). State - 66% [48]
  • 2009 - 48% (31% below basic), State - 65% [49]
  • 2008 - 64% (20% below basic), State - 65%
  • 2007 - 46% (34% below basic), State - 65% [50]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 53% on grade level (26% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[51]
  • 2011 - 50% (30% below basic). State - 60.3% [52]
  • 2010 - 56% (31% below basic). State - 59%[53]
  • 2009 - 41% (44% below basic). State - 56%.[54]
  • 2008 - 58% (25% below basic). State - 56%[55]
  • 2007 - 33% (48% below basic). State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 33% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[56]
  • 2011 - 24% (25% below basic). State - 40% [57]
  • 2010 - 28% (33% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 23% (33% below basic), State - 40%[58]
  • 2008 - 24%, State - 39%

In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Greater Nanticoke Area School District had the largest percentage of 11th grade students scoring below basic in science achievement, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[59]

Science in Motion Greater Nanticoke Area High School did not took access 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.[60] Wilkes University works with schools in the region to provide the experiences.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 30% of Greater Nanticoke Area 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.[61] 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.[62] 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]

Greater Nanticoke Area 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.[63] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[64] 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.[65] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis. For the 2009-10 funding year, the School District received a state grant of $12,710 for its dual enrollment program.[66]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 82 Greater Nanticoke Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 477. The Math average score was 487. The Writing average score was 469. 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, 67 Greater Nanticoke Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 478. The Math average score was 515. The Writing average score was 452.[67] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[68] 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.[69]

Eighth grade[edit]

In 2010, The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Greater Nanticoke Area 8th graders had the second largest decline in reading achievement and the largest decline in math achievement among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[70]

8th Grade Reading

  • 2012 - 81% on grade level (7% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[51]
  • 2011 - 88% (2% below basic) State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 78% (11% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 67% (22% below basic). State - 80%
  • 2008 - 75% (12% below basic). State - 78% [71]
  • 2007 - 68%, State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 82% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 81% (4% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 84% (6% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 63% (19% below basic), State - 71% [72]
  • 2008 - 71% (18% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 66%, State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 59% on grade level (21% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 61% (16% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 42% (31% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 29% (45% below basic), State - 55% [73]
  • 2008 - 40% (27% below basic), State - 52% [74]

In 2010, The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Greater Nanticoke Area had the largest percentage of 8th grade students scoring below basic in science achievement, among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[75]

Educational Center[edit]

Provides grades 6th & 7th. In 2010 and 2009 the school is in School Improvement I AYP level due to chronic, low student achievement of subsets of students.[76] As required by NCLB, the administration informed students of the right to transfer to a successful school in August 2010. The district operates one school with 6th and 7th grades. The school has developed a mandatory School Improvement Plan which includes: improved differentiated instruction, more assistance to students who are not on grade level and a parent outreach program.[77]

In 2010 The institute for Public Policy and Economic Development reported that Greater Nanticoke Area 5th graders had a minimal improvement in math achievement and moderate improvement in reading achievement among all Luzerne County School Districts on the 2009 PSSAs.[78]

7th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 81% on grade level (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.[79]
  • 2009 - 72% (8% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 70% (8% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 64% (14% below basic), State - 67%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 88% on grade level (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 83% (9% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 76% (15% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 73% (16% below basic), State - 67%

6th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 68% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 68% of 6th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 67% (15% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2008 - 60% (20% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 61% (23% below basic), State - 63%

6th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 90% on grade level (3% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 78% of 6th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 80% (10% below basic), State - 75% [72]
  • 2008 - 81%, State - 76%
  • 2007 - 69%, State - 61%

Elementary Center[edit]

Provides grades 3rd through 5th. The school made AYP in 2010. The school was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I status in 2009 due to low student achievement. Greater Nanticoke Area Elementary Center Academic Achievement data table 2010. [1], Report Card 2010 [2]

5th Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 60%, 24% below basic, State - 64% [80]
  • 2009 - 59%, 25% advanced, State - 64%
  • 2008 - 55%, 11% advanced, State - 62%
5th Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 52%, 25% advanced, State - 74%
  • 2009 - 67%, 40% advanced, State - 73%
  • 2008 - 66%, 34% advanced, State - 73%
4th Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 63%, 29% advanced, State - 73%
  • 2009 - 60%, 25% advanced, State - 72%
  • 2008 - 60%, 23% advanced, State - 70%
4th Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 78%, 40% advanced, State - 84%
  • 2009 - 74%, 36% advanced, State - 81%
  • 2008 - 75%, 44% advanced, State - 80%
4th Grade Science;
  • 2010 - 80%, 45% advanced, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 81%, 36% advanced, State - 83%
  • 2008 - %, % advanced, State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 72%, 21% advanced, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 72%, 22% advanced, State - 77%
  • 2008 - 70%, 9% advanced, State - 70%
3rd Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 84%, 38% advanced, State - 84%
  • 2009 - 76%, 35% advanced, State - 81%
  • 2008 - 77%, 29% advanced, State - 80%

Special education[edit]

The district administration reported that 408 students or 17.5% were receiving special education services in 2009.[81][82]

The District affords specialized programs of instruction specifically designed to meet the needs of the District's exceptional students. With assistance from the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18, exceptional students have access to a complete special education program in such support areas as Learning, Life Skills, Emotional, Speech and Language, Hearing, Visual and Gifted.

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.

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.[83]

Greater Nanticoke Area School District received a $1,269,207 supplement for special education services in 2010.[84]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 39 or 1.73% of its students were gifted in 2009.[85] 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.[86]

Bullying policy[edit]

The school district administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[87][88]

All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. Greater Nanticoke Area School District has posted a Bullying/Cyberbullying Policy. The district provides an anonymous reporting form online [89] 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.[90] 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.[91]

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.[92]

Budget and taxes[edit]

In 2008, the district reported $3,780,481 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[93]

In 2005, the district reported employing 112 teachers with the average teacher salary in the district was $46,881 for 184 days worked. The district ranked fourteenth in Luzerne County for average teacher salary in 2007.[94]

Greater Nanticoke Area had the lowest administrative cost per pupil, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at $398 per pupil in 2008.[95]

In 2009, the district reported employing over 150 teachers with a salary range of $35,075 to $91,039 and a median teacher salary of $51,835.[96][97] Teachers work day is 7 hours 20 minutes and they receive a daily prep period. In addition to salary, the teachers' compensation includes: health insurance, life insurance, paid funeral leave, 10 paid sick, 2 personal days, and reimbursement for college courses. At retirement or death while employed by the district, teachers receive $40 per unused sick day and can receive district funded health insurance. Teachers receive extra compensation for additional duties and for extracurricular advising and sports coaching.[98]

In 2008, Greater Nanticoke Area School District reported spending $10,443 per pupil. This ranked 449th among the 500 school districts, in the commonwealth.[99]

In 2009, the district reported having over $18 million in outstanding debt in General Obligation bonds.[100]

In November 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the school board and the school district administration [101]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax of 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. 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.[102]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Greater Nanticoke Area School District was increased 7.88% for a total of $11,168,165. 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.[103] 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.[104]

For the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 7.68% increase in Basic Education funding for Greater Nanticoke School District a total of $10,354,031. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $6,347,347.04. 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 school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.[105]

In 2009, the district reported that 1,041 students were eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.[106]

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 Greater Nanticoke Area School District applied for and received $418,449 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide all-day kindergarten for the seventh year.[107][108]

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. Greater Nanticoke Area School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, it received $223,513. The district received $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $268,926.[109]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Greater Nanticoke Area School District received an extra $3,027,696 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[110]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials submitted an incomplete application for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over $1 million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[111] The teachers' union refused to support the effort.[112] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of a majority of school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[113]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Greater Nanticoke Area 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.[114] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The school board levied a real estate tax of 10.177 mills in 2013-14. 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.[115]

  • 2010-11 - 9.9295 mills [116]
  • 2009-10 - 9.9296 mills [117]

In 2008, Luzerne County conducted a county wide property value reassessment. The previous county wide assessment had been done in 1965[118]

  • 2008-09 - 255.0000 mills [119]

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.[120]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Greater Nanticoke Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[121]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.9%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 6.0%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.3%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.1%, Base 1.4%

The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[122] 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.[123]

Extracurriculars[edit]

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

In 2010, the Greater Nanticoke Area varsity softball team won the state championship. The softball program is very strong, carrying well-rounded athletes. Not only are the athletes an asset to the team but the coaches are as well. Winning the state championship is something that all of the members of the team wanted and worked hard for it.[124] 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.[125]

A notable news source for the Greater Nanticoke Area High School is the student newspaper called "The GNA Insider".[126]

References[edit]

  1. ^ US Census Bureau, 2010 Census Poverty Data by Local Educational Agency, 2011
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2010
  3. ^ US Census Bureau (2010). "American Fact Finder, State and County quick facts". 
  4. ^ US Census Bureau (September 2011). "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
  6. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ Kristen Gaydos (August 13, 2010). "Greater Nanticoke Area board finds low test scores disgusting". The Citizen's Voice. 
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