Lakeland School District, Pennsylvania
The Lakeland School District is a small, rural, public school district located in northern Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. It comprises the boroughs of Jermyn and Mayfield and the townships of Carbondale (to be distinguished from the city of Carbondale which it partially surrounds), Greenfield, and Scott. It was organized June 30, 1968 as a jointure among the three districts previously serving the five municipalities. Lakeland School District encompasses an area of 66.2 square miles. The school district has a population of 11,966, according to the 2000 federal census. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $18,876, while the median family income was $45,653 a year. The school colors are red, white and blue. The mascot is the Chief. According to school district administrative officials, for the 2005-06 school year, the district provided basic educational services to 1,648 pupils. The district employed 11 administrators, 115 teachers, and 50 full-time and part-time support personnel. Special education was provided by the district and the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit #19. Occupational training and adult education in various vocational and technical fields were provided by the district and the Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna County.
The Lakeland area has become bound by the school as a community. Lakeland's geographic position with respect to the other districts of Lackawanna County is illustrated in the map given. However, no roads provide direct links to Mid Valley or North Pocono. Also, not shown are neighboring districts Mountain View (Susquehanna County) to the north and Western Wayne (Wayne County) to the east. Long Carbondale and Valley View borders indicate Lakeland's particularly strong relationships with each. They are two of the Chiefs' most competitive athletic rivals. Many Lakeland families have close relatives in, or descend from natives of, both areas. Finally, most of Lakeland's country residents travel to the city of Carbondale or the towns of Valley View regularly for work, shopping, and recreation.
- 1 School Board and Administration
- 2 Academics
- 3 Extra-Curricular Activities
- 4 Lakeland Jr./Sr. High School
- 5 Lakeland Elementary School- Scott Campus
- 6 Lakeland Elementary School- Mayfield Campus
- 7 Special education
- 8 Bullying Policy
- 9 Budget
- 10 Real estate taxes
- 11 Notable alumni
- 12 References
- 13 External links
School Board and Administration
The Lakeland School District is governed by a locally elected, nine-member Board of Education. The current school board's members, as of January 2015 are:
- Mary Retzbach (President)
- Thomas Evans (Vice President)
- Jill Yoniski (Secretary)
- Casey Patuk (Treasurer)
- Aurelio Catanzaro
- Henry Stachura
- John Yanochik
- Thomas Walsh
Current administrators for the District, as of January 2015 are:
- R. Scott Jeffery (Superintendent of Schools)
- Thomas Kameroski (Jr./Sr. High School principal)
- James Pivirotto (Jr./Sr. High School vice principal)
- Alan King (Scott campus principal)
- Kevin Sullivan (Mayfield campus principal)
The Lakeland School District was ranked 165th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2011, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on five years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and three years of science.
- 2010 - 173rd 
- 2009 - 261st
- 2008 - 141st
- 2007 - 150th of 501 school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.
In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Lakeland School District, was in the 47th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) 
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Lakeland School District's rate was 86% for 2010.
The Lakeland School District's activities are referred to by the school's mascot, the Chief.
- Varsity golf
- Jr. High soccer
- Varsity soccer
- Freshman football
- Jr. Varsity football
- Varsity football
- Jr. High cross country
- Varsity cross country
- Jr. High girls' basketball
- Football cheerleading
- Varsity basketball
- Jr. Varsity basketball
- Freshmen boys' basketball
- Jr. High boys' basketball
- Basketball cheerleading
- Art club
- Future Business Leaders of America
- Lakeland Lance journalism club
- Mock Trial
- National Honor Society
- Reading team
- Scholastic Bowl
- Ski club
- Students Against Destructive Decisions
- Student Council
- Watershed club
Lakeland Jr./Sr. High School
Offered at the high school are Advanced Placement (AP) Courses, including: AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language & Composition, AP Literature & Composition, AP Physics C: Mechanics, and AP United States Government & Politics.
The school also offers Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Courses in both engineering and biomedical sciences. Classes offered include:
- Gateway to Technology (GTT)
- Introduction to Engineering and Design (IED)
- Principles of Engineering (POE)
- Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA)
- Computer Science Software Engineering (CSE)
- Digital Electronics (DE)
- Principles of the Biomedical Sciences
- Human Body Systems
11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 76% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 78% (15% below basic), State - 65% 
- 2008 - 69% (13% below basic), State - 65% 
- 2007 - 74% (13% below basic), State - 65% 
11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 67%, on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 57% (23% below basic). State - 56%.
- 2008 - 43% (31% below basic), State - 56%
- 2007 - 43% (27% below basic), State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 44% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 50% (14% below basic). State - 40% 
- 2008 - 49%, State - 39%
8th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 91% on grade level (4% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 85% (8% below basic), State - 80%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 78% 
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 75%
8th Grade Math
- 2010 - 77% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 61% (17% below basic), State - 71% 
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 68%
8th Grade Science
- 2010 - 75% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 60% (13% below basic), State - 55% 
- 2008 - %, State - 52% 
The Lakeland School District 8th grade placed fifth out of the entire state of Pennsylvania in the writing section of the PSSAs. Also, the Lakeland High School's senior reading team in 2009 came in first place at the Lackawanna County Reading Team Competition. Lakeland also came in 3rd place in the 2008 MathCounts competition. In 2009, they came in 5th place, but team captain Greg Reeves came in 2nd in the individual portion of the competition and came in 1st in the Countdown Round, coming in 1st for Northeast Pennsylvania.
7th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 75% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 76% (7% below basic), State - 71%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 67%
7th Grade Math
- 2010 - 67% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 72% (13% below basic), State - 75%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 71%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 67%
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 14% of Lakeland School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
The school achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2009.
Lakeland Elementary School- Scott Campus
Part of the high school campus, this building houses grade levels K-6 for residents of Scott Township and Greenfield Township. In 2009 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 95% in 2009 and rose to 96% in 2010.
6th Grade Reading:
6th Grade Math:
5th Grade Reading:
5th Grade Math:
- 4th Grade Science;
- 2010 - 94%, (0% below basic), State - 81%
- 2009 - 91%, (4% below basic), State - 83%
- 2008 - 87%, (4% below basic), State - 81%
Lakeland Elementary School- Mayfield Campus
At 501 Linden Street, Mayfield, PA 18433-1953, it houses grade levels K-6 for Carbondale Twp., Jermyn, and Mayfield residents. In 2009 and 2010 the school achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 95% in 2009 and 2010.
6th Grade Reading:
6th Grade Math:
5th Grade Reading:
5th Grade Math:
- 4th Grade Science;
- 2010 - 91%, (2% below basic), State - 81%
- 2009 - 94%, (2% below basic), State - 83%
- 2008 - 88%, (4% below basic), State - 81%
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 262 pupils or 16.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.
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.
Lakeland School District received a $864,115 supplement for special education services in 2010. Special education funding is the same for 2011-12.
The District Administration reported that 30 or 1.8% of its students were gifted in 2009. 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. Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Lakeland School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.
The Lakeland School Administration reported two incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2010. There was also one incident of sexual harassment.
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. 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. 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.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In 2007, the Lakeland School District employed 104 teachers working 180 days of pupil instruction. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,940. 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.
In 2008, per pupil spending at Lakeland School District was $9,381 for each child. This ranked 496th among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.
Lakeland School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $545.37 per pupil. This is ranked 485th among in the 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2008, the Lakeland School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $957,872.
In February 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several findings were reported to the school board and administration. The auditors noted that that the district did not take appropriate corrective action regarding erroneous reports and that the transportation department had made some possible Conflict of Interest transactions. The Superintendent and School Board took no action pending a state investigation. In 2011, the transportation director plead guilty to conspiracy to obtain by fraud school district funds. In 2010, the state Ethics Commission fined the transportation director $49,529.20. The order from the commission alleged he steered almost $450,000 in van contracts to his live-in girlfriend.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local tax on income, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants have provided an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In 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.
State basic education funding
In 2011-12, the district will receive $5,081,230 in state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the district will receive $93,268 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12. Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.
In 2010, the district reported that 463 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.
For the 2010-11 budget year, the Lakeland School District received a 6.96% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $5,618,513. The highest increase in state funding, among Lackawanna County school districts, was awarded to Dunmore School District at 11.88% increase. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received the 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was awarded a 23.65% increase in state basic education funding.
In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.45% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $5,252,912 to Lakeland School District. The highest increase in state basic education funding, to Lackawanna County school districts, was 9.46% increase which was awarded to Scranton School District. In Pennsylvania, 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. Ninety Pennsylvania school district received the state's base 2% increase. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Lakeland School District in 2008-09 was $4,630,531. 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.
In 2008, the district reported that 390 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to their family meeting the federal poverty threshold of $22,050 for a family of four. Many state and federal programs use the threshold to calculate benefits.
Accountability Block Grant
The state provides additional education funding to schools in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses designed to improve student academic achievement. Lakeland School District uses its $253,153 to fund all day kindergarten for the seventh year. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding and all federal funding. School Districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants. In 2009-10, the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block Grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.
Classrooms for the Future grant
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Mathematics) and paid for mandatory teacher training to optimize the computers' use in the classroom for improving instruction. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Lakeland School District administration did not apply for the grant in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $215,408 in funding. For the 2008-09, school year the district received a final $45,413 for a total funding of $260,821. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.
Education Assistance grant
The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Lakeland School District received $42,132.
Federal stimulus grant
Race to the Top grant
Lakeland School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district up to million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Several Lackawanna County school districts applied for funding. 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. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Lakeland School District 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. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
In 2011, the Lakeland School Board set the property taxes rate at 91 mills for the 2011-12 school year. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. 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 government property. 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
Act 1 Adjusted index
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted to raise taxes above that index, unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the Pennsylvania 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. With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Carbondale Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 5.1%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 4.5%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.8%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 5.5%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.9%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.9%, Base 1.4%
For the 2011-12 school year, the Lakeland School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Lakeland School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.
The Lakeland School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 nor in 2010-11. In the Spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief
In 2011, property tax relief for 3,723 approved residential properties of Lakeland School District was set at $91. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Lakeland School District was $95 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,588 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
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%).
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- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 the Taxpayer Relief Act information".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2011). "Report on Exceptions".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2010). "Pennsylvania SSAct1_Act1 Exceptions Report 2010-2011 April 2010".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2009). "Pennsylvania SSAct1 Exception requests Report_2009-2010_May 2009".
- Scarcella, Frank and Pursell, Tricia, (May 25, 2010). "Local school tax assessments exceed state averages". The Daily Item.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 3, 2011). "Tax Relief per Homestead".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 1, 2009). "Estimated Tax Relief Per Homestead and Farmstead 2009" (PDF).
- Pennsylvania Auditor General Office (February 23, 2010). "Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief,".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program".
- Tax Foundation, (September 22, 2009). "New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners,".