Mountain View School District (Pennsylvania)

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Mountain View School District
Map of Susquehanna County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
RR # 1 Box 339A
11748 State Route 106
Kingsley, Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County 18826
United States of America
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent

Mrs Karen K Voigt, salary $110,000. (Contract June 16, 2015 to June 16, 2019)[1][2]
Karen K Voigt, interim superintendent (2014-2015)
Mrs. Francine Shea, salary $100,000 (2013) Hired 2012.[3] Terminated July 2014.[4]

Andrew Chichura, (2006 to 2012) and (1984 to 1996)
Administrator

Mr. Thomas Witiak, Business Manager
Dr. Christopher Lake, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Mr. Robert Taylor, Director of Buildings and Grounds

Mrs. Gail Wnorowski, Director of Special Services
Principal ROBERT PRESLEY, HS salary $79,000 (2013)
Principal CHRISTINE KELLY, ES salary $75,000 (2013)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,025 pupils (2015)[5]
1,025 pupils (2014)[6]
1,143 pupils (2010)[7]

1,333 pupils (2006)
 • Kindergarten 71 (2014), 72 (2010)
 • Grade 1 74 (2014), 94
 • Grade 2 73 (2014), 78
 • Grade 3 73 (2014), 90
 • Grade 4 77 (2014), 84
 • Grade 5 80 (2014), 96
 • Grade 6 73 (2014), 101
 • Grade 7 80 (2014), 88
 • Grade 8 87 (2014), 94
 • Grade 9 83 (2014), 106
 • Grade 10 85 (2014), 90
 • Grade 11 93 (2014), 76
 • Grade 12 76 (2014), 72 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to decline to 852 pupils by 2019
Language English
Color(s) orange and blue
Mascot "Chesty" the Eagle
Tuition ES $8,811.55, HS $9,826.11 [8]
per pupil spending

$12,022 (2008-09)[9]
$13,155.99 (2010-11) [10]
$13,860.07 (2012-13)[11]

$15,897.32 (2013-14)
Website

Mountain View School District is a diminutive, rural public school district located in Kingsley, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. It includes Clifford Township, Lenox Township, Lathrop Township, Gibson Township, Harford Township and Brooklyn Township. Mountain View School District encompasses approximately 196 square miles (510 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 8,700 people. By 2010, the District's population increased to 9,117 people.[12] The educational attainment levels for the Mountain View School District population (25 years old and over) were 89.3% high school graduates and 18.6% college graduates.[13] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 48.8% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[14] In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $17,105, while the median family income was $40,497.[15] In Susquehanna County, the median household income was $48,231.[16] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[17] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[18] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[19] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[20]

District officials reported that in school year 2007-08, Mountain View School District provided basic educational services to 1,289 pupils through the employment of 110 teachers, 67 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. The Mountain View School District received more than $8.4 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. Mountain View School District enrollment declined to 1,132 pupils by 2011. It employed: 97 teachers, 72 full-time and part-time support personnel, and seven (7) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $8,723,194 in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Mountain View School District operates just two schools: an elementary school (K-6) and a junior/senior high school (7-12). High school students may choose to attend the Susquehanna County Career Technology Center 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; state mandated training on recognizing and reporting child abuse; speech and visual disability services; criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Mountain View School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[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 (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus its resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[22] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[23]

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 Mountain View School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[24] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[25]

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.[26]

In May 2012, James W. Zick, a long term member of the Mountain View School District’s Board of Education died. Mr. Zick was Board president for six years. He was first appointed to the Board of Education on August 8, 1983 and served continuously representing the residents of Harford Township and Lenox Township. A graduate of Mountain View High School, Class of 1967, James W. Zick served for nearly twenty-nine years on the Mountain View School Board.

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Mountain View School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[27] From 2006 to 2011, Mountain View School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) each school year. 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.[28][29]

  • 2005 - Making Progress in School Improvement level I AYP status[30]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to chronic lagging reading and math achievement. The administration was required to develop a plan to raise student achievement. The plan had to be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for approval.
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging reading and math achievement

Academic Achievement[edit]

Mountain View School District was ranked 409th out of 493 Pennsylvania school districts in 2015 by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33]

Overachievers ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Mountain View School District ranked 359th. In 2010 the district was 427th. 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."[40]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Mountain View School District, was in the 13th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [41]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, the District’s graduation rate was 93%.[42]

  • 2014 - 87.6%[43]
  • 2013 - 88.8%[44]
  • 2012 - 84%.[45]
  • 2011 - 89% graduation rate.[46]
  • 2010 - 81%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[47]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

Junior Senior High School[edit]

Mountain View Junior Senior High School is located at 11749 State Route 106, Kingsley. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 616 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 240 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 48 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[51] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 18 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind while 13 had emergency certification.[52]

Mountain View Junior Senior High School declined to School Improvement I AYP status in 2011 due to lagging student achievement in mathematics.[53] The school had been in Making Progress: in School Improvement I in 2009 and 2010.[54] The school administration was required under No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the schools performance and to offer a transfer to an adequately achieving school in the district. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration develop and submit for approval a plan to improve student achievement at the school.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 59% on grade level (16% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[55]
  • 2010 - 55% (27% below basic). State - 66% [56]
  • 2009 - 63% (16% below basic). State - 65% [57]
  • 2008 - 64% (12% below basic). State - 65%[58]
  • 2007 - 59% (18% below basic). State - 65% [59]
11th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 57% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[60]
  • 2010 - 48% (35% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 47% (29% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2008 - 50% (29% below basic). State - 56% [61]
  • 2007 - 41% (26% below basic). State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 28% on grade level (19% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[62]
  • 2010 - 27% (15% below basic), State - 39%
  • 2009 - 35% (14% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2008 - 31% (13% below basic). State - 39%

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 26% of Mountain View 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.[63] 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.[64] 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]

The Mountain View Senior High School offers the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. 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.[65] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[66] 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.[67] In 2010, the district received a $11,270 state grant to be used to assist students with tuition, fees and books.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 61 Mountain View High School students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 511. The Math average score was 488. The Writing average score was 473.[68] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[69] 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.[70]

Career Technology Centers[edit]

Students may attend either the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County or the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.

Junior high school[edit]

In 2010, the attendance rate was reported as 94%.

8th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 78% on grade level, 52% advanced (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 80%, 52% advanced (7% below basic) State - 81% [71]
  • 2009 - 74%, 49% advanced (12% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 83%, 53% advanced ( 9% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 75%, 53% advanced ( 8% below basic), State - 75%[72]
8th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 74% on grade level, 35% advanced (11% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 72%, 32% advanced (13% below basic) State - 75%
  • 2009 - 56%, 18% advanced (16% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 67%, 36% advanced (18% below basic), State - 70% [73]
  • 2007 - 65%, 30% advanced (15% below basic), State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 43% on grade level (27% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 57% (19% below basic). State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 49%, State - 54% [74]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 52% [75]
7th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 81% on grade level 40% advanced (10% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 75%, 32% advanced, (9% below basic) State - 73%
  • 2009 - 65%, 38% advanced (17% below basic), State - 71.7%
  • 2008 - 73%, 29% advanced (14% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 75%, 36% advanced (16% below basic), State - 66%
7th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 76% on grade level 42% advanced (8% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 70% on grade level. 28% advanced (18% below basic) State - 77%
  • 2009 - 62%, 28% advanced (12% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 50%, 19% advanced (24% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 73%, 40% advanced (15% below basic), State - 67%

Elementary School[edit]

Mountain View Elementary School is located at 11748 State Route 106, Kingsley. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 610 pupils in grades preschool through 6th, with 268 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 51 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[76] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[77]

In 2011 and 2010, Mountain View Elementary School made AYP under No Child Left Behind.[78] In 2009, the school was in School Improvement Level I due to low student achievement. The attendance rate was 94% for 2009 and 2010.[79] In 2009, the school administration was required under No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the schools performance and to offer a transfer to an adequately achieving school in the district.[80] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration develop and submit for approval a plan to improve the low student achievement at the school.

6th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 72%, 38% advanced (16% below basic). State - 69.9% [81]
  • 2010 - 76%, 37% advanced (11% below basic) State - 68%
  • 2009 - 68%, 36% advanced (11% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2008 - 60%, 21% advanced (19% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 61%, 30% advanced (18% below basic), State - 63%
6th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 73% on grade level, 38% advanced (14% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 82%, 43% advanced (9% below basic) State - 78%
  • 2009 - 81%, 42% advanced (7% below basic), State - 75.9%
  • 2008 - 62%, 25% advanced (19% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 58%, 21% advanced (16% below basic), State - 69%
5th Grade Reading;
  • 2011 - 60% on grade level 13% advanced (18% below basic). State - 67.3%
  • 2010 - 53%, 12% advanced (27% below basic), State - 64% [82]
  • 2009 - 70%, 22% advanced (11% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2008 - 55%, 13% advanced, State - 62%
  • 2007 - 50%, 16% advanced (26% below basic), State - 60%
5th Grade Math;
  • 2011 - 63% on grade level 33% advanced (7% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 58%, 26% advanced, State - 74%
  • 2009 - 62%, 35% advanced, State - 73%
  • 2008 - 63%, 29% advanced, State - 73%
  • 2007 - 69%, 27% advanced, State - 71%
4th Grade Reading;
  • 2011 - 76%, 39% advanced (13% below basic), State – 73.3%
  • 2010 - 61%, 26% advanced (18% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 59%, 25% advanced, State - 72%
  • 2008 - 71%, 26% advanced, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 57%, 14% advanced, State - 60%
4th Grade Math;
  • 2011 - 94%, 58% advanced (0% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 78%, 40% advanced (11% below basic). State - 84%
  • 2009 - 72%, 32% advanced. State - 81%
  • 2008 - 77%, 40% advanced. State - 80%
  • 2007 - 77%, 33% advanced. State - 78%
4th Grade Science;
  • 2011 - 91%, 49% advanced (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 81%, 39% advanced (7% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 78%, 32% advanced. State - 83%
  • 2008 - 84%, 36% advanced. State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading;
  • 2011 - 77%, 29% advanced (15% below basic), State – 77%
  • 2010 - 72%, 32% advanced (17% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 77%, 19% advanced. State - 77%
  • 2008 - 66%, 14% advanced. State - 70%
  • 2007 - 76%, 26% advanced. State - 72%
3rd Grade Math;
  • 2011 - 85%, 38% advanced (2% below basic). State – 83%
  • 2010 - 88%, 35% advanced (1% below basic). State - 84%
  • 2009 - 78%, 33% advanced. State - 81%
  • 2008 - 75%, 34% advanced. State - 80%
  • 2007 - 78%, 36% advanced. State - 78%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, Mountain View School District administration reported that 199 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 217 pupils or 18% of the district's pupils received special education services.[83]

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 request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.[84]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for 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.[85] 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.[86] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[87] Overidentification 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.[88]

Mountain View School District received a $770,064 supplement for special education services in 2010.[89] For the 2011-12 school year, 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.[90]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 18 or 1.46% of its students were gifted in 2009, even though on average 10% of the population is gifted.[91] 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.[92]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Mountain View School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[93] 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.[94] 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.[95]

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.[96]

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.[97]

In 2009, Mountain View School District reports employing over 110 teachers with a starting salary of $42,240 for 180 days for pupil instruction. The average teacher salary was $53,517 while the maximum salary is $103,000.[98] 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.[99] The teachers work 186 days per year and a 7-hour, 15-minute work day. Additionally, Mountain View School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, life insurance - $40,000, 100% employer-paid dental insurance, an income protection plan for disability, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 sick days (which accumulate) and other benefits, including paid emergency leave and bereavement leave. Teachers are paid $26.75 per hour extra, when they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The retirement incentive includes that for each year of the ten contract years following an employee’s retirement the District shall pay 50% of the retiree’s health insurance premium.[100] The Board agreed to give the Union 6 paid days to conduct union business. 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.[101]

In 2007, the district employed 99 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $49,768 for 180 school days worked.[102]

Mountain View School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $546.30 per pupil. The district is ranked 400th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[103] In 2009, the Superintendent's salary was $105,060.[104]

In 2008, Mountain View School District reported spending $12,022 per pupil. This ranked 270th in the commonwealth.[105] In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $13,362.21 [106] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[107] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[108]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported $2,070,275 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[109] In 2010, Mountain View School District Administration reported $1,415,306 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and $821,677 in its designated fund. Pennsylvania 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.[110]

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[111]

Mountain View 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.[112] 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.[113]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $5,148,415 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[114][115] Additionally, the School District received $94,291 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 is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[116] 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.[117] In 2010, the district reported that 538 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[118]

For 2010-11, the Mountain View School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $5,498,049 payment.[119] Elk Lake School District received a 2.82% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Susquehanna County. 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 then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[120] This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.70% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $5,390,244. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,148,414.93. 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.[121] Montrose Area School District received a 4.88% increase, the highest increase in Susquehanna County for the 2009-10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[122] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 530 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[123]

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 Mountain View School District applied for and received $255,930 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year and to reduce class size K-3rd grade. It also used the money for before and after school tutoring for students and for teacher training.[124][125]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's Education Assistance Program funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds were 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 Mountain View School District received $38,451.[126]

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Mountain View School District receives state funding to provide preschool at the elementary school. For the 2011 school year, Pre-K Counts was funded at the 2010 levels of $83.6 million statewide in Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget,. The state also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional $37.6 million. Pre-K Counts funding was initiated during the Rendell administration. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. Mountain View School District received funding in 2007-08.[127] In 2009-10 the district received $150,676 to provide preschool to 20 children.[128][129] For three years, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts has documented the outcomes for children participating in the program through the Pelican state data collection system.

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. Mountain View School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $162,577. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $45,413 for a total of $207,990. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[130]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $1,815,808 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.[131] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[132] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[133] 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.[134] 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.[135]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Mountain View 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.[136] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Mountain View School Board set property tax rates in 2011-12 at 34.3000 mills.[137] 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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.[138]

  • 2010-11 - 33.7000 mills.[139]
  • 2009-10 - 32.5000 mills [140]
  • 2008-09 - 32.5000 mills [141]
  • 2007-08 - 32.0000 mills.[142]
  • 2006-07 - 31.5000 mills.[143]

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.[144] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[145] The following 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.[146][147]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Mountain View School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[148]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.1%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 3.9%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.9%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.3%, Base 1.7% [149]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Mountain View School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 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. 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.[150]

For the 2011-12 school year, Mountain View School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the 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 published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[151]

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.[152]

Mountain View School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[153][154] 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.[155]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Mountain View School District was $214 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,449 property owners applied for the tax relief.[156] 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The Pennsylvania Auditor General found that 48% of property owners applied for tax relief in Susquehanna County.[157] In Susquehanna County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in Blue Ridge School District. 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.[158] 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 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.[159]

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%).[160]

Enrollment and consolidation[edit]

Mountain View School District is experiencing low enrollment in K-12. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects the district's enrollment will remain below 870 pupils through 2018.[161] Shifting population trends across the U.S. and Pennsylvania are affecting school enrollment and may impact the building needs of school districts in the years to come.[162] 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).[163]

A study done by Standard and Poors in 2007 (at the request of the PA General Assembly) examined the district consolidating with neighboring Blue Ridge School District. It found that residents in both districts would realize substantial savings in a consolidation. Savings of over $1000 per pupil were estimated.[164] As a part of the study, Superintendents were asked about savings, if their district were to merge with another district at the administrative level only, without closing any of their schools. It found 42% of survey respondents thought consolidation could achieve cost reductions in their district. Additionally, 63% of responding superintendents believed that consolidation with another district would help provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for the students.[165] 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.[166]

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.[167]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Mountain View School District provides a wide variety of extracurricular programs, including clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.[168][169]

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 home schooled, 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.[170][171]

Sports[edit]

Mountain View School District has many sport teams for the students to participate in. The major sport is soccer. The boys varsity soccer team has made their way to states during the 2006-2008 seasons and the 2009-2012 seasons. The girls varsity soccer team won districts periodically. In the 2012-2013 school year, both varsity soccer teams won league titles, districts, and then went on to states. The boys team won the state championship in November 2012, which made them the first Lackawanna League team to win the PIAA State Championship. The boys team also made a return trip to Hershey in 2013.

Clubs[edit]

Mountain View has many clubs, including Student Government Association (SGA), Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), National Jr. and National Honor Society (NJHS and NHS respectively) as well as a snowriders club.

Last year MVSGA (Mountain View Student Government Association) hosted the PASC District 9 Conference.

Adult Education[edit]

The school district provides adult education programs to the region. Tuition is charged. District residents who attend 80% of the classes receive a full refund of tuition. The three courses offered in Spring 2011 cover: photography, canning and basic watercolor painting.[172]

References[edit]

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  169. ^ Mountain View School District Board. "Mountain View SD Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123". 
  170. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  171. ^ Mountain View School District Board. "Mountain View School District Policy_137.1 Extracurricular Participation by Home Education Students". 
  172. ^ "Spring Adult Education Flyer Mountain View School District". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°44′19″N 75°43′38″W / 41.73868°N 75.72721°W / 41.73868; -75.72721