Penn-Delco School District
|Penn-Delco School District|
Map of school districts of Delaware County
|2821 Concord Road
Aston, Pennsylvania, Delaware County 19014
|Oversight||elected school board|
|Superintendent||Dr. George Steinhoff|
|Faculty||225 teachers (2010) |
|• Grade 1||244|
|• Grade 2||233|
|• Grade 3||251|
|• Grade 4||258|
|• Grade 5||238|
|• Grade 6||264|
|• Grade 7||243|
|• Grade 8||283|
|• Grade 9||285|
|• Grade 10||299|
|• Grade 11||263|
|• Grade 12||254|
|• Other||Enrollment projected by PDE to be 3,600 pupils in 2019|
|Tuition||for nonresident and charter school students ES – $8,967.37, HS – $9,786.77 |
|Per pupil Spending||$12,545 (2008)|
|Per pupil spending||$12,810.56 (2010)|
The Penn-Delco School District is a midsized, suburban public school district in Delaware County, Pennsylvania that encompasses the following municipalities: Aston Township, Brookhaven Borough, and Parkside Borough. Penn-Delco School district encompasses approximately 9 square miles. According to 2010 local census data it serves a resident population of 26,455. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $23,035, while the median family income was $61,417. In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010. According to District officials, in school year 2009–10, the Penn-Delco School District provided basic educational services to 3,319 pupils It employed 226 teachers, 346 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 22 administrators. Lastly, the Penn-Dell School District received more than $12.1 million in state funding in school year 2009–10.
Started in 1960 by Dr. William G. Moser, who served as the district's first superintendent, the district was carved out of the nearby present-day Chester-Upland School District and was instrumental for the building of the Sun Valley Senior High School and administration building on land donated by the Sun Oil Company (now present-day Sunoco). In addition to the regular curriculum, in 1976, the U.S. Marine Corps Jr. ROTC (MCJROTC) program was offered for the first time and is only one of three MCJROTC units in the Delaware Valley area – the others being in nearby Chester City and in Bensalem.
- 1 Schools in the Penn-Delco School District
- 2 Governance
- 3 Academic achievement
- 4 School safety
- 5 Special education
- 6 Budget
- 7 Extracurriculars
- 8 References
Schools in the Penn-Delco School District
Currently, the Penn-Delco School District operates the following schools:
- Aston Elementary School, Aston
- Coebourn Elementary School, Brookhaven
- Northley Middle School, Aston
- Parkside Elementary School, Parkside
- Pennell Elementary School, Aston
- Sun Valley High School, Aston
In addition, the following schools were once operated by the district, but have been closed and/or demolished:
- Washington Grammar School, Brookhaven (later became Brookhaven Elementary School, then the Brookhaven Municipal Building before being demolished. A Walgreens drug store was built on the site.)
- Green Ridge Elementary School, Aston (demolished in 1997 and is now the site of the Aston Community Center and Aston Free Library)
- Brookhaven Junior High School, Brookhaven (later became Brookhaven Middle School before being sold to The Christian Academy)
The 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. 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 Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D−" 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.
Penn-Delco School District was ranked 162nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and science PSSAs. 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.
- 2011 – 157th 
- 2010 – 150th
- 2009 – 141st
- 2008 – 133rd
- 2007 – 156th out of 501 school districts.
- Statewide Overachiever Ranking
In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Penn-Delco School District ranked 421st. In 2010 the district was 442nd. The paper 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."
In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students of Penn-Delco School District was in the 83rd percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale – (0–99; 100 is state best).
- AYP status history
In 2011 and 2010, Penn-Delco School District achieved adequate yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind. 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 AYP based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of 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. From 2004 to 2009 the district achieved AYP status. In 2003, Penn-Delco School District was in warning AYP status.
- According to traditional graduation rate calculations
Sun Valley High School
Sun Valley High School is located at 2881 Pancoast Avenue, Aston. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,102 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 182 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 78 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
In 2011 and 2010, Sun Valley High School achieved AYP status.
11th Grade Reading
- 2011 – 72% on grade level, (12% below basic). State – 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 75% (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 – 54% (20% below basic). State – 65%
- 2008 – 60% (9% below basic). State – 65%
11th Grade Math:
- 2011 – 61% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 – 57% (28% below basic). State – 59%
- 2009 – 67% (15% below basic). State – 56%
- 2008 – 66% (16% below basic). State – 56%
11th Grade Science:
- 2011 – 37% on grade level (13% below basic). State – 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 – 42% (13% below basic). State – 39%
- 2009 – 39% (17% below basic). State – 40%
- 2008 – 33% (11% below basic)s. State – 39%
College remediation rate
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 49% of Sun Valley 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. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania's 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. In higher education, remedial courses do not earn credits towards graduation.
From January to June 2011, 197 Sun Valley students took the SAT exams. Penn-Delco School District's Verbal Average Score was 457. The Math average score was 472. The Writing average score was 446. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal – 493, Math – 501, Writing – 479. 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.
Sun Valley High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. Sun Valley has an agreement with Neumann University to offers the classes to 11th and 12th grade students. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $6,960 for the program.
Northley Middle School
Northley Middle School provides grades 6th through 8th grades. It is located at 2801 Concord Road, Aston, Pennsylvania. In 2011 and 2010 the Northley Middle School achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 94% in both 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the school had 790 pupils and 51 teachers for a student–teacher ratio of 15.
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Math:
8th Grade Science:
- 2011 – 64% on grade level (10% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 – 57% (22% below basic). State – 57%
- 2009 – 62% (12% below basic). State – 55%
- 2008 – 54% (18% below basic). State – 52%
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Math:
6th Grade Reading:
6th Grade Math:
The school district administration reported there were 28 incidents involving local law enforcement in the district, including 21 fights, in 2009. There were five incidents of bullying. Eleven students were assigned to alternative education.
The Penn-Delco School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online and in the policy manual. 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. 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.
Penn-Delco has adopted the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program district wide. Schools have a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee. Specialized training in controlling the school climate was given to staff and teachers.
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 December 2010, the district administration reported that 571 pupils or 16.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. Fifty-five percent of the special education students were identified as having a learning disability.
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. 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. The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. 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.
Penn-Delco School District received a $1,801,045 supplement for special education services in 2010. 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. 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.
The District Administration reported that 110 or 3.25% 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.
In 2009, the district reported employing over 330 teachers and administrators with a salary range of $47,457 to $180,250. The median salary was $58,113. In 2011, the school board offered the teachers a bonus of $25,000 to retire early as long as at least 5 teachers agreed to the deal.
In 2007, the district employed 222 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $54,080 for 180 days worked. 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. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.
Penn-Delco School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $847.62 per pupil, which was in the top 20% in the state. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007–08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union. In 2011, the Sun Valley High School athletic director abruptly stepped down after admitting to stealing Penn-Delco School District funds.
Reserves In 2008, the district reported zero, in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $3,416,365. In 2010, the unreserved-undesignated fund had $3,528,651. PA 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.
In 2008, the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,545 which ranked 216th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $12,810.56. Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in the 2008–09 school year. In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.
In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. The audit found that on November 18, 2008, the District and the District’s Chief Administrative Officer executed a Release and Settlement Agreement, which terminated the CAO’s contract prior to its end date of June 30, 2011. the District’s solicitor stated there were concerns about the District’s business operations. These concerns included various deficiencies identified by an outside firm that was hired by the District to review its business activities. In addition, the solicitor indicated that other concerns were raised regarding the CAO’s performance.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. 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 personal wealth.
State basic education funding
In 2011–12, Penn-Delco School District received a 5,746,829 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the Penn-Delco School District received $121,537 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. In 2010, the district reported that 311 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.
For the 2010–11 budget year, Penn-Delco School District received a 6.50% increase in basic education funding for $5,946,275. The highest increase in Basic Education Funding, among Delaware County school districts, was given to the Southeast Delco School District a 10.34% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010–11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.
In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 7.06% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,946,425. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Upper Darby School District which got an 11.61% increase. The state Basic Education Funding to the Penn-Delco School district, in 2008–09, was $5,554,197.02 Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009. The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 257 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.
Accountability Block Grants
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 district applied for and received $329,881.00 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten, to provide after-school tutoring and to fund intensive instruction for struggling students during the school day.
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, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006–2009. The Penn-Delco School District did not apply to participate in 2006–07. In 2007–08, the district received $300,705. The district received $53,909, in 2008–09, for a total funding of $354,614.
Federal Stimulus grant
The Penn-Delco School District received $2,041,343 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding was limited to the 2009–10 and 2010–2011 school years. Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly warned to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs or purchasing books and software.
Race to the Top grant
District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided nearly one half million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement. 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 districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Penn-Delco School Board elected 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
Property tax rates in 2011–12 were set by the school board at 23.8250 mills. 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. 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. 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. The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.
- 2010–11 – 23.1830 mills
- 2009–10 – 22.4220 mills.
- 2008–09 – 21.6810 mills.
- 2007–08 – 21.0169 mills.
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 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. In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index. 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Penn-Delco School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.
- 2006–07 – 3.9%, Base 3.9%
- 2007–08 – 4.0%, Base 3.4%
- 2008–09 – 5.1%, Base 4.4%
- 2009–10 – 4.7%, Base 4.1%
- 2010–11 – 3.4%, Base 2.9%
- 2011–12 – 1.6%, Base 1.4%
- 2012–13 – 2.0%, Base 1.7%
For the 2011–12 school year, Penn-Delco School Board applied for a teachers' pension 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.
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 Penn-Delco School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011. For 2009–10 school budget, the board also did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index. 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 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Penn-Delco School District was $188 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 7,807 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 (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Delaware County, 66% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead. This was the third year they were the top recipient.
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.
The Sun Valley High School Vanguards play all interscholastic games in the Ches-Mont League. Until 2007, Sun Valley was part of the Del-Val league, and prior to 2006, had played inter-league games with schools in the Ches-Mont and Southern Chester County Leagues. It became an associate member of the new unified Ches-Mont League starting in the 2007–08 school year, with full membership starting in the 2008–09 year. Its ice hockey team has no school sponsorship and is an independent affiliate of the ICSHL
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.
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