Penns Valley Area School District

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Penns Valley Area School District
Map of Centre County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
4528 Penns Valley Road
Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, Centre County 16875-9403
United States
Information
Type Public
Closed Gregg Township El School closed 2006
School board 9 locally elected members
Oversight Pennsylvania Department of Education, PA General Assembly
Superintendent Dr. Brian Griffith (salary $108,951 in 2010) (salary $134,057 (2013) [1] (contract July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2017)[2]
Administrator

Jefrey Wall, Business Manager[3]
Sherri Connell Ast Super, Salary $116,144 (2013)
Brian K. Griffith, Compliance Officer

Holly Sawyer, $82,960
Principal

Dustin Dalton, PVAJSHS salary $101,626 (2013)

Laura Tobias, PVAJSHS salary $77,625 (2013)
Principal Kurt Nyquist, CHPES & MTES salary $95,832 (2013)
Principal Danielle Yoder, PVAEIS, salary $74,664 (2013)
Staff 79 non teaching staff members
Faculty 103 teachers (2013)[4] 109.58 teachers (2010)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 1,437 pupils (2015),
1,488 pupils (2013),
1,802 pupils (2009) [5]
1,638 pupil (2005-06)[6]
 • Kindergarten 100 (2013), 139 (2010)
 • Grade 1 127 (2013), 142
 • Grade 2 116 (2013), 128
 • Grade 3 100 (2013), 137
 • Grade 4 116 (2013), 136
 • Grade 5 102 (2013), 118
 • Grade 6 101 (2013), 127
 • Grade 7 128 (2013), 131
 • Grade 8 115 (2013), 121
 • Grade 9 130 (2013), 162
 • Grade 10 94 (2013), 169
 • Grade 11 120 (2013), 133
 • Grade 12 119 (2013), 159 (2010)
 • Other 20
Language English
Mascot Rams
Budget

$26,115,852 (2016-17) [7]
$23.7 million (2013-14)[8]

$23.14 million in 2012[9]
Per pupil spending 2008

$13,330 (2008)
$13,516.41 (2010)[10]

$16,414.64 (2013)[11]
Website

The Penns Valley Area School District is a small rural, public school district serving the south-eastern portions of Centre County, Pennsylvania. It encompasses the boroughs of Centre Hall and Millheim, Pennsylvania, as well as the townships of Potter, Gregg, Penn, Miles, and Haines. It encompasses an area of 254.4 square miles (659 km2). The school district had a population of 11,380, according to the 2000 federal census. By 2010, the district's population grew to 12,830 people.[12] The educational attainment levels for the Penns Valley Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 87% high school graduates and 21.5% college graduates.[13] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 30.4% 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 $18,328, while the median family income was $44,458.[15] In Centre County, the median household income was $50,333.[16] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 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]

According to Penns Valley Area School District administrative officials, during the 2005-06 school year, the District provided basic educational services to 1,573 pupils through the employment of 9 administrators, 125 teachers, and 81 full-time and part-time support personnel. In school year 2007-08, the Penns Valley Area School District enrollment rose to 1,633 pupils. The District employed: 120 teachers, 72 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 10 administrators. Penns Valley Area School District received more than $8 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. By school year 2013-14, the Penns Valley Area School District enrollment declined to 1,430 pupils. The district employed: 110 teachers, 61 full-time and part-time support personnel, and increased to 11 administrators. Penns Valley Area School District received more than $8,751,243 in state funding in school year 2013-14.[21]

Special education, criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty are provided by District employees and the Central Intermediate Unit CIU10. Occupational training and adult education in various vocational and technical fields were provided by the district and the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, which is located in Pleasant Gap.

Schools[edit]

  • Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School
    211 N. Hoffer Av.
    Centre Hall, Pennsylvania 16828
  • Miles Township Elementary School
    80 Town Lane Rd.
    Rebersburg, Pennsylvania 16872
  • Penns Valley Elementary School
    4528 Penns Valley Rd.
    Spring Mills, Pennsylvania 16875
  • Penns Valley Intermediate School
    4528 Penns Valley Rd.
    Spring Mills, Pennsylvania 16875
  • Penns Valley Area High School
    4545 Penns Valley Rd.
    Spring Mills, Pennsylvania 16875

Governance[edit]

Penns Valley Area 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. 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 regarding renewal of the employment contract.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27]

Academic achievement[edit]

Penns Valley School District was ranked 65th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania school districts, in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[28] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated by the last three years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, math, and science. 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. Writing exams were given to children in 5th, 8th and 11th grades. 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.[29]

Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Penns Valley School District ranked 137th. 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."[35]

  • 2012 - 177th[36]
  • 2011 - 244th

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students in the Penns Valley Area School District was in the 75th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best)[37]

District Adequate Yearly Progress history[edit]

In 2010 through 2012, Penns Valley Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[38] 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 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, Penns Valley Area School District achieved AYP status each school year. In 2003, Penns Valley Area School District was in Warning AYP status, due to lagging student achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Penns Valley Area School District's graduation rate was 93%.[39]

  • 2014 - 91.84% [40]
  • 2013 - 87.62% [41]
  • 2012 - 89.8%
  • 2011 - 90%.[42]
  • 2010 - 91%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[43]
Former calculation graduation rate

High School[edit]

Penns Valley Area High School is a small, rural, school. In 2015, enrollment had declined to 672 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 29% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 11% of pupils received special education services, while 3.8% of pupils were identified as gifted.[47] The School continued to employed 50 teachers.[48] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 697 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 157 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The Penns Valley Area High School employed 57 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[49] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 18 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" and 6 teachers have emergency certifications under No Child Left Behind.[50]

2015 School Performance Profile

Penns Valley Area High School achieved 92.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.The PDE reported that 92% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 80% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 73% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[51] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[52][53]

2014 School Performance Profile

Penns Valley Area High School achieved 80.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 80.5% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 87.5% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 71% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[54][55] Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.[56]

2013 School Performance Profile

Penns Valley Area High School achieved 79.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 86% were on grade level. In Algebra 1 86% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 65% showed on grade level science understanding.[57] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[58]

AYP History

Penns Valley Junior Senior High School achieved AYP status in 2010 through 2012.[59]

  • 2009 - Making Progress: in School Improvement I [60]
  • 2008 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement of special education students[61] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[62] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[63]
  • 2007 - Making Progress: in School Improvement I [64]
  • 2006 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement
  • 2005 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging academic achievement
  • 2003 and 2004- achieved AYP status
PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[65] In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[66]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 91% on grade level, (2% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[67]
  • 2011 - 81% (6% below basic). (97 pupils enrolled) State - 69.1%[68]
  • 2010 - 80% (12% below basic). State - 67% (110 pupils enrolled)[68]
  • 2009 - 71%, State - 65%[69]
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 65%[70]
  • 2007 - 77%, State - 65%[71]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 83% on grade level (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[72]
  • 2011 - 60% (10% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 75% (10% below basic). State - 59%[73]
  • 2009 - 66%, State - 56%[74]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 64%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 62% (7% below basic). State - 42%[75]
  • 2011 - 49% (8% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 61% (5% below basic). State - 40%[68]
  • 2009 - 46%, State - 40%[76]
  • 2008 - 48%[77]

Science in Motion Penns Valley Area High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[78] Juniata College provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

PSSAs Junior High

Seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[79] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[80] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[65] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[81]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 84%, 64% advanced (2% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[72]
  • 2011 - 86%, 65% advanced (5% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 89% (6% below basic) State - 81%
  • 2009 - 83%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 78%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 89%, 78% advanced (2% below basic). State - 76% [75]
  • 2011 - 87%, 68% advanced (5% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 82% (9% below basic) State - 75%
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 64%, State - 70%

8th Grade Science

  • 2012 - 70% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 67% (14% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 72% (17% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 57%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 52%

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Penns Valley Area School Board has determined that 28 credits are required for graduation, including English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Driver Education 0.5 credit, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Computer Literacy I 0.5 credits and Electives 6.5 credits.[83] Graduation from the Penns Valley Area High School requires a student to achieve 54 student learning outcomes. The 54 Learning Outcomes were approved by the Penns Valley Area School Board in August, 1996.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[84] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[85]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[86] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[87]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[88][89] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[90] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[91] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 16% of Penns Valley Area 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.[92] 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.[93] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 78 Penns Valley Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 518. The Writing average score was 477.[94][95] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[96] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 57 Penns Valley Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 513. The Math average score was 501. The Writing average score was 494. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[97]

In 2012, 57 Penns Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 507. The Math average score was 514. The Writing average score was 495. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 64 students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 468. The Math average score was 499. The Writing average score was 469.[98] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[99] 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.[100]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2015, Penns Valley Area Junior Senior High School offered 4 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[101] The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Penns Valley Area High School 20% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[102] In 2013, fewer than 10 of the pupils who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the AP exam at the end of the course.

Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School[edit]

Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School is a rural primary school. In 2015, the School's enrollment was just 225 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 29% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 19% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[103] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[104] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 220 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 50 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 15 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[105] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[106]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in 4th grade, just 54% were on grade level in reading, while only 57% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 93% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 82% were on grade level in reading and 76% were on grade level in mathematics.[107] Statewide Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[108]

2014 School Performance Profile

Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School achieved a score of out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 89% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 91.8% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 87% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 97% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[109]

2013 School Performance Profile

Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School achieved a score of 82.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 87.91% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 91.30% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 91.21% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 95.56% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[110]

AYP history

In 2010 through 2012, Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School achieved AYP status.[111] In 2012, 95% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In Mathematics, 92% of the students in 3rd & 4th grades were on grade level and 64% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 98% of the pupils were on grade level. In 2011, only 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In math, 91% of the students in 3rd & 4th grades were on grade level and 60% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 100% of the pupils showed on grade level understanding with 78% achieving advanced.[112]

Rebersburg Miles Township Elementary School[edit]

Rebersburg Miles Township Elementary School is a small primary school. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 111 pupils in grades preschool through 4th, with 54% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[113] The school provides full day kindergarten and preschool to 4 years olds.[114] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the School reported an enrollment of 92 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 27 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 6.75 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[115] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[116] The School offered preschool starting at age 4 and a full day kindergarten program. In 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 108 pupils preschool through 4th grade.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, just 47% of 4th graders were on grade level in reading, while only 53% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 88% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, only 50% were on grade level in reading and 35% were on grade level in mathematics.[117] Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[118]

2014 School Performance Profile

Miles Township Elementary School achieved a score of 82 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 79% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 72% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 74% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 100% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[119]

2013 School Performance Profile

Rebersburg Miles Township Elementary School achieved a score of 78.9 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 68.18% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 68.18% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 90.91% were on grade level in 3rd and 4th grades.[120]

AYP history

In 2010 through 2012, Miles Township Elementary School achieved AYP status each school year.[121] In 2012, 86% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 95% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 62% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 100% of the pupils were on grade level with 52% achieving advanced.[122]

In 2011, 81% of the students at the School were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 95% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 57% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 100% of the pupils were on grade level with 63% achieving advanced.[123] The school also provided a taxpayer-funded preschool for children who are identified with disabilities. In 2012 the school conducted a special reading event. The book was "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary. Families who participated received a free copy of the book funded through the PVASD Act 48 minigrant.

Penns Valley Area Elementary and Intermediate School[edit]

Penns Valley Area Elementary And Intermediate School is a primary school. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 427 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 28% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2.5% are identified as gifted.[124] The School provides full day kindergarten.[125] The school is a federally designated Title I school. All the fifth and sixth grade students in the district attend this school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 450 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 132 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 31 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[126] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[127] The school provides full day kindergarten.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 55% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, just 38% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 76% were on grade level in reading, while 74% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 88% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 73% were on grade level in reading and 68% were on grade level in mathematics. Among 6th graders, 70% were on grade level in reading and 41% were on grade level in mathematics.[128] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[129]

2014 School Performance Profile

Penns Valley Area Elementary and Intermediate School achieved a score of out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 72% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 79% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 78% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 87% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 72% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[130]

2013 School Performance Profile

Penns Valley Area Elementary And Intermediate Elementary School achieved a score of 80.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 77% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, just 65.22% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 85.22% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 85.7% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 70.83% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[131]

AYP History

In 2010 through 2012, Penns Valley Area Elementary And Intermediate School achieved AYP status.[132] In 2012, only 81% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 87% of students were reading on grade level. In math, 90% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 60% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 91% of the pupils were on grade level with 64% achieving advanced. In 2011, only 78% of the students at Penns Valley Area Elementary And Intermediate School were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 84% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 56% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 98% of the pupils were on grade level with 75% achieving advanced.[133]

Former Schools[edit]

Spring Mills Gregg Township Elementary was located at 106 School St, Spring Mills. Opened circa 1925, the school has served the town of Spring Mills, Georges Valley and some areas of greater Penns Valley north of PA 45. The school was closed in 2006 and was reopened as a community center styled the Old Gregg School Community and Recreation Center.[134]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, the District administration reported that 202 pupils or 13.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 36.6% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[135] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 223 pupils or 15.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 39% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[136] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[137] Penns Valley Area School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2008. The District has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school 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.[138] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, 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 Special Education administration. 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 district's Special Education Department.[139][140] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them. Penns Valley Area School District annual public notice is posted in the web site[141]

Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[142] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[143] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[144]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding was in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[145] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[146] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[147] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[148] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[149]

The Penns Valley Area School District received a $805,007 supplement for special education services in 2010.[150] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[151][152] For the 2014-2015 school year, Penns Valley Area School District received an increase to $819,507 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[153]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 38 or 2.6% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[154] 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 are also considered for eligibility.[155][156]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Penns Valley Area School District administration reported there were nine incidents of bullying in the District in 2014. Additionally, there were four assaults on pupils and eight sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in ten incidents at the schools, with no arrests.[157][158] Each year the school safety data is reported by the District to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.[159]

In 2009, the Penns Valley Area School District administrative reported there were 50 incidents of bullying in the district.[160][161]

The Penns Valley Area School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[162] 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.[163] 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.[164]

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.[165]

Wellness policy[edit]

Penns Valley Area School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006 - Policy 246.[166] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[167] The policy requires that the Superintendent or designee shall report to the Board on the district’s compliance with law and policies related to student wellness. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

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.[168]

In 2014, the average teacher salary in Penns Valley Area School District was $58,443 a year.[169] The District employed 154 teachers and administrators with a top salary of $134,057.[170] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[171] Penns Valley Area School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[172] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[173] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[174] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[175]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Penns Valley Area School District was $55,111.06 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $17,071.38 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $72,182.44.[176] The District employed 116 teachers with an average salary of $58,180 and a top salary of $116,764.[177]

In 2009, Penns Valley Area School District administration reports employing over 130 teachers with a salary range of $37,000 to $89,000.[178] The average teacher's salary is $55,020.[179] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[180][181] In 2011, the average teacher salary in PVASD was $54,276.94 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $14,916.33 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $69,193.27.[182] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[183]

In 2007, the District employed 106 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,786 for 189 days (182 days of instruction) worked.[184] 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.[185] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days - 3, sick days, bereavement days 2, income protection insurance, and other benefits.[186]

Administrative spending Penns Valley Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $749.23 per pupil. This ranked 259th out of 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[187] In December 2011, the school board voted unanimously to renew Superintendent Brian Griffith' employment contract through June 2017, with yearly raises of 2% to 4% and a potential $5,000 annual bonus.[188]

Per pupil spending Penns Valley Area School District reports spending $13,330 per pupil which ranked 148th among Pennsylvania school districts.[189] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $15,485.27.[190] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[191] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[192]

Audits In September 2015, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the school board and school administration.[193] In July 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the school board and school administration.[194]

Reserves In 2008, Penns Valley Area School District reported $2,387,182 in its unreserved-designated fund balance. The undesignated fund balance was reported as zero.[195] In 2010, Penns Valley Area Administration reported an increase to $3,461,459 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and $1,352,802.00 in its reserved-undesignated fund. By 2013, the Penns Valley Area School District reserves had risen to $7,067,427.[196] 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.[197] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[198]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Penns Valley Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,223.89, High School - $9,719.99.[199]

The Penns Valley Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.8%, a property tax, per capita taxes, 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. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[200] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[201]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Penns Valley Area School District receives 25.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[202] This exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[203]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $2,393,150 to Penn Valley Area School District, in January 2016.[204] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[205] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[206] Ten Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Education funding under Governor Wolf.[207][208]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[209] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Penns Valley Area School District received $5,104,995 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.16% increase yielding a $58,778 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $191,494 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[210]

For the 2014-15 school year, Penns Valley Area School District received $4,892,552 in State Basic Education funding (BEF). The District also received $153,649 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[211] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[212]

For the 2013-14 school year, Penns Valley Area School District received a 13.4% increase or $4,888,961 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $577,876 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Penns Valley Area School District received $80,445 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Centre County, Penns Valley Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[213] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[214]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Penns Valley Area School District received $4,311,085 in state Basic Education funding.[215] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. Penns Valley Area School District received $80,445 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[216] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Penns Valley Area School District received $4,311,085 in state Basic Education Funding.[217][218] Additionally, the District received $80,445 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.[219] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011. In 2010, the district reported that 453 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010-11 budget year, the Penns Valley Area School District was allotted a 5.17% increase in state Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,710,394. This was the highest increase among Centre County public school districts. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. For 2010-11, highest increase in Pennsylvania went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[220] 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.[221] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. 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 3.89% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $4,300,326 to the Penns Valley Area School District. This was the highest increase in Centre County. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.[222] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[223]

The state Basic Education funding to the Penns Valley Area School District in 2008-09 was $4,478,635. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 413 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[224] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[225][226]

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 district applied for and received $218,348 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Penns Valley Area School District uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the fifth year.[227][228]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[229]

Penns Valley Area School District received $191,494 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars, in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Penns Valley Area School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 it received $188,432. In 2008-09, the district received $45,413 for a total funding of $233,845.[230]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Penns Valley Area Elementary School and Penns Valley Area Intermediate School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[231] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[232] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[233] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The school district administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated for the program. The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state’s 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

Other grants[edit]

The Penns Valley Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants; Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant; 2012 and 2013 Hybrid Learning Grants;[234] Project 720 High School Reform grants;[235] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants. The District also does not participate in Pre-K Counts grants to fund its preschool program.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received $1,097,354 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[236] The funding is for 2009-10- and 2010-2011. The district reported that 413 students qualified for the Federal free or reduced-price lunch program due to a low family income.

Race to the Top[edit]

Penns Valley Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district nearly one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[237] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[238] 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.[239]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with “High Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[240] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[241] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Penns Valley Area School District received $82,004 in federal Title II funding.[242] In 2014-15, Penns Valley Area School District applied for and received $75,131.[243]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[244] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[245]

In 2012-13, Penns Valley Area School District received $1,630 in Title III funding for English language learners.[246] For 2014-15, Penns Valley Area School District received $1,426 in Title III funding.[247]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Penns Valley Area School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[248] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Penns Valley Area School Board set property tax rates for the 2015-16 school year at 46.6986 mills. 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.

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.[249] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[250] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[251]

The average yearly property tax paid by Centre County residents amounts to about 3.34% of their yearly income. Centre County ranked 438th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[259] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[260] 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%).[261] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[262]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[263]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Penns Valley Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[264]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit for its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[272]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to rapidly escalating teacher pension costs. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[273] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[274]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed its Act 1 Index limit due to rapidly increasing teacher pension costs. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[275]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index for pension teacher costs. 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.[276]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index due to anticipated pension costs. Each year the Penns Valley Area 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.[277]

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.[278]

For the budget year 2010-2011, the Penns Valley Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. They cited future pension costs as the rational. The PDE gave them approval.[279] 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.[280]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for 2,428 approved residents of Avella Area School District was set at $155 for 3614 approved homesteads.[281] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Penns Valley Area School District was $157 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,577 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Centre County the highest tax relief went to Bellefonte Area School District at $196 in 2009.[282] The greatest tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the Chester Upland School District of Delaware County set at $632 in 2009 and $641 in 2010.[283] 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. In Centre County, 72% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.

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 people who have an income of 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.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income residents of Penns Valley Area School District who are: aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently people who have an income of 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.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Penns Valley Area School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, sports program.[284][285][286]

Penns Valley Area School District does not provide its athletics disclosure form on its web site.[287] Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[288]

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.[289][290][291]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[292][293][294]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[295]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[296][297]

The District funds:

Varsity
Junior High Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015[298]

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External links[edit]