Shenandoah Valley School District

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Shenandoah Valley School District
Map of Schuylkill County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
805 West Centre Street
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County 17976-1441
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent

Mr Brian K Waite, (contract May 2, 2016 - May 1, 2021)[1] (salary - $115,000)[2]
Mr. Anthony Demailis (former Acting Superintendent)

Stanley G. Rakowsky former superintendent 1994-2015
Administrator

Mr. Anthony Demalis, Business Manager
Mr. Phillip Andras, Director of Special Education
Michelle Zinkus, Jr/Sr High School Special Education Coordinator
Brooke Wowak, Elementary Supervisor of Special Education
Don Brown, Technology Coordinator

David Lukashunas, Maintenance supervisor
Principal Mrs Brooke Wowak, SVES
Principal Mr. Phillip Andras, SVJSHS
Staff 73 non teaching staff (2013),[3] 88 non teaching staff (2010)
Faculty 87 teachers (2015), 89 teachers (2013)[4]
Grades K-12
Age 4 years old - preschool to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,019 pupils (2015-16)[5]
1,060 pupils (2014-15)[6]
1,107 pupils (2010-11)
1,206 pupils (2009-10)[7]

1,104 pupils (2005-06)
 • Kindergarten 80 (2014), 88 (2010)
 • Grade 1 74 (2014), 82
 • Grade 2 69 (2014), 83
 • Grade 3 84 (2014), 75
 • Grade 4 78 (2014), 97
 • Grade 5 81 (2014), 96
 • Grade 6 80 (2014), 74
 • Grade 7 106 (2014), 69
 • Grade 8 80 (2014), 76
 • Grade 9 81 (2014), 74
 • Grade 10 59 (2014), 77
 • Grade 11 77 (2014), 80
 • Grade 12 65 (2014), 79 (2010)
 • Other 46 (2014), 57 (2010), 56 (2005)
Language English
Color(s)           Columbia Blue and White
Song Shenandoah Valley Alma Mater
Fight song On, Wisconsin!
Athletics conference Anthracite Football League/Schuylkill League
Mascot Blue Devils
Rival Mahanoy Area High School
Yearbook The Mirror
Budget

$17,841.653 (2016-17)[8]
$17,777,551 (2015-16)[9]
$16,733,460 (2014-15)[10]
$16,120,873 (2013-14)[11]

$16,133,004 (2012-13)
Per pupil spending

$10,542 (2008)
$12,616.39 (2010) 340th
$21,331.28 (2012) 19th in state

$17,669.96 (2014) ranked 76th in state[12]
Website

The Shenandoah Valley School District is a diminutive, rural public school district in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. It serves the municipalities of Shenandoah, and West Mahanoy Township. The District encompasses approximately 11 square miles (28 km2) in two noncontiguous areas. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 11,790. By 2010, the district's population declined to 7,940 people.[13] The educational attainment levels for the Shenandoah Valley School District population (25 years old and over) were 79.4% high school graduates and 10.3% college graduates.[14] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 65.7% of the Shenandoah Valley School District's pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty level as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[15] In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that 17 students in the Shenandoah Valley School District were homeless.[16] In 2009, Shenandoah Valley School District residents’ per capita income was $13,948, while the median family income was $32,598.[17] In Schuylkill County, the median household income was $45,012.[18] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[19] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[20] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[21] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[22]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Shenandoah Valley School District provided basic educational services to 1,160 pupils. The District employed: 84 teachers, 50 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators. In 2009-10, the Shenandoah Valley School District provided basic educational services to 1,190 pupils. The District employed: 95 teachers, 59 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators. Shenandoah Valley School District received more than $8.3 million in state funding in school year 2009-10. The District reported 1,341 pupils in 2011-12. The District employed: 98 teachers, 58 full-time and part-time support personnel, and six (6) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $9.4 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.[23]

Shenandoah Valley School District operates just two schools: Shenandoah Valley Elementary School and one combined junior-senior high school Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School. High school students may choose to attend Schuylkill Technology Centers for training in the construction and mechanical trades as well as other careers. The District also offers SV Virtual Academy for pupils who desire to attend school online. The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit IU29 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Shenandoah Valley 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26]

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. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[27] 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.[28]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[29]

Academic achievement[edit]

Opportunity Scholarship - lowest achieving schools

In May 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying that Shenandoah Valley High School continued to be one of lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[30] In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying for the first time that Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[31]

Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[32] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[33] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, nine public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Steelton-Highspire School District, Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, and William Penn School District.[34] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Statewide academic ranking

The Shenandoah Valley School District was ranked 463rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[35] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[36] 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.

Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Shenandoah Valley School District ranked 37. In 2012, the district was 27th.[41] 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."[42]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Shenandoah Valley School District, was in the 17th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best)[43]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Shenandoah Valley School District declined to District Improvement level I AYP status, due to a low graduation rate coupled with lagging achievement in reading and mathematics.[44] In 2011, Shenandoah Valley School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[45] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2007 to 2010, while in 2006 and 2003 the District was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement.[46]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, The District's graduation rate was 88.8%.[47]

  • 2014 - 85%.[48]
  • 2013 - 80%[49]
  • 2012 - 67%.[50]
  • 2011 - 79%.[51]
  • 2010 - 79%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[52]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Junior Senior High School[edit]

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School is located at 805 West Centre Street, Shenandoah. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 443 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 59% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal federal poverty level. Additionally, 20% of pupils received special education services, while 4.5% of pupils were identified as gifted.[57] The school employed 38 teachers.[58] Per the PA Department of Education, 12% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[59]

In 2014, Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School enrollment was reported as 467 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 71% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 17.7% of pupils received special education services, while 2% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 27 teachers.[60] Per the PA Department of Education 100% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School reported an enrollment of 455 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 296 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 41 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 11:1.[61] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 25 classes were taught by teachers who were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[62] The attendance rate was reported as 92%.

2015 School Performance Profile

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School achieved a score of 60 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that just 69% of the students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 50% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, only 45% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[63] 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.[64][65]

2014 School Performance Profile

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School achieved 54.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 62% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 51.8% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 40.5% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[66][67] 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%.[68]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[69] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[70][71]

Compared with last year, the percentage of schools that earned below 60 declined by nearly 1 percent per Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq. She reported that this is an indication that student achievement is improving as school resources are being used better.[72]

2013 School Performance Profile

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School achieved 59.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 60% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 43.69% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 40% showed on grade level science understanding.[73] 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.[74]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School declined to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to low graduation rate and chronic, low student academic achievement in both reading and mathematics. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally, 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.[75] In 2010 and 2011, the school was in Warning AYP status.[76] In 2007 through 2010, the Junior Senior High School achieved AYP status. In 2006, the School was in Warning 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.[77] 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.[78]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 56% on grade level, (25% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[79]
  • 2011 - 51% (23% below basic). State - 69.1%[80]
  • 2010 - 49%, State - 66%[81]
  • 2009 - 46%, State - 65%[82]
  • 2008 - 56%, State - 65%[83]
  • 2007 - 53%, State - 65%[84]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 45% on grade level (30% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[85]
  • 2011 - 31% (36% below basic). State - 60.3%[86]
  • 2010 - 29%, State - 59%[87]
  • 2009 - 27%, State - 56%[88]
  • 2008 - 40%, State - 56%[89]
  • 2007 - 42%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 28% on grade level (14% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[90]
  • 2011 - 17% (20% below basic). State - 40%[91]
  • 2010 - 27%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 22%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 22%, State - 39%

Science in Motion Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior 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.[92] Susquehanna University provides the enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 39% of Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior 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.[93][94] 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.[95][96] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District does not offer the Pennsylvania 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. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[97] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[98] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[99] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth budget, due to a state budget crisis.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Shenandoah Valley School Board has determined that a student must earn 22.5 credits to graduate.[100]

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.[101] 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.[102]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[103] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[104] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade. Students have several opportunities to pass the exam, with those who do not able to perform a project in order to graduate.[105][106] 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.[107] 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.[108] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Shenandoah Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 415. The Math average score was 426. The Writing average score was 403.[109][110] 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.[111]

In 2013, 59 Shenandoah Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 436. The Math average score was 457. The Writing average score was 415. 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.[112]

In 2012, 42 Shenandoah Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 435. The Math average score was 441. The Writing average score was 440. 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, 47 Shenandoah Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 445. The Math average score was 461. The Writing average score was 438.[113] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[114] 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.[115]

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a research arm of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania's SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.[116]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2015, Shenandoah Valley High School offered 2 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[117] 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 Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School none of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[118] In 2014, none of the pupils who took an AP course at Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School, achieved a 3 or better.[119]

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School offered AP Music Theory in the 2014-2015 school year. AP courses are also offered through the Virtual Academy.

Junior High PSSA results[edit]

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.[120] 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.[121] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[122] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[123]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2015 - 36% on grade level (20% below basic). State - 58% on grade level
  • 2012 - 64% (16% below basic). State - 79%[124]
  • 2011 - 68% (21% below basic) State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 82%, State - 81%[125]
  • 2009 - 76%, State - 80%[126]
  • 2008 - 91%, State - 78%[127]
  • 2007 - 69%, State - 75%[128]
8th Grade Math
  • 2015 - 4% on grade level (77% below basic). State - 29% on grade level
  • 2012 - 58% (20% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 57% (24% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 60%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 61%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 70%[129]
  • 2007 - 62%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2015 - 37% on grade level (43% below basic)
  • 2012 - 39% on grade level (37% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 24% (44% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 61%, State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 46%, State: - 54%[130]
  • 2008 - 47%, State - 52%[131]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[132] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil's: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[133]

Tutoring[edit]

Shenandoah Valley Junior Senior High School offers after school tutoring for students in grades 7-12, on any subject, in a program called The Successful Student Partnership Program.

Shenandoah Valley Elementary[edit]

Shenandoah Valley Elementary School is located at 805 West Centre Street, Shenandoah. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 572 pupils in grades preschool through 6th, with 67.8% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17.8% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[134] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated Non-highly Qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[135] The School is a federally designated Title I school. In the 2003-04 school year, the District initiated full-day kindergarten[136] and preschool.[137] Proponents of full day kindergarten claim it will reduce special education numbers and it will raise primary student academic achievement especially in reading and math.[138] Those outcomes have not been realized in the Shenandoah Valley School District. Reading achievement in particular has not improved.[139]

In 2014, the School's enrollment was 591 pupils in grades preschool through 6th, with 82% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.9% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[140] 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 provided full day kindergarten and taxpayer funded preschool.[141] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 632 pupils in grades preschool through 6th, with 467 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 48 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[142] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[143] The school provided both a taxpayer funded preschool with three classes in 2013 and provided full-day kindergarten.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 51% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, only 33% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 36% were on grade level in reading, while just 12% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 72% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 57% were on grade level in reading and 43% were on grade level in mathematics. Among 6th graders, 50% were on grade level in reading and just 27% were on grade level in mathematics.[144] 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.[145] Fifth grade writing scores were not reported by the state.

2014 School Performance Profile

Shenandoah Valley Elementary School achieved a score of 72.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 60% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 62.8% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, just 66% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 72% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 71% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[146]

2013 School Performance Profile

Shenandoah Valley Elementary School achieved a score of 77.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 57.9% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, just 66% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 71.96% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 73.68% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 62.86% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[147] 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.

AYP History

In 2012, Shenandoah Valley Elementary School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status due to chronic, low student academic achievement in both reading and mathematics.[148]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action I due to chronic low student achievement in both reading and mathematics.
  • 2010 - declined to School Improvement II AYP status due to chronic low student achievement for two subgroups.[149] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parents the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District.[150] Additionally, Shenandoah Valley Elementary School Administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student reading and math achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[151] The attendance rate was 94% in 2009-10.
  • 2009 - declined to School Improvement I AYP status
  • 2008 - declined to Warning AYP status
  • 2004-2007 - achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status each school year
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and math
PSSA results

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Sixth grade is tested in reading and mathematics.[152] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[153][154][155] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[156]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 81% (6% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 82% (7% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 73% (2% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 73%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 81%, State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, Shenandoah Valley School District administration reported that 185 pupils or 19.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 47% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[164]

In 2014, Shenandoah Valley School District administration reported that 218 pupils or 21.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 48.2% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[165]

In 2013, the District administration reported that 194 pupils or 18.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 51% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[166]

In 2012, the District administration reported that 222 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 49% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[167]

In 2011, the Administration reported that 200 pupils or 17% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 54% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[168] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 213 pupils or 18.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[169]

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.[170] Shenandoah Valley School District has seen an increase in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[171] 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.

Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[172] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[173] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[174]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[175] 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.[176] 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.[177] 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.[178] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[179]

Shenandoah Valley School District received a $1,552,794 supplement for special education services in 2010.[180] 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.[181][182] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

  • 2014-15 - SVSD received an increase to $751,429 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[183]
  • 2016-17 - an increase to $799,689, a 2.7% increase.

In 2013, the state's Special Education Funding Reform Commission provided a report on the state of funding for special education in the Commonwealth.[184] Funding for special education programs is borne largely on a local basic at 60%, with the state contributing $1 billion or 30% and the federal government providing 10% of the funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 7 or 0.66% of its students were identified as gifted in 2009.[185] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student's building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[186]

Bullying policy and school safety[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District administration reported there were six incidents of bullying in the District in 2015. Additionally, there were 49 incidents of intimidation or harassment and 42 sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in no incidents at the schools.[187] [188] 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.[189]

In 2012, Shenandoah Valley School District administration reported there were 17 incidents of assaults on students and 31 episodes of harassment/intimidation of students. There were no reported cases of bullying in 2012.[190] The Shenandoah Valley School District administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[191][192]

The Shenandoah Valley School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[193] The District is currently using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in grades K to 12.[194] 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.[195] 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.[196]

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.[197]

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.[198]

In May 2015, the 87 members of the Shenandoah Valley School District Teachers Union went on strike for two days.[199] In 2013, the average teacher's salary was $46,014 a year plus a substantial benefits package including a defined benefit pension. Shenandoah Valley 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.)[200] After 40 years of service, a teacher 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.[201]

Teacher union strikes

Of the nearly 140 teacher strikes that occurred nationally between 2000 and 2007, 60 percent took place in Pennsylvania, according to a report released in August 2012, by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.[202] Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in which teacher strikes are legal. Pennsylvania has the highest rate of teacher strikes in the United States.[203] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there were three teacher union strikes in 2010; one teacher union strike in 2011, one teacher union strike in 2012 and three teacher union strikes in 2013.[204] Crestwood School District in Luzerne County went on strike in 2009. Neshaminy School District teachers union went on strike twice in 2012.[205][206] Wyoming Area School District, Old Forge School District and Shaler Area School District went on strike in the fall of 2013.[207] Wyoming Area School District and Danville Area School District teachers went on strike in the spring of 2014.[208] In the fall of 2014, three Pennsylvania public school district teachers unions went on strike including: Millville Area SD, East Allegheny School District and Old Forge School District.[209]

State law gives the Pennsylvania Department of Education the power to order the teachers to return so that students will complete 180 days of instruction, by June 15.[210]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Shenandoah Valley School District was $45,891 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $21,691 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $67,583.[211] In 2012, the Administration reported employing 103 teachers and administrators, with a top salary of $116,565.[212]

In 2009, Shenandoah Valley School District reported employing over 80 teachers with a starting salary of $35,000.[213] The average teacher salary was $45,053, while the maximum salary is $107,424.[214] In Pennsylvania, the average teacher salary for Pennsylvania's 124,100 public school teachers was $54,977 in 2008.[215] 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.[216] Additionally, Shenandoah Valley School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days and 10 paid sick days which accumulate, life insurance, and other benefits.[217] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[218]

In 2007, Shenandoah Valley School District employed 68 teachers. The average teacher salary in the District was $44,793 for 180 school days worked.[219]

Administrative spending Shenandoah Valley School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $644.56 per pupil. The district is ranked 391st out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[220]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Shenandoah Valley School District reported spending $9,492 per pupil. This ranked 495th in the commonwealth.[221] In 2010, the District's per pupil spending had increased to $12,616.[222] In 2011, Pennsylvania's per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[223] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[224] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[225]

Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania's total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[226] Pennsylvania's total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[227]

State Audits

On October 8, 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board. In particular, the report noted the "Continued Inadequate Control of Student Activity Fund".[228] In February 2012, the Auditor General conducted another audit. Significant findings were reported to the school board and administration. They found inaccurate reporting of pupil membership.[229]

In 2006 and 2007, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a special investigatory audit of the District. They found that 31 students, who did not reside in the District, were attending its schools. The report noted that in addition to losing over $182,000 in uncollected tuition revenue, Shenandoah Valley School District received more state funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Education than it was entitled to receive.[230]

Reserves In 2009, Shenandoah Valley School District reported a $3,060,606 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[231] In 2012, the District reported it held $3,176,083 in reserves. In 2013-14, the District reported $2,729,781 in reserves.[232]

Pennsylvania public 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.[233] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[234]

Building project In 2009, the school board approved a major renovation and building project estimated to cost $15,660,000. It included $8,145,773 for construction of 34 new classrooms, which will result in 30 net classrooms district-wide. The difference of the costs will go to upgrades, renovations and other work, such as replace the roof on the elementary school, replace an elevator, restructure inside to move facilities, such as the nurse's office, and improve security throughout the facilities.[235] There was significant taxpayer opposition to the project. Opponents urged the school board to put the project on the next election ballot. Some opponents suggested the board consolidate with several local school districts. The board rejected that plan and took out debt that will require annual tax increases for many years.

Tuition Students who live in the Shenandoah Valley School 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 Shenandoah Valley 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 Shenandoah Valley School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $6,902.54, High School - $8,990.58.[236]

Shenandoah Valley School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, annual Per capita taxes: $5 (as per Section 579) plus $5 (as per Section 511), Occupation privilege tax $10, Occupational assessment, $50, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual's personal wealth.[237] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $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.[238] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[239][240]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Shenandoah Valley School District receives 65.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[241] This is far greater than the 50% state support pushed for by some public education advocates.[242]

In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Education Funding Reform Commission conducted a hearing. Testimony was given regarding state funding at the fastest growing districts and those with the greatest decline in enrollment since 1996.[243][244] The commission developed a new basic education funding formula which sets a new way to distribute state basic education dollars. It abolished the practice of "hold harmless" funding, which gave districts at least the same as they got the previous school year regardless of declining enrollment. The plan became law in June 2016 (House Bill 1552).[245][246][247]

For the 2016-17 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District received $7,219,907 in Basic Education Funding (BEF) from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a 4.8% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. This was the highest percentage of BEF increase in Schuylkill County under the state's Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[248] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[249] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher's pension fund.[250] Shenandoah Valley School District also received special education funding, Ready to Learn funding and transportation funding from the state.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,225,954 to Shenandoah Valley School District, in January 2016.[251] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[252] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[253] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Education funding under Governor Wolf.[254][255] The District also received $205,192 in Ready to Learn funding.

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the Pennsylvania House and Senate,[256] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Shenandoah Valley School District received $6,890,425 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 3.78% increase yielding a $251,253 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $237,689 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[257]

For the 2014-15 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District received $6,648,829 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $179,978 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.[258] 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.[259]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Shenandoah Valley School District will receive a 1.7% increase or $6,653,050 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $108,366 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Shenandoah Valley School District will receive $73,791 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Schuylkill County, Blue Mountain School District and Saint Clair Area School District received the highest percentage increase at 2.2%. 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.[260] 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.[261]

For the 2012-13 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District received $6,544,684.00.[262] 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. Shenandoah Valley School District will receive $73,791 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[263] 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.

For the 2011-12 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District received a $6,546,340 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[264][265] Additionally, the Shenandoah Valley School District received $73,791 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[266] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District of Allegheny County, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[267] In 2010, the district reported that 784 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[268]

For the 2010-11 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District received a 4.57% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $7,241,012 payment.[269] The highest increase in BEF in Schuylkill County went to Minersville Area School District which received 9.96%. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when 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 public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[270]

For the 2009-2010 budget year, the Pennsylvania provided a 14.50% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,924,761 to Shenandoah Valley School District . The District also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[271] Shenandoah Valley School District received the highest increase in Schuylkill County. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. Ninety school districts received the base 2% increase in state basic education funding.[272]

For the 2008-09 school year, the state Basic Education Funding to the Shenandoah Valley School District was $6,048,031.85. 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.[273][274] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 672 District students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[275] 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.[276][277]

All Pennsylvania school districts have also received additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[278]

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 Shenandoah Valley School District applied for and received $200,288 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the seventh year.[279][280]

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.[281]

Shenandoah Valley School District received $179,978 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, PreK Counts funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

In 2015, Shenandoah Valley School District received $237,689 in Ready to Learn Grant.

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. Shenandoah Valley School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 it received $40,485. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $20,679 for a total funding of $61,164. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[282] Among the public school districts in Schuylkill County the highest award was given to North Schuylkill School District which received $245,673. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Hybrid Learning grants[edit]

Shenadoah Valley School District participated in a pilot year of the state's Hybrid learning initiative. Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning uses three learning models to increase student achievement: instruction from the teacher, group activities, and self-instruction through digital content. According to state testing results, among the pilot schools, 88 percent achieved higher academic performance in hybrid classes compared to traditional classes in the same district or statewide benchmarks, 75 percent reported better academic achievement, and all of them met or exceeded academic growth.[283] In 2013-14, the state awarded $633,000 in federal Title 2A funds to accelerate teacher training in the implementation of hybrid learning programs in 50 school buildings in 34 school entities. In 2012, $1.1 million was awarded to 15 districts to launch the first hybrid pilot schools in the state that included more than 1,900 students and 48 teachers.[284] Shenandoah Valley SD received $20,000 in 2013-14.

Other grants[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[285][286] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[287] Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[288] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; PreK Counts funding for the preschool; Project 720 High School Reform grants[289] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal grants[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District received an extra $1,900,032 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[290] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[291] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

School Improvement Grant[edit]

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in March 2012, that the first-year data suggest student achievement is improving at campuses that participated in the federal School Improvement Grant program. He reported that at nearly 60 percent of SIG schools, more students are demonstrating proficiency in reading and math. Nearly a quarter of those schools reported math improvement in the double digits, and close to 20 percent of schools saw double-digit gains in reading.[292]

The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools.[293] The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest achieving schools in August 2011. The funding is for three years.[294]

For the 2009-10 school year, Shenandoah Valley School District administration received a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the elementary school of $80,676.[295] Districts with chronically low achieving schools are not required to apply for this funding.[296]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the US Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[297] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[298] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[299]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district up to one million dollars of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[300] 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.[301] 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.[302]

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.[303] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[304] 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, Shenandoah Valley School District received $57,156 in federal Title II funding.[305] In 2014-15, Shenandoah Valley School District applied for and received $77,172.[306]

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.[307] 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.[308]

In 2012-13, Shenandoah Valley School District received $26,615 in Title III funding for English language learners.[309] For 2014-15, Shenandoah Valley School District received $27,089 in Title III funding.[310]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Shenandoah Valley School Board did 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.[311] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School Board set property tax rates at 56.975 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.[312] 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 all government property (local, state and federal). Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[313]

Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[314] 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.[315] 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.[316]

The average yearly property tax paid by Schuylkill County residents amounts to about 2.84% of their yearly income. Schuylkill County ranked 700th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[328] 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.[329] 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%).[330]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[331]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Shenandoah Valley School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[332]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit.[340] Statewide 299 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2016-17.

For the 2015-16 budget year, Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[341]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher's pension fund (PSERS).[342] 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.[343]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[344]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Shenandoah Valley School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education 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.[345]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Shenandoah Valley 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.

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.[346]

The Shenandoah Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010-11.[347] 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.[348]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Shenandoah Valley School District was $133 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,349 property owners applied for the tax relief. Schuylkill Haven Area School District received $195 which was the highest property tax relief allotted in Schuylkill County for 2009.[349] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.[350] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[351] This was the second year they were the top recipient.

In Pennsylvania, the homestead exclusion reduces the assessed values of homestead properties, reducing the property tax on these homes. The homestead exclusion allows homeowners real property tax relief of up to one half of the median assessed value of homesteads in the taxing jurisdiction (county, school district, city, borough, or township).[352]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[353]

Enrollment[edit]

According to Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment reports, there were 1,208 students enrolled in K-12 in 2009–10 school year at Shenandoah Valley School District. There were 96 students in the Class of 2009. The district's class of 2010 had 79 students.[354] A study of Pennsylvania public school spending, conducted by Standard and Poor's, examined the consolidation of neighboring school districts were enrollment was below 1,500 pupils. The study found that consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings which varied by district.[355]

According to a 2009 public school district administration consolidation proposal by Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to reduce property taxes.[356] Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. The Governor's proposal called for the savings to be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes.[357]

Over the decade 2000-2010, rural Pennsylvania public school district enrollment decreased 8 percent.[358] As the enrollment declined, per pupil administrative costs of the schools continue to rise. In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants released a report finding that the state would save hundreds of millions of tax dollars, by cutting the number of school administrations in half through consolidation, with no impact on programs offered to students.[359]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[360] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[361]

Wellness policy[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[362] 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." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[363]

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, physical activity, 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.[364] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Shenadoah Valley School District offers students both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[365] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[366]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[367] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[368] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93. In 2015, federal reimbursement rates were: $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches and $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.[369]

In 2014, President Barack Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[370][371]

The US Department of Agriculture requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[372][373]

Shenandoah Valley School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health's extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[374][375] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[376]

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.[377] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[378]

Health eTools program

Shenandoah Valley School District participated in Highmark Foundation's Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools grant which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[379] Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued by the company in 2013.[380]

Extracurricular Activities[edit]

Shenandoah Valley School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, publicly funded sports program.[381] Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies[382][383] and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA mandates that student athletes must be passing at least four full-credit subjects to participate in sports.[384]

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.[385]

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.[386][387][388]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[389] 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.[390][391]

Shenandoah Valley School District does not provide its athletics disclosure form on its web site.[392] 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.[393]

The Shenandoah Valley girls' basketball team won the District XI championship during the 2014-2015 school year under head coach Chris Conroy.

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2016.[394]

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