Valley View School District (Pennsylvania)

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Valley View School District
Map of Lackawanna County Pennsylvania School Districts.PNG
Address
1 Columbus Drive
Archbald, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County 18403
United States of America
Information
Type Public
Closed Lincoln ES 1990, Roosevelt ES (1997)
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Donald Kanavy, contract (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2016) Salary $103,000 (2012), $105,575 (2013)
Administrator

Corey Castellani, Business Manager

Donna Carey $82,500 (2013)
Principal Maria E Kishel, VVEC $75100 (2013)[1]
Principal Peter M Chapla, VVHS $87,500 (2013)
Principal James P McKane, VVIS $75,000 (2013)
Principal Craig Sweeney, VVMS $82,000 (2013)
Staff 113 non teaching staff members
Faculty 170 teachers (2012)[2]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

2,566 pupils (2014-15) [3]
2,643 pupils (2010-11)[4]
2,681 pupils (2009–10)[5]

2,592 pupils (2005-06)
 • Kindergarten 180 (2013), 215 (2010)
 • Grade 1 211 (2013), 169
 • Grade 2 201 (2013), 209
 • Grade 3 184 (2013), 192
 • Grade 4 202 (2013), 197
 • Grade 5 179 (2013), 206
 • Grade 6 207 (2013), 200
 • Grade 7 205 (2013), 218
 • Grade 8 192 (2013), 221
 • Grade 9 205 (2013), 214
 • Grade 10 203 (2013), 213
 • Grade 11 194 (2013), 225
 • Grade 12 203 (2013), 202 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 2,700 pupils in 2019[6]
Medium of language English
Color(s) Gold, White, and Blue.
Mascot Cougar
Team name Valley View Cougars
per pupil spending $8,586 (2008)
per pupil spending $10,631.88 (2012)
Website

The Valley View School District is a small, rural public school district located in Archibald, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. The School District serves: the boroughs of Archbald, Blakely, Jessup, the Peckville section of Blakely borough, and the Eynon section of Archbald borough, which are suburbs of Scranton. Valley View School District encompasses approximately 27 square miles (70 km2). According to 2004 local census data, it served a resident population of 17,715. By 2010, the District's population increased to 18,218 people.[7] The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 88.7% high school graduates and 22.2% college graduates.[8] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 29.4% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[9] In 2009, Valley View School Districts' per capita income was $18,247, while the median family income was $48,966 a year.[10] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [11] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[12] In Lackawanna County, the median household income was $43,673.[13] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[14] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[15]

Per school district officials, the Valley View School District provided basic educational services to 2,675 pupils. It employed 182 teachers, 81 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 10 administrators for the 2007–08 school year. VVSD received more than $10.4 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. Valley View School District administration reported an enrollment of 2,551 pupils in 2011-12. That school year the district employed: 187 teachers, 40 full-time and part-time support personnel, and ten (10) administrators. The District received $11.8 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Valley View School District operates four schools: Valley View Elementary Center (grades K-2), Valley View Intermediate School (grades 3–5), Valley View Middle School (grades 6–8), and Valley View High School (Pennsylvania) (grades 9–12). Valley View High School students may choose to attend the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County (CTCLC) for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit IU19 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, background checks for employees, state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Valley View School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[16] The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The 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 Valley View 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.[17]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, Valley View School District ranked 297th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[18] 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.[19] 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.

  • 2014 - 254th[20]
  • 2013 - 217th[21]
  • 2012 - 202nd [22]
  • 2011 - 198th
  • 2010 - 244th
  • 2009 - 267th
  • 2008 - 261st
  • 2007 - 215th out of 501 school districts.[23]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students at Valley View School District was in the 68th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts. Scale (0–99; 100 is state best).[24]

In 2008, the combined SAT score of the students in Valley View School District was 939. in 2007 it had been 941. Lackawanna County's average SAT score was 954 in 2008. This was a 12-point increase over the 2007 average. Among Lackawanna County school districts, the highest SAT score average was achieved at Abington Heights School District at 1007.[25]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Valley View School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[26] In 2011, Valley View School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). 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.[27][28] Valley View School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[29]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2014, the District’s graduation rate was 96.9.[30]

  • 2013 - 88.9% [31]
  • 2012 - 95.48%.[32]
  • 2011 - 96.37%.[33]
  • 2010 - 96%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[34]
Under prior calculation methods:

High school[edit]

Valley View High School is located at 1 Columbus Drive, Archbald. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 800 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 27% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 11.7% of pupils received special education services, while 2.6% of pupils were identified as gifted.[39] The school employed 52 teachers.[40] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Valley View High School has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the Valley View High School reported an enrollment of 825 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 210 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2012, Valley View HIgh School employed 52 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[41] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[42]

2014 School Performance Profile

Valley View High School achieved 92.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 80% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 64% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 77% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[43][44] 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%.[45]

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.[46] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[47][48]

2013 School Performance Profile

Valley View High School achieved 88.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 84% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 74% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, only 67% showed on grade level science understanding.[49] 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.[50]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Valley View High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP status due to lagging achievement in mathematics.[51] In 2011, Valley View High School achieved AYP status. From 2004 to 2010, Valley View High School achieved AYP status each school year. In 2003, Valley View High School was in Warning AYP status due to low math achievement.

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.[52] 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.[53]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 81% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[54]
  • 2011 - 75% (10% below basic). State - 69.1%[55]
  • 2010 - 76% (10% below basic). State - 66%[56]
  • 2009 - 68%, State - 65%[57]
  • 2008 - 66%. State - 65%[58]
  • 2007 - 63%, State - 65%[59]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 69% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[60]
  • 2011 - 70% (16% below basic). State - 60.3%[61]
  • 2010 - 73% (16% below basic). State - 59%[62]
  • 2009 - 65%, State - 56%[63]
  • 2008 - 57%, State - 56%[64]
  • 2007 - 62%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 43% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[65]
  • 2011 - 43% (11% below basic). State - 40%[66]
  • 2010 - 44%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 37%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 29%, State - 39%
  • 2007 - students field tested. Results withheld from the public by PDE.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 25% of Valley View High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[67][68] 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.[69][70] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Valley View School Board has determined that students must earn 28 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Science 3 credits, Health & Physical Education 2.8 credits, Practical Arts &/or Humanities 2 credits and 8 electives.[71]

For nearly two decades, 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.[72] 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.[73]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[74] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[75]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[76][77] 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.[78] 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.[79] 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.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Valley View School District offers a dual enrollment program. Dual Enrollment is a state education program which allows high school students to attend Pennsylvania colleges and universities while remaining enrolled at their high school. The credits students earn count towards both: high school graduation and earn college credits. Colleges offer the credits at a deeply discounted rate. Students have full access to their high school's extracurricular programs and participate in the high school's graduation event. Using Pennsylvania's PATRAC system, students identify PA colleges and universities that have agreed to accept these credits.[80] Valley View School District received a state grant of $12,413 to assist students with the cost of books, tuition and fees.[81] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 161 Valley View School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 498. The Writing average score was 487.[82][83] 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.[84] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 163 Valley View School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 492. The Math average score was 508. The Writing average score was 481. 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.[85]

In 2012, 151 Valley View School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 486. The Math average score was 496. The Writing average score was 484. 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, 152 Valley View School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 484. The Math average score was 505. The Writing average score was 471.[86] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[87] 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.[88]

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.[89]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 71 percent of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania chose to continue their education after high school in 2003, whereas 79 percent of urban high school graduates opted to continue their education.

AP Courses[edit]

In 2014, Valley View High School offered 4 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[90] 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 Valley View School District the AP courses are weighted.[91] At Valley View High School just 14% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[92] In 2013, 11% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.

Middle school[edit]

Valley View Middle School is located at 1 Columbus Drive, Archbald. In 2014, enrollment was 601 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 35.7% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.6% of pupils received special education services, while 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[93] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[94]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, Valley View Middle School reported an enrollment of 598 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 186 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 44.7 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[95] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[96] The attendance rate was reported as 94% in 2010 and 2009.[97] From 2004 to 2009, Valley View Middle School achieved AYP status each school year. In 2003, the school was in Warning AYP status due to lagging achievement.

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that 59.5% of 8th grade students at Valley View Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 17.9% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 51.3% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 66.4% were on grade level in reading, while 27.2% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 59.3% were on grade level in reading and 34.9% were on grade level in mathematics.[98] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[99]

2014 School Performance Profile

Valley View Middle School achieved 61.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - just 68% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, only 63% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, just 47.5% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 62% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[100]

2013 School Performance Profile

Valley View Middle School achieved 72.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 68% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 70.5% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 54.8% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 75.6% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[101] 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, Valley View Middle School declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging reading and mathematics achievement.[102] In 2011, Valley View Middle School declined to Warning AYP status. The School achieved AYP status in both 2009 and 2010.[103]

PSSA results

Sixth and 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.[104] 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.[105] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[106] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[107]

8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 59% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 59%[117]
  • 2011 - 62% (16% below basic). State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 63% (15% below basic) 27% advanced. State – 57%
  • 2009 - 74% (32% advanced). State – 54%[118]
  • 2008 - 62%, State – 52%[119]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Valley View School District did not implement a dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the middle school.[120] The process identifies students at risk for droping 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.[121]

Intermediate school[edit]

Valley View Intermediate School is located at Columbus Drive, Archbald. In 2014, the School's enrollment was 558 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 36% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[122] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.[123] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, enrollment was 579 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 178 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 37 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15.5:1.[124] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[125]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 66.1% of 5th grade students at Valley View Intermediate School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 36.7% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 66.7% were on grade level in reading, while 43.2% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 89.5% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 70.8% were on grade level in reading and 49.8% were on grade level in mathematics.[126] 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.[127]

2014 School Performance Profile

Valley View Intermediate School achieved a score of 65.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 68.37% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 79.66% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 77.66% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 34% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[128]

2013 School Performance Profile

Valley View Intermediate School achieved a score of 64.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 66.78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 74% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 76.6% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 74.5% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 61.8% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[129] 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 status history

In 2012, Valley View Intermediate School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress AYP status due to lagging mathematics and reading achievement.[130]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status[131]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status[132]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status[133]
  • 2008 - declined to Warning AYP status[134]
  • 2004 to 2007 - achieved AYP status each school year[135]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging reading and mathematics status.
PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Law, 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. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[136] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[137][138][139] 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.[140] The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 88%, (2% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 84%, (3% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 86%, (4% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 88%, (4% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 90%, (2% below basic). State - 81%

Elementary Center[edit]

Valley View Elementary Center is located at 901 Main Street, Peckville. In 2014, the School's enrollment was589 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 37% 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 none are identified as gifted.[147] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[148] The school is a federally designated Title I school. The School has provided full day kindergarten since 2005.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, Valley View Elementary Center enrollment was 581 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 188 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 36 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.[149] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[150] The school provided full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[151]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Valley View School District administration reported that 390 pupils or 15.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 39.5% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[152] In December 2009, the district administration reported that 390 pupils or 15% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[153] Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[154] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[155] Valley View School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2005. The District has seen no decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.[156] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration.[157] When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[158][159] 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.[160] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[161] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[162]

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.[163] 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.[164] 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.[165] 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.[166] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[167]

Valley View School District received a $1,298,455 supplement for special education services in 2010.[168] 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.[169][170] For the 2014-2015 school year, Valley View School District received an increase to $1,318,981 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[171] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

In 2013, the state's Special Education Funding Reform Commission provided a report on the state of funding for special education in the Commonwealth.[172] Funding for special education programs is borne largely on a local basis at 60%, with the state contributing $1 billion or 30% and the federal government providing 10% of the funding.

Gifted education[edit]

Valley View School District Administration reported that 93 or 3.56% of its students were gifted in 2009.[173] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[174] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Valley View School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.[175]

Bullying[edit]

Valley View School District administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the District in 2013. Additionally, there were no sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in eleven incidents at the schools, with one arrest.[176] [177] 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.[178] The Valley View School District administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[179][180]

The Valley View School district has its policy regarding bullying and cyberbullying posted online.[181] 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.[182] 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.[183][184] According to the Center for Disease Control’s biannual national study of high school students in 2009, five percent of Pennsylvania students did not go to school for at least one day because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to or from school.[185]

Education standards relating to student safety and anti harassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[186]

Wellness policy[edit]

Valley View School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2010 – Policy 246.[187] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, 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.[188] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for its approval.[189] This includes classroom party guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[190]

Valley View School District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families.[191] 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.[192] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[193]

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.[194] 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.[195] 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 2014, President Barack Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[196][197]

The US Food and Drug Administration 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.[198][199]

Valley View 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.[200][201] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[202]

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.[203]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Valley View School District was $49,041 a year.[204] The District employed 227 teachers with a top salary of $105,575.[205][206]

In 2009, the district reports employing over 190 teachers with a starting salary of $37,967 for 185 days worked.[207] The median salary is $49,699 and the highest salary was $125,000. Teachers are paid at an hourly rate for work that is required after regular school hours ($22/hour in 2013). An extra stipend is paid to department head teachers. The work day is 7 hours and 15 minutes. Additionally, Valley View School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, fully paid prescription plan, dental insurance, vision insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, and 10 sick days, life insurance and other benefits. Teachers are paid $45 each for unused sick days upon resigning. A retirement incentive is a payment of up to 80% of one year base salary.[208] 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.[209]

The district's average teacher salary, in 2007 was $47,555, when the district employed 158 teachers.[210] 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 United States for average teacher compensation.[211][212]

Valley View School District administration costs per pupil in 2008 was $522.12 per pupil. The district was ranked 489th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administration spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[213] In the Spring of 2011, the Board approved using taxpayer dollars to send three school board members to a national school board convention in California.[214]

In 2008, Valley View School District administration reported spending $8,586 per pupil. This spending ranked lowest of all school districts in the commonwealth.[215]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported a $4,525,590 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[216]

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[217]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the individual's wealth.[218]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Valley View School District receives 47.3% of its annual revenue from the state.[219] This approximates some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[220]

For the 2014-15 school year, Valley View School District received $7,484,406 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $312,152 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.[221] 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.[222]

In the 2013-2014 school year, Valley View School District received a 2.3% increase or $7,482,785 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $167,636 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Valley View School District received $147,408 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Lackawanna County, Mid Valley School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.4%. The District had 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.[223] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[224] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[225]

For the 2012-13 school year, Valley View School District received $7,315,248.[226] 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. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[227] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Valley View School District received $7,314,326 in state Basic Education Funding.[228][229] Additionally, the district will receive $147,409 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011–2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010–2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011–12.[230] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011. In 2010, the district reported that 754 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010-11 school year, Valley View School District received a 6.65% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $8,058,799 payment.[231] Dunmore School District received 11.88% increase which was the highest increase in BEF in Lackawanna County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010–11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010–11. The 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 determined by the Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education. Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[232] This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[233]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 7.80% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $7,556,453 to Valley View School District. The Valley View School 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.[234] Scranton School District received the highest increase in Lackawanna County a 9.46% increase, for the 2009–10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[235]

The state Basic Education funding to the District in 2008–09 was $7,009,395. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 578 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[236]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several 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.[237] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[238]

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 Valley View School District applied for and received $400,103 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 6th year, to provide training for teachers for the 5th year, to add teacher training coaches and to increase instructional time.[239][240]

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.[241]

Valley View School District received $306,624 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.

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. Valley View School District applied for funding in the final year of the program. It received $138,210 in 2008–09. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[242]

Project 720[edit]

Project 720 was a high school reform program implemented for three years under the Rendell administration. The intent was to increase academic rigor and improve the instruction of teachers in the Commonwealth’s high schools. Teachers were expected to use data driven instructional practices and to meet the needs of diverse learners.[243] The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades. High schools applied for funding and were required to agree to report to the PDE their plans, their actions and the outcomes. In 2007-08 budget year, the Commonwealth provided $11 million in funding. Valley View School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $56,368 funding over three years.[244][245] For 2010-11, Project 720 funding was decreased to $1.7 million by Governor Rendell. The grant program was discontinued effective with the 2011-12 state budget.[246]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010–11 the Valley View School District did not apply for funding.[247]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[248][249] Pennsylvania Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[250] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[251] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[252] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $1,969,380 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[253] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[254] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, the Governor and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Valley View School District officials did not apply to participate in the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over one million in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[255] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[256] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[257] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[258]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Valley View 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.[259] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Valley View School Board set property tax rates in 2015–16 at 107.6700 mills.[260] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and all government property (local, state and federal). 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.[261] When a school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties. 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.[262]

The average yearly property tax paid by Lackawanna County residents amounts to about 3.4% of their yearly income. Lackawanna County ranked 413th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[273] 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.[274] 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%).[275] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[276]

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.[277]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[278] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[279][280] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments. A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[281]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Valley View School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[282]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Valley View School Board apply for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: increasing special education costs and escalating teacher pension costs. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[287] 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.[288]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Valley View School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). 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 pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[289]

For the 2011–12 school year, Valley View School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Valley View School Board has the option of adopting either: 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[290] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly repealed most of the Act 1 tax increase exceptions leaving only special education costs, pension costs and prior voter approved (ballot referendum) debt for construction. The cost of construction projects in the future will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum. Districts can no longer raise property taxes to cover increasing health insurance costs for employees.[291]

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.[292] The Valley View School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010–11.[293] 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.[294]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2011 the property tax relief, for Valley View School District residents, was set at $174 for 5,156 approved properties. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Valley View School District was $184 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4,872 property owners applied for the tax relief.[295] 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.[296] Among Lackawanna County school districts, Scranton School District property owners received the highest relief at $334. 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.[297] This was the second year they were the top recipient.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[298]

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%).[299]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The students at Valley View are incredibly talented at many extracurriculars, including art, athletics, and music. Eligibility to participate is determined in school board policies.[300][301][302]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies. 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.[303][304][305]

Art[edit]

Some of school's students are talented at art, and are involved in an Art Explorations program for the advanced students. Some are recipients of the Scholastic Award.

Music[edit]

Valley View has one of the most prestigious and well-known musical programs in Lackawanna County. Each year, at least three students qualify for more than one district-wide festival, including the PMEA District 9 Chorus, Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra. In the last three years, Valley View has produced All-State and Regional Choir and Band qualifiers.

In June 2016, the Valley View Choir, under the direction of Gina Lupini Pascolini, was requested for the students to perform in Wales in the summer of 2017, with Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe and their Regional High School, Ysgol Bro Dynefwr. This request reflects a great honor for the Valley View School District, and will be student funded. The school district will not be funding this trip. The group of 31 singers is called "Voices of the Valley" and performs in local concerts around the Lackawanna county. Members of the choir include Cassandra Dumas, Joshua Rudolph, Julia Krupka, Kassidy Leggin, Kaedy Masters, Eric Lee, Ashley Fidler, Justin Thomas, Janet Zhao, Paul Vanvestraut, Brianna Pallo, Christopher Benitez, Emily Williams, Kevin Mellow, Sarah Ferraro, Joseph Morisco, Samantha Humen, Noah McKane, Ryleah Ruffner, Cammie Gillar, Carleigh Gillar, Teresa Dumas, Noah Reed, Lorna Yushinsky, Noah Benjamin, Deanna Soulsby, Mia Tomassoni, Gia Mercatili, Kara Hirjak, and Beatrice Chindemi.[306][307]

The school's students perform musicals such as Grease, The Sound of Music, and recently became the first school in America to do the official, never been released production of The Phantom of the Opera. In March of 2017, Valley View performed the broadway musical "Bye, Bye Birdie". The performers were awarded the ESTA Award- the Award for Excellence in School Theatre Arts.[308]

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