Wayne Highlands School District

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Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD)
Whsdlogo.png
Location
northeastern Pennsylvania
Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431-1099
United States
Information
Type Public
Established July 1, 1970
Superintendent Mr Gregory J Frigoletto, contract ends 6/16/2016 salary $130,000 in 2012
Administrator Jeffrey R Firmstone - Business Manager
Principal David Jagger, DS
Principal Christopher Pietraszewski, HS
Staff 191 people
Grades preschool-12th
Number of students 2,983 students in 2012, 3,300 in 2006 [1]
 • Kindergarten 210
 • Grade 1 204
 • Grade 2 198
 • Grade 3 209
 • Grade 4 246
 • Grade 5 241
 • Grade 6 203
 • Grade 7 249
 • Grade 8 245
 • Grade 9 219
 • Grade 10 262
 • Grade 11 219
 • Grade 12 228
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 2,538 students in 2020[2]
Accreditation Middle States
Budget

$45,522,671 (2013–14)[3]
$45,284,710 2012–13
$43.6 million 2011–12
$42.6 million 2010–11

$41.5 million 2009–10
per pupil spending $12,421 (2008)
Per pupil spending $13,866.84 (2010)
Website

Wayne Highlands is a third-class school district in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. The district's population was 20,870 at the time of the 2010 United States Census.[4]

Organized on July 1, 1970, the district operates, preschools, four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. It covers 435 square miles (1,130 km2) (roughly one-third the size of Rhode Island), making it the second largest geographical school district in the state.[5] According to federal census data, the district's population decreased by 636 residents from 21,506 residents in 2000. In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $17,330, while the median family income was $40,683.[6] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [7] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[8]

According to Wayne Highlands School District officials, in school year 2009–10 the District provided basic educational services to 3,125 pupils. The District employed: 248 teachers, 137 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 19 administrators. Wayne Highlands School District received more than $13.8 million in state funding in school year 2009–10. In school year 2007–08 the Wayne Highlands School District provided basic educational services to 3,215 pupils. At the time it employed: 247 teachers, 132 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 19 administrators. Wayne Highlands School District received more than $13.7 million in state funding in school year 2007–08.

In 2006, the district was recognized for excellence in teaching, and has a long tradition of requiring standards of its graduates well beyond state regulations.[9][10][11]

Regions and constituent municipalities[edit]

Map of Wayne County with the highlighted boroughs and townships served by WHSD

The district is divided into three regions, which include the following municipalities:[12]

Region I[edit]

Region II[edit]

Region III[edit]

Schools[edit]

  • Damascus Area School
  • Honesdale High School
  • Lakeside Elementary School
  • Preston Area School
  • Stourbridge Primary School
  • Wayne Highlands Middle School

Governance[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without compensation for a term of four years.), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[13] 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 School Board.

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.[14]

Academic achievement[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District was ranked 93rd out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[15] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and science.[16] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 117th
  • 2008 - 160th
  • 2007 - 171st out of 501 school districts.[17]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Wayne Highlands School District ranked 10th. In 2012, the District was ranked 23rd. [18] 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."[19]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Wayne Highlands School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[20] 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.[21] Wayne Highlands 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.[22]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Wayne Highlands School District’s graduation rate was 92%.[23] In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 93%.[24] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Honesdale High School's rate was 92% for 2010.[25]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Honesdale High School is located at 459 Terrace Street, Honesdale. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the School reported an enrollment of 978 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 333 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 67 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[30] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[31]

In 2011 and 2012, Honesdale High School was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[32]

PSSA results

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 74% on grade level, (10% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[33]
  • 2011 - 74% (11% below basic). State - 69.1% [34]
  • 2010 - 67% (14% below basic). State - 66% [35]
  • 2009 - 72% (14% below basic). State - 65%[36]
  • 2008 - 63% (19% below basic). State - 65%[37]
  • 2007 - 72% (11% below basic). State - 65%[38]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 66% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[39]
  • 2011 - 61% (15% below basic). State - 60.3% [40]
  • 2010 - 69% (12% below basic). State - 59% [41]
  • 2009 - 65% (16% below basic). State - 56% [42]
  • 2008 - 59% (27% below basic). State - 56% [43]
  • 2007 - 64% (19% below basic). State - 53% [44]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[45]
  • 2011 - 46% (7% below basic). State - 40% [46]
  • 2010 - 41% (9% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 44% (10% below basic). State - 40% [47]
  • 2008 - 25% (11% below basic). State - 39% [48]

Science in Motion Honesdale High School took 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.[49] The school worked with Wilkes University to provide the experiences.

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 10% of the Honesdale 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.[50] 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.[51] 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]

Honesdale High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Honesdale High School holds an agreement with Luzerne County Community College, Marywood University and the Pennsylvania State University - Worthington Campus. 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 offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Students are responsible for their own transportation.[52] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[53] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

For the 2009–10 funding year, Wayne Highlands School District received a state grant of $10,742 for the program.[54]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Wayne Highlands School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 22 credits to graduate, including: Math 3, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, including Civics, science 3 credits, including Biology, Physical Education 4 courses, Health 1 course, Drivers Education 1 course and electives 2 credits.[55]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to 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.[56] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[57]

By Pennsylvania 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 Keystone Exams.[58][59][60] 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.[61] 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.[62] 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 2012, 163 Wayne Highlands School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 487. The Math average score was 512. The Writing average score was 471. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the United States, 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, 158 Wayne Highlands School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 502. The Math average score was 533. The Writing average score was 490.[63] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[64] 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.[65]

Middle school[edit]

Wayne Highlands Middle School is located at 482 Grove Street, Honesdale. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 526 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 225 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. Wayne Highlands Middle School employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[66] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 10 classes were taught by teachers who were rated "Non-Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[67]

In 2012, Wayne Highlands Middle School declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging reading and mathematics achievement.[68] In 2011, Wayne Highlands Middle School achieved AYP status.[69]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 77% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 80% (5% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 73% (9% below basic). State – 57% [75]
  • 2009 - 57% (17% below basic). State - 55% [76]
  • 2008 - 55% (19% below basic). State - 52% [77]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Damascus Area School[edit]

Damascus Area School is located at 174 High School Road, Damascus. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 324 pupils in kindergarten through 8th grade, with 93 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is not a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 27 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79]

In 2011 and 2012, Damascus Area School achieved AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) under No Child Left Behind.[80]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 90% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 81% (2% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 79% (3% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 97%, 55% advanced. State - 55%
  • 2008 - 75% (4% below basic). State - 52%
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 100%, 84% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 - 100%, 86% advanced. State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 100%, 91% advanced. State - 81%
  • 2009 - 88%, 76% advanced. State - 83%

Lakeside Elementary School[edit]

Lakeside Elementary School is located at 129 Lakeside Drive, Honesdale. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 504 pupils in grades third through 5th, with 227 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[86] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[87] In both 2011 and 2012, Lakeside Elementary School achieved AYP status.[88]

PSSAs results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 99%, 82% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 - 99%, 75% advanced. State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 93%, 64% advanced. State - 81%
  • 2009 - 90%, 48% advanced. State - 83%
  • 2008 - 91% (1% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the District administration reported that 461 pupils or 15.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 54.9% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[94] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 445 pupils or 14.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 55.7% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010–11 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.[95] 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 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[96] 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 public school 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.[97] 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.[98] 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.[99] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that school districts include students with disabilities in all extracurricular activities, including sports.[100]

Wayne Highlands School District received a $1,598,417 supplement for special education services in 2010.[101] For the 2011–12 and 2012–13 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.[102][103] Additionally, the State provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District Administration reported that 53 or 1.77% of its students were gifted in 2009–10. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[104] By law, Wayne Highlands School 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.[105][106]

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.[107]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Wayne Highlands School District was $66,354.88 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $23,573.12 per employee (among the highest in Pennsylvania school districts), for a total annual average teacher compensation of $89,927.99.[108]

In 2009, Wayne Highlands School District reported employing 266 teachers and administrators with an average salary of $65,969 and a top salary of.[109] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours and 30 minutes Monday through Thursday and 7 hours on Fridays. There are 183 days in the contract year. In addition to salary, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Teachers with 12 years of service receive a retirement bonus. Teachers who provide services to students beyond the scheduled school day are paid an hourly rate.[110] Teachers were given a 17.5 percent salary increase over five years that ended in June 2013.

Wayne Highlands School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $814.93 per pupil which ranked 178th out of Pennsylvania's then 501 school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[111] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007–08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[112] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[113]

In 2008, Wayne Highlands School District's administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,421 which ranked 232nd among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, Wayne Highlands per pupil spending had increased to $13,866.84.[114] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008–09.[115] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[116] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000–01.[117]

Reserves In 2008, Wayne Highlands School District reported a balance of $802,543.00 in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $3,125,497. [118] In 2012, Wayne Highlands Administration reported an increase to $3,536,570 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District reported $3,859,880 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2012.[119] 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. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[120] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[121]

Tuition Students who live in the Wayne Highlands 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 Wayne Highlands School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rate for Wayne Highlands Schools are: Elementary School - $9,430.99, High School - $9,511.80[122]

Audit In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General's Office conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration. The Administration was cited for giving 14 tuition waivers to children of teachers who worked in the school district, but lived in another school district. This occurred for several years. According to the report, the Board never approved the waivers. The report found that the District did not receive over $200,000 in tuition payments for nonresident students in 2007–08 and 2009–10.[123]

Wayne Highlands School District is funded by a combination of: a local taxes,[124] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[125] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[126] 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.[127]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012–13 school year, the Wayne Highlands School District received $7,664,439.[128] Wayne Highlands also received state funding for: transportation costs, teacher pension costs, social security payments to the federal government and special education funding. Several grants were also available if the District administration applied for funding. The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012–13 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 District received $170,582 in ABG funds. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[129] 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 2011–12, Wayne Highlands School District received a $7,493,857 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[130][131] Additionally, Wayne Highlands School District received $170,582 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.[132] 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.[133] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[134]

In the 2010–11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,862,379. Both public school districts in Wayne County got the base 3% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010–11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%.[135] 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.[136]

In the 2009–10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.85% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,707,380. Among the districts in Wayne County, the highest increase went to Wallenpaupack Area School District which got a 4.16%. Ninety school Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[137] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[138] 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.[139][140]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Wayne Highlands School District for 2008–09 was $7,493,857.34. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,137 Wayne Highlands School District students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–08 school year.[141]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004–05, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010–11, the district applied for and received $463,003 in addition to all other state and federal funding. Wayne Highlands School District uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten to 165 children.[142][143]

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 to 2009. Wayne Highlands School District did not apply to participate in 2006–07. In 2007–08, the District received 366,586. Wayne Highlands School District received $66,785 in 2008–09 for a total funding of $433,371.[144] In Wayne County the highest award was given to Wallenpaupack Area School District which received $453,928. 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.

Other grants[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009–10 budget by Governor Rendell), Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District received an extra $2,687,679 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[145][146] The funding was limited to the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.[147] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided nearly one million dollars, in additional federal funding, to improve student academic achievement.[148] 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.[149] 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.[150][151][152]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012–13 were set by the Wayne Highlands School Board at 14.7050 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.[153] 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. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[154] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[155] 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.[156]

  • 2011–12 - 14.1527 mills.[157]
  • 2010–11 - 13.5700 mills[158]
  • 2009–10 - 13.1240 mills.[159]
  • 2008–09 - 12.7112 mills.[160]
  • 2007–08 - 12.0486 mills.[161]
  • 2006–07 - 11.5630 mills.[162]
  • 2005–06 - 11.0810 mills.[163]

The average yearly property tax paid by Wayne County residents amounts to about 3.78% of their yearly income. Wayne County ranked 287th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[164] 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.[165] Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the United States, 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%).[166]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each Pennsylvania school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Public school districts are not permitted to raise property taxes above their annual Index unless they either: allow voters to vote by referendum or they receive an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the school year is published by the PDE in the fall of each year. Each individual school district’s Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as local property values and the personal income of district residents. Originally, Act 1 or 2006 included 10 exceptions: 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.[167] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[168] 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.[169][170]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Wayne Highlands School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[171]

For the 2013–14 budget year, Wayne Highlands School Board applied for two (2) exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pensions costs and special education costs. For 2013–2014, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 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 the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[174]

For the 2012–13 budget year, Wayne Highlands School Board applied for two (2) 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.[175]

For the 2011–12 school year, the Wayne Highlands School Board applied for two (2) exception to exceed the Act 1 Index teacher pension costs and Special Education costs. Each year, the Wayne Highlands 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 public school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index through a local referendum conducted during an election. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[176]

According to a state report, for their 2011–12 school year budgets, 247 Pennsylvania public 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.[177]

The Wayne Highlands School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010–11.[178]

For the 2009–10 school budget, Wayne Highlands School Board also did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[179] 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.[180]

Wellness policy[edit]

Wayne Highlands School Board established a district-wide Wellness Policy in 2006.[181] Wayne Highlands School Board committed to appointing a Wellness Committee composed of various members of the school community. The District's wellness 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." In Pennsylvania, most public school districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[182]

In adherence with the governance philosophy of local control of schools, the legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each public school district could 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.[183] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Wayne Highlands School District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to low-income children. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[184]

School safety and bullying[edit]

The Wayne Highlands School District Administration reported there was one incident of bullying in the District in 2012. There were 14 incidents involving the police and 8 episodes of sexual harassment, as well as one incident of sexual lewdness.[185][186] Each year the school safety data is reported, by the District, to the Safe School Center which publishes the reports online. Wayne Highlands School Board has not provided the District's antibully policy online.[187] 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 Pennsylvania Office for Safe Schools every year, and must review their anti bullying policy every three years. Additionally, each Pennsylvania public school is required to conduct an annual review of that policy with its students.[188]

As part of the federally funded Drug Free Schools and Community Act, Wayne Highlands School District was awarded a $11,358 grant for the 2008–09 school year. The District used the funds to pay for additional teacher training for the District's Student Assistance Program and to purchase curriculum materials. The District employed a Crisis Intervention Counselor.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Wayne Highlands School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA).

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[189]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [190]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  184. ^ Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center, The Pennsylvania School Breakfast Report Card, 2009
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°42′23″N 75°12′04″W / 41.70649°N 75.20107°W / 41.70649; -75.20107