Williams Valley School District

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Williams Valley School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
10330 State Route 209
Tower City, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County and Schuylkill County 17980-9801
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent

Mrs. Jolene Smith, acting Superintendent, June 2016

Dr. Donald Burkhardt, salary $95,000 (2012)[1] (contract July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016)[2] Terminated by Board [3]
Administrator

Mr. Anthony Aukstakalnis, Business Manager (2015)
Mrs. Jolene Smith, Assistant Superintendent
Mrs. Jessica Savitsky, Supervisor of Special Education

Mrs. Helen Kohr, Technology Director
Principal Mrs. Stephanie Carl, ES
Principal

Mrs. Tracey Weller, Jr-Sr High Principal

Mrs. Christine Sisko, Jr-Sr High Assistant Principal, vice principal
Staff 40 non teaching staff members
Faculty

95 teachers (2012),[4]

77.5 teachers (2010) [5]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education students
Pupils

1,001 pupils (2015)[6]
1,006 pupils (2014)[7]
1,039 pupils (2012)[8]
1,028 pupils (2011)
993 pupils (2009–10)[9]

1110 pupils (2006-07)[10]
 • Kindergarten 87 (2013), 89 (2010)
 • Grade 1 79 (2013), 84
 • Grade 2 76 (2013), 56
 • Grade 3 97 (2013), 62
 • Grade 4 78 (2013), 76
 • Grade 5 93 (2013), 80
 • Grade 6 70 (2013), 76
 • Grade 7 76 (2013), 85
 • Grade 8 73 (2013), 80
 • Grade 9 83 (2013), 95
 • Grade 10 61 (2013), 59
 • Grade 11 73 (2013), 74
 • Grade 12 60 (2013), 77 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment was projected to 976 in 2019[11]
Language English
Mascot Vikings
USNWR ranking

312th out of 496 school districts [12]

352 of 458 districts [13]
Budget

$15.6 million (2016-17)[14]
$14,925,897 (2014-15)[15]
$14,488,818 (2013-14)[16]
$14,108,840 (2012) [17]
$14,531,699 (2010-11)

$14,891,295 (2009-10)[18]
Per pupil spending

$12,085 (2008)
$12,001.67 (2010)

$12,104.99 (2013)
Website
Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania School Districts showing a part of Williams Valley School District

The Williams Valley School District is a small, rural public school district located in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The Districts is highly fragmented encompassing: the boroughs of Williamstown and Tower City as well as the townships of Porter, Rush, Williams, and Wiconisco. The district encompasses approximately 62 square miles (160 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 7,355. By 2010, the District's population increased to 7,463 people.[19] The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 86.2% high school graduates and 11.5% college graduates.[20]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 67.1% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty level as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[21] In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $16,846, while the median family income was $41,005.[22] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [23] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[24] In Schuylkill County, the median household income was $42,315.[25] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[26]

According to District officials, in school year 2007–08 the Williams Valley School District provided basic educational services to 1,100 pupils through the employment of 88 teachers, 26 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. In school year 2009-10 the Williams Valley School District provided basic educational services to 1,129 pupils. It employed: 94 teachers, 20 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. Williams Valley School District received more than $9.2 million in state funding in school year 2009-10. According to District officials, the District had an enrollment of 1,100 pupils in 2011. It employed 105 teachers, 49 full-time and part-time support personnel and eight (8) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $9,022,376 in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Williams Valley School District operates one elementary school and one combined jr/sr high school, both of which are located in Tower City. High school students may choose to attend Schuylkill Technology Centers for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit IU29 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

Governance[edit]

Williams Valley School District is governed by a 9-member board that is elected to serve four-year terms. The Board is elected from 3 regions with each region having 3 board members. Also governing the district are: the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[27] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring on grade level reading skills and math skills. (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus its resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[28] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[29]

The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[30] These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[31] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[32]

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.[33]

The District is served by the Intermediate Unit 29 which offers a variety of services, including assistance with developing K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards, shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.

Academic achievement[edit]

Williams Valley School District was ranked 443rd out of 500 Pennsylvania public school districts, in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[34] The ranking is based on student academic performance on the last 3 years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and science. The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2014 - 412th
  • 2013 - 443rd
  • 2012 - 468th [35]
  • 2010 - 465th [36]
  • 2009 - 464th[37]
  • 2008 - 472nd
  • 2007 - 466th of 501 school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[38]
Overachievers ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Williams Valley School District ranked 474th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question – which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[39]

  • 2012 - 476th
  • 2010 - 488th
  • 2009 - 487th

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Williams Valley School District, was in the bottom 5th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)[40]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Williams Valley School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to a graduation rate that continued to decline.[41] In 2011, Williams Valley School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[42] Williams Valley School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the Williams Valley School District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[43]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, the District’s graduation rate was 81.82%.[44]

  • 2014 - 90.11%[45]
  • 2013 - 91.30%[46]
  • 2012 - 80%.[47]
  • 2011 - 85%.[48]
  • 2010 - 82%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[49]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Junior/senior high school[edit]

Williams Valley Junior Senior High School is located at10330 State Route 209, Tower City. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 385 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 47.5% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal federal poverty level. Additionally, 17.9% of pupils received special education services, while 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[54] The school employed 41 teachers.[55] Per the PA Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[56]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 362 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 164 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is a federally Title I school. The school employed 37.5 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.[57] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 46 classes were taught by teachers who were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[58]

2015 School Performance Profile

Williams Valley Junior Senior High School achieved 82 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 83% of the School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, only 56% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 72.9% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[59] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[60][61]

2014 School Performance Profile

Williams Valley Junior Senior High School achieved 73.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature 75.8% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 52% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Biology, 57.8% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[62][63] 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%.[64]

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.[65] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[66][67]

2013 School Performance Profile

Williams Valley Junior Senior High School achieved 73.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 71.3% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 61% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 57.8% showed on grade level science understanding.[68] 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.[69]

AYP status history

In 2012, Williams Valley Junior Senior High School remained in School Improvement II AYP level due to chronic student achievement in reading and mathematics, as well as a low graduation rate.[70] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[71] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[72]

  • 2011 - declined further to School Improvement II AYP level.[73]
  • 2010 - School Improvement I due to chronic, low student achievement.[74]
  • 2009 - School Improvement I [75]
  • 2008 - School Improvement I AYP status [76]
  • 2007 - declined to Warning AYP status[77]
  • 2006 - AYP status[78]
  • 2005 - AYP status
  • 2004 - AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status
PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[79]

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 applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[80]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 58% on grade level (28% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[81]
  • 2011 - 49% (26% below basic). State - 69.1% [82]
  • 2010 - 50%, State - 67%[83]
  • 2009 - 58%, State - 65%[84]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 47%, State - 65%[85]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 54% on grade level (29% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[86]
  • 2011 - 32% (45% below basic). State - 60.3% [87]
  • 2010 - 38%, State - 59%
  • 2009 - 55%, State - 56%[88]
  • 2008 - 43%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 38%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 35% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[89]
  • 2011 - 16% (28% below basic). State - 40%[90]
  • 2010 - 17% (26% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 22%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 28%, State - 39%

Science in Motion Williams Valley Junior Senior High School does not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[91] Susquehanna University provides the experiences to schools in the region.

Dual enrollment

The high school does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits with the assistance of a state grant.[92] Over 400 school districts in Pennsylvania offer their high school juniors and seniors the dual enrollment program.[93]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 34% of Williams Valley High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[94] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years.[95] 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]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Williams Valley School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate including: a required class every year in math, English, social studies, science, Physical Education and electives.[96]

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.[97] 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.[98]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[99] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[100] The exam is given at the end of the course. Students have several opportunities to pass the exam, with those who do not able to perform a project in order to graduate.[101][102] 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.[103] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 - just 38% on grade level, Biology just 35% on grade level and English Lit only 49% on grade level.[104] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 36 Williams Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 469. The Math average score was 464. The Writing average score was 438.[105][106] 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.[107] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 48 Williams Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 474. The Math average score was 481. The Writing average score was 459. 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.[108]

In 2012, 43 Williams Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 451. The Math average score was 461. The Writing average score was 445. 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, 30 Williams Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 461. The Math average score was 458. The Writing average score was 460.[109] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[110] 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.[111]

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.[112]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2015, Williams Valley High School offered 3 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam was $91 (2014).[113] 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 Williams Valley High School none of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[114]

Junior high school achievement[edit]

PSSA Results:

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.[115] 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.[116] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[117] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[118]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 74% on grade level (14% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[119]
  • 2011 - 82% (9% below basic) State - 81.8%[120]
  • 2010 - 65% (16% below basic). State - 81%[121]
  • 2009 - 67%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 72%, State - 78%[122]
  • 2007 - 62%, State - 75%[123]
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 76% [124]
  • 2011 - 65% (17% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 38% (36% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 46%, State - 70%[125]
  • 2007 - 39%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 59% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 62% (21% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 43% (32% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 49%, State - 54%[126]
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 52%[127]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Williams Valley School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[128] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[129]

Elementary School[edit]

Williams Valley Elementary School is located at 10400 State Route 209, Tower City. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 616 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 53.5% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while 0.49% are identified as gifted.[130] 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.[131] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 566 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 261 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 40 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[132] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[133] The District has provided full-day kindergarten since 2003.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 42% of 5th grade students at Williams Valley Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 11% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 54% were on grade level in reading, while 40% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 90% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 63% were on grade level in reading and 50% were on grade level in mathematics. Among WVES 6th graders, 63% were on grade level in reading and only 16% were on grade level in mathematics.[134] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania fourth (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.[135]

2014 School Performance Profile

Williams Valley Elementary School achieved a score of 75.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 61% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 65.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 58% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, just 83% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 60% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[136]

2013 School Performance Profile

Williams Valley Elementary School achieved a score of 82.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 62% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72.5% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 82% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 65% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[137] 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, Williams Valley Elementary School declined again to Warning AYP status due to low reading and mathematics achievement.[138] From 2009 to 2011, Williams Valley Elementary School achieved AYP status each year. In 2008, Williams Valley Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.

PSSA results

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.[139] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[140][141][142] 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.[143] 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 - 91%, (1% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 88%, (4% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 – 93%, 50% advanced. State – 81% [147]
  • 2009 – 83%, State – 83%[148]
  • 2008 – 94%

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, the District administration reported that 200 pupils or 19.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 51% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[150]

In December 2014, the District administration reported that 198 pupils or 19.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 51% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[151] In 2011, Williams Valley School District Administration reported that 238 pupils or 22% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 51.7% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the District Administration reported that 244 pupils or 23% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[152] In 2007, the District administration reported that 235 pupils or 22.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 52% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[153]

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.[154] Williams Valley School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2003. The District has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

Williams Valley 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. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[155] 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.

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 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.[156] 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.[157] 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.[158] 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.[159] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities including sports.[160]

Williams Valley School District received a $750,302 supplement for special education services in 2010.[161] 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.[162][163] For the 2014-2015 school year, Williams Valley School District received an increase to $770,938 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[164] 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.[165] 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]

Williams Valley School District Administration reported that two of its students were gifted in 2011. None of the District's students were acknowledged by the administration as gifted in 2009.[166] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum. 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.[167]

Bullying policy and school safety[edit]

The Williams Valley School District administration reported there were 8 incidents of bullying in the district in 2012. Additionally, there were seven incidents involving law enforcement with one arrest. There was one case of open lewdness and a bomb threat.[168] The Williams Valley School District administration reported there was one incident of bullying in the district in 2009.[169][170]

The Williams Valley School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[171] 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.[172] 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.[173]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[174]

Wellness policy[edit]

Williams Valley School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 – Policy 246.[175] 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.[176]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval. A study was conducted of the submitted policies (n=499). It found that the majority of districts complied with the mandates of the law. Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[177]

The District offers both a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[178] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[179]

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.[180]

The US Department of Agriculture requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[181][182]

Williams Valley School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available 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.[183][184] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[185]

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.[186] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[187]

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2009, the Williams Valley School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Williams Valley Elementary School received $6,627 which was used to implement a six-week nutrition education and physical activity program for grades two and six through the Weller Health Education Center.[188] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

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.[189]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Williams Valley School District was $45,981 a year.[190] The District employed 144 teachers with a top salary of $96,500.[191][192] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[193] Williams Valley School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some more senior teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[194] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[195] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[196] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[197]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Williams Valley School District was $43,593 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $15,636 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $59,229.[198] The District employed 106 teachers and administrators with a top salary of $95,000.[199]

In 2009, Williams Valley School District reported employing 94 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $47,901 and a top salary of $103,000.[200] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 30 minutes, including: a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. The contract sets 186 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (employees contribute $18 per pay), dental insurance, vision insurance, disability income insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days which accumulate, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[201] Teachers receive additional payments at an hourly rate, for required work done outside the regular school day.

In 2007, Williams Valley School District employed 79 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $45,669 for 180 days worked.[202] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[203]

Administrative costs

Williams Valley School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1,081 per pupil. The district is ranked 44th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for spending on administration. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[204] In 2009, Olga Ehrhart, Superintendent's salary is reported by the district at $75,000.[205][206] In addition to the salary, she received an extensive benefits package including health insurance, life insurance, travel benefits and more. The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that in 2008 the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165.[207] In January 2010, Ehrhart resigned her position effective June 29, 2011.[208]

Per pupil spending

In 2008, Williams Valley School District reported spending $12,085 per pupil. This ranked 263rd in the commonwealth.[209] In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $12,001.67.[210] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[211] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[212] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[213]

Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[214] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[215]

In 2010, the revenue breakdown was: 4 percent from federal sources, 27 percent from local sources, and 69 percent from state funds.

Reserves In 2008, Williams Valley School District reported a $1,497,979.00 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $1,200,000.[216] In 2010, Williams Valley School District Administration reported an increase to $2,396,756 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported $900,000 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. By 2012, Williams Valley School District reported having $4,729,155 in reserves.[217] In 2014-15, Williams Valley School District reported having $7,140,560 in reserves.[218] Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[219] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[220]

Audits In October 2009, the Williams Valley School District was audited by the Pennsylvania Auditor General. The performance audit cited the district for Continued Certification Deficiencies which included several administrators and teachers.[221] In April 2012, the District was audited again. The certification violations continued and the district was found to be reporting erroneous enrollment data to the state. These errors resulted in the WVSD being underpaid $102,113 for their state reimbursement subsidy.[222]

Tuition Students who live in the Williams Valley School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Williams Valley School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the Williams Valley School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,581, High School - $10,003.79.[223]

Williams Valley School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax of 1%, a local property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, a $5 (Act 511) per capita tax, a $5 (Sec 679) per capita tax, a $10 occupation privilege tax, and a $205 occupation tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[224] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[225] 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.[226] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[227][228]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Williams Valley School District receives 67.1% of its annual revenue from the state.[229] This greatly exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[230]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,323,128 to Williams Valley School District, in January 2016.[231] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[232] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[233] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Education funding under Governor Wolf.[234][235]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[236] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Williams Valley School District received $6,898,149 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.28% increase yielding a $86,933 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $228,949 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[237]

In Schuylkill County, the highest percentage increase in state funding was awarded to Shenandoah Valley School District - 3.78%. The Pennsylvania education budget is $5.93 billion for basic education, a $200 million or 3.5 percent increase over 2014-15 allocation. Another $1.08 billion was allotted for special education funding, a $30 million or 2.9 percent increase over 2014-15. Additionally, the state paid over $500 million towards school employee social security payments and over $1 billion to the teacher's pension fund (PSERS).[238]

For the 2014-15 school year, Williams Valley School District received $6,811,212 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $182,675 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-15 Basic Education Funding.[239] The Education budget also included 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 paid $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.[240]

For the 2013–14 school year, Williams Valley School District received a 1.3% increase or $6,811,636 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This was $88,848 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the district. Additionally, the District received $97,533 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Schuylkill County, Blue Mountain School District and Saint Clair Area School District received the highest percentage increase at 2.2%. Williams Valley School District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased basic education funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of basic education funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received higher 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.[241] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[242]

For the 2012–13 school year, Williams Valley School District received $6,722,788 of state BEF money.[243] 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. Williams Valley School District received $97,533 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[244] 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, Williams Valley School District received a $6,722,788 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[245][246] Additionally, Williams Valley School District received $97,533 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.[247] 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.[248] In 2010, Williams Valley School District reported that 444 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[249]

For 2010–11, Williams Valley School District received a 2.71% increase in state Basic Education Funding for $7,198,786.[250] The highest increase in BEF in Schuylkill County went to Minersville Area School District which received 9.69%. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010–11 school year. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[251]

In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.25% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $7,008,632 to Williams Valley School District. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[252] Shenandoah Valley School District was the highest increase in Schuylkill County with a 14.50% increase in basic education funding, 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.[253] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[254] 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.[255][256]

For the 2008–09 school year, the state Basic Education funding to Williams Valley School district was $6,722,788. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 375 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[257]

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[258][259] 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 Williams Valley School District applied for and received $264,729 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the seventh year.[260]

  • 2009-10 - Williams Valley School District received $264,729[261]
  • 2012-13 - WVSD received $97,533.[262]

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 Williams Valley School District received $82,934.[263]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of dollars 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. Williams Valley School District did not apply for funding in 2006–07 or in 2007–08. For the 2008–09 school year, the district received $74,691. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[264] Among the public school district in Schuylkill County, North Schuylkill School District received the largest grant award $245,673. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Other grants[edit]

Williams Valley 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), 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[265] Project 720 High School Reform grants[266] (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget); nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal grants[edit]

Williams Valley School District received an extra $1,204,949 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[267] The funding was limited to the 2009–2011 school years.[268] 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]

Williams Valley School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[269] 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.[270] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[271]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with “High Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[272] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[273] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Williams Valley School District received $57,466 in federal Title II funding.[274] In 2014-15, Williams Valley School District applied for and received $53,881.[275]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[276] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[277]

In 2012-13, Williams Valley School District received $815 in Title III funding for English language learners.[278] For 2014-15, Williams Valley School District received $570 in Title III funding.[279]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Williams Valley School Board did not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[280] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Williams Valley School Board set property tax rates in 2016–17: residents who reside in Schuylkill County pay 34.68 mills and 16.46 mills in Dauphin County.[281]
A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and all government property (local, state and federal). Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[282]

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. 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.[283] The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[284] 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.[285]

  • 2015-16 - Schuylkill County residents – 33.9800 mills. Dauphin County residents – 15.7300 mills.[286]
  • 2014-15 - Schuylkill County residents – 32.9500 mills. Dauphin County residents – 15.5100 mills.[287]
  • 2013-14 - Schuylkill County residents – 33.4700 mills. Dauphin County residents – 15.0300 mills.[288]
  • 2012-13 - Schuylkill County residents – 33.7800 mills. Dauphin County residents – 15.0300 mills.
  • 2011-12 - Schuylkill County residents – 33.7100 mills. Dauphin County residents – 14.6500 mills.[289]
  • 2010-11 - Schuylkill County residents – 32.9700 mills. Dauphin County residents – 14.3700 mills.[290]
  • 2009-10 - Schuylkill County residents – 31.6400 mills. Dauphin County residents – 14.0100 mills.
  • 2008-09 - Schuylkill County residents – 29.7600 mills. Dauphin County residents – 13.4200 mills.
  • 2007-08 - Schuylkill County residents – 29.0200 mills. Dauphin County residents – 12.3000 mills.
  • 2006-07 - Schuylkill County residents – 27.3674 mills. Dauphin County residents – 11.4192 mills.
  • 2005-06 - Schuylkill County residents – 26.1100 mills. Dauphin County residents – 10.7100 mills.

The average yearly property tax paid by Schuylkill County residents amounts to about 2.84% of their yearly income. Schuylkill County ranked 700th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[291] 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.[292] 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%).[293]

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.[294]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[295] 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.[296][297] 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.[298]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Williams Valley School District 2006–2007 through 2010–2011.[299]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Williams Valley School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit.[307] Statewide 299 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2016-17.

For the 2013-14 budget year, Williams Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[308]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Williams Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. 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.[309]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Williams Valley School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Williams Valley School Board has the option of adopting either: 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index.

According to a state report, for the 2011-12 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.[310]

The Williams Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010–11.[311] 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.[312]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for Williams Valley School District was set at $149 for 12,070 approved properties.[313]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Williams Valley School District was $148 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,287 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Dauphin County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Harrisburg City School District at $446.[314] In Schuylkill County, the highest amount went to Schuylkill Haven Area School District set at $195. The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. Schuylkill County data was not provided.[315] 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.[316] 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.[317]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Williams Valley School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive costly sports program. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.[318] For the 2010-11 school year, all students in grades 7–12 who participate in athletic teams, cheerleading, extra-curricular clubs and/or student drivers and who were subject to the Drug Testing Policy were required to pay a one time, non-refundable Student Activity Fee of $10.[319] The fee was increased to $20 in 2012. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA mandates that student athletes must be passing at least four full-credit subjects to participate in sports.[320]

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.[321]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[322][323][324]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[325] Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[326] The report must also be posted in the District's website. Williams Valley School District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website since 2012.[327]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[328][329]

A joint Pennsylvania School Board Association and Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association survey, conducted in 2012, found nearly one third (30%) of public school respondents indicated charging individual students $10 to $250, with a statewide average of $65 per-sport.[330][331]

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2016[332]

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