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Duquesne City School District

Duquesne City School District
Duquesne City School District is shown in orange the mid right-hand area
Address
300 Kennedy Avenue
Duquesne, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, 15110
United States
Information
Type Public
Closed High School 2009, Middle School 2012
School board Allegheny Intermediate Unit
Oversight

Paul B Long state financial overseer (2013)[1]
Paul Rach, (August 2010)

Allegheny Intermediate Unit (2008-2011)[2]
Superintendent

Nedene Gullen, Acting Superintendent (2014)[3]

Ms Barbara E McDonnell, Acting Superintendent (2013-2014) former
Administrator

Mrs Nedene M Gullen, Business Manager

Ms Barbara E McDonnell, administrator
Staff 55 non teaching staff[4]
Faculty 30 teachers (2014), 42.5 teachers (2010)[5]
Grades PreK-6th (2014), K-6th (2012) K-8th (2010), K-12th (2008)
Age 4 years old to 12 years old
Pupils

366 pupils (2014),[6]
409 pupils (2012),[7]
407 (K-8) (2010-11)[8]
500 pupils (2008-09)

714 pupils (K-12) (2006-07)
 • Kindergarten 78 (2012),[9] 56 (2010)
 • Grade 1 62 (2012), 66
 • Grade 2 56 (2012), 43
 • Grade 3 40 (2012), 36
 • Grade 4 45 (2012), 36
 • Grade 5 36 (2012), 46
 • Grade 6 37 (2012), 42
 • Grade 7 0 (2012), 44
 • Grade 8 0 (2012), 38 (2010)
 • Grade 9 0 (2010)
 • Grade 10 0 (2010)
 • Grade 11 0 (2010)
 • Grade 12 0 (2010)
Language English
USNWR ranking 496th out of 500 PA public school districts
Budget $17 million (2013), $15 million 2012-13 [10]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $11,181.70, HS - $21,366.82 [11]
Per pupil Spending $18,021 in 2008
Per Pupil Spending $19,453.79 in 2010
Website

Duquesne City School District is a tiny, suburban public school district in the state of Pennsylvania. It is located in the east hills of Allegheny County, and serves the City of Duquesne (upwards of 7,000 residents), a former mill town on the banks of the Monongahela River. Duquesne City School District encompasses approximately 2 square miles. Per 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 7,352. According to 2010 federal census data, the resident population declined sharply to 5,566 people. The educational attainment levels for the Duquesne City School District population (25 years old and over) were 89.5% high school graduates and 9.2% college graduates.[12]

In 2009, per capita income was $12,067, while the median family income was $25,898.[13] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the median family income was $49,501[14] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[15] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[16]

The District operates one school. In 2014, the District reports 366 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 100% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 24.5% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 0.5% are identified as gifted.[17] 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.[18] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

District officials report that in school year 2005-2006, the Duquense City School District provided basic educational services to 913 pupils through the employment of 80 teachers, 60 full-time and part-time support personnel and 9 administrators. The student–teacher ratio was reported as 11:1. The District provided basic educational services to 446 pupils. The District employed: 51 teachers, 42 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. Duquesne City School District received $11 million in state funding in the 2009-2010 school year.

Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, students in grades 7 and 8 are given a tuition voucher to attend one of 2 neighboring school districts. The school is the student's choice. Duquesne City provides transportation. The tuition is paid by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As of 2007, students who lived in Duquesne attend Duquesne City schools from grades K to 8. Students in grades 9 to 12 are given the choice to attend either the West Mifflin Area School District or the East Allegheny School District. This state-controlled initiative was a response to low standardized test scores, and a dearth of extra-curricular activities and sports programs at Duquesne City. The district's operations were run by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Duquesne City is one of four Pennsylvania school districts that does not operate a high school. Bryn Athyn School District, Midland Borough School District, and Saint Clair Area School District also do not operate a high school.

Contents

  • Academic achievement 1
    • Eighth Grade 1.1
    • Seventh grade 1.2
    • Sixth grade 1.3
    • Fifth Grade 1.4
    • Fourth Grade 1.5
    • Third Grade 1.6
  • Special education 2
  • Budget 3
    • State basic education funding 3.1
      • Accountability Block Grants 3.1.1
      • Ready to Learn grant 3.1.2
      • School Improvement grant 3.1.3
      • Classrooms for the Future 3.1.4
      • Science It’s Elementary grant 3.1.5
      • Education Assistance Grant 3.1.6
    • Other grants 3.2
    • Federal Stimulus grant 3.3
    • Race to the Top grant 3.4
    • Real estate taxes 3.5
      • Act 1 Adjusted index 3.5.1
  • Student wellness 4
  • Enrollment Declining High School Closed 5
  • References 6

Academic achievement

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying Duquesne City School District school as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Duquesne City School is among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. The School remains on the lowest achieving list in 2014.[19] Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[20] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[21] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all their schools placed on the list, including Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[22] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Western Region ranking

Duquesne City School District was ranked 103rd out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 20214 by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[23] Duquesne City School District was ranked 105th out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing 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. The district was no longer included in the statewide ranking when the high school closed.

  • 2008 - 105th of the Western Pennsylvania school districts and 496th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts.
Attendance Rate
  • 2011 - 90.76%
  • 2010 - 89% [24]
  • 2009 - 90% [25]
  • 2008 - 87% [26]

The high school ranked 116th of 123 high school in western Pennsylvania for academic achievement based on three years of PSSA results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science, by Pittsburgh Business Times in May 2009.[27] The school was closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

District Adequate Yearly Progress history

In 2011, Duquesne City School District declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to achieving 0 out of 8 metrics.[28] In 2010, the school district is in School Improvements II.[29] The scores fell from the 2008-09 to 2009-10.[30]

Eighth Grade

In 2010, Duquesne City's 8th grade was ranked 105th out of 105 district 8th grades, in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31]

The eighth grade ranked 141st out of 141 western Pennsylvania eighth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[32]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 37% on grade level. State - 81% of 8th graders were on grade level.[33]
  • 2009 - 44%, State - 80.9%[34]
  • 2008 - 34%, State - 78% on grade level
  • 2007 - 20%, State - 75%[35]
8th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 26% on grade level. State - 71% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 14%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 31%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 45%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 2.9% on grade level. State - 57% on grade level.[36]
  • 2009 - 6%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 2%, State - 50%

Seventh grade

In 2010, Duquesne City's 7th grade was ranked 105th out of 105 district 7th grades, in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31]

7th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 21% on grade level (56% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 21% (50% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2009 - 14%, State - 71%
7th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 36% on grade level (49% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 28% (57% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 28%, State - 75%

Sixth grade

In 2010, Duquesne City's 6th grade was ranked 105th out of 105 district 6th grades, in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31]

6th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 12% (72% below basic). State - 69.9%
  • 2010 - 8% (73% below basic). State - 68%
  • 2009 - 17%, State - 67%
6th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 16% on grade level (63% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 16% (63% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 45%, State - 72%

Fifth Grade

In 2010, Duquesne City's 5th grade was ranked 105th out of 105 district 5th grades, in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31]

In 2009, Duquesne City's 5th grade was ranked 289th out of 291 fifth grades in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[37]

5th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 24% on grade level (44% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 5% (68% below basic). State - 64%
  • 2009 - 17%, State - 64%
  • 2008 - 13%, State - 61%
  • 2007 - 17%
5th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 50% on grade level (28% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 16% (54% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2009 - 19%, State - 73%
  • 2008 - 30%, State - 73%
  • 2007 - 40%, State - 71%

Fourth Grade

In 2012, Duquesne City's 4th grade was ranked 306th out of 307 4th grades in public school districts, in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[31] In 2010, the 4th grade ranked 105th locally.

4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 22%, (42% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 34%, (43% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 20%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 20%, State - 81%
  • 2007 - tested, results were not made public

Third Grade

In 2012, Duquesne City's 3rd grade was ranked 321st out of 321 3rd grades, in schools in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[38]

  • 2011 - 322nd locally.
  • 2010 - 105th [31]
  • 2009 - 325th out of 327 third grades in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[39]

Special education

In December 2012, the Duquesne City School District Administration reported that 117 pupils or 30.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 20.5% identified as having a specific learning disability. In 2010, the Duquesne City School District Administration reported that 130 pupils or 28.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 33% identified as having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the administration reported that 118 pupils or 23% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[40]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team. 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 request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.[41]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[42] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[43] Overidentification 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.[44]

Duquesne City School District received a $617,037 supplement for special education services in 2010.[45] 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.[46][47] For the 2014-2015 school year, Duquesne City School District received an increase to $637,378 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[48] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Budget

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.[49]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Duquesne City School District was $63,651 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $22,178.68 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $85,830.[50] In 2012, the District employed 38 teachers with an average salary of $65,167 and a top salary of $97,418.[51][52]

Dusquesne City School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.) [53] After 40 years of service, a teacher can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[54]

In 2009, the district employed over 70 teachers. The beginning salary is $35,226 and the top salary of $74,984 paid to several teachers and administrators.[55] The district is managed by the Pittsburgh School District.

In 2007, the district employed 54 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $45,733 for 180 days worked.[56][57] 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.[58] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[59] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[60]

Under the direction of PASBO, a team of school business officaals, conducted a total study and analysis of the Business Department of the Duquesne City School District in 2006. This review was requested by the School District of Pittsburgh as part of their intergovernmental agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to manage the Duquesne City School District. It noted a deficit of over $4 million, a sharp decline (24%) in student enrollment, and a declining tax base as challenges for the district.[61]

Administration costs Duquesne City administrative costs in 2008 were $818.11 per pupil which ranked 175th in the Commonwealth. The lowest administrative cost per pupil, in Pennsylvania, was $398 in 2008.[62]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Duquesne City School District reported spending $18,021 per pupil. This ranked 21st in the commonwealth.[63] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $18,820.95.[64] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[65] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[66]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[67] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[66] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[68] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[69]

Reserves

In 2008, the school district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,334,796.00.[70]

Debt

In 2010, the board decided to borrow funds to make facility upgrades costing $645,000.[71]

Audit

In October 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Multiple significant findings were reported to the administration and school board. Two teachers were employed whose certifications had expired.[72] In 2011, the District was audited again. It was found that administration had failed to address issues from the previous audit. It continued to give inaccurate information to the state regarding enrollment and services.[73]

In 2010, the district faced serious financial issues which prompted the state to take over the district. In 2011, the District faced another budget crisis. The tax base can no longer sustain the district. The state agreed to fund the district for the 2011-12 school year. In 2012, the children will be reassigned to neighboring districts and the Duquesne City Schools will be closed.[74]

In 2011, the state board of Control which governs the district approved a $14 million budget which included furloughing 19 teachers. This will raise class sizes to 20 students per teacher. Also furloughed were four janitors, the parent liaison and the technology specialist. The extracurricular and sports programs were not cut for 2011-12. It will be the district's last year for athletics programs. The state anticipates sending children to other school district starting 2012-13 on a tuition basis.[75][76]

Duquesne City School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes.[77] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[78]

State basic education funding

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Duquesne City School District receives 72.7% of its annual revenue from the state. This is among the highest state funding ratio in Pennsylvania.[79]

For the 2014-15 school year, Duquesne City School District will receive $8,573,762 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $170,449 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[80] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[81]

In the 2013-2014 school year, the Duquesne City School District received $$8,568,333 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $66,470 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Duquesne City School District received $110,911 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, South Fayette Township School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 5.5%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[82] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[83] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[84]

For the 2012-13 school year, Duquesne City School District received $8,501,863.[85] 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. Duquesne City School District received $110,911 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.[86] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Duquesne City School District received $8,502,012 in state Basic Education Funding. The exceptionally high increase in funding is part of a state plan to see the district through the 2011-12 school year and then close it completely.[75][87] Additionally, the district will receive $179,723 in Accountability Block Grant funding.[88]

For 2010-11 school year, Duquesne City School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $6,427,396 payment.[89] South Fayette Township School District received an 11.32% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Allegheny County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[90]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,302,414. 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.[91] Chartiers Valley School District received an 8.19% increase, the highest increase in Allegheny County 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.[92]

The state Basic Education funding to the District, in 2008-09, was $5,897,045.35. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 890 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[93]

Accountability Block Grants

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11 the Duquesne City School District applied for and received $304,041 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 5th year.[94][95]

Ready to Learn grant

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[96]

Duquesne City School District will receive $170,449, in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant funding, PreK Counts funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

School Improvement grant

In 2010 the Duquesne Consolidated School was awarded a School Improvement grant - Transformation, of $1,391,872. As a part of the federal stimulus program, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the US Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[97] The Pennsylvania Department of Education identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[98] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[99]

Classrooms for the Future

The district did not qualify for any funding because it did not operate a high school.

Science It’s Elementary grant

Duquesne Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09.[100] For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[101] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[102] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[103] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The school district administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated for the program.[104] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state’s 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

Education Assistance Grant

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 School District received $99,931.[105] In 2003-04, Governor Rendell signed into law the EAP for targeted tutoring at a funding level of $38 million. Almost 35,000 students in 82 academically challenged school districts received extra help in the first year. The program was continued at the same funding level in 2004-05. In 2005-06, the program received $66 million in funding and expanded to support tutoring in 175 school districts and Career and Technical Centers.

Other grants

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[106][107] PreK Counts preschool grants; and 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[108]

Federal Stimulus grant

Duquesne City School District received $1,505,902 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[109]

Race to the Top grant

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. The district is identified as a turnaround district due to the chronically low academic achievement of its students. When approved for the grant, the district will receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Turnaround status also brings an extra $700 per student, in supplemental funding above the basic grant amount.[110] 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.[111] 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.[112]

Real estate taxes

The Duquesne City Board of Control set property tax rates in 2014-15 at 17.5000 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. 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.[113]

  • 2013-14 - 17.5000 mills
  • 2012-13 - 21.0000 mills[114]
  • 2005-06 through 2011-12 property taxes were set at 21.1000 mills.[115]

Act 1 Adjusted index

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.[116]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Duquesne City School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[117]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Duquesne City School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[122] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[123]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Duquesne City School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[124]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Duquesne City School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 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.[125]

Duquesne City School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[126][127] 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.[128]

Student wellness

All Pennsylvania school districts are required to have a student wellness policy. The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[129]

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.[130] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[131] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[132]

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.[133] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[134] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.

In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[135] The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[136][137]

Duquesne City School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. A nurse is available in the building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[138][139] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[140]

Enrollment Declining High School Closed

By the order of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education under School Code section 1607.1(c), the 9-12 grade students in the Duquesne School District may choose to attend West Mifflin Area High School or East Allegheny High School. The receiving districts are given tuition for each pupil. West Mifflin Area student tuition is $9,060.25 for each student. They are ordered to take 65% of the students from each grade 9-12. East Allegheny School District will receive a tuition payment of $8,811.22. It must accept 35% of the students from each grade.[141]

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