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Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan

This Recovery Plan is put forth to specify measures to be taken to bring the Duquesne City School District out of severe financial recovery status, in accordance with the Act 141 of 2012 and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis’ declaration of November 16, 2012. The Act describes aspects of financial recovery status procedure, status declaration, planning, Plan implementation and status termination. The Secretary of Education’s letter declared the Duquesne City School District to be in severe financial recovery status.

 

Please click on the link below to view/download the report in full.  

DCSD Recovery Plan

 

Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Second Amendment

Since implementation of the Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan in April 2013, progress has been made in achieving the Plan's dual goal of improved education for the students of Duquesne and stable, sustainable finances for the Duquesne City School District.  Continued progress toward this dual goal will be enabled by amending the original Plan.  Please click on the link to read more about the Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Pland Second Amendment.

 

Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report Supplemental Information

 For a historical summary of the Duquesne City School District severe financial recovery status, receivership and criteria for exiting recovery status, click on this link: Quarterly Progress Report Supplemental Information

Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report 

Below is the Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report for October 15, 2016.  If you wish to view previous quarterly reports, please click on the link on the  left side named  "Prior Reports".

 

The Duquesne City School District

300 Kennedy Avenue

Duquesne, PA 15110

 

Recovery Plan

Quarterly Progress Report

 

October 15, 2017

 

Purpose

 

This report updates progress on the Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan, which was issued on February 11, 2013 and implemented on April 2, 2013. Section 672-A(b)(2) of the Public School Code of Pennsylvania requires this report. The period covered is the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, i.e. July 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017. The previous quarterly progress report in the series is dated July 15, 2017.

 

Executive Summary

 

Several highlights of interest from this report follow.

-          Recovery Plan implementation has continued in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018.

-          The Duquesne City School District (DCSD) continues to operate pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at the Duquesne Elementary School (DES).

-          Continued operation of DES is planned for the foreseeable future.

-          Student enrollment at DES to date is 341, an increase compared to both the beginning and the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

-          Efforts to improve curriculum and instruction at DES continue. See details in the section below titled Education.  

-          DCSD finances have been stable and are expected to be sustainable, although a year-end deficit of $505,909 is projected, due primarily to the increased tuition rate for secondary students attending West Mifflin Area (WMA) and East Allegheny (EA) schools.

-          Total enrollment of DCSD resident secondary students at WMA and EA at the beginning of the 2017-218 school year was 229, down from 300 at the beginning of 2016-2017.

-          Total charter school enrollments in kindergarten through twelfth grade at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year was 212, down from 230 at the beginning of 2016-2017.

-          Annual tuition to be paid by Duquesne for students attending school elsewhere in 2017-2018 is projected to be $7,853,756, an increase of $247,178 (unaudited) from 2016-2017.

 

Supplemental Information

 

Please see the DCSD website, dukecitysd.org, for an historical summary of the School District’s severe financial recovery status, its receivership and criteria for exiting recovery status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implementation Narrative

 

Information on Recovery Plan implementation is set forth in the following three sections of this report:

 

1.      Education (page 2)

2.      Finance (page 5)

3.      Governance and Administration (page 9)

 

Education

 

Historic DES enrollments and the 2017-2018 tenth day student enrollment at DES are displayed on the following table. It is noteworthy that DES enrollment has increased by eleven students at the beginning of 2017-2018, compared to the beginning of the previous school year. Although not depicted below, to date, DES enrollment stands at 341, an increase of 10 since the tenth day of school. That increase is attributed to late registrations and transfers.

 

Duquesne Elementary School

Student Enrollment

September 8, 2017

Grade >

Pre-K

K

1

2

3

4

5

6

Total

Sep 2015

24

56

48

50

59

39

36

40

352

Dec 2015

24

59

45

45

62

38

36

40

349

Mar 2016

27

60

46

45

58

39

36

37

348

Jun 2016

26

57

48

43

59

41

37

39

350

Sep 2016

23

50

45

42

35

52

39

34

320

Dec 2016

26

51

43

41

33

54

42

34

324

Mar 2017

29

54

44

40

33

58

42

35

335

Jun 2017

26

53

47

40

34

57

43

36

336

Sep 2017

29

39

47

46

42

35

52

41

331

 

Another look at enrollment is the following tabulation of current regular education sections and average class size at each grade.

 

Duquesne Elementary School

Regular Education Sections

September 8, 2017

Grade >

Pre-K

K

1

2

3

4

5

6

Total

Sections

2

3

3

3

2

2

3

2

20

Average

14.5

13.0

15.7

15.3

21.0

17.5

17.3

20.5

16.6

 

The Curriculum Steering Committee has continued its work with implementation and oversight of educational initiatives at Duquesne.  Under the leadership of Principal Jennifer Jennings, the committee meets regularly to discuss issues of student achievement, curriculum, effective instruction, professional development, comprehensive planning and administrative support at DES.  Other members of the Steering Committee are Superintendent Barbara McDonnell, Associate Principal Stanley Whiteman, Special Education Consultant Debra Zimarowski, Federal Programs Consultant Nancy Olenik, and DES’s four instructional coaches: Michelle Kimmell, Celeste Rudge, Jamie Schmidt and Samantha Utley. Furthermore, Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Barbara Mehalov regularly assists the Committee.

 

The Steering Committee met once during the quarter, on September 26, to consider social emotional curriculum to meet students’ diverse needs. In consultation with School Psychologist Dr. Brooke Waterson, the committee recommended the adoption of the Second Step program, which would be phased in beginning in the 2017-2018 school year with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. The School Level Leadership Team subsequently endorsed the Steering Committee’s recommendation. Final approval for implementation at the School District level is expected in the near future.   

 

The instructional coaches and principals have been working closely with faculty on several different topics.  Implementation of Daily 5 (reading instruction) and Daily 3 (mathematics instruction) has been a major focus. Another focus has been examination of data to inform instruction, which is done every Wednesday by instructional coaches, principals and teachers.  Teachers are identifying learning goals for respective grades and individual students, which are based on PSSA and benchmarking assessment results. Instruction to achieve learning goals is monitored and encouraged by frequent walk-throughs and observations by principals and instructional coaches. Simultaneously, emphasis has been placed on guided reading practices, text dependent analysis, math practices and integration of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) into everyday learning.

 

During the quarter, there have been three major improvements to instructional technology at DES. First, 200 new iPads were obtained so every student in the school can now use an iPad during the school day. Second, a computer lab has been updated with 25 new iMacs. Third, DES received a $16,500 grant to upgrade the school library into a media space.  The renamed library, the Duquesne Media Center, will have additional desktop computers, interactive televisions and instructional devices.  

 

A comprehensive program of professional development began for the faculty with three in-service days at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.  Teachers participated in iPad training focusing on Apple Classroom and Apple Teacher Certification.  Also, a new learning management system, Schoology, was introduced to the staff. It has been used on a daily basis to post classroom assignments, homework and other parent communication tools. Finally, in-service provided the instructional coaches an opportunity to give teachers exercises in Daily 5, Daily 3, STEAM learning and student data management.

 

There were changes during the quarter to instructional staff that may impact education.  Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, two classroom teachers began maternity leave. One of the positions was filled by a regular member of the professional staff and the other was filled by a long term substitute. The regular faculty member was moved from a kindergarten class in mid-September when the section was collapsed and students were reassigned to the remaining three kindergarten sections. Also, for the new school year one emotional support (ES) class was closed, which left two ES classes. Finally, at the beginning of 2017-2018, a clerical position was added to assist with improving student attendance, reducing truancy and supporting student guidance.   

 

Dr. Linda Lane continued in her role as consultant to Principal Jennifer Jennings on matters of instructional leadership and school culture, especially in regard to implementation of the recently revised School Level Comprehensive Plan. Dr. Lane and Mrs. Jennings met on three occasions during the quarter: July 18, August 8 and August 11. The final report on her consultation was presented by Dr. Lane to the Chief Recovery Officer, Dr. Paul Rach and the Receiver, Dr. Paul Long, on September 27.

 

There were several assist and monitoring visits during the quarter. Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Mrs. Barbara Mehalov visited DES on August 25, September 7 and September 22 to meet with DES Principal Mrs. Jennifer Jennings and Associate Principal Mr. Stanley Whiteman. There were no federal programs visits during the quarter.  Special education monitor, Ms. Cortney Verner, visited the DCSD on one occasion during the quarter, on September 6, to meet with Special Education Consultant Ms. Debra Zimarowski.

 

Summary results of the 2017 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is presented below.  

 

Duquesne Elementary School

PSSA Results

2017

Assessment & Grade

% Below Basic

% Basic

% Proficient

% Advanced

ELA

 

 

 

 

3

38.7

38.7

22.6

0

4

40.0

44.0

14.0

2.0

5

57.6

30.3

12.1

0

6

37.9

48.3

13.8

0

Math

 

 

 

 

3

71.0

16.1

6.5

6.5

4

74.5

21.6

2.0

2.0

5

70.6

20.6

5.9

2.9

6

72.4

20.7

6.9

0

Science

 

 

 

 

4

23.1

44.2

28.8

3.8

 

 

 

 

 

The above 2017 PSSA data may be compared to the previous year results from 2016.

 

Duquesne Elementary School

PSSA Results

2016

Assessment & Grade

% Below Basic

% Basic

% Proficient

% Advanced

ELA

 

 

 

 

3

41.7

41.7

16.7

0

4

40.5

45.9

13.5

0

5

41.2

29.4

29.4

0

6

48.6

37.1

11.4

2.9

Math

 

 

 

 

3

72.0

18.0

8.0

2.0

4

67.6

21.6

8.1

2.7

5

52.9

44.1

2.9

0

6

71.4

17.1

11.4

0

Science

 

 

 

 

4

56.4

12.8

18.4

12.8

 

As previously reported, in his letter of May 11, Secretary Rivera announced the re-establishment of the Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The transition and education of Duquesne secondary students at West Mifflin and East Allegheny are to be addressed by the EAC. The first meeting of the re-established EAC was conducted at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) on September 29. All three school districts participated. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Secretary of Education Ms. Debbie Reeves, who was assisted by AIU Executive Director Dr. Linda Hippert. Regular meetings of the EAC are expected to be held in the foreseeable future.

 

Finance

 

Execution of the 2016-2017 General Fund Budget continued routinely during the first quarter. As previously reported, tuition invoices for Duquesne resident students attending West Mifflin Area (WMA) schools were contested until the dispute was resolved by a Release and Settlement Agreement on September 12, 2017 between PDE, WMA and Duquesne.  Other than the WMA resolved dispute, there have been no unpaid or contested invoices or debt service obligations during the quarter. Furthermore, all payroll, benefits and tuition payments have been made on time.

 

As previously reported, Duquesne’s 2017-2018 General Fund Budget was approved on June 27 and adopted on July 1. The budget, balanced at $18,154,290, is expected to support all approved curriculum, programs, services and staffing. An appropriation from fund balance was not expected to be necessary to balance the budget. However, for two main reasons, and several lesser ones, fund balance is expected to be used to complete the fiscal year. First, the Release and Settlement Agreement with WMA increases the per student annual tuition rate from $11,474.33, which was budgeted, to $12,718.23. The estimated impact of the increase is expected to be $372,524 if current WMA tuition enrollment remains unchanged. The actual impact will depend on the number of students who eventually attend WMA this year and whether a similar tuition increase will apply to students who attend EA. The net increase in all tuition expenditures for the school year is projected to increase by $247,178. The second main reason for potential use of fund balance is whether actual revenue from state sources will meet budged levels. To date, the 2017-2018 Commonwealth Budget remains incomplete for lack of a revenue budget. If the Commonwealth Budget is not balanced at its current level, subsidies and reimbursements to Duquesne could fall short of budgeted amounts, and it may become necessary to use fund balance.    

The following fund balance analysis is based on un-audited year-end results for 2016-2017 and the DCSD General Fund Budget for 2016-2017, with estimates of expenditure changes due to increased tuition expense, retirement contributions and staffing changes, as well as potential revenue reductions.

 

Duquesne City School District

General Fund

Fund Balance Analysis

September 30, 2017

Non-spendable

  

 

   Prepaids

$    190,000

 

   Accrued debt service subsidy

                 0

 

Total non-spendable

 

$   190,000

Restricted

 

                0

Committed

 

 

   Committed for extraordinary educational needs

 $ 1,000,000

 

   Committed for increases in PSERS contributions

       284,666

 

   Committed for increases in health benefit expense

       934,442

 

   Committed for capital improvements

       250,000

 

   Committed to refund Series 2013 Bonds when callable

    1,420,000

 

Total committed

 

  3,889,108

Assigned

 

                0

Unassigned

    

     920,892

Fund balance appropriation for the 2016-2017 budget

 

                0

Projected surplus (deficit) for the 2016-2017 budget

 

                0           

Total projected fund balance as of June 30, 2017 (unaudited)

 

  5,000,000

Fund balance appropriation for the 2017-2018 budget

 

                0

Projected surplus (deficit) for the 2017-2018 budget

 

    (505,909)           

Total projected fund balance as of June 30, 2018

 

 $4,494,091        

 

A key component of the DCSD’s financial recovery is reduction long term liabilities, most importantly interest bearing debt. A summary of bonds and notes payable is shown on the following table.

 

Duquesne City School District

Bonds and Notes Payable

September 30, 2017

Fiscal Year Ending

June 30

Bonds Payable

Notes Payable

Total Bonds and Notes Payable

2012*

$14,124,167

0

$14,124,167

2013*

  13,173,333

0

  13,173,333

2014*

    9,272,501

$1,000,000

  10,272,501

2015*

    6,616,667

  2,335,000

    8,951,667

2016*

    6,110,833

  1,500,000

    7,610,833

  2017**

   5,590,000

   1,000,000

    6,590,000

  2018**

$ 5,054,167

 $1,000,000

 $ 6,054,167

*     Audited financial statements

**   Projected

 

The Series 2013 bonds are callable in January 2019. It is the intention of the DCSD to call some or all of the 2013 bonds at that time. Cash to liquidate 2013 bonds will be from fund balance committed for that purpose and the proceeds of an interest free loan from PDE's Transition Loan Program, if transition loan funds are available and a loan is approved by PDE.

 

As in almost all school districts, the paramount aspect of finance at Duquesne is management of salary and benefit expenses. The following chart presents a summary of staffing at the DCSD as of September 1.

 

Duquesne City School District

2016-2017 Staffing Summary

September 1, 2017

Professional staff

39

Administrators *

4

Instructional support staff

20 

Coordinators and supervisors*

4

Other support staff

12

Confidential exempt staff

2

* In addition to DCSD staff, part time consultants have been utilized to assist in the following areas: instructional leadership and school culture (Dr. Linda Lane), special education administration (Ms. Debra Zimarowski), business administration (Mr. James Graham), federal programs administration (Ms. Nancy Olenik) and communications coordination (Ms. Sarah McCluan). Additionally, the part time Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL), Mrs. Barbara Mehalov, who is compensated by PDE, provides consultative services for curriculum and instruction administration. Also, the part time Chief Recovery Officer (CRO), Dr. Paul J. Rach, and the full time Receiver, Dr. Paul B. Long, both compensated by PDE, participate in administration and governance of the DCSD.

 

The current collective bargaining agreement between the DCSD and the Duquesne Education Association (DEA) expired on June 30, 2017. Negotiations for a new contract began on February 21, 2017 and are continuing. Until a new contract is fully ratified, the previous contract remains in effect as the status quo.

 

The current collective bargaining agreement between the DCSD and the Duquesne Educational Support Professionals Association (DESPA) runs until June 30, 2018. However, para-educators and personal care assistants, who had not been members of DESPA, voted to join the bargaining unit. Collective bargaining in regard to their inclusion in the bargaining unit began on February 21, 2017 and is continuing. 

 

Administrators, supervisors and confidential-exempt staff were given a 1.7% cost of living pay raise effective July 1. A second increment of pay raise, to be based on Pennsylvania School Performance Profile (PSPP) improvement, will be considered in the autumn.

 

On April 10, a regular audit by the Department of the Auditor General began. The audit will cover 2012-2013 and forward. To date, field work has been completed and the exit interview is awaited. As many as four findings are expected.

 

A major aspect of financial management at Duquesne is tuition for students attending school elsewhere. Current tuition enrollments are tabulated below.

 

Duquesne City School District

Tuition Enrollments

September 30, 2017

Receiving Schools

Grades

Students

June 1

Students

September 1

Projected 2017-2018 Tuition

West Mifflin Area School District

7-12

306

299

$3,802,751

East Allegheny  School District

7-12

  47

  30

    381,547

Charter schools, regular education

K-6

127

143

  1,871,571

Charter schools, special education

K-6

  18

  17

    544,324

Charter schools, regular education

7-12

  46

  38

    497,341

Charter schools, special education

7-12

  12

  14

    448,266

Special education schools

K-12

  13

  13

    223,571

Other schools

K-12

    9

    7

     84,385

Totals     

 

578

561

$7,853,756

 

Changes in individual tuition enrollment categories between the end of the 2016-2017 school year and the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year can be seen by comparing enrollments from June to September on the above table. Enrollment of Duquesne resident secondary students at both WMA and EA decreased by 24. Charter school enrollment increased by nine. The total number of tuition students declined by 17 students, however, projected overall tuition increased by $247,178.

 

The annual tuition rate for Duquesne students who attend school in WMA will be $12,718.23, as required by the recently executed Release and Settlement Agreement. This rate of tuition may also apply to Duquesne students attending EA, but to date, that is not clear. In both cases a rate of $11,472.33 was budgeted. On the above chart, the larger tuition rate, $12,718.23, is used to calculate the projected tuition for both WMA and EA. As in the past, the same rate is paid for both regular education students and special education students. PDE is expected to make future adjustments to the tuition rate.

 

Charter school tuition rates are normally set and regularly adjusted by PDE. The current annual tuition for each regular education student charter school student is $13,087.91. For each special education student who attends a charter school, the current annual tuition is $32,019.05.

 

Enrollments of Duquesne students in charter schools at key months over the last several years are depicted below.

 

Duquesne City School District

Charter School Enrollments

September 30, 2017

Month

Year

Elementary

Secondary

Total Enrollment

September

2015

132

54

186

March

2016

129

60

189

June

2016

131

61

192

September

2016

172

58

230

March

2017

145

62

207

June

2017

145

58

203

September

2017

160

52

212

           

 

Governance and Administration 

 

The Superintendent of the DCSD is Barbara E. McDonnell, M.Ed. She is supervised by Chief Recovery Officer Paul J. Rach, Ed.D. Both Ms. McDonnell and Dr. Rach report to the Receiver, Paul B. Long, Ed.D., who reports to the Duquesne City Board of School Directors, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (ACCCP). At PDE, Dr. Long reports to Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera via Executive Deputy Secretary of Education David W. Volkman, D.Ed. and Deputy Secretary of Education for Administration Debbie Reeves. At the ACCCP, Dr. Long reports to Senior Judge Judith L.A. Friedman.

 

The Duquesne City Board of School Directors consists of the following members.  

 

1.      Board President DeWayne Tucker

2.      Board Vice President Calvina Harris

3.      School Director Sonya Gooden

4.      School Director Burton Comensky

5.      School Director Laura Elmore

6.      School Director Christine Matsko

7.      School Director Rosia Reid

8.      School Director Cedric Robertson

9.      School Director Theresa Thomas

 

Members of the Duquesne City Board of School Directors participated in two receiver business meetings in the first quarter. Five school directors attended on August 8, and five attended on September 26. An executive session was held prior to each of the business meetings. The next series of meetings for the School Board is scheduled for October 24

 

The Receiver Advisory Council did not meet during the first quarter. The Council did meet on October 10.

 

Next Report

 

The next quarterly Recovery Plan Progress Report will cover the second quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, i.e. October 1 through December 31, 2017. That report is expected to be filed in January. 

 

Acknowledgements

 

The following individuals, all affiliated with the Duquesne City School District, contributed to this report.

 

1.      Paul J. Rach, Ed.D., Chief Recovery Officer

2.      Barbara E. McDonnell, M.Ed., Superintendent

3.      Nedene M. Gullen, Business Manager

4.      Jennifer M. Jennings, M.Ed., Principal, DES

5.      Stanley B. Whiteman III, M.Ed., Associate Principal, DES

6.      James E. Miller III, Technology Coordinator

7.      Debra M. Zimarowski, Special Education Consultant

8.      James B. Graham, Business Consultant

 

 

The Duquesne City School District 300 Kennedy Avenue Duquesne, PA 15110 Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 Purpose This report updates progress on the Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan, which was issued on February 11, 2013 and implemented on April 2, 2013. Section 672-A(b)(2) of the Public School Code of Pennsylvania requires this report. The period covered is the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, i.e. July 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017. The previous quarterly progress report in the series is dated July 15, 2017. Executive Summary Several highlights of interest from this report follow. - Recovery Plan implementation has continued in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018. - The Duquesne City School District (DCSD) continues to operate pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at the Duquesne Elementary School (DES). - Continued operation of DES is planned for the foreseeable future. - Student enrollment at DES to date is 341, an increase compared to both the beginning and the end of the 2016-2017 school year. - Efforts to improve curriculum and instruction at DES continue. See details in the section below titled Education. - DCSD finances have been stable and are expected to be sustainable, although a year-end deficit of $505,909 is projected, due primarily to the increased tuition rate for secondary students attending West Mifflin Area (WMA) and East Allegheny (EA) schools. - Total enrollment of DCSD resident secondary students at WMA and EA at the beginning of the 2017-218 school year was 229, down from 300 at the beginning of 2016-2017. - Total charter school enrollments in kindergarten through twelfth grade at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year was 212, down from 230 at the beginning of 2016-2017. - Annual tuition to be paid by Duquesne for students attending school elsewhere in 2017- 2018 is projected to be $7,853,756, an increase of $247,178 (unaudited) from 2016-2017. Supplemental Information Please see the DCSD website, dukecitysd.org, for an historical summary of the School District’s severe financial recovery status, its receivership and criteria for exiting recovery status. Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 2 Implementation Narrative Information on Recovery Plan implementation is set forth in the following three sections of this report: 1. Education (page 2) 2. Finance (page 5) 3. Governance and Administration (page 9) Education Historic DES enrollments and the 2017-2018 tenth day student enrollment at DES are displayed on the following table. It is noteworthy that DES enrollment has increased by eleven students at the beginning of 2017-2018, compared to the beginning of the previous school year. Although not depicted below, to date, DES enrollment stands at 341, an increase of 10 since the tenth day of school. That increase is attributed to late registrations and transfers. Duquesne Elementary School Student Enrollment September 8, 2017 Grade > Pre-K K 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Sep 2015 24 56 48 50 59 39 36 40 352 Dec 2015 24 59 45 45 62 38 36 40 349 Mar 2016 27 60 46 45 58 39 36 37 348 Jun 2016 26 57 48 43 59 41 37 39 350 Sep 2016 23 50 45 42 35 52 39 34 320 Dec 2016 26 51 43 41 33 54 42 34 324 Mar 2017 29 54 44 40 33 58 42 35 335 Jun 2017 26 53 47 40 34 57 43 36 336 Sep 2017 29 39 47 46 42 35 52 41 331 Another look at enrollment is the following tabulation of current regular education sections and average class size at each grade. Duquesne Elementary School Regular Education Sections September 8, 2017 Grade > Pre-K K 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Sections 2 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 20 Average 14.5 13.0 15.7 15.3 21.0 17.5 17.3 20.5 16.6 The Curriculum Steering Committee has continued its work with implementation and oversight of educational initiatives at Duquesne. Under the leadership of Principal Jennifer Jennings, the committee meets regularly to discuss issues of student achievement, curriculum, effective Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 3 instruction, professional development, comprehensive planning and administrative support at DES. Other members of the Steering Committee are Superintendent Barbara McDonnell, Associate Principal Stanley Whiteman, Special Education Consultant Debra Zimarowski, Federal Programs Consultant Nancy Olenik, and DES’s four instructional coaches: Michelle Kimmell, Celeste Rudge, Jamie Schmidt and Samantha Utley. Furthermore, Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Barbara Mehalov regularly assists the Committee. The Steering Committee met once during the quarter, on September 26, to consider social emotional curriculum to meet students’ diverse needs. In consultation with School Psychologist Dr. Brooke Waterson, the committee recommended the adoption of the Second Step program, which would be phased in beginning in the 2017-2018 school year with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. The School Level Leadership Team subsequently endorsed the Steering Committee’s recommendation. Final approval for implementation at the School District level is expected in the near future. The instructional coaches and principals have been working closely with faculty on several different topics. Implementation of Daily 5 (reading instruction) and Daily 3 (mathematics instruction) has been a major focus. Another focus has been examination of data to inform instruction, which is done every Wednesday by instructional coaches, principals and teachers. Teachers are identifying learning goals for respective grades and individual students, which are based on PSSA and benchmarking assessment results. Instruction to achieve learning goals is monitored and encouraged by frequent walk-throughs and observations by principals and instructional coaches. Simultaneously, emphasis has been placed on guided reading practices, text dependent analysis, math practices and integration of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) into everyday learning. During the quarter, there have been three major improvements to instructional technology at DES. First, 200 new iPads were obtained so every student in the school can now use an iPad during the school day. Second, a computer lab has been updated with 25 new iMacs. Third, DES received a $16,500 grant to upgrade the school library into a media space. The renamed library, the Duquesne Media Center, will have additional desktop computers, interactive televisions and instructional devices. A comprehensive program of professional development began for the faculty with three inservice days at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Teachers participated in iPad training focusing on Apple Classroom and Apple Teacher Certification. Also, a new learning management system, Schoology, was introduced to the staff. It has been used on a daily basis to post classroom assignments, homework and other parent communication tools. Finally, inservice provided the instructional coaches an opportunity to give teachers exercises in Daily 5, Daily 3, STEAM learning and student data management. There were changes during the quarter to instructional staff that may impact education. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, two classroom teachers began maternity leave. One of the positions was filled by a regular member of the professional staff and the other was filled by a long term substitute. The regular faculty member was moved from a kindergarten class in mid- Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 4 September when the section was collapsed and students were reassigned to the remaining three kindergarten sections. Also, for the new school year one emotional support (ES) class was closed, which left two ES classes. Finally, at the beginning of 2017-2018, a clerical position was added to assist with improving student attendance, reducing truancy and supporting student guidance. Dr. Linda Lane continued in her role as consultant to Principal Jennifer Jennings on matters of instructional leadership and school culture, especially in regard to implementation of the recently revised School Level Comprehensive Plan. Dr. Lane and Mrs. Jennings met on three occasions during the quarter: July 18, August 8 and August 11. The final report on her consultation was presented by Dr. Lane to the Chief Recovery Officer, Dr. Paul Rach and the Receiver, Dr. Paul Long, on September 27. There were several assist and monitoring visits during the quarter. Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Mrs. Barbara Mehalov visited DES on August 25, September 7 and September 22 to meet with DES Principal Mrs. Jennifer Jennings and Associate Principal Mr. Stanley Whiteman. There were no federal programs visits during the quarter. Special education monitor, Ms. Cortney Verner, visited the DCSD on one occasion during the quarter, on September 6, to meet with Special Education Consultant Ms. Debra Zimarowski. Summary results of the 2017 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is presented below. Duquesne Elementary School PSSA Results 2017 Assessment & Grade % Below Basic % Basic % Proficient % Advanced ELA 3 38.7 38.7 22.6 0 4 40.0 44.0 14.0 2.0 5 57.6 30.3 12.1 0 6 37.9 48.3 13.8 0 Math 3 71.0 16.1 6.5 6.5 4 74.5 21.6 2.0 2.0 5 70.6 20.6 5.9 2.9 6 72.4 20.7 6.9 0 Science 4 23.1 44.2 28.8 3.8 Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 5 The above 2017 PSSA data may be compared to the previous year results from 2016. Duquesne Elementary School PSSA Results 2016 Assessment & Grade % Below Basic % Basic % Proficient % Advanced ELA 3 41.7 41.7 16.7 0 4 40.5 45.9 13.5 0 5 41.2 29.4 29.4 0 6 48.6 37.1 11.4 2.9 Math 3 72.0 18.0 8.0 2.0 4 67.6 21.6 8.1 2.7 5 52.9 44.1 2.9 0 6 71.4 17.1 11.4 0 Science 4 56.4 12.8 18.4 12.8 As previously reported, in his letter of May 11, Secretary Rivera announced the re-establishment of the Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The transition and education of Duquesne secondary students at West Mifflin and East Allegheny are to be addressed by the EAC. The first meeting of the re-established EAC was conducted at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) on September 29. All three school districts participated. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Secretary of Education Ms. Debbie Reeves, who was assisted by AIU Executive Director Dr. Linda Hippert. Regular meetings of the EAC are expected to be held in the foreseeable future. Finance Execution of the 2016-2017 General Fund Budget continued routinely during the first quarter. As previously reported, tuition invoices for Duquesne resident students attending West Mifflin Area (WMA) schools were contested until the dispute was resolved by a Release and Settlement Agreement on September 12, 2017 between PDE, WMA and Duquesne. Other than the WMA resolved dispute, there have been no unpaid or contested invoices or debt service obligations during the quarter. Furthermore, all payroll, benefits and tuition payments have been made on time. As previously reported, Duquesne’s 2017-2018 General Fund Budget was approved on June 27 and adopted on July 1. The budget, balanced at $18,154,290, is expected to support all approved curriculum, programs, services and staffing. An appropriation from fund balance was not expected to be necessary to balance the budget. However, for two main reasons, and several lesser ones, fund balance is expected to be used to complete the fiscal year. First, the Release and Settlement Agreement with WMA increases the per student annual tuition rate from $11,474.33, which was budgeted, to $12,718.23. The estimated impact of the increase is expected to be Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 6 $372,524 if current WMA tuition enrollment remains unchanged. The actual impact will depend on the number of students who eventually attend WMA this year and whether a similar tuition increase will apply to students who attend EA. The net increase in all tuition expenditures for the school year is projected to increase by $247,178. The second main reason for potential use of fund balance is whether actual revenue from state sources will meet budged levels. To date, the 2017-2018 Commonwealth Budget remains incomplete for lack of a revenue budget. If the Commonwealth Budget is not balanced at its current level, subsidies and reimbursements to Duquesne could fall short of budgeted amounts, and it may become necessary to use fund balance. The following fund balance analysis is based on un-audited year-end results for 2016-2017 and the DCSD General Fund Budget for 2016-2017, with estimates of expenditure changes due to increased tuition expense, retirement contributions and staffing changes, as well as potential revenue reductions. Duquesne City School District General Fund Fund Balance Analysis September 30, 2017 Non-spendable Prepaids $ 190,000 Accrued debt service subsidy 0 Total non-spendable $ 190,000 Restricted 0 Committed Committed for extraordinary educational needs $ 1,000,000 Committed for increases in PSERS contributions 284,666 Committed for increases in health benefit expense 934,442 Committed for capital improvements 250,000 Committed to refund Series 2013 Bonds when callable 1,420,000 Total committed 3,889,108 Assigned 0 Unassigned 920,892 Fund balance appropriation for the 2016-2017 budget 0 Projected surplus (deficit) for the 2016-2017 budget 0 Total projected fund balance as of June 30, 2017 (unaudited) 5,000,000 Fund balance appropriation for the 2017-2018 budget 0 Projected surplus (deficit) for the 2017-2018 budget (505,909) Total projected fund balance as of June 30, 2018 $4,494,091 A key component of the DCSD’s financial recovery is reduction long term liabilities, most importantly interest bearing debt. A summary of bonds and notes payable is shown on the following table. Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 7 Duquesne City School District Bonds and Notes Payable September 30, 2017 Fiscal Year Ending June 30 Bonds Payable Notes Payable Total Bonds and Notes Payable 2012* $14,124,167 0 $14,124,167 2013* 13,173,333 0 13,173,333 2014* 9,272,501 $1,000,000 10,272,501 2015* 6,616,667 2,335,000 8,951,667 2016* 6,110,833 1,500,000 7,610,833 2017** 5,590,000 1,000,000 6,590,000 2018** $ 5,054,167 $1,000,000 $ 6,054,167 * Audited financial statements ** Projected The Series 2013 bonds are callable in January 2019. It is the intention of the DCSD to call some or all of the 2013 bonds at that time. Cash to liquidate 2013 bonds will be from fund balance committed for that purpose and the proceeds of an interest free loan from PDE's Transition Loan Program, if transition loan funds are available and a loan is approved by PDE. As in almost all school districts, the paramount aspect of finance at Duquesne is management of salary and benefit expenses. The following chart presents a summary of staffing at the DCSD as of September 1. Duquesne City School District 2016-2017 Staffing Summary September 1, 2017 Professional staff 39 Administrators * 4 Instructional support staff 20 Coordinators and supervisors* 4 Other support staff 12 Confidential exempt staff 2 * In addition to DCSD staff, part time consultants have been utilized to assist in the following areas: instructional leadership and school culture (Dr. Linda Lane), special education administration (Ms. Debra Zimarowski), business administration (Mr. James Graham), federal programs administration (Ms. Nancy Olenik) and communications coordination (Ms. Sarah McCluan). Additionally, the part time Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL), Mrs. Barbara Mehalov, who is compensated by PDE, provides consultative services for curriculum and instruction administration. Also, the part time Chief Recovery Officer (CRO), Dr. Paul J. Rach, and the full time Receiver, Dr. Paul B. Long, both compensated by PDE, participate in administration and governance of the DCSD. The current collective bargaining agreement between the DCSD and the Duquesne Education Association (DEA) expired on June 30, 2017. Negotiations for a new contract began on February 21, 2017 and are continuing. Until a new contract is fully ratified, the previous contract remains in effect as the status quo. Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 8 The current collective bargaining agreement between the DCSD and the Duquesne Educational Support Professionals Association (DESPA) runs until June 30, 2018. However, para-educators and personal care assistants, who had not been members of DESPA, voted to join the bargaining unit. Collective bargaining in regard to their inclusion in the bargaining unit began on February 21, 2017 and is continuing. Administrators, supervisors and confidential-exempt staff were given a 1.7% cost of living pay raise effective July 1. A second increment of pay raise, to be based on Pennsylvania School Performance Profile (PSPP) improvement, will be considered in the autumn. On April 10, a regular audit by the Department of the Auditor General began. The audit will cover 2012-2013 and forward. To date, field work has been completed and the exit interview is awaited. As many as four findings are expected. A major aspect of financial management at Duquesne is tuition for students attending school elsewhere. Current tuition enrollments are tabulated below. Duquesne City School District Tuition Enrollments September 30, 2017 Receiving Schools Grades Students June 1 Students September 1 Projected 2017-2018 Tuition West Mifflin Area School District 7-12 306 299 $3,802,751 East Allegheny School District 7-12 47 30 381,547 Charter schools, regular education K-6 127 143 1,871,571 Charter schools, special education K-6 18 17 544,324 Charter schools, regular education 7-12 46 38 497,341 Charter schools, special education 7-12 12 14 448,266 Special education schools K-12 13 13 223,571 Other schools K-12 9 7 84,385 Totals 578 561 $7,853,756 Changes in individual tuition enrollment categories between the end of the 2016-2017 school year and the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year can be seen by comparing enrollments from June to September on the above table. Enrollment of Duquesne resident secondary students at both WMA and EA decreased by 24. Charter school enrollment increased by nine. The total number of tuition students declined by 17 students, however, projected overall tuition increased by $247,178. The annual tuition rate for Duquesne students who attend school in WMA will be $12,718.23, as required by the recently executed Release and Settlement Agreement. This rate of tuition may also apply to Duquesne students attending EA, but to date, that is not clear. In both cases a rate of $11,472.33 was budgeted. On the above chart, the larger tuition rate, $12,718.23, is used to calculate the projected tuition for both WMA and EA. As in the past, the same rate is paid for Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 9 both regular education students and special education students. PDE is expected to make future adjustments to the tuition rate. Charter school tuition rates are normally set and regularly adjusted by PDE. The current annual tuition for each regular education student charter school student is $13,087.91. For each special education student who attends a charter school, the current annual tuition is $32,019.05. Enrollments of Duquesne students in charter schools at key months over the last several years are depicted below. Duquesne City School District Charter School Enrollments September 30, 2017 Month Year Elementary Secondary Total Enrollment September 2015 132 54 186 March 2016 129 60 189 June 2016 131 61 192 September 2016 172 58 230 March 2017 145 62 207 June 2017 145 58 203 September 2017 160 52 212 Governance and Administration The Superintendent of the DCSD is Barbara E. McDonnell, M.Ed. She is supervised by Chief Recovery Officer Paul J. Rach, Ed.D. Both Ms. McDonnell and Dr. Rach report to the Receiver, Paul B. Long, Ed.D., who reports to the Duquesne City Board of School Directors, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (ACCCP). At PDE, Dr. Long reports to Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera via Executive Deputy Secretary of Education David W. Volkman, D.Ed. and Deputy Secretary of Education for Administration Debbie Reeves. At the ACCCP, Dr. Long reports to Senior Judge Judith L.A. Friedman. The Duquesne City Board of School Directors consists of the following members. 1. Board President DeWayne Tucker 2. Board Vice President Calvina Harris 3. School Director Sonya Gooden 4. School Director Burton Comensky 5. School Director Laura Elmore 6. School Director Christine Matsko 7. School Director Rosia Reid 8. School Director Cedric Robertson 9. School Director Theresa Thomas Duquesne City School District Recovery Plan Quarterly Progress Report October 15, 2017 10 Members of the Duquesne City Board of School Directors participated in two receiver business meetings in the first quarter. Five school directors attended on August 8, and five attended on September 26. An executive session was held prior to each of the business meetings. The next series of meetings for the School Board is scheduled for October 24 The Receiver Advisory Council did not meet during the first quarter. The Council did meet on October 10. Next Report The next quarterly Recovery Plan Progress Report will cover the second quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, i.e. October 1 through December 31, 2017. That report is expected to be filed in January. Acknowledgements The following individuals, all affiliated with the Duquesne City School District, contributed to this report. 1. Paul J. Rach, Ed.D., Chief Recovery Officer 2. Barbara E. McDonnell, M.Ed., Superintendent 3. Nedene M. Gullen, Business Manager 4. Jennifer M. Jennings, M.Ed., Principal, DES 5. Stanley B. Whiteman III, M.Ed., Associate Principal, DES 6. James E. Miller III, Technology Coordinator 7. Debra M. Zimarowski, Special Education Consultant 8. James B. Graham, Business Consultant


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