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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

 

January 15, 2018

 

  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 second quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, i.e. October 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. The previous quarterly progress report in the series is dated October 15, 2017.

 

Executive Summary

 

Several highlights of interest follow.

-          Recovery Plan implementation has continued during the second 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 is 355, up from 341 at the beginning of the current school year and 324 a year ago. This is seen as a favorable trend.  

-          Efforts continue to improve curriculum and instruction at DES. See details on page 3.

-          DCSD finances have been stable and are expected to be sustainable, although a year-end deficit of $595,686 is projected, due primarily to the unbudgeted increases in tuition cost and human resources expense.

-          A major aspect of financial management at Duquesne is tuition for students attending school elsewhere. See details beginning on page 7.

-          Total enrollment of DCSD resident secondary students at WMA and EA to date is 328. At the beginning of the 2017-218 school year it was 229.

-          Total charter school enrollments in kindergarten through twelfth grade to date is 224, up from 212 at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This is an adverse change.

-          Annual tuition to be paid by Duquesne for students attending school elsewhere in 2017-2018 is projected to be $8,132,323, an increase of $720,582 (9.7%) over the projection from a year ago for 2016-2017. This is an adverse change.

-          The local independent audit of the DCSDS for fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 was completed. An unqualified “clean” opinion was rendered.

-          There were no unpaid or contested invoices or debt service obligations during the quarter, and all payroll, benefit expenditures and tuition payments were made on time.

-          Financial benchmark trend analysis remains favorable in terms of general fund balance, current ratio and quick ratio. Adverse trends are evident in charter school costs and real estate assessments. See Appendix A beginning on page 11.

-          Planning has begun to update the Recovery Plan, implemented nearly five years ago.

 

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. Quarterly Recovery Plan Progress Reports are also available there.

 

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 8)

 

Education

 

Historic and current DES enrollments are displayed on the following table. It is noteworthy that the current DES enrollment is 24 students more than the enrollment was at the beginning of the school year.

 

Duquesne Elementary School

Student Enrollment

December 31, 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

Dec 2017

29

46

51

49

39

40

56

45

355

 

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 and Class Size

December 31, 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

15.3

17.0

16.3

19.5

20.0

18.7

22.5

17.8

 

The Curriculum Steering Committee (CSC) 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 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. Also, Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Barbara Mehalov regularly assists the Committee.

 

During the second quarter the Curriculum Steering Committee has been focused on several initiatives. Foremost among these in the introduction a new social and emotional curriculum into the educational day. The program is called Second Step. A gradual introduction of one grade per year is planned, beginning with Pre-K and kindergarten in 2018-2019. The CSC is dealing with plans to roll out of the program, training for the faculty and staff, and provision of implementation support.

 

Also, the CSC is working on implementation of culturally responsive school wide positive behavior supports. Students from Duquesne University are assisting on this implementation by collecting data.  Teachers review these data, both behavior data and reward data, to determine how best to support the program.

 

In matters of English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, the CSC continues to monitor use of Daily 5 and Daily 3 frameworks for reading and math respectively. The instructional coaches are working with teachers to strengthen the framework within individual classrooms.

 

Finally, the CSC is beginning work to incorporate the recently mandated career readiness standards into existing written curriculum. This will help ensure the proper development of the standards, incorporation into everyday teaching, and acquisition of artifacts to support implementation the career readiness standards.

 

There were several assist and monitoring visits during the quarter. Academic Recovery Liaison (ARL) Mrs. Barbara Mehalov visited DES on October 27 and November 29 to meet with DES Principal Mrs. Jennifer Jennings and Associate Principal Mr. Stanley Whiteman. On October 18, Ms. Erin Oberdorf visited DES for a School Improvement Grant (SIG) monitoring. Special education monitor, Ms. Cortney Verner, visited the DCSD on one occasion during the quarter, November 15, to meet with Special Education Consultant Ms. Debra Zimarowski.

 

Benchmarking and diagnostic assessments are regularly conducted at DES. The following tables display recent results from selected assessments.

 

Duquesne Elementary School

ELA

Informal Reading Inventory (IRI)

December 2017

Grade

% Below Grade

% On Grade

% Above Grade

3

27

42

30

4

56

26

18

5

41

33

26

6

48

48

4

 

Duquesne Elementary School

ELA

First Assessment, On-Hand

October 2017

Grade

% Below Basic

% Basic

% Proficient

% Advanced

3

44

44

13

0

4

31

44

22

3

5

44

38

16

2

6

30

62

5

3

 

Duquesne Elementary School

Math

First Assessment, On-Hand

October 2017

Grade

% Below Basic

% Basic

% Proficient

% Advanced

3

89

8

3

0

4

34

43

11

11

5

38

49

13

0

6

31

37

29

3

 

In Pennsylvania public schools, the growth of student learning is reported by means of the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS). At DES, PVAAS data is reported for ELA and math in grades four, five and six, and for science in grade four. Of these seven statistics, student learning met or exceeded the Pennsylvania standard for academic growth in three, ELA in grade six and math in grades five and six.  

 

The recently re-established Education Advisory Committee (EAC), led by Deputy Secretary of Education for Administration Debbie Reeves, met once during the quarter on November 17. The purpose of the EAC is to monitor and report on the transition and education of Duquesne secondary students at West Mifflin and East Allegheny. The first meeting of the re-established EAC was conducted at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) on September 29, 2017.

 Finance

 

Execution of the 2017-2018 General Fund Budget continued routinely during the second quarter. There have been no unpaid or contested invoices or debt service obligations during the quarter. Furthermore, all payroll, benefit expenditures and tuition payments have been made on time.

 

The following fund balance analysis is based on audited year-end results for 2016-2017 and the DCSD General Fund Budget for 2017-2018, with estimates of expenditure changes due to increased tuition expense, retirement contributions and human resources expenses, as well as potential revenue reductions.

 

Duquesne City School District

General Fund

Fund Balance Analysis

December 31, 2017

Non-spendable

  

 

   Prepaids

$    197,288

 

   Other

                 0

 

Total non-spendable

 

$   197,288

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

    2,800,000

 

Total committed

 

  5,269,108

Assigned

 

                0

Unassigned

    

     403,390

Total fund balance as of June 30, 2017 (audited)

 

  5,869,786

Fund balance appropriation for the 2017-2018 budget

 

                0

Projected surplus (deficit) for the 2017-2018 budget

 

    (595,686)           

Total projected fund balance as of June 30, 2018

 

 $5,274,100        

 

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

December 31, 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

  2019**

 $4,353,335

 $1,000,000

   $5,353,335

*     Audited financial statements

**   Projected

 

DCSD 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 come from fund balance committed for that purpose. Additionally, the proceeds of an interest free loan from PDE's Transition Loan Program will be utilized, 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 December 1. There are two changes in the number of staff members in each category from the previous report. There is one fewer administrators due to the resignation of Barbara McDonnell from her position of Superintendent of Schools on November 2. A search for the next Superintendent is underway. Business Manager Nedene M. Gullen has taken on additional duty as the Acting Superintendent until the next Superintendent takes office. Also, there is one fewer instructional support staff due to a resignation.

 

Duquesne City School District

2017-2018 Staffing Summary

December 31, 2017

Professional staff

39

Administrators *

3

Instructional support staff

19 

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: 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 next collective bargaining session between the DEA and the DCSD is scheduled for February 7.

 

The current collective bargaining agreement between the DCSD and the Duquesne Educational Support Professionals Association (DESPA) runs until June 30, 2018. A tentative agreement was reached on November 17 in regard to the inclusion of para-educators and personal care assistants in the bargaining unit. Ratification of the TA is expected. Meanwhile, collective bargaining for a replacement contract for the entire bargaining unit continues. The next session is scheduled for January 23.

 

On April 10, a regular performance audit by the Department of the Auditor General began. The audit, which covered 2012-2013 and forward, was completed during the second quarter. Four findings were reported. First, four individuals employed by the School District received interest free advance pay loans over a four year period (All repaid in full). Second, transportation data was incorrectly reported to PDE. Third, contracted school bus drivers were not properly approved. Fourth, documentation to support tuition for orphans and children placed in private homes was inadequate. An exit interview was conducted on October 6 and the audit report was forwarded under the Auditor General’s letter of November 8.

 

The local independent audit of the DCSDS for fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 was completed by Hosack Specht Muetzel & Wood LLP. An unqualified “clean” opinion was rendered by the auditors. There were no findings. The Annual Financial Report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 was filed on November 30.

 

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

December 31, 2017

Receiving Schools

Grades

Students

September 1

Students

December 31

Projected 2017-2018 Tuition

West Mifflin Area School District

7-12

299

295

$3,751,878

East Allegheny School District

7-12

  30

  33

    419,702

Charter schools, regular education

K-6

143

142

  1,858,483

Charter schools, special education

K-6

  17

  20

    640,381

Charter schools, regular education

7-12

  38

  47

    615,132

Charter schools, special education

7-12

  14

  15

    480,286

Special education schools

K-12

  13

  15

    257,967

Other schools

K-12

    7

    9

    108,495

Totals     

 

561

576

 $8,132,323

Changes in individual tuition enrollments in the categories of receiving schools between the beginning of the 2017-218 school year and the end of the second quarter can be seen by comparing enrollments from September 1 to December 31 on the above table. Enrollment of Duquesne resident secondary students at both WMA and EA decreased by one student. Charter school enrollment increased by two students. The total number of tuition students increased by 15 students, and projected overall tuition increased by $278,577.

 

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 remains unclear. In both cases a rate of $11,472.33 was budgeted. On the above chart, the larger tuition rate of $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.

 

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. PDE is expected to make future adjustments to these rates.

 

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

December 31, 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

December

2017

162

62

224

           

 

Governance and Administration 

 

The Superintendent of Schools position is to date vacant. The Acting Superintendent is Nedene M. Gullen. She is supervised by Chief Recovery Officer Paul J. Rach, Ed.D. Both Mrs. Gullen 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.      Vacant

 

Members of the Duquesne City Board of School Directors participated in two receiver business meetings in the second quarter. Five school directors attended on October 24, and six attended on December 5. An executive session was held prior to each of the business meetings. A special meeting of the Board of School Directors was held on December 5 for the purpose of reorganization. Mr. DeWayne Tucker was re-elected to be Board President and Mrs. Calvina Harris was re-elected to be Board Vice President

 

The Receiver Advisory Council met twice during the second quarter, on October 10 and November 14.  

 

Two PDE officials visited the DCSD on November 16, Ms. Debbie Reeves, Deputy Secretary of Education for Administration and Ms. Lori Graham, Special Advisor. After a tour of DES, they met for extended discussions with Chief Recovery Officer Dr. Paul Rach and Receiver Dr. Paul Long.

 

Inasmuch as the Recovery Plan was implemented nearly five years ago, on April 2, 2013, portions of it are out of date. Similarly, certain parts of the Second Amendment to the Recovery Plan, implemented on November 17, 2014, are no longer current. Preparatory work has begun on a Third Amendment to the Recovery Plan.

   

Next Report

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.      Nedene M. Gullen, Acting Superintendent and Business Manager

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

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

5.      James E. Miller III, Technology Coordinator

6.      Debra M. Zimarowski, Special Education Consultant

7.      James B. Graham, Business Consultant


 

Appendix A

 

Financial Trend Analyses

 

The following financial benchmark charts are presented to help explain the financial position of the DCSD. Favorable trends can be seen in the data displayed on the charts marked General Fund Balance, Current Ratio and Quick Ratio.  Adverse trends are evident from the data shown on the charts marked Charter School Costs and Total Assessed Property Value.

 

General Fund Balance

 

        Year End                     General Fund               

         June 30                           Balance     

           2006                         $  (4,279,031)

           2007                             (1,584,181)                

           2008                              1,334,796     

           2009                              1,665,100             

           2010                              1,583,312                

           2011                              1,392,488                                                                                                                                                                                              

           2012                              1,883,442                                                                                                                                                              

           2013                              1,534,845                                                                                              

           2014                              3,048,877 

           2015                              4,008,831

           2016                              4,690,525

           2017                              5,869,787                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Ratio

(Assets ÷ Liabilities)

 

    Year End                 Current                       Current                         Current

     June 30                    Assets           ÷        Liabilities           =            Ratio  

      2006                    $ 2,015,271            $  6,294,302                          0.32      

      2007                       3,181,434                4,604,192                          0.69                                  

      2008                       4,996,810                3,662,014                          1.36                                        

      2009                       5,150,904                3,485,804                          1.48                       

      2010                       5,077,616                3,249,210                          1.56                              

      2011                       6,332,143                4,933,655                          1.28                                                                                 

      2012                       7,037,434                5,153,992                          1.37                                                                                                   

      2013                       6,707,698                5,172,853                          1.30

      2014                       8,257,958                5,209,081                          1.59 

      2015                       9,698,777                5,689,943                          1.70

      2016                     11,180,621                6,490,096                          1.72 

      2017                     11,476,778                5,606,991                          2.05                                                                

 

Quick Ratio

((Cash + Investments) ÷ Current Liabilities)

 

    Year End                                                                            “Quick”              Current              Quick

     June 30                 Cash          +       Investments       =       Assets      ÷        Liabilities          Ratio  

      2006                $   341,694                    $0                       $   341,694       $  6,294,902           0.05      

      2007                   1,118,734                     0                         1,118,734           4,604,191           0.24                                  

      2008                   2,605,739                     0                         2,605,739           3,662,014           0.71                                         

      2009                   2,042,032                     0                         2,042,032           3,485,804           0.59                       

      2010                   1,762,143                     0                         1,762,143           3,249,210           0.54                              

      2011                   2,963,869                     0                         2,963,869           4,933,655           0.60                                                                                  

      2012                   3,651,370                     0                         3,651,370           5,153,992           0.71                                                                                                    

      2013                   3,164,957                     0                         3,164,957           5,172,853           0.61

      2014                   4,494,602                     0                         4,494,602           5,209,081           0.86 

      2015                   4,927,678                     0                         4,927,678           5,689,943           0.87

      2016                   5,946,500                     0                         5,946,500           6,490,096           0.92

      2017                   6,885,906                     0                         6,885,906           5,606,991           1.23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charter School Cost

(As Percentage of total Expenditures)

                                                                                                      Charter School

    Year End             Tuition Paid                Total District                    Costs/

     June 30                to Charters        ÷       Expenditures       =       Total Costs 

      2007                  $ 1,379,007                  $13,936,333                      9.90%

      2008                     1,476,574                    13,574,451                    10.88%

      2009                     2,785,111                    15,140,887                    18.39%         

      2010                     1,863,289                    15,772,628                    11.81%

      2011                     1,950,093                    16,436,377                    11.86%

      2012                     2,139,954                    14,843,385                    14.42%

      2013                     1,868,754                    14,424,637                    12.96%

      2014                     2,249,336                    18,992,283                    11.84%

      2015                     2,838,775                    18,363,649                    15.46%

      2016                     2,932,728                    17,312,902                    16.94%

      2017                     3,349,409                    18,068,214                    18.54%

 

Total Assessed Property Value

 

        Year End                     Total Assessed               

         June 30                       Property Value             

          2007                         $ 94,053,575

          2008                            93,000,000

          2009                            93,000,000            

          2010                            93,527,290

          2011                            79,561,840

          2012                            79,706,490

          2013                            75,439,340

2014                                  93,051,439*

          2015                            91,423,422**

          2016                            87,860,522**

          2017                            88,018,197**

 

*   General reassessment

**  Corrected from previous reports

 

  

 

 

 


300 Kennedy Ave | Duquesne, PA 15110 | (412) 466-9600