The Lake-Lehman School District is a small public school district located partly in Luzerne County and partly in Wyoming County. The school's namesakes are Lake Township and Lehman Township. It also serves Ross Township, Jackson Township, and Lake Township as well as Noxen Township in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Lake-Lehman School District encompasses approximately 136 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, the district serves a resident population of 16,350. In 2009, the per capita income of the district's residents was $21,145 while the median family income was $48,831. According to a New York Times report, in 2006, the student population was 98% Caucasian, 1% black, and 1% Hispanic. According to District officials, in school year 2005-06 the Lake-Lehman School District provided basic educational services to 2,109 pupils through the employment of 153 teachers, 76 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 15 administrators.
The district operates five schools: Lake-Noxen Elementary, Lehman-Jackson Elementary, Ross Elementary, Lake-Lehman Jr High, and Lake Lehman Sr High.
Lake-Lehman School District was ranked 262nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance based on the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and two years of science.
- 2010 - 221st
- 2009 - 139th
- 2008 - 288th
- 2007 - 313th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.
In 2009, the academic achievement of the pupils in the district was in the 60th percentile among Pennsylvanian's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best)
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Lake-Lehman Senior High School's rate was 92% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
- 2010 - 93%
- 2009 - 94%
- 2008 - 94%
- 2007 - 94%
The Lake-Lehman School Board has determined that a student must successfully complete 23 credits which include: 4.5 credits of Language Arts, 4 credits of Social Studies, 3 credits of Mathematics, 3 credits of Science, 2 credits of Arts & Humanities, 4 credits of electives and 2.5 credit Health/Physical Education.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a graduation project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor, and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Lake-Lehman Senior High School the project consists of: a community service project, the creation of a project to be donated to a non profit organization or a research paper based project.
Beginning with the class of 2016, by Pennsylvania school regulations, students must take the Keystone Exams in Literature, Biology 1 and Algebra 1.
Senior high school
In 2010, the school has declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status. In 2009 the school was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I level.
11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 67% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 73% (16% below basic), State - 65%
- 2008 - 69% (19% below basic), State - 65%
- 2007 - 69% (17% below basic), State - 65%
11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 54%, on grade level (31% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 56% (26% below basic), State - 56%.
- 2008 - 50% (27% below basic), State - 56%
- 2007 - 49% (24% below basic), State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 33% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 46%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 22%, State - 39%
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 24% of Lake-Lehman Senior High School graduates required costly remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take credit earning college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English. In 2011, a national report calculated that Pennsylvania spent $94 million in 2007-08 for college remediation for its high school graduates. It also revealed that students enrolled in remedial courses are more likely to drop out of college.
The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state-funded program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $18,589 for its dual enrollment program.
Junior high school
Parents of Lake-Lehman Junior Senior High School students can monitor their childâs grades through the internet. Daily student attendance and grading information are available to parents via the district electronic grading system. Attendance information is updated in near real-time and teachers generally update grade information every two weeks.
8th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 81% on grade level (50% advanced). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 84% (53% advanced), State - 80%
- 2008 - 82% (60% advanced), State - 78%
- 2007 - 72% (40% advanced), State - 75%
8th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 57% on grade level (14% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 69% (10% below basic), State - 71%
- 2008 - 64% (18% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - 48% (28% below basic), State - 68%
8th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 55% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 55% (17% below basic), State - 55%
- 2008 - 54% (22% below basic), State - 52%
7th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 80% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 76% (7% below basic), State - 71%
- 2008 - 70% (12% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - 76% (11% below basic), State - 67%
7th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 83% on grade level (7% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 71% (10% below basic), State - 75%
- 2008 - 63% (13% below basic), State - 71%
- 2007 - 67% (19% below basic), State - 67%
- Lake-Noxen Elementary School did not make AYP in 2010,  Report Card 2010 
- Lehman-Jackson Elementary School made AYP in 2010, Report Card 2010 
- Ross Elementary School made AYP in 2010, Report Card 2010 
The district administration reported that 302 students or 14.6% were receiving special education services in 2009.
The District affords specialized programs of instruction specifically designed to meet the needs of the District's exceptional students. Combined with services provided by the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18, exceptional students have access to a complete special education program in such support areas as Learning, Life Skills, Emotional, Speech and Language, Hearing, Visual and Gifted.
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 verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.
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.
Lake-Lehman School District received a $1,113,900 supplement for special education services in 2010.
The District Administration reported that 53 or 2.54% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the studentâs building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.
The school district administration reported there were four incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.
All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. Lake-Lehman School District has posted a PSBA sample Bullying/Cyberbullying Policy 249. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
Budget and taxes
In 2008, the district reported zero in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as a deficit of -$31,833.
In 2007, the district employed over 140 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,479 for 180 instructional days worked.
In 2009, the district reported employing over 170 teachers with a salary range of $37,470 to $109,000 and a median teacher salary of $54,098. In addition to salary, the teachers' compensation includes: health insurance, life insurance, paid funeral leave, 10 paid sick, 2 personal days, and reimbursement for college courses. At retirement, teachers receive payment for unused sick days. Teachers receive extra compensation for additional duties and for extracurricular advising and sports coaching.
In 2006, the teachers' contract expired. For several years, the union engaged in repeated strikes during contract negotiations. A seven-year contract including retroactive pay increases for the teachers was reached in July 2009.
In 2008, Lake-Lehman School District reported spending $11,787 per pupil. This ranked 297th among the 500 school districts, in the commonwealth.
Lake-Lehman School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $695.71 in 2008. This ranked 322nd in Pennsylvania public schools. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2009, the district reported having over $12 million in outstanding debt in General Obligation bonds.
In December 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Multiple significant findings were reported to the school board and the school district administration
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax of 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. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's level of wealth.
State basic education funding
For the 2010-11 school year, the state basic education funding to Lake-Lehman School District was increased 2.19% for a total of $6,910,861. The highest increase in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at 12,61%. Sixteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase over 10%. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. 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.
For the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.36% increase in Basic Education Funding for Lake-Lehman School District a total of $6,762,689. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $6,479,878.49. The highest increase in BEF for the school districts in Luzerne County was awarded to Hazleton Area School District at a 13.36% increase. The highest increase in Pennsylvania went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.
In 2009, the district reported that 453 students were eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvaniaâs 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 Lake-Lehman School District applied for and received $311,00 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide teacher training, to provide social and health services and to reduce class size K-3rd grade.
Classrooms for the Future grant
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Lake-Lehman School District was denied for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, it received 197,583 in funding. The district received 45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $242,996.
Federal Stimulus grant
Lake-Lehman School District received an extra $216,787 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district up to one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. The teachers' union refused to support the effort. 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. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of a majority of school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Lake-Lehman School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The school board levied a real estate tax of 8.6906 mills for Lycoming County and 58.1316 mills for Wyoming County, in 2010-11. 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. On the local level, Pennsylvania district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.
- 2009-10 - 7.8011 mills for Lycoming County / 55.6532 mills in Wyoming County
In 2008, Luzerne County conducted a county wide property value reassessment. The previous county wide assessment had been done in 1965
- 2008-09 - 254.8500 mills for Lycoming County / 56.3500 mills in Wyoming County
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 allowed 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Lake-Lehman School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 5.0%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 4.4%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.7%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 5.3%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.7%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
The Lake-Lehman School Board applied for several exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011, including special education costs, pension obligations and maintenance of revenue sources. In the Spring of 2010, 135 of 500 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.
Property tax relief
In 2011, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Lake-Lehman School District was $97 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4,753 property owners applied for the tax relief. In 2011, within Luzerne County, the highest reported amount went to Wilkes-Barre Area School District set at $211 per approved homestead. The property tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill for each property. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $641 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. CUSD was given $632 in 2009. This was the second year they were the top recipient.
- 2010 - $97 for 4,746 properties
- 2009 - $98 for 4,695 properties
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
The district offers a variety of clubs and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policy.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.