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DV dealing with fluctuations

SHOHOLA, PA — The Delaware Valley School District has been dealing with constantly changing student populations for many years, and Superintendent Dr. John Bell says the district has learned how to deal with them.

DV’s student enrollment stood at 1,500 in 1984-85. Prompted by economic factors in Pennsylvania and its neighboring states, it more than tripled to 4,800 by 2000-01. The post-9-11 exodus of New York City residents helped boost it to a high of 5,700 by 2006-07. All this growth prompted a lot of building expansion work, which continues today.

Enrollment stood at 4,900 in 2012-13 at the beginning of the Great Recession. Since then it has dropped each year; it stands at 4,534 as of the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

Enrollment was the lead topic of an executive summary of the district’s 258-page annual report this year. It was appropriately released at the school board’s September 20 meeting, held at the Shohola

Elementary School, which opened in 1992 as part of the district’s expansion. Shohola’s enrollment dropped from 431 to 408 this school year. The district dropped one section of the smaller fifth grade while adding a new section to the Kindergarten.

DV has dealt with reduced enrollment by staff reductions, mostly by attrition. The district’s 658 employees are down from more than 680 in 2009-10. Fewer class sections last month led to board members’ concerns about growing numbers per elementary section, ranging from 25 to 28.

Bell then said he needed to wait until September 10 to finalize the numbers, when traditionally those enrollees actually coming would be here and those not coming would be evident. Bell said at the meeting on September 24 that the additions and subtraction amounted to only five new students. “While our section sizes are larger than optimal, they are not sizes that we have not seen before, and they are not anything that we have not successfully dealt with before.”

Bell projected continued decreases in DV graduating classes. The sophomore class is the only class now exceeding 400 in size. Others from three to 12 are in the 300s, while the Kindergartens, first and second grades number in the 200s, Bell reported.

Other highlights in the report include:

• No tax increases in seven of  the last 11 years

• A four-year graduation rate of 93.46%; and a dropout rate of .28%

• DV’s post-secondary education rate among graduates, was 73%; another 8% entered the armed services and an additional 1% chose non-degree technical training.

• DV students’ average SAT scores exceeded the state and national averages.

• The class of 2018 accepted $3,436,781 in scholarship money

• DV students took 929 AP exams in 29 subjects, up from 461 in 2009; $3,213,068 in private academic/needs-based scholarships; $57,000 in athletic scholarships and $161,577 in local scholarships.

• The district had 128 AP Scholars, up from 52 in 2009 and only 15 in 2003.

The full text of the annual report is available online on the district’s home page,


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