Lower income families increase
By SUSAN RUMBLE
Special to The Press
During his presentation at the recent budget seminar, Parkland Superintendent Richard Sniscak reported demographic changes in the school district indicate an increase in students from low-income families.
“More than one in four Parkland students or 28 percent, qualify for free and reduced lunch,” Sniscak said.
He said students requiring services for English as a Second Language have also risen, with 301 individuals needing instruction in 2021.
Sniscak said there are approximately 36 students who are homeless.
On another topic, Sniscak reported Parkland offers 30 advanced placement courses, more than any other Lehigh Valley school district.
He said 86 percent of those taking AP courses score high enough in tests to be eligible to receive college credit for the classes taken at Parkland.
Sniscak said the district offers 27 dual enrollment courses through Lehigh Carbon Community College and Seton Hall University, providing opportunities for 400 Parkland students each year.
The superintendent reported 84 percent of the Class of 2020 chose to continue their education at a two- or four-year college.
In a different matter at the seminar, the administration reported a bond refunding of $12,550,000 in April achieved a savings of $1,156,290.
The amount will be realized in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 budget years.
The administration also noted $12,985,000 was borrowed in April for various capital projects throughout the district, including construction and renovations at the Schnecksville and Kratzer elementary schools and improvements at other buildings and facilities.
Portions of the new money will go toward technology infrastructure upgrades, security systems and computers, purchase of vans and buses, and construction of the new bus garage.
Administrators announced Parkland’s bond rating in a Standard & Poor’s analysis is AA, the best credit rating the district has ever had.
Parkland officials note the credit rating is particularly impressive as it was achieved during difficult economic times.
Administrators report an increased credit rating results in lower interest rates, and bond issues can be completed without insurance related costs.
Parkland’s S&P AA rating was attributed to strong fiscal management and a solid fund balance position.