Reading School District, Pennsylvania

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Reading School District
Reading, PA
RSD logo.png
District Profile
Superintendent:Karen B. Gokay
Graduation rate:61%
Number of schools:19
Budget: $230.2 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Rebecca Acosta
Board members:9
Term length:4
Reading School District is a school district in Pennsylvania that serves the city of Reading. It is the fourth largest school district in Pennsylvania, serving 18,060 students in 19 schools with an operating budget of $230.2 million.[1]

About the district

Reading School District is located in Berks County, Pennsylvania
Reading School District is located in Berks County in eastern Pennsylvania. Berks County is home to 413,491 residents.[2]


Berks County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Pennsylvania in terms of higher education achievement in 2011. The United States Census Bureau found that 22.1% of Berks County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 27.0% for Pennsylvania as a whole. The median household income in Berks County was $54,823 compared to $52,267 for the state of Pennsylvania. The poverty rate in Berks County was 13.1% compared to 13.1% for the entire state.[2]

Racial Demographics, 2012[2]
Race Berks County (%) Pennsylvania (%)
White 89.3 83.5
Black or African American 6.4 11.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 0.3
Asian 1.5 2.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.0 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 17.5 6.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[3]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 58.9 49.5
2008 45.0 54.0
2004 53.0 46.4
2000 52.7 43.7

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[4]


Karen B. Gokay is the current superintendent of Reading School District. Gokay was appointed to the position in November of 2013 following the dismissal of previous superintendent, Dr. Carlinda Purcell, by the Reading School District Board of Directors. Gokay was previously the district's substitute superintendent.[5]

School board

The Reading School District Board of Directors is composed of nine members serving four-year terms.[6]

Reading School District
Manuel Guzman At-Large 2017
Rebecca Acosta At-Large 2015
Abraham J. Cepeda At-Large 2015
Robin Costenbader-Jacobson At-Large 2017
Eddie Moran At-Large 2017
Pierre V. Cooper At-Large 2015
Robert Heebner, Jr. At-Large 2015
Vacant Position 1 At-Large 2015
Vacant Position 2 At-Large 2015

School board elections

See also: Reading School District elections (2013)

Members of the Reading Board of Directors are elected to four-year terms. Each election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of odd-numbered years. Due to vacancies on the board that have been filled by appointments or elected to shortened terms, six seats are up for election in November 2015 and five seats are up for election in November 2017.

Public participation in board meetings

The Reading Board of Directors maintains the following policy on public testimony during board meetings:[7]

1. Purpose

The Board recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of involving members of the public in Board meetings. The Board also recognizes its responsibility for proper governance of the district and the need to conduct its business in an orderly and efficient manner.

2. Authority

All regular and special meetings of the Board shall be open to the public. Because the Board wants to hear the viewpoints of citizens throughout the total district, it shall offer suitable time in all meetings for citizens of Reading to be heard. The Board shall establish guidelines to govern public participation in Board meetings necessary to conduct its meeting and to maintain order.

In order to permit fair and orderly expression of public comment, the Board shall provide an opportunity at each open meeting of the Board for residents and taxpayers to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation before the Board prior to official action by the Board.

The Board shall require that all public comments be made at the beginning of each meeting.

If the Board determines there is not sufficient time at a meeting for public comments, the comment period may be deferred to the next regular meeting or to a special meeting occurring before the next regular meeting.

3. Delegation of Responsibility

The presiding officer at each public Board meeting shall follow Board policy for the conduct of public meetings. Where his/her ruling is disputed, it may be overruled by a majority of those Board members present and voting.

The Board President shall be responsible for recognizing all speakers who shall properly identify themselves for maintaining proper order and strict adherence to set time limits.

4. Guidelines

Whenever issues identified by the participant are subject to remediation under policies and procedures of the Board, they shall be dealt with in accordance with those policies and procedures and the organizational structure of the district.

Individuals shall be allowed to speak before the Board for a period of three (3) minutes per person, during the first one-half hour of any meeting at which the Board is authorized to take action. Time will continue to be allocated at the end of the meeting for additional public input.

One (1) delegate from a group or organization shall be allowed to speak before the Board for a period of five (5) minutes per group or organization, during the first onehalf hour of any meeting at which the Board is authorized to take action. Time will continue to be allocated at the end of said meeting for additional public input.

Comments and questions at these meetings may deal with any topic related to the Board's conduct of the schools. Comments at special meetings must be related to the call of the meeting.

The presiding officer may:

  • Interrupt or terminate a participant's statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant.
  • Request any individual to leave the meeting when that person does not observe reasonable decorum.
  • Request the assistance of law enforcement officers to remove a disorderly person when his/her conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting.
  • Call a recess or adjourn to another time when the lack of public decorum interferes with the orderly conduct of the meeting.

Electronic recording devices and cameras, other than those used as official recording devices, shall be permitted at public meetings under guidelines established by the Board.

No placards or banners will be permitted within the meeting room. [8]


Reading School District does not publish its annual budget on its website.[9][10]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2010-2011 $180,040,000 78.2% $11,683,000 5.1% $15,899,000 6.9% $10,826,000 4.7% $11,808,000 5.1% $230,256,000
Averages: $180,040,000 78% $11,683,000 5% $15,899,000 7% $10,826,000 5% $11,808,000 5% $230,256,000

Teacher salaries

Reading School District employed 1,275 teachers during the 2013-2014 school year. Teacher salaries are categorized based on higher education achievement, professional development and years of service. A teacher with a Bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate courses. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. The following table details the current salary schedule negotiated between the district and the Reading Education Association:[11]

Pocono Mountain Teacher Salaries
Salary structure Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
BA 33,000 63,803
B.A. + 12 33,800 64,603
B.A. + 24 34,600 65,403
MA 34,500 66,203
MA + 12 36,200 67,003
MA + 24 37,000 67,803
MA + 36 37,800 68,603
MA + 48 38,600 69,403
D 39,400 70,203

Schools in Reading School District


The district served 18,060 K-12 students during the 2011-2012 school year. It has not published more recent enrollment statistics. The district experienced an 3.4% increase in enrollment between 2007 and 2011. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2007 and 2011:

Total enrollment[12]
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2007-2008 17464
2008-2009 17860 2.3
2009-2010 17,869 0.05
2010-2011 18,194 1.8
2011-2012 18,060 -0.7

District schools

Reading School District operates 19 schools listed below in alphabetical order:[13]

Reading School District
10th & Green Elementary School
10th & Penn Elementary School
12th & Marion Elementary School
13th & Green Elementary School
13th & Union Elementary School
16th & Haak Elementary School
Amanda E. Stout Elementary School
Glenside Elementary School
Lauer's Park Elementary School
Millmont Elementary School
Northeast Middle School
Northwest Area Elementary School
Northwest Middle School
Reading Intermediate High School
Reading Senior High School
Riverside Elementary School
Southern Middle School
Southwest Middle School
Tyson-Schoener Elementary School

Academic performance

Adequate Yearly Progress

Academic performance statistics for the district are available via Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports. These reports provide measurements defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which allow the U.S. Department of Education to determine the academic performance of every public school and school district across the country. In Pennsylvania, AYP measures student results for three indicators: attendance (for schools without a high school graduating class) or graduation rate (for schools with a high school graduating class), academic performance on standardized tests and test participation.

In order to be proficient in attendance, schools much achieve a 90% attendance rate or meet a target set in the previous year. The graduation rate measure has a goal of 85%, or a 10% reduction of the difference between the previous year's graduation rate and an 85% rate. For academic performance, the state goals for the 2011-2012 school year were 78% of students scoring at proficient or higher in mathematics and 81% of students scoring at proficient or higher in reading. For test preparation, at least 95% of all students in each subgroup must take the standardized tests.[14] Reading School District did not make AYP in 2011 or 2012.[15]

District AYP scores
Performance Indicators 2011 2012
Attendance Y
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Graduation Rate Y
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600px-Red x.png
Academic Performance Y
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600px-Red x.png
Test Preparation Y
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Berks County Intermediate Unit

Reading School district called on the Berks County Intermediate Unit in December 2013 to address its administrative, financial and curricular problems. The BCIU's review of the district's administration was largely focused on responding to negative recent reports by the state Auditor General's office, which questioned district's ability to manage its finances, the quality of its academic program and the district's overall leadership. The BCIU determined that the school district was not equipped to handle these problems largely because of its unstable leadership. A spokesman for the BCIU pointed out that the district has had 5 superintendent, 4 business managers and turnover in several other key administrative positions during the past four and a half years. The BCIU also stated that the district's poor technology infrastructure and lack of an up-to-date organizational chart were also causes of the districts failure. Most of the Board of Directors stated that they welcomed the help from the BCIU and wanted to avoid a state takeover. One member, Pierre V. Cooper, called the assessment "one-sided" and "politically motivated" and believed that the shortcomings of the district are due to factors outside of the board's control, such as state funding cuts. The BCIU presented its proposal address the district problems to the Board of Directors in January 2014.[16]

Firing superintendent

In November of 2013, the Reading School District Board of Directors fired superintendent Dr. Carlinda Purcell. Pierre V. Cooper, then board president, provided a written statement saying that Purcell was unwilling to establish an effective working relationship with the Board, failed to respond to concerns raised about the district's former contract with an alternative education provider, did not visit district schools regularly, failed submit a balanced 2013-14 budget in a timely manner and had a leadership style that contributed to a decline in employee morale. Pucrell did not have a good working relationship with the Board prior to her departure, which was primarily evident during budget meetings in the spring of 2013.[17]

Contact information

RSD logo.png
Reading School District

800 Washington Street
Reading, PA 19601

Phone: (484)-258-7000

Website Evaluation

Taxes Y
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Budget N
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials Y
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Contracts Y
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Audits N
600px-Red x.png
Public Records Y
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Academics Y
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Background Checks

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

Last rated on February 4, 2013.

The good

  • Meetings
    • Board meetings are published.[18]
    • Board agendas are published.[19]
    • Board minutes are published and archived to 2006.[20]
  • Board policies are published, in addition to the RSD Policy Manual.[21]
  • Elected Officials
    • The names of elected officials are published.[22]
  • Administration
    • Administrative officials are published, including detailed contact information.[23]
  • Contracts
    • Contract and purchasing information is published, including bid invitations and final bid tabulations organized by type.[24]
    • Additionally, teacher contract information is available.[25]
  • Public Records
    • Public records are available, including rules, forms and instruction to request records.[26]
  • Academics
    • Annual report card is published.[27]
    • AYP results are published.[28]
  • Background Checks
    • Information on criminal background checks is posted.[29]

The bad

  • Budget
    • Current budget is not posted.
    • Past budgets are not archived for at least three years.
  • Audit
    • Annual financial audits are not posted.
    • Audits are not archived for at least three years.
  • Elected Officials
    • Board member contact information is not posted.
  • Salaries
    • Salary information is unavailable. The Salary Increase document link does not work.[30]

See also

External links

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  1. Reading School District, "Home," accessed January 7, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2010 Census: Quick Facts, "Berks County," accessed January 7, 2014"
  3. The New York TImes, "Election Results," accessed October 7, 2013
  4. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  5. Reading Eagle, "Reading school board fires its superintendent" November 27, 2013
  6. Reading School District, "Board of Directors," accessed January 7, 2014
  7. Reading School District, "Board Policies" accessed January 7, 2013
  8. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Reading School District, "Business & Finances," accessed November 25, 2013
  10. United States Census Bureau, "Public Elementary–Secondary Education Finance Data," accessed December 11, 2013
  11., "School Payroll," accessed January 7, 2014
  12. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "Public School Enrollment Reports," accessed January 7, 2014
  13. Reading School District, "Our Schools," accessed January 7, 2014
  14. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "About AYP in Pennsylvania," accessed August 6, 2013
  15. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "Reading SD AYP Report Card," accessed January 6, 2014
  16. Reading Eagle, "Reading School District can't solve its problems, BCIU says," December 1, 2013
  17. Reading Eagle, "Reading school board fires its superintendent," November 27, 2013
  18. dates/Board meeting Dates for 2011-Revised AGAIN.pdf Board Meetings
  19. Board Agenda
  20. Board meeting minutes
  21. School Board Policies
  22. School Board Members
  23. Administrative officials
  24. Bid Tabulation Report
  25. Teacher contracts
  26. Public records
  27. Report Card
  28. AYP
  29. Background Checks
  30. 27 2010/Human Resources/EP-83-A RetroSalaryIncreases.pdf Salary Increases Page Not Found