The Times-Tribune‘s annual ‘Grading Our Schools’ supplement was released Sunday and for three districts serving Wyoming County residents, the results are underwhelming.

Using 18 standardized tests across grades 3-12 following the 2018-19 school year, Lackawanna Trail ranked 14th in the region with 61 percent of the test scores meeting or surpassing the state average. Elk Lake ranked 16 with 56 percent of tests. And, Tunkhannock Area ranked 27 out of 37 regional public school districts.

For Tunkhannock Area that means the state average was met or exceeded only 33 percent of the time. They met or exceeded in six of 18 tests, namely 4th grade English Language Arts, 4th grade science, 6th grade ELA, 8th grade Science, as well as the Keystone Algebra and Keystone Biology.

Its SAT average (for math and verbal scores of 117 test takers) was 1049.7, below the state average of 1082 and national average of 1059.

And, TA students failed to meet the state average in 3rd ELA and math; 4th math; 5th ELA and math; 6th math; 7th ELA and math; 8th ELA and math; and Keystone literature.

Elk Lake met the state average in 10 out of 18 tests; surpassing it in 4th ELA, math and science, 5th math, 6th ELA and math, 8th ELA and science, Keystone literature and the SAT with its 40 test takers averaging 1100. Elk Lake fell below the state average in 3rd ELA and math, 5th ELA, 7th ELA and math, 8th math, and Keystone algebra and biology.

Lackawanna Trail met the state average in 11 of 18 tests; surpassing it in 3rd ELA and math, 4th ELA, math and science, 5th ELA, 7th ELA and math, and 8th ELA, math and science. Trail fell below the state average in 5th math, 6th ELA and math, Keystone algebra, biology and literature, and the SAT with Trail’s 37 test takers achieving in average score of 1032.7.

Gail Sickles of Lake Winola — in the Tunkhannock Area district — said she found the numbers eye-opening given that the local schools had some of the highest teacher salaries and costs per pupil.

Of the three schools, Trail showed the highest average teacher salary (ranked 6th) at $75,357 with 16.5 avg. years of experience; Tunkhannock came in at 12th in the region with $71,365 with 15.6 avg. years of experince; and Elk Lake came in at 17th at $68,414 with 18.7 avg years of experience. In the region, Wayne Highlands paid its teachers the most at $79,476, and Old Forge the least at $56,848.

In per pupil spending, Tunkhannock was 9th in the region at $20,892; Trail 11th at $$19,822; and Elk Lake 17th at $17,924.

Other interesting stats, all from 2018-19:

Total enrollment: Tunkhannock (2,235); Elk Lake (1,150); and Trail (970).

  • Total expenditures in millions: Tunkhaannock ($48.1); Elk Lake ($20.8); and Trail ($20.5).
  • Special education enrollment: Elk Lake (20.5%); Trail (19.6%); and Tunkhannock (17.8%).
  • Attendance rates: Tunkhannock (94.2%); Elk Lake (93.7%); and Trail (93.5%).

English as a second language: Elk Lake (2.2%); Trail (0.7%); and Tunkhannock (0.5%).

  • Fund balance in millions: Trail ($4.6); Tunkhannock ($4.5); and Elk Lake ($3.9).
  • Low income enrollment: Elk Lake (54.2%); Tunkhannock (47.6%); and Trail (42.2%).
  • Graduation rate: Tunkhannock (95.79%); Trail (90.48%); and Elk Lake (89.29%).

Thanks to Scranton Times writer Sarah Hofius Hall for her thorough report. To dive into the Grading Our Schools databases, visit


Bob has been Editor at the Wyoming County Press Examiner and Wyoming County Advance since... Read More...

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