Abington Heights School District

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Abington Heights School District
Abington Heights School District Logo.png
Map of Lackawanna County Pennsylvania School Districts.PNG
Map of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania School Districts with Abington Heights School District in orange in eastern Lackawanna County
The AHSD embraces a culture of excellence and strives to be the best in everything we do.
Address
200 East Grove Street
Northeastern Pennsylvania
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County, 18411-1776
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent Mr. Michael Mahon (contract 2010-May 18, 2015)[1]
Administrator Dr Thomas J Quinn - Assistant Superintendent (contract 2012 - March 21, 2017)

Mr James Mirabelli - Business Manager

Staff 219 non teaching staff members[2]
Grades K–12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Number of students 3,316 students (2013),[3] 3,452 students (2012); 3,472 (2009-2010)[4]
Kindergarten 211 (2012),[5] 201 (2010)
Grade 1 231 (2012), 249
Grade 2 269 (2012), 266
Grade 3 228 (2012), 265
Grade 4 252 (2012), 246
Grade 5 249 (2012), 282
Grade 6 274 (2012), 258
Grade 7 257 (2012), 264
Grade 8 267 (2012), 280
Grade 9 257 (2012), 286
Grade 10 261 (2012), 318
Grade 11 280 (2012), 281
Grade 12 280 (2012), 276
Color(s) Blue and White          
Athletics conference PIAA District 2
Nickname Comets
Budget $45.7 million (2014-2015)[6]

$42.45 million (2012-2013)[7]

Information 570-586-2511
Website

The Abington Heights School District is a midsized public school district. It serves: the boroughs of: Clarks Green and Clarks Summit and the townships of Waverly Township, Glenburn Township, Newton Township, North Abington Township, Ransom Township and South Abington Township in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Abington Heights School District encompasses approximately 69 square miles (180 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 29,222 residents. By 2010, the District's population declined to 23,615 people.[8] Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08 the Abington Heights School District had 3,525 pupils, employing: 265 teachers, 188 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 22 administrators. In 2009-10, the District provided basic educational services to 3,641 pupils. It employed: 271 teachers, 187 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 26 administrators. Abington Heights School District received more than $11.1 million in state funding in school year 2009-10.

Abington Heights School District operates: four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.

The high school was once recognized by Money magazine as one of the top 100 schools in the nation.[9] Abington Heights School District has been identified two separate times as one of the top 100 places to live in America for quality music education according to a nationwide survey of public and private school programs. The complete results, along with background information on music education and the survey, can be seen in their entirety at: www.amc-music.org. The High School Orchestra, Band and Chorus enjoy a strong regional and state reputation and a strong student interest.

Students[edit]

For the district, the students per FTE teacher ratio is 16:1.[10] During the 2005-2006 school year, the last time data was available, the overall ethnicity was 95% White (non-Hispanic), 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, Black (non-Hispanic) 1%, Hispanic 1%, American Indian/Alaskan Native <1%.[11]

Schools[edit]

Clarks Summit Elementary School covers the student population of the Clarks Summit and Clarks Green areas, while South Abington Elementary School covers mostly South Abington Township. Waverly Elementary School, located in the historic village of Waverly, covers the Waverly, Glenburn Township, and Dalton areas of the Abington Heights School District. Newton, the smallest elementary school in the district, covers the rural regions of Newton and Ransom Townships. All middle school students in the district attend Abington Heights Middle School (off Newton-Ransom Blvd. in Newton Township). Abington Heights High School is off Noble Rd. in Clarks Summit.

The Abington Heights School District provides half-day kindergarten in 2011.[12]

Academic achievement[edit]

Abington Heights School District was ranked 50th out of 498 Pennsylvania School Districts in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[13] The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSA's for reading, writing, math and science.[14] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 38th
  • 2011 - 35th
  • 2010 - 36th
  • 2009 - 31st
  • 2008 - 36th
  • 2007 - 31st out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[15]

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Abington Heights School District ranked 314th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[16]

  • 2012 - 183rd
  • 2011 - 281st
  • 2010 - 233rd [17]
  • 2009 - 125th

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Abington Heights School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[18] In 2011, Abington Heights School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[19] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010

  • 2005 - Making Progress in School Improvement level I
  • 2004 - School Improvement Level I status
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student academic achievement.[20]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Abington Heights School District’s graduation rate was 96%.[21] In 2011, the graduation rate was 89.58%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Abington Heights High School's rate was 89% for 2010.[22]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Abington Heights High School is located at 222 Noble Road, Clarks Summit. In 2013, enrollment was reported as 1,078 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 13.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty.[27] Additionally, 9% of pupils received special education services, while 4.6% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 85 teachers.[28] Per the PA Department of Education 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 1,135 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 124 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2011, the Abington Heights High School employed 85 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[29] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[30]

2013 School Performance Profile

Abington Heights High School achieved 95.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 95.7% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 84% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 58.5% showed on grade level science understanding.[31] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[32]

AYP History

In 2012, Abington Heights High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to missing the mathematics metric.[33] In 2010 and 2011, Abington Heights High School achieved AYP status.[34] IN 2009, Abington Heights High School was in Warning AYP status.[35] From 2003 through 2008, the School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress each school year.

PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[36]

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[37]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 79% on grade level, (7% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 84% (7% below basic). State - 69.1%[39]
  • 2010 - 82%, (7% below basics). State - 66%
  • 2009 - 85%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 74%. State - 65%[40]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[41]
  • 2011 - 70% (15% below basic). State - 60.3% [42]
  • 2010 - 67% (14% below basic). State -59%
  • 2009 - 66%, State - 56% [43]
  • 2008 - 55%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 57%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 53% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[44]
  • 2011 - 47% (12% below basic). State - 40%[45]
  • 2010 - 50% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 55%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 35%, State - 39%[46]
  • 2007 - students field tested. Results withheld from the public by PDE.

Science in Motion Abington Heights High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[47] Wilkes University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 8% of Abington Heights School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[48] 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.[49] 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.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Abington Heights High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state 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 and programs 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.[50] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[51] For the 2009-10 funding year, Abington Heights School District received a state grant of $4,165 for the program.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The local School Board sets the graduation requirements in a graduation policy. By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to complete a 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.[52] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[53]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[54] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[55]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[56][57] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[58] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[59] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Abington Heights School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 548. The Math average score was 535. The Writing average score was 544. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[60]

In 2012, 255 Abington Heights School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 527. The Math average score was 528. The Writing average score was 514. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 249 Abington Heights School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 522. The Math average score was 522. The Writing average score was 512.[61] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[62] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[63]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Abington Heights High School offered 12 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The student pays the fee for the exam which was $89 per test per pupil in 2012. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Abington Heights High School 100% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[64]

Middle school[edit]

Abington Heights Middle School is located at 1555 Newton Ransom Blvd, Clarks Summit. In 2013, enrollment was 1,047 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 17% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 10% of pupils received special education services, while 4.68% of pupils were identified as gifted.[65] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[66]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 1,056 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 118 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 71 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[67] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[68] The school was a federally designated Title I school.

2013 School Performance Profile

Abington Heights Middle School achieved 87.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 81% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 85% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 80% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 87% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[69]

AYP History

In 2012, Abington Heights Middle School declined to School Improvement Level I status due to chronic lagging achievement by special education pupil in both reading and mathematics.[70] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[71] The Middle School was eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants, which the school must apply for each year.[72]

  • 2011 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student academic achievement.[73]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status[74]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status
  • 2008 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student academic achievement.[75]
  • 2006 and 2007 - achieved AYP status
  • 2005 - Making Progress School Improvement Level I status
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I status due to lagging student achievement[76]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status
PSSA Results:

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are NCLB related examination given in the Spring of each school year. Fifth graders are tested in reading, mathematics and writing. Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999.[77] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[78] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[79] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[80]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 93% on grade level (3% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[81]
  • 2011 - 98% (1% below basic) State - 81.8%[82]
  • 2010 - 92% (3% below basic). State - 82%[83]
  • 2009 - 95%, State - 80.9% [84]
  • 2008 - 95%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 83% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 76% [85]
  • 2011 - 93% (2% below basic). State - 76.9%[86]
  • 2010 - 95% (1% below basic). State - 75%[87]
  • 2009 - 90%, State - 71%[88]
  • 2008 - 93%, State -70%[89]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 59%[90]
  • 2011 - 76% (11% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 77%, State - 57% [91]
  • 2009 - 65%, State - 55%[92]
  • 2008 - 65%, State - 50%

In 2009, the Abington Heights Middle School was named a School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The recognition goes to schools that are: academically excellent by challenging all students, are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence and are democratic and fair, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports. Schools must apply for this recognition.[93] Schools apply for this designation.[94]

Clarks Summit Elementary School[edit]

Clarks Summit Elementary School is located at 401 W Grove Street, Clarks Summit. In 2013, the School's enrollment was 356 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 13% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2.5% are identified as gifted.[95] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides half day kindergarten.[96] The School is not a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 376 pupils in grades 3rd and 4th, with 47 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 28 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[97] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[98]

2013 School Performance Profile

Clarks Summit Elementary School achieved a score of out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 83% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th grades. In 3rd grade, 88.9% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 86% were on grade level (3rd and 4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 87% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[99]

AYP History

In 2011 and 2012, Clarks Summit Elementary School achieved AYP status.[100] Clarks Summit Elementary School achieved AYP status each year from 2004 through 2010 inclusive.

PSSA History

In the Spring of the school year, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments were administered beginning 2006 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-4th.[101] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[102][103][104] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental issues studies.[105]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 89%, (4% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 93%, (1% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 90%, (2% below basic). State - 81%

Newton-Ransom School[edit]

Newton-Ransom School is located at 1549 Newton Ransom Boulevard, Clarks Summit. In 2013, the school's enrollment was 289 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 29% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2.77% are identified as gifted.[109] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides half day kindergarten. It is a federally designated Title I school.[110]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 257 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 56 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 21 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.[111] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[112] The School was a Title I school.

2013 School Performance Profile

Newton-Ransom School achieved a score of 80.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 81% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 88% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 84% were on grade level (3rd and 4th grades). In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[113]

AYP History

In 2011 and 2012, Newton-Ransom School achieved AYP status.[114] The School achieved AYP status each school year from 2004 through 2010.

PSSA History
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 94%, 52% advanced (0% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 92%, 47% advanced (2% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 92%, 44% advanced (0% below basic). State - 81%

South Abington School[edit]

South Abington School is located at 640 Northern Boulevard, Chinchilla. In 2013, the South Abington School's enrollment was 258 pupils in kindergarten through 4th grade, with 12% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 8% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[118] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The School provides half day kindergarten.[119] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 268 pupils in kindergarten through 4th, with 37 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 17.5 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[120] In 2011, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of South Abington's teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

2013 School Performance Profile

South Abington School achieved a score of 84.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 83% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 86% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 91% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 88% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[121]

AYP history

In 2011 and 2012, South Abington School achieved AYP status.[122] From 2004 through 2010, South Abington School achieved AYP status each school year.

PSSA history
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 95%, 66% advanced (0% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 96%, 61% advanced (0% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 91%, 44% advanced (7% below basic). State - 81%

Waverly School[edit]

Waverly School is located at 103 Waverly Road, Waverly. In 2013, the School's enrollment was 882 pupils in kindergarten through 4th grade, with 13.8% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 7% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2% are identified as gifted.[126] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind Act. Waverly School provides half day kindergarten.[127] The School is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 301 pupils in kindergarten through 4th grade, with 39 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 16 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 18:1.[128] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[129] The School provided half day kindergarten to all its pupils.[130]

2013 School Performance Profile

Waverly School achieved a score of 84.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 88% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 90% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 90% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[131]

AYP History

In 2011 and 2012, Waverly School achieved AYP status.[132] From 2004 through 2010, Waverly School achieved AYP status each school year.

PSSA History
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 98%, 55% advanced (0% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 94%, 72% advanced (0% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 98%, 71.7% advanced (0% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the District administration reported that 463 pupils or 13.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[136]

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 or Student Assistance 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 Special Education Department.[137][138]

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.[139]

Abington Heights School District received a $1,632,884 supplement for special education services in 2010.[140]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 148 students or 4.26% of its students were gifted in 2009.[141] 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 student’s 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.[142]

School safety and bullying[edit]

The Abington Heights School District administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the District in 2012. Additionally, there were three assaults on students and no sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in zero incidents at the schools.[143] [144] Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.[145]

The Abington Heights School Administration reported two incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[146][147]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[148] All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. 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.[149] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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.[150]

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.[151]

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[152]

In September 2014, the School Board and teachers reached a contract agreement. Teachers will receive annual raises of approximately $500 a year.[153]

In July 2014, Abington Heights School District teachers voted to strike regarding contract negotiations. Rather than striking immediately, they are waiting until school starts for pupils in September.[154] The teachers’ union requested state fact-finding reports in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Abington Heights School Board accepted both fact finding reports. The teachers' union rejected both of the reports.[155][156] Of the nearly 140 teacher strikes that occurred nationally between 2000 and 2007, 60 percent took place in Pennsylvania, according to a report released in August 2012, by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.[157] Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in which teacher strikes are legal. Pennsylvania has the highest rate of teacher strikes in the United States. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there were three teacher union strikes in 2010; one teacher union strike in 2011, one teacher union strike in 2012 and three teacher union strikes in 2013.[158] Crestwood School District teachers, in neighboring Luzerne County, went on strike in 2009. Wyoming Area School District and Danville Area School District both went on strike in the spring of 2014. State law gives the Pennsylvania Department of Education the power to order the teachers to return so that students will complete 180 days of school by June 15.

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Abington Heights School District was $58,560.03 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $25,636.64 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $84,196.67.[159] The District employed 277 teachers and administrators, with an average teacher salary of $60,453 and a top salary of $127,685.[160][161] According to a 2011 study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[162]

In 2009, Abington Heights School District reported employing over 290 teachers with a starting salary of $41,460 for 180 days for pupil instruction. The average teacher salary was $57,046 while the top salary was $121,931.[163] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[164] Additionally, Abington Heights School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 sick days, and many other benefits. Teachers are paid an additional hourly rate, when they are required to work outside of the regular school day.[165] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[166]

In 2007, Abington Heights School District employed 231 teachers who earned an average teacher salary of $55,080 for 180 days worked.[167]

Per pupil spending The Abington Heights School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $611.74 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[168] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[169]

In 2008, Abington Heights School District reported spending $11,153 per pupil. This ranked 383rd in the commonwealth.[170] In 2010, Abington Heights School District’s per pupil spending had increased to $11,871.82.[171] In 2011, the state of Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[172] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[173]

Reserves

In 2009, the District reported $1,371,431 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $10,399,284.[174] In 2013, Abington Heights School District Administration reported an increase to $12,752,485 in the reserved fund balances. The District also reported $2,170,247 in its unreserved funds in 2013.[175] Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[176] In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion.[177] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[178]

Audits

In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[179] In April 2013, the state audited the District again. An issue was reported to the school board and administration.[180]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Abington Heights School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2013 tuition rates are Elementary School - $9,244, High School - $9,541[181]

The Abington Heights School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and generally 10% of its budget from the federal government.[182] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. 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 level of the individual’s personal wealth.[183] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[184]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, School District receives 27.9% of its annual revenue from the state.[185]

For the 2014-15 school year, Abington Heights School District will receive $6,008,715 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $103,120 in Accountability Block Grant funding and $124,194 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[186] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[187]

In the 2013-2014 school year, the Abington Heights School District received a 2.3% increase or $6,007,631 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $132,255 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Abington Heights School District received $103,120 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Lackawanna County, Mid Valley School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.5%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[188] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[189] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[190]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Abington Heights School District received $5,875,376.[191] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-2012 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. Abington Heights School District received $103,120 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[192] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-2012 budget year, Abington Heights School District received a $5,875,375.72 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[193][194] Additionally, the Abington Heights School District received $103,120 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[195] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District of Allegheny County, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[196] In 2010, the district reported that 477 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[197] Some public school Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

For 2010-11 school year, the Abington Heights School District received a 3.42% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $6,242,839 payment.[198] Dunmore School District received an 11.88% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Lackawanna County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty public school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-2011. The amount of increase each school district received was determined by then Governor Edward G Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[199]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.75% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,036,630 to Abington Heights School District. This was the second lowest percentage point increase, in Basic Education Funding, for the public school districts in Lackawanna County. Two county school districts received increases of over 9% in Basic Education Funding. In Pennsylvania ninety school district received a base 2% increase in state funding. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[200]

The state Basic Education funding to the District in 2008-09 was $5,875,312.13. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 348 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[201]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s 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 Abington Heights School District applied for and received $279,892 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to reduce class sizes K-3rd grade, to provide teacher training and to develop better curriculum.[202][203]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

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. Abington Heights School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $405,107. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $73,625 for a total of $478,732. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[204]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $1,458,913 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[205]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district would have received hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[206] 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.[207] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[208]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Abington Heights School Board chose 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.[209] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Abington Heights School Board set property tax rates in 2014-2015 at 117.3500 mills.[210] 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. Pennsylvania school 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[211]

The average yearly property tax paid by Lackawanna County residents amounts to about 3.4% of their yearly income. Lackawanna County ranked 413th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[220] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[221] 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%).[222]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district sex official process. Districts are not authorized 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 was 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index could 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.[223]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[224] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[225][226] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[227]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Abington Heights School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[228]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Abington Heights School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[234] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[235]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Abington Heights School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[236]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Abington Heights School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[237]

For the 2011-12 school year, Abington Heights School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2011-12, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 8.65% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund. Each year, the School Board has the option of adopting either: 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index.

According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions: 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[238]

Abington Heights School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[239][240] In the Spring of 2010, 135 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.[241]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Abington Heights School District was $128 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,419 property owners applied for the tax relief.[242] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's tax bill. 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 (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Lackawanna County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in Scranton School District who received $334. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief state wide to the residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[243] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.

History[edit]

The origins of the Abington Heights School District date to the founding of Clarks Summit (and later Clarks Green), the two largest boroughs in the district. Both were founded during the early 20th century and attribute their name to Captain William Clark, a revolutionary war veteran from Rhode Island. Col. Ebbings from Connecticut founded the Abington Area in the late 18th century. It was originally called "Ebbington" and later changed to "Abington." Waverly was one of the earliest villages of the Abingtons and later came the establishment of Bailey Hollow (presently called Dalton) in the 19th Century and Clarks Summit and Clarks Green in the early 20th Century.

The first high school in the Abingtons was built in 1875, and was called "Abington High School." In 1883, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Another high school in the Abingtons, the Dalton High School, was completed in 1887 and closed down in 1930. The Abington Heights School District was formed in the early 1950s from four former school districts: Clarks Summit-Abington, Glenburn, South Abington, and Newton-Ransom. Abington Heights High School was completed in 1966. Over the next several decades, renovations and changes were made. Today there are six schools in the district along with one administration building.

The mascot for Abington Heights is Comet, while the colors are blue and white. The Comet comes from the original Clarks Summit High School Comets, prior to the establishment of Abington Heights.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Abington Heights School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.[244]

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.[245]

Athletics[edit]

Abington Heights is a PIAA District 2 school district which actively participates in the following sports:

Baseball Softball
Basketball Basketball
Cross Country Cross Country
Football Field Hockey
Golf Golf
Powerlifting
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Winter Track and Field Winter Track and Field
Spring Track and Field Spring Track and Field
Volleyball Volleyball
Wrestling  
Swimming and Diving Swimming and Diving

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External links[edit]