Antietam School District

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Antietam School District
Map of Berks County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
100 Antietam Road
Reading, Pennsylvania, Berks County, 19606
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr. Lawrence W. Mayes Ed.D (salary $139,500 in 2012) Contract to June 30, 2015[1]
Administrator Michele L Zimmerman, Business Manager
Staff 83 non teaching staff
Faculty 94 teachers [2]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special education students
Pupils 1,046 pupils (2011-12), 1074 pupils (2009-10) [3]
Kindergarten 85
Grade 1 62
Grade 2 76
Grade 3 81
Grade 4 104
Grade 5 75
Grade 6 82
Grade 7 89
Grade 8 91
Grade 9 71
Grade 10 85
Grade 11 82
Grade 12 91
Other Enrollment is projected as stable through 2019[4]
Mascot Mountaineers
Budget $15.64 million (2013-14)

$14.70 million (2012-13) [5]

Per pupil Spending $11,852 (2008)
Per pupils Spending $13,049.66 (2010)
Website

The Antietam School District is a diminutive, suburban public school districts that serves the Borough of Mount Penn and Lower Alsace Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It encompasses approximately 5 square miles (13 km2). According to a federal census, it served a resident population of 7,494. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $22,716, while the median family income was $49,511.[6] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [7] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[8] District officials reported that, in school year 2007–08, Antietam School District provided basic educational services to 1,084 pupils. The District employed: 92 teachers, 85 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. Antietam School District received more than $4.1 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

Antietam School District operates three schools: Antietam Middle/Sr High School (7th–12th), Mount Penn Elementary Center (2nd–6th) and Mount Penn Primary Center (K-1st).

Governance[edit]

Antietam School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[9] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[10]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2012, Antietam School District was ranked 456th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on the last three years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and science.[11] 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.

  • 2011 - 464th
  • 2010 - 470th [12]
  • 2009 – 474th of 498 districts.
  • 2008 – 429th
  • 2007 – 401st of 501 school districts[13]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students at Antietam School District ranked in the bottom 8th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)[14]

District AYP status history

In 2011 and 2012, Antietam School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[15] 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 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.[16] Antietam School District achieved AYP status each year from 2008 to 2010.[17]

  • 2007 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.
  • 2003-2006 - Achieved AYP each year.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Antietam School District's graduation rate was 90%. In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 94%.[18] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 66.94% for 2010.[19]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations
  • 2010 – 95%[20]
  • 2009 – 92%[21]
  • 2008 – 98%
  • 2007 – 92%[22]

High school[edit]

Antietam Middle Senior High School is located at 100 Antietam Road, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 480 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 159 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 47 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.[23] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[24]

In 2012, the Middle Senior High School was in Warning AYP status due to low reading and math achievement. In 2011, the School achieved AYP status. In 2010, the high school was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I status. In 2009, the high school is in School Improvement I for low academic achievement.[25]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level, (17% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[26]
  • 2011 - 63% (18% below basic). State - 69.1% [27]
  • 2010 – 64%, State - 65% [28]
  • 2009 – 46%, (20% below basic). State – 65% (90 pupils)[29]
  • 2008 – 44% (39% below basic). State - 65%
  • 2007 – 62%, State – 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 46% on grade level (31% below basic). State - 59% [30]
  • 2011 - 43% (31% below basic). State - 60.3% [31]
  • 2010 – 45%, State - 59%
  • 2009 – 48% (26.9% below basic). State – 56%
  • 2008 – 42% (47% below basic). State – 56%
  • 2007 – 56%, State – 53%[32]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 46% (15% below basic). State - 42% [33]
  • 2011 - 30% (22% below basic). State - 40% [34]
  • 2010 – 43%, State - 39%
  • 2009 – 27% (18% below basic). State – 40% [35]
  • 2008 – 25% (34% below basic) State – 39% [36]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 50% of the Antietam 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.[37] 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.[38] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Antietam School Board has determined that a total of 27.5 credits are required for graduation. These credits must be earned in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. These include: 4 credits in English, 4 credits in Social Studies, 3 credits in Health and Physical Education, 3 credits in Science (one must be a Lab Science) and 3 credits in Mathematics.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must 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.[39] The project at Antietam School District offers the student choices: Independent Research/Cultural study, 30 hours of logged Community Service, Career Exploration and Curriculum Projects.[40]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams.[41][42][43] 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.[44] 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.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The 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.[45] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[46] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[47]

For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $24,045 for the program.[48]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 48 Antietam School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 460. The Math average score was 464. The Writing average score was 454. 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, Antietam School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 510. The Math average score was 500. The Writing average score was 484.[49] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[50] 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.[51]

Middle school[edit]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[52]
  • 2011 - 74% (10% below basic) State - 81.8% (72 pupils)
  • 2010 – 82%, (4% below basic). State: 81% (72 pupils)
  • 2009 – 71%, (20% below basic). State – 80.9% (72 pupils)
  • 2008 – 57%, (31% below basic). State – 78%
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 71% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 76% [53]
  • 2011 - 66% (19% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 – 65%, (14% below basic). State – 75%
  • 2009 – 53%, (25% below basic). State – 71%
  • 2008 – 45%, (37% below basic). State – 70%
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 57% on grade level (16% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 45% (29% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 55% (18% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 – 52%,(39% below basic). State – 55%
  • 2008 – 31%, (51% below basic). State – 50%

Mount Penn Elementary School[edit]

Mount Penn Elementary School is located at 2310 Cumberland Avenue, Mount Penn. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Mount Penn Elementary School reported an enrollment of 412 pupils in grades 2nd through 6th, with 179 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is School-wide Title I. The Mount Penn Elementary School employed 37 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[54] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[55]

In 2012, Mount Penn Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging reading and math achievement. In 2011, Mount Penn Elementary School achieved AYP status.[56] In 2010, the school is in Did Not Make AYP status due to low student achievement. The school reports that there is a 96% attendance rate.[57]

4th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 85% (8% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 84% (1% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2010 – 76% (8% below basic). State – 81%
  • 2009 – 91% (0% below basic) State – 83%
  • 2008 – 81% (5% below basic) State – 81%

Mt Penn Primary Center[edit]

MT PENN PRIMARY CTR School AYP Overview 2012 [1]

Attendance rate is reported as 95% in 2010.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, Antietam School District administration reported that 194 pupils or 18.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 47% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[61] In December 2009, the district administration reported that 209 pupils or 19.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[62] In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[63] The largest group of stduents are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

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 Supervisor of Special Education.[64]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 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.[65] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[66] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[67] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[68]

Antietam School District received a $495,797 supplement for special education services in 2010.[69] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[70][71]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 28 or 2.64% of its students were gifted in 2010. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[72] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. 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.[73][74]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Antietam School District administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[75][76]

The Antietam School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79]

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.[80]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Antietam School District was $46,887 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $14,803 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $60,690.[81]

In 2009, the Antietam School District employed 100 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,488 for 181 days worked. The starting salary was reported as $38,000.[82] 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.[83] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days and 10 sick days, long term disability insurance, retirement bonus of $5,000, life insurance and other benefits.[84] 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.[85]

Antietam School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $954.95 per pupil. This ranked 66th or in the top 20% of among the 500 Pennsylvania public schools. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[86] 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.[87] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[88]

In 2009, the Antietam School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,058,016 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,285,219.[89] In 2010, Antietam School District Administration reported an increase to $1,285,220 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and $1,905,505 in its unreserved designated fund. 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.[90]

Antietam School District reported spending $11,852 per pupil in 2008. This ranked 290th among PA school districts.[91] In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $ [92] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[93] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[94] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[95]

Students who live in the Antietam School 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 Antietam 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 Antietam District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,853.96, High School - $10,111.35.[96]

Antietam School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax 0.5%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[97] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. 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 income level.[98] In a 2007 referendum vote, the residents rejected raising the local earned income tax to 1% in exchange for lowering local property taxes by an estimated $365.[99]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Hamburg Area School District received a 2.4% increase or $3,125,205 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $73,226 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Antietam School District received $56,543 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, Wyomissing Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 6.3%. 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.[100] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[101]

For the 2012-13 school year, Antietam School District received $3,108,522.[102] 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 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Antietam School District received $56,543 in Accountability Block grant funds. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[103] This amount is 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 2011-12 budget year, Antietam School District received a $3,051,655, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[104][105] Additionally, Antietam School District received $56,543 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.[106] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[107] In 2010, the district reported that 392 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[108]

For the 2010–11 school year, the state gave a 2% increase in basic education funding to the Antietam School District for $3,353,643. The highest increase in BEF allotted to schools in Berks County went to Muhlenberg School District at 8.17%. In the Commonwealth, the highest increase in state funding went to Kennett Consolidated School District which received a 23.65% increase. Among the 500 Pennsylvania public school district, 150 received the base 2% increase in 2010.[109] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.[110]

For the 2009–10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided an 8.88% increase in Basic Education Funding to Antietam School District, for a total of $3,287,886. Nine Berks County school districts received increases of less than 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009–10. Neighboring Muhlenberg School District received a 22.31% increase in state BEF. Reading School District received an 13.29% increase. In Pennsylvania, 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Ninety Pennsylvania school districts received a base increase of 2% including two districts in Berks County. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Antietam School District in 2008–09 was $3,019,653.[111] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[112] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[113][114]

In 2008 the district reported that 341 students participated in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.[115]

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 Antietam School District applied for and received $153,473 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide extensive teacher training and to provide full-day kindergarten for the 6th year.[116][117]

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. Antietam School District did not apply for funding in 2006–07 nor in 2007–08. In 2008–09, Antietam School District received $74,691. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards[118]

Other grants[edit]

Antietam School District did not participate in: PA DEP Environmental Education grants, Science Its Elementary grants, Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the 21st Century learning grants.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received an extra $486,880 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[119] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[120] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Antietam School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district will receive hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[121] 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.[122] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[123]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Antietam School Board did 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.[124] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Antietam School Board set property tax rates in 2013–14 at 34.5600 mills. This was the highest tax increase permitted without going to voter referendum. 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. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[125]

  • 2012-13 - 33.7500 mills[126]
  • 2011-12 - 32.9600 mills.
  • 2010-11 - 32.3500 mills.[127]
  • 2009–10 – 31.6000 mills.[128]
  • 2008–09 – 31.6000 mills.[129]
  • 2007-08 - 30.8000 mills.[130]
  • 2006-07 - 29.2500 mills.[131]
  • 2005-06 - 28.0600 mills.[132]

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.[133] The average yearly property tax paid by Berks County residents amounts to about 4.66% of their yearly income. Berks County is ranked 112th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[134]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed 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 is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can 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 flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect on or before 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.[135] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[136] 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.[137][138]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Antietam School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[139]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Antietam School Board applied for 2 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index:teacher pension cost and special education costs. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 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.[146]

For the 2011-12 school year, Antietam School Board apply for three exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs, special education costs and maintenance of selected revenue sources. Each year, Antietam 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. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[147]

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.[148]

The Antietam School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009–10 nor in 2010–11.[149] 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.[150]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for Antietam School District was set at $227 for 2,019 approved properties.[151] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Antietam School District was $228 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,008 property owners applied for the tax relief.[152] In Pennsylvania the highest 2010 property tax relief was for Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which was given $632 per homestead. This was the second year Chester Upland School District got the highest amount. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Berks County, 65% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[153]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.

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%).[154]

SMILE program[edit]

The district offers resident senior citizens the opportunity to exchange volunteer hours for a tax credit. The program is open to residents who are 62 years of age or older and pay residential property taxes. Participants may volunteer for up to 100 hours of service in exchange for $500 reduction in next year's school property taxes per residence.[155]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Antietam School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and interscholastic athletics. Eligibility for participation is set by school board policy[156] and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and PIAA regulations. Antietam School District and Exeter Township School District operate a cooperative sports agreement for 11 sports for both boys and girls, including football, wrestling, swimming and diving and cross country.[157] Costs are significant.[158] The program started in 1985–1986 school year.

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.[159][160]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports:

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [161]

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Coordinates: 40°20′52″N 75°52′04″W / 40.347901°N 75.867826°W / 40.347901; -75.867826