Boyertown Area School District

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Boyertown Area School District
Map of Berks County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
911 Montgomery Avenue
Boyertown, Pennsylvania, Berks County, Montgomery County, 19512
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr. Richard Faidley,
Specialist Scott D. Major, Director of Information Technology
Administrator Melissa L. Woodard, Assistant to the Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Director William C. Hayes, Director of Special Education & Kalyn M. Bartman, Director of Special Education
Head teacher Rob Scoboria, Assistant Superintendent
Staff 476 full- and part-time [1]
Faculty 456 teachers (2011) [2]
Teaching staff 424.7 (on FTE basis)[3]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 7,099 students in 2011
Kindergarten 492
Grade 1 527
Grade 2 566
Grade 3 481
Grade 4 549
Grade 5 551
Grade 6 584
Grade 7 520
Grade 8 546
Grade 9 584
Grade 10 574
Grade 11 583
Grade 12 542
Other Enrollment projected to be 7,574 in 2020[4]
Student to teacher ratio 16.4[3]
Mascot Bears
Budget $92,726,518 (2012-13)
Per pupil Spending $11,402 (2008)
Per pupil Spending $12,362.08 (2010)
Website
Boyertown Area School District region in Montgomery County

The Boyertown Area School District is a large public school district which covers portions of Berks and Montgomery Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.[5] When the Boyertown Area School District was formed in 1953 it was one of the largest in the state, encompassing 100 square miles (260 km2). In Berks County, Pennsylvania it covers the Boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville and Boyertown and Colebrookdale Township, Douglass Township, Earl Township and Washington Township. In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania it covers Douglass Township, New Hanover Township and Upper Frederick Township. In 2006 the district employed: 521 teachers, 447 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 23 administrators. Boyertown Area School District received more than $23.5 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

According to 2006 local census data, Boyertown Area School District serves a resident population of 34,803. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $22,792, while the median family income was $61,247.[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]

Boyertown Area School District has received numerous awards. In 2010, the NAMM's 100 Best Communities for Music Education in America.[9] The school district leads in regional sports as well. Academically, it post the highest scores on statewide assessments when compared with Berks County school districts. It is on or above average when compared with Montgomery County schools. Yet, the school district has the lowest taxation (millage) rate in Montgomery County and the second lowest in Berks County.[citation needed]

High achievement is attained through the use of consistent high performing schools practices (National Center for Education Achievement), a focus on the goals of the strategic plan, building action plans, and focus on core classroom practices.[10]

Schools[edit]

Every school in the district has health room coverage, school counseling services and handles the majority of special education students in-house. The support services of 4 school psychologists are available to all levels.

The district operates seven Elementary Schools, two Junior High Schools (7th-9th) and one Senior High School (10th-12th).

Elementary schools
  • Boyertown Elementary School
  • Colebrookdale Elementary School
  • Earl Elementary School [1]
  • Gilbertsville Elementary School [2]
  • New Hanover-Upper Frederick Elementary School [3]
  • Pine Forge Elementary School [4]
  • Washington Elementary School [5]
Secondary schools
  • Boyertown Area Junior High School-East Center
  • Boyertown Area Junior High School-West Center
  • Boyertown Area Senior High School

Governance[edit]

The 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.[11] 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 critical reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C" 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.[12]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2012, Boyertown Area School District was ranked 106th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[13] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs 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.

  • 2011 - 93rd
  • 2010 - 88th [15]
  • 2009 - 91st of 498 districts.
  • 2008 - 109th
  • 2007 - 121st of 501 school districts [16]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students at the district ranked 84th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [17]

District AYP status history

In 2011 and 2012, Boyertown Area 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.[18] Boyertown Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 Boyertown Area School District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[19]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, The District’s graduation rate was 92%.[20] In 2011, the graduation rate was 88.9%.[21] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Boyertown Area Senior High School's rate was 88.32% for 2010.[22]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Boyertown Area Senior High School is located at 120 North Monroe Street, Boyertown in Berks County. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,699 pupils in grades 10th through 12th, with 230 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 113 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[26] 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.[27]

AYP Status[edit]

  • 2012 - Making Progress in Corrective Action Level II [28]
  • 2011 - Corrective Action Level II due to chronic low student achievement in reading and mathematics.[29]
  • 2010 - Corrective Action Level I [30]
  • 2009 - School Improvement Level II [31]

The school is not a Title 1 school. This exempts it from the parental notice and transfer mandates under No Child Left Behind. Because it is in Corrective Action, the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the school's administration to develop a school improvement plan and to submit it for approval. Schools that are in Corrective Action II (school or district does not make AYP for five years in a row), are subject to state mandated governance changes, such as reconstitution, chartering and privatization.[32]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 79% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[33]
  • 2011 - 70% (14% below basic). State - 69.1% [34]
  • 2010 - 76% (14% below basic). State - 65% [35]
  • 2009 - 76%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 77%, State - 65% [36]
  • 2007 - 78%, State - 65% [37]
  • 2006 - 77%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 70% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 61% (17% below basic). State - 60.3% [39]
  • 2010 - 67%, (16.8% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 62%, State - 56%
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 56% [40]
  • 2007 - 65%, State - 53% [41]
  • 2006 - 61%, State - 52%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[42]
  • 2011 - 45% (11% below basic). State - 40% [43]
  • 2010 - 51% (11% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 51%, State - 40% [44]
  • 2008 - 52%, State - 39% [45]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 29% of the Boyerstown Area 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.[46] 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.[47] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 385 Boyertown Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 499. The Math average score was 517. The Writing average score was 495. 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, 381 Boyertown Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 500. The Math average score was 514. The Writing average score was 490.[48] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[49] 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.[50]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Boyertown Area School Board has determined that a total of 24 credits are required for graduation. These include: 4 credits in English, 4 credits in Social Studies, .59 credits in Wellness, 1.66 credits Fitness, 3 credits in Science and 3 credits in Mathematics.[51] In January 2011, the school board voted to discontinue the district's long standing requirement of reading 10 books for graduation.[52]

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.[53] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[54]

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.[55][56][57] 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.[58] 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]

Boyertown Area Senior 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.[59] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[60] 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.[61][62]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $6,596 for the program.[63]

Junior High School EAST[edit]

Boyertown Area Junior High School- East is located at 2020 Big Road, Gilbertsville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 852 pupils in grades 7th through 9th, with 102 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is not a Federal Title I school. The school employed 57 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[64] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[65]

In both 2011 and 2012, Boyertown Area Junior High School - East achieved AYP status.[66]

PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 82% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 73% (8% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 71% (11% below basic). State – 57%

Junior High School West[edit]

Boyertown Area Junior High School - West is located at 380 South Madison Street, Boyertown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 798 pupils in grades 7th through 9th, with 160 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 56 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[68] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 3 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[69]

In 2012, Boyertown Area Junior High School - West declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement. In 2011, Boyertown Area Junior High School - West achieved AP status.[70]

PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 73% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 72% (10% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 62% (14% below basic). State – 57%

Elementary schools[edit]

Boyertown Elementary School is located at 641 East Second Street, Boyertown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 672 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 109 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 39 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[72] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[73] In 2012, Boyertown Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading, while in 2011 the school achieved AYP status.[74] In 2012, only 78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 86% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 60% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils were on grade level.[75]

Colebrookdale Elementary School is located at 1001 Montgomery Avenue, Boyertown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 354 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 94 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 24 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[76] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[77] In 2011 and 2012, Colebrookdale Elementary School achieved AYP status.[78] In 2012, only 75% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 85% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 55% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level, with 65% achieving advanced.[79]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the Boyertown Area School District administration reported that 1,203 pupils or 16.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 53.2% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the District's administration reported that 1,128 pupils or 16.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[80]

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.[81]

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.[82] 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.[83] 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.[84] 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.[85]

Boyertown Area School District received a $3,157,664 supplement for special education services in 2010.[86] 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 was provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who needed special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required or the actual costs of those services.[87][88]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 363 or 5.19% 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.[89] The District Administration reported that 375 or 5.28% of its students were gifted in 2008. 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.[90][91]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Boyertown Area School District has developed an Anti-Bullying Task Force.[92] The Task Force developed a Community/School District Anti-Bullying Action Plan. Community/School District Anti-Bullying Action Plan

The Boyertown Area School District administration reported there was one incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[93][94]

The Boyertown Area School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[95] 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.[96] 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.[97]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharrasment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[98]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Boyertown Area School District was $66,637 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $15,204 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $81,841.[99]

In 2009, the Boyertown Area School District employed over 500 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $64,000 for 192 days worked. The starting salary was reported as $48,741.[100] In Pennsylvania the average teacher salary for Pennsylvania's 124,100 public school teachers was $54,977 in 2008.[101] 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.[102] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (employee pays 10% of premium), professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days and 10 sick days, long term disability insurance, retirement bonus ($275 for each year worked up to 35 years), life insurance and other benefits.[103] 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.[104]

The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $724.69 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[105] In 2009 the superintendent's salary was $185,618.[106] The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees, including administrators. It reports that in 2008, the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania had risen to $122,165.[107] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Boyerstown Area School District had 23 administrators.

Per pupil Spending Boyertown Area School District reported spending $11,402 per pupil in 2008. This ranked 352nd among PA school districts.[108] In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $12,362.08.[109] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[110] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[111] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[112]

Tuition rate 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 Boyertown Area 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 Boyertown Area School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,717.55, High School - $9,401.15.[113]

Reserves In 2008, the Boyertown Area School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $7,918,875.[114] In 2010, Boyertown Area Administration reported $5,966,843 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The unreserved designated fund balance was reported as $2,000,000. 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.[115]

Audit The Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district in September 2010. Multiple findings were reported to the school board and administration.[116]

In 2004, Boyertown Area School Board invested nearly $10 million in bonds used to develop a golf course. The Harrisburg Authority defaulted leaving the district to sell the golf course in an effort to recoup the losses.[117]

According to district officials, the school board has obligated the district's reserves in interest swap investment programs. The Superintendent for Business Affairs reported that the district is earning $200,000 annually on an obligation which began in 2005 and runs until 2015.[118] According to Auditor General Jack Wagner, about one-fifth of Pennsylvania's school districts have recently been involved with the swaps.[119][120]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, investment income, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[121] 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.[122]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, Boyertown Area School District received $13,957,386.[123] 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. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[124]

In 2011-12, Boyertown Area School District received a $13,711,152 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[125][126] Additionally, the Boyertown Area School District received $246,234 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.[127] 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.[128] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[129]

For the 2010-11 school year, the state gave a 4.15% increase in basic education funding to the Boyertown Area School District for $14,823,416. 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.[130] 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 determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[131]

For the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.81% increase in Basic Education Funding to Boyertown Area School District, for a total of $14,233,241. Nine Berks County school districts received increases of less than 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009-10. Muhlenberg School District received a 22.31% increase. 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 Boyertown Area School District in 2008-09 was $13,711,192.[132] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[133] 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.[134][135]

In 2008, Boyertown Area School District reported that 858 students participated in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.[136]

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 Boyertown Area School District applied for and received $668,340 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide extensive teacher training through the use of teacher coaches for literacy and math and to reduce class size kindergarten to 3rd grade.[137][138]

In 2011-12 and 2012 13 the District received $246,234.[139]

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. Districts who received the grant now need to fund replacement computers, supplies, repairs, technical support, and training. Boyertown Area School District did not apply for funding. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[140]

Other grants[edit]

The Boyertown Area School District did not participate in: PA DEP Environmental Education grants, Science Its Elementary grants, Education Assistance Grants for after school tutoring at the high school, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century learning grants.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received an extra $$1,686,397 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[141] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[142] 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]

The Boyertown Area 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.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Boyertown 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.[146] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Boyertown Area School Board set property tax rates in 2012-13 at 21.8800 mills for Berks County residents. Montgomery County residents are taxed at 22.4900 mills.[147] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. 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. 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. On the local level, 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.[148] The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[149] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[150]

  • 2011-12 - 21.8800 mills for residents in Berks County. Montgomery County - 21.5000 mills.[151]
  • 2010-11 - 20.7700 mills for residents in Berks County. Montgomery County - 20.3600 mills.[152]
  • 2009-10 - 20.0200 mills for residents in Berks County. Montgomery County - 19.6600 mills.[153]
  • 2008-09 - 19.6400 mills in Berks County. Montgomery County - 20.0300 mills.[154]
  • 2007-08 - 19.2400 mills in Berks County. Montgomery County - 19.4200 mills.[155]
  • 2006-07 - 19.1800 mills in Berks County. Montgomery County - 18.6300 mills.[156]
  • 2005-06 - 19.4600 mills in Berks County. Montgomery County - 17.2500 mills.[157]

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.[158] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[159] 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.[160][161]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Boyertown Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[162]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Boyertown Area School Board applied for 2 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pensions costs 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.[165]

For the 2011-12 school year, Boyertown Area School Board applied for three exception to exceed the Act 1 Index:teacher pension costs, special education costs and Maintenance of Selected Revenue. Each year, Boyertown Area 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 mandated timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[166]

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.[167]

The Boyertown Area School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010-11 which included: special education costs and pension costs.[168] 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.[169]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for Boyertown Area School District was set at $149 for 12,070 approved properties.[170] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Boyertown Area School District was $152 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,008 property owners applied for the tax relief.[171] 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 (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 Berks County, 65% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. In Montgomery County, 70% of eligible property owners applied.[172]

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%).[173]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is set by school board policy [174] and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

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.[175][176]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [177]

References[edit]

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  177. ^ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (2012). "PIAA School Directory". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°20′16″N 75°37′38″W / 40.337895°N 75.627202°W / 40.337895; -75.627202