Bristol Borough School District

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Bristol Borough School District
Map of Bucks County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1776 Farragut Avenue
Bristol, Pennsylvania, Bucks County, 19007-3706
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Mr Gregory R Wright M.Ed., MBA - Superintendent 8/2011 to 7/2014 salary $135,000 (2012)
Administrator Mr Joseph T Roe - Business Manager salary $115,001

Karen Crossley , Special Education Services

Principal Thomas F. Shaffer, Elementary/MS salary $111,459
Principal Thomas F. Shaffer, HS
Vice principal Kyle Dudley , Elementary / Middle School Assistant Principal
Vice principal Cherrissa Gibson , HS Assistant Principal
Staff 73.6 people
Faculty 91 teachers (2011) [1]
Grades PreK-12
Age 4 years old preschool to 21 years old special education
Pupils 1,318 students (2011) [2]
Kindergarten 87
Grade 1 110
Grade 2 107
Grade 3 94
Grade 4 107
Grade 5 99
Grade 6 122
Grade 7 91
Grade 8 104
Grade 9 118
Grade 10 87
Grade 11 68
Grade 12 86
Other Preschool 38 students (2011)
Mascot Warriors
Budget $22.1 million 2012-13 [3]

$21.2 million 2011-12[4]
$17,192,872 (2008-09)

Per pupil spending $14,647 (2008)
Per pupil Spending $15,067.85 (2010)
Website

The Bristol Borough School District is a diminutive, suburban, public school district located in southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The District serves the Borough of Bristol. It encompasses just 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), with a population of 12,000 people at the 1990 Federal Census. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 9,923 people. By 2010, the District's population declined further to 9,729 people. In 2009, Bristol Borough School District residents’ per capita income was $17,198, while the median family income was $44,517.[5] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [6] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[7]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Bristol Borough School District provided basic educational services to 1,267 pupils through the employment of 100 teachers, 50 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators. Bristol Borough School District received more than $8.5 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. The District is served by Bucks County IU 22 for special education services and professional development programs.

Bristol Borough School District operates: Bristol High School, Bristol Middle School and Snyder-Girotti Elementary School.

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without compensation for a term of four years.), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[8] 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 Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the District's School Board.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Bristol Borough School Board and the Bristol Borough School District Administration an "F" 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.[9]

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one Bristol Borough School District school as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Snyder-GirottiI Elementary School was among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[10] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[11] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[12] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Rankings

Bristol Borough School District was ranked 471st out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[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 - 462nd [15]
  • 2008 - 423rd
  • 2007 - 337th out of 501 school districts.[16]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Bristol Borough School District ranked 197th. In 2011, the District was 194th. [17] The editor 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."[18]

AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Bristol Borough School District declined to Warning AYP status, due to chronic, low student achievement in reading and mathematics. None of the District's three schools achieved AYP status in 2012.[19] In 2011, Bristol Borough 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.[20] Bristol Borough School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010.

  • 2005 - Making pRogress School Improvement I status
  • 2004 - School Improvement I status
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[21]
Cheating report

Bristol Borough School District's Snyder-Girotti Elementary School was cited in a state report regarding irregularities in the PSSA testing.[22][23] After an extensive investigation, the District was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop a plan to remediate the issues involved. Statewide 48 school districts or charter programs had suspicious results in the exams administered in 2009, 2010, or 2011.[24][25] The scandal calls into question much of the student academic growth touted by the Rendell Administration which conspicuously ignored the Data Recognition Corp. forensic erasure analysis for several years.[26][27]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Bristol Borough School District’s graduation rate was 75%.[28] In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 73%.[29] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Bristol High School's rate was 66% for 2010.[30]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Bristol High School is located at Wilson Avenue And Garfield Street, Bristol. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 359 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 219 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 29 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[35] 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.[36]

In 2012, Bristol High School achieved Warning AYP status due to missing every goal measured in both reading and math achievement.[37] In 2011, Bristol High School was also in Warning AYP status.[38]

PSSA results

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 53% on grade level, (29% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[39]
  • 2011 - 69% (15% below basic). State - 69.1% [40]
  • 2010 - 57% (23% below basic). State - 66% [41]
  • 2009 - 53% (28% below basic). State - 65% [42]
  • 2008 - 45% (35% below basic). State - 65% [43]
  • 2007 - 61% (26% below basic). State - 65% [44]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 57% on grade level (31% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[45]
  • 2011 - 48% (27% below basic). State - 60.3% [46]
  • 2010 - 53% (28% below basic). State - 59% [47]
  • 2009 - 53% (19% below basic). State - 56% [48]
  • 2008 - 40% (37% below basic). State - 56% [49]
  • 2007 - 36% (31% below basic). State - 53% [50]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 33% on grade level (% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[51]
  • 2011 - 28% (16% below basic). State - 40% [52]
  • 2010 - 25% (25% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 22% (32% below basic). State - 40% [53]
  • 2008 - 7.4% (22% below basic). State - 39% [54]

Science in Motion Bristol High School does not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brings 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.[55] Districts in Bucks County worked with Ursinus College to provide the experiences.

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 53% of Bristol High School's 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.[56] 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.[57] 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 Bristol High School does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts with the assistance of a state grant. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Bristol Borough School Board determines the number and subject of the credits a student must earn in order to graduate. Students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) must meet those requirements in order to graduate. Special Education students can remain in public education until they are 21 years old, working to achieve their IEP goals. The District graduated its first class in 1883;[58]

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.[59] 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.[60]

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.[61][62][63] 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.[64] 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.[65] 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 2012, 47 Bristol Borough School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 444. The Math average score was 447. The Writing average score was 447. 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, 53 Bristol Borough School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 436. The Math average score was 446. The Writing average score was 415.[66] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[67] 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.[68]

Middle school[edit]

Warren Snyder-John Girotti Middle School is located at 450 Beaver Street, Bristol. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 317 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 200 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a Federally designated Title I school. The school employed 22 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[69] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[70] The sixth grade was moved to the school from the elementary school for the 2011-12 school year.

In 2012, Warren Snyder-John Girotti Middle School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all academic metrics measured in both reading and mathematics.[71]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 31% on grade level (39% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 29% (44% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 35% (46% below basic). State – 57% [80]
  • 2009 - 41% (31% below basic). State - 55% [81]
  • 2008 - 31% (38% below basic). State - 52% [82]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Elementary school[edit]

Warren Snyder-John Birotti Elementary School is located at 450 Beaver Street, Bristol. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 642 pupils in preschool through 5th, with 379 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Warren Snyder-John Birotti Elementary School is a federally designated Title I school. The School employed 40 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[83] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[84]

In 2012, Warren Snyder-John Birotti Elementary School declined to School Improvement II AYP status, due to continuing low student achievement in both reading and mathematics.[85] Under No Child Left Behind, the parents had the right to transfer their child to a better performing school in the District. The School Administration was required to develop a plan to improve student achievement and to submit it to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In 2011, Warren Snyder-John Birotti Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status, due to low achievement in both reading and mathematics.[86] The school was identified as one of the lowest 15% performing public schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The parents are eligible for an Opportunity Scholarship to transfer their child out of the District to a better performing private school or public school in a neighboring school district. Additionally, the school was cited as having an unusually high number of erasures changing incorrect answers to correct answers on the 5th grade PSSAs and the third grade PSSAs.[87] While the School's teachers were cleared of cheating, after an investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and District administration, the student achievement declined sharply in 2012. In 2012, Warren Snyder-John Birotti Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging student achievement in both reading and mathematics.[88]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 67% (9% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 71% (10% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 75% (7% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 78% (3% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 77% (8% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Bristol Borough School District administration reported that 238 pupils or 17.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 49.6% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[95] In December 2010, the District administration reported that 239 pupils or 17% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 54% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. 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.[96] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for 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.[97] 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.[98] 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.[99] 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.[100] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[101]

Bristol Borough School District received a $$897,934 supplement for special education services in 2010.[102] 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.[103][104] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

Bristol Borough School District Administration reported that 22 or 1.71% of its students were gifted in 2009. 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.[105] 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.[106][107]

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.[108]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Bristol Borough School District was $78,520 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $19,248 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $97,768 which is among the highest in Pennsylvania.[109] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, 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.[110] In 2012, the Bristol Borough School Board and Teachers Union agreed to a new contract which included annual raises. Under the new five year contract, teachers did not received a pay raise for 2 years. On year three they will get a 1 percent raise. Year four and year five they will receive 2% raise. In the second year, they will also get step increases, based on educational credits and years of service. The remainder of the three years they will get full step increases in addition to percentage increases.[111]

In 2009, Bristol Borough School District reported employing 106 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $74,874 and a top salary of $129,000.[112] The teacher’s work day is 7.25 hours with 189 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, taxpayer funded health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[113] 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.[114]

Bristol Borough School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $900.97 per pupil, which ranked 104th among Pennsylvania's 501 public school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[115] 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.[116] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[117]

In 2008, Bristol Borough School District Administration reported that per pupil spending was $$14,647 which ranked 74th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the District's per pupil spending had increased to $$15,067.85.[118] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[119] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[120] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[121]

Reserves In 2008, the District's Administrators reported a balance of zero in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,021,940.[122] The District reported just $$261,418 in its unreserved-undesignated fund in 2010. 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. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[123]

In January 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration.[124]

Tuition Students who live in the Bristol Borough 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 Bristol Borough 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 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $9,517.92, High School - $12,015.72.[125]

Bristol Borough School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%,[126] a property tax, a service tax of $5, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[127] 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.[128] 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.[129]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, Bristol Borough School District received $6,016,675.[130] 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 (ABG) program. Bristol Borough School District received $87,756 in ABG 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.[131] 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 2011-12, Bristol Borough School District received a $5,928,919 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[132][133] Additionally, Bristol Borough School District received $87,756 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.[134] 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.[135] In 2010, the district reported that 771 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[136]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.31% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,323,520 . Among the public school districts in Bucks County, the highest increase went to Central Bucks School District which got a 3.36% increase. Nine Bucks County school districts received the base 2% increase in BEF. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[137] 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 public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[138]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.25% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,180,725 to Bristol Borough School District. Among the thirteen (13) public school districts in Bucks County, the highest increase went to Bristol Borough School District. Eight (8) of the County's school district received the base 2% increase in BEF. Ninety school Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[139] 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.[140] 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.[141][142]

The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,712,371.45. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 702 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[143]

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, Bristol Borough School District applied for and received $238,193 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten (since 2004) and for additional teacher training.[144][145]

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 to 2009. Bristol Borough School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07 or in 2007-08. Bristol Borough School District received $77,187 in 2008-09.[146] In Bucks County the highest award was given to Central Bucks School District which received $1,567,268. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Snyder-Girotti Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09. It was the only school to participate in Bucks County. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[147] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[148] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[149] Bristol Borough School District was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated. The 2006-07 State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006-07 school year. This marks an 8-percent increase over 2005-06 public school funding.[150] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in 2010 by Governor Rendell due to a massive state budget crisis.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Bristol Borough School District received $32,962.[151]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: PreK Counts preschool funding, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Bristol Borough School District received an extra $2,049,800 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[152][153] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[154] 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.

School Improvement Grant[edit]

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in March 2012, that the first-year data suggest student achievement is improving at campuses that participated in the School Improvement grant program. He reported that at nearly 60 percent of SIG schools, more students are demonstrating proficiency in reading and math. Nearly a quarter of those schools reported math improvement in the double digits, and close to 20 percent of schools saw double-digit gains in reading.[155]

In the summer of 2011, Bristol Borough School District administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). The high school was eligible for funding due to chronic low achievement. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools.[156] The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools in August 2011. The funding was for three years.[157]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Bristol Borough School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[158] 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.[159] 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.[160][161][162]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012-13 were set by the school board at 154.0000 mills. 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.[163] 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 all government property (local, state and federal). 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.[164] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[165] 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.[166]

  • 2011-12 - 154.000 mills.[167]
  • 2010-11 - 138.000 mills [168]
  • 2009-10 - 120.000 mills.[169]
  • 2008-09 - 120.000 mills.[170]
  • 2007-08 - 114.000 mills.[171]
  • 2006-07 - 101.4000 mills.[172]
  • 2005-06 - 88.7500 mills.[173]

The average yearly property tax paid by Bucks County residents amounts to about 4.68% of their yearly income. Bucks County ranked 109th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[174] 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.[175] 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%).[176]

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 permitted to raise property taxes above their annual Index unless they either: allow voters to vote by referendum or they receive an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the school year is published by the PDE in the fall of each year. Each individual school district’s Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as local property values and the personal income of district residents. Originally, Act 1 or 2006 included 10 exceptions: 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.[177] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[178] 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.[179][180]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Bristol Borough School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[181]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Bristol Borough School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: School Construction Grandfathered Debt and the teachers' pensions. For 2013-2014, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[184]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Bristol Borough School Board applied for all 3 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: School Construction Grandfathered Debt, special education costs and for the teachers' pensions. 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.[185]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Bristol Borough School Board applied for four (4) exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: School Construction Grandfathered Debt, Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue, Special Education costs and the teachers' pensions. 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. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[186]

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.[187]

Bristol Borough School Board applied for two (2) exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011: School Construction Grandfathered Debt and Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue.[188] For the 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[189] 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.[190]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, Bristol Borough School District approved homestead residents received $257 for 1,935 homesteads/farmsteads.[191] This was the highest relief awarded to a Bucks County school district. The amount of property tax relief each public school district receives is announced by the PDE in May each year. It is dependent on the amount of tax revenue collected on the casino slots in the previous year. In 2010, property tax relief for approved residents of Bristol Borough School District was set at $269.[192] The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. Chester-Upland School District has consistently been the top recipient since the programs inception.[193] 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.[194]

In Pennsylvania, the homestead exclusion reduces the assessed values of homestead properties, reducing the property tax on these homes. The homestead exclusion allows homeowners real property tax relief of up to one half of the median assessed value of homesteads in the taxing jurisdiction (county, school district, city, borough, or township).[195]

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, consequently people who have an income of substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This tax rebate can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief. In 2012, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Treasury reported issuing more than half a million property tax rebates totaling $238 million.[196] The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Property tax rebates are increased by an additional 50 percent for senior households in the state, so long as those households have incomes under $30,000 and pay more than 15% of their income in property taxes.[197]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Bristol Borough School District offers a variety of clubs, activities interscholastic sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).[198][199]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[200]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [201]

Wellness policy[edit]

Bristol Borough School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[202] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[203]

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[204] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Bristol Borough School District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to low-income children. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[205]

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