Cameron County School District

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Cameron County School District
Map of Cameron County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels.png
Map of Cameron County, Pennsylvania
Address
601 Woodland Avenue
Emporium, Pennsylvania, Cameron County, 15834-1043
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Christine Holjencin, Acting Superintendent (2012 - $85,000 1 year term) [1]
Specialist Lynn Hummel, Assistant Superintendent
Administrator Carl Mitchell, Business Manager

Dave Sullivan, Technology Manager

Director Tracy Colwel, Director of Food Services
Principal Lynn Newcomer
Chief custodian Diane Crosby, Head
Staff 76 non teaching staff members
Faculty 51.90 teachers (2012)[2]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special education
Pupils 689 pupils (2012-13),[3] 731 pupils (2010-11) [4]
Kindergarten 53 (2012), 41 (2010)
Grade 1 42 (2012), 45
Grade 2 38 (2012), 58
Grade 3 43 (2012), 43
Grade 4 56 (2012), 61
Grade 5 40 (2012), 60 (2010)
Grade 6 59 (2012), 48
Grade 7 63 (2012), 55
Grade 8 50 (2012), 61
Grade 9 52 (2012), 60
Grade 10 57 (2012), 73
Grade 11 54 (2012), 60
Grade 12 82 (2012), 66 (2010)
Other enrollment projected to be 535 students in 2020 [5]
Student to teacher ratio 13:1
Hours in school day 7
Athletics Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling, Golf
Per pupil spending $12,658 (2008)
Per pupil spending $25,529.15 (2011) ranks 5th in state
Website

The Cameron County School District is a small rural public school district which covers the whole of Cameron County, Pennsylvania. CCSD encompasses approximately 401 square miles (1,040 km2). Per the 2010 US Census, the District's population declined to 5,080 people.[6] According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 5,974. In 2009, Cameron County School District residents’ per capita income was $15,968, while the median family income was $39,479.[7] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [8] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[9]

According to Cameron County School District officials, in school year 2007-08 the CCSD provided basic educational services to 836 pupils through the employment of 66 teachers, 52 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators. Cameron County School District received more than $6.8 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. In 2009-10, the District provided basic educational services to 771 pupils. It employed: 65 teachers, 50 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators. Cameron County School District received $6.9 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.[10]

Cameron County School District operates two schools: Cameron County High School (7th-12th) and Woodland Elementary School (K-6th).

High school students may choose to attend Seneca Highlands Career and Technical Center for training in the trades. The Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit IU9 provides Cameron County School District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Cameron County School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without any compensation for a term of four years.), 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 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 School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.

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

Academic achievement[edit]

Cameron County School District was ranked 394th out of 498 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.

  • 2012 - 392nd[15]
  • 2011 - 389th [16]
  • 2010 - 380th [17]
  • 2009 - 371st
  • 2008 - 345th
  • 2007 - 346th [18]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Cameron County School District ranked 190th. [19] 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." [20]

  • 2012 - 195th
  • 2011 - 178th
  • 2010 - 189th

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Cameron County School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[21] In 2011, Cameron County School District also 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 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.[22] Cameron County School District achieved AYP status each year from 2003 to 2010.[23]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Cameron County School District’s graduation rate was 85.94%.[24] In 2012, CCSD’s graduation rate was 85%.[25] In 2011, the graduation rate was 89%.[26] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Cameron County High School's rate was 88.98% for 2010.[27]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Junior Senior High School[edit]

Cameron County Junior Senior High School is located at 601 Woodland Avenue, Emporium. In 2013, the School's enrollment was reported as 359 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 51% eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 18% of pupils received special education services, while 1.6% were identified as gifted.[32]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 375 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 158 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school is a Title I school. The school employed 29 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[33] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[34]

2013 School Performance Profile

Cameron County Junior Senior High School achieved 62.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 65.6% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 69.4% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 56.7% showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 56% of eighth graders showed on grade level writing skills.[35] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, they now take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[36]

AYP History

In 2012, Cameron County Junior Senior High School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all 6 academic metrics.[37] In 2010 and 2011, Cameron County Junior Senior High School achieved AYP status.[38] From 2004 to 2009, the School achieved AYP status each year. In 2003, the School was in Warning status due to lagging students achievement.[39]

PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[40]

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 61% on grade level, (20% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[41]
  • 2011 - 70% (17% below basic). State - 69.1% [42]
  • 2010 - 75% (8% below basic). State - 66% [43]
  • 2009 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 65% [44]
  • 2008 - 74% (12% below basic). State - 65% [45]
  • 2007 - 66% (22% below basic). State - 65% [46]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 49% on grade level (28% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[47]
  • 2011 - 63% (20% below basic). State - 60.3% [48]
  • 2010 - 61% (18% below basic). State - 59% [49]
  • 2009 - 47% (24% below basic). State - 56%.[50]
  • 2008 - 58% (19% below basic). State - 56% [51]
  • 2007 - 46% (33% below basic). State - 53% [52]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 36% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[53]
  • 2011 - 43% (13% below basic). State - 40% [54]
  • 2010 - 44% (11% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 37% (17% below basic). State - 40% [55]
  • 2008 - 45% (3% below basic). State - 39% [56]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 32% of the Cameron County High School 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.[57] 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.[58] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. Initially, the state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Cameron County School District received $10,439 in 2009-10.[59] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[60]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Cameron County School Board has determined that a pupil must earn a set number of credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in math 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, science 4 credits, Physical Education 4 credits, Health in 11th grade, a keyboarding course, several courses in Technology Ed/Art/Family and Consumer Sciences and electives.[61]

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.[62] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education has eliminated the requirement for students to complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[63]

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.[64][65][66] 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.[67] 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, 35 Cameron County School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 476. The Math average score was 477. The Writing average score was 479. 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, 47 Cameron County School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 480. The Math average score was 464. The Writing average score was 458.[68] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[69] 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.[70]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 63% (15% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 54% (27% below basic). State – 57% [76]
  • 2009 - 50% (24% below basic). State - 55% [77]
  • 2008 - 55% (11% below basic). State - 52% [78]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Woodland Elementary School[edit]

Woodland Elementary School is located at 601 Woodland Avenue, Emporium. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 356 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th. The school employed 26 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[79] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[80] In 2011 and 2012, Woodland Elementary School achieved AYP status.[81]

PSSA Results:

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 98%, (3% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 92%, (0% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 91%, (2% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 90%, (0% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 94%, (4% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, Cameron County School District administration reported that 149 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 53% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[88] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 154 pupils or 20% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 53% 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.[89] The largest group of stduents are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school 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 .[90] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, 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 Special Education administration. 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 Cameron County School District's Special Education Department.[91][92]

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.[93] 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.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96]

Cameron County School District received a $590,526 supplement for special education services in 2010.[97] For the 2010-11, 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.[98][99]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 11 or 1.25% 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.[100] 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.[101][102]

Wellness policy[edit]

Cameron County School Board established a district wide wellness policy in 2006.[103] 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.[104] e

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.[105] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers a free school breakfast to low-income children. The program is funded with federal dollars through the USDA.[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 the 2012-13 school year, the average teacher salary in Cameron County School District was $53,889 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $14,862 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $68,751.[109]

In 2011, Cameron County School District employed 62 teachers. The average teacher salary in Cameron County School District was $52,973 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $12,899 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $65,873.[110]

In 2009, the District reported employing 66 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $55,103 and a top salary of $95,000.[111] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 30 minute with a paid 30 minute lunch break and a daily preparation period. There are 185 days in the contract year with 180 student days. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance at a cost to them of $42 per month; dental insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Teachers receive a payout of $30 per unused sick or personal day upon retirement, death while employed or resignation to a maximum of $5,300. Retiring teacher receive a retirement bonus of up to $18,000.[112] 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.[113]

Administration costs Cameron County School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $764.08 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[114] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania.[115][116]

Per Pupil Spending In 2008, Cameron County School District Administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,658 which ranked 203rd among Pennsylvania's 501 public school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $25,529.15 which ranked 5th in the Commonwealth.[117] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[118] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[119] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[120]

Reserves In 2008, Cameron County School District reported a balance of $812,759 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $2,587,339.[121] In 2010, Cameron County Administration reported an increase to $3,202,364 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and the unreserved-designated fund balance $768,184. In 2013, reserves were reported as $4,612,276.[122] 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.[123]

Bank bid-rigging settlement In January 2011, Cameron County School District was identified as a victim of an illegal bid-rigging scheme conducted by Bank of America.[124] Cameron County School District received $160,452.35 from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency portions of the settlement with Bank of America.

Audit In October 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.[125] In June 2013, the District was audited again. Several issues were cited by the Auditor General.

Tuition rates Students who live in the Cameron County 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 Cameron County 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 - $11,217.86, High School - $11,680 [126]

Cameron County School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[127] Competitive and noncompetitive grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Additionally, 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]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, School District receives 65.1% of its annual revenue from the state.[130]

For the 2013-14 school year, Cameron County School District received a 0.9% increase or $5,219,264 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding (BEF). This is $46,838 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Cameron County School District received $68,618 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[131] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[132] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[133]

For the 2012-13 school year, Cameron County School District received $5,241,044.[134] 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. Cameron County School District received $68,618. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[135] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Cameron County School District received a $5,172,426, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[136][137] Additionally, the Cameron County School District received $68,618 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.[138] 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.[139] In 2010, Cameron County School District reported that 381 students received free or reduced-price lunches and breakfasts, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[140]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,399,974 to Cameron County School District. 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.[141] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each public school district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when the district's enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each Pennsylvania public school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.[142]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.25% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,294,092. Ninety 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.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145][146]

In 2008-09, the state's Basic Education Funding to Cameron County School District was $5,172,426.17. The District reported that 344 children qualified for a USDA free or reduced-price lunch and breakfast.

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 district applied for and received $186,246 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for 62 children for the 7th year.[147][148]

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. The Cameron County School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District was denied funding by the PDE. The District received $74,691 in 2008-09.[149] The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Other grants[edit]

Cameron County School District did not participate in: PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grants,[150] Science Its Elementary grants, Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants, 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants [151] nor the 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The Cameron County School District received an extra $1,607,611 in 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.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Cameron County School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided hundreds of thousands in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[155] 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.[156] 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.[157][158][159]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2013-14 were set by the Cameron County School Board at 42.0000 mills.[160] 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.[161] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[162] When the 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.[163] 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.[164]

  • 2012-13 - 42.0000 mills.[165] generating over $2.9 million.[166]
  • 2011-12 - 42.0000 mills.[167]
  • 2010-11 - 42.0000 mills.[168]
  • 2009-10 - 42.0000 mills.[169]
  • 2008-09 - 42.0000 mills.[170]
  • 2007-08 - 42.0000 mills.[171]
  • 2006-07 - 42.0000 mills.[172]
  • 2005-06 - 42.0000 mills.[173]

The average yearly property tax paid by Cameron County residents amounts to about 3.07% of their yearly income. Cameron County is ranked 562nd 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]

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 that Index unless they either: 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 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.[176] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[177] 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.[178][179]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Cameron County School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[180]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Cameron County School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the 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 their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[185]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Cameron County School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. 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.[186]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Cameron County School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Cameron County 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.[187]

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.[188]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, Cameron County School District 1,565 approved homestead residents received $276.[189] In 2010, property tax relief for 1,584 approved homestead owners of Cameron County School District was set at $273.[190] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Cameron County School District was $277 per approved permanent primary residence. In the Cameron County School District, 1,583 property owners applied for the tax relief.[191] 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.[192] 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.[193]

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.[194] 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.[195]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.[196]

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.[197]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [198]

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