Cheltenham Township School District

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Cheltenham Township School District
Map of Montgomery County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Salubritas et Eruditio
Where Excellence Begins With Education
Address
2000 Ashbourne Road
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Montgomery, 19027-1031
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr. Natalie Thomas, salary $180,000 (7/2013 to 6/30/2017)[1]
President Tina Viletto
Administrator Dr Michael Lowe, Asst Superintendent

Mr Matthew Malinowski, Business Manager

School Board Jim Butt (Vice President)
Paula Barvin
Stephanie Gray
Julie Haywood
Marc Lieberson
Napoleon Nelson
David Rackow
Mary Russell
Staff 338 non teaching staff members 2011
Faculty 390 teachers [2]
Grades K-12
Number of students 4,445 students 2011
Grade 1 315
Grade 2 330
Grade 3 329
Grade 4 329
Grade 5 329
Grade 6 320
Grade 7 354
Grade 8 386
Grade 9 434
Grade 10 346
Grade 11 328
Grade 12 341
Sports PIAA
Mascot Panthers
Communities served Glenside, Wyncote, Cheltenham, Melrose Park, Elkins Park, Laverock, La Mott
Per pupil spending $19,482 (2008)
Per pupil spending $21,100.97 (2010) ranked 9th in State for PPS
Website

The Cheltenham Township School District is a public school district serving Cheltenham Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania. The District encompasses approximately 9 square miles (23 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 36,875. By 2010, the District's population declined to 36,000 people.[3] In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $31,424, while the median family income was $76,792.[4] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [5] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[6] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[7]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Cheltenham Township School District provided basic educational services to 4,365 pupils. Cheltenham Township School District employed: 399 teachers, 259 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 38 administrators. Cheltenham Township School District received more than $12.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. In school year 2005-06, Cheltenham Township School District reported an enrollment of 4,642 pupils. Cheltenham Township School District employed: 413 teachers, 253 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 39 administrators. Cheltenham Township School District received more than $11.7 million in state funding in school year 2005-06.[8]

Schools[edit]

The district operates seven schools.

Governance[edit]

Cheltenham Township School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[9] The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The 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 regrading renewal of the employment contract.

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

Academic achievement[edit]

Cheltenham Township School District was ranked 117th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[11] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and science.[12] 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. Writing exams were given to children in 5th, 8th and 11th grades.

  • 2012 - 100th
  • 2008 - 100th
  • 2007 - 85th out of 501 school districts.[13]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Cheltenham Township School District ranked 302nd. In 2012, the District was 286th. [14] 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."[15]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Cheltenham Township School District declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student academic achievement and a low graduation rate.[16] In 2011, Cheltenham Township 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.[17] Cheltenham Township School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010.[18]

  • 2005 - Making Progress - School Improvement status.
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement status due to low student achievement in reading and mathematics.
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Cheltenhem Township School District graduation rate was 89.92%.[19] In 2011, the graduation rate was 93.97%.[20] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Cheltenham Township High School's rate was 82.37% for 2010.[21]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Cedarbrook Middle School[edit]

Cedarboork Middle School is located at 300 Longfellow Road, Wyncot. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 740 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 22% of its pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 60 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 11:1.[26] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[27] In 2013, the attendance rate was reported as 96%.

2013 School Performance Profile

Cedarbrook Middle School achieved 81.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 83% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, 84.65% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 67.95% of the 8th graders demonstrated n grade level understanding. In writing, just 69% of the 8th grade students were on grade level.[28]

AYP History

In 2012, Cedarbrook Middle School declined again to Warning AYP status due to lagging achievement in mathematics and reading by sub groups of students.[29] In 2009 through 2011, Cedarbrook Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2008, Cedarbrook Middle School declined to Warning AYP status.

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 73% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 70% (11% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 73% (14% below basic). State – 57% [38]
  • 2009 - 62% (17% below basic). State - 55% [39]
  • 2008 - 60% (16% below basic). State - 52% [40]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Elkins Park School[edit]

Elkins Park School is located at 8149 New Second Street, Elkins Park. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 656 pupils in grades 5th and 6th, with 25% of its pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 60 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.[41] 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.[42] The attendance rate was 96% in 2013.

2013 School Performance Profile

Elkins Park School achieved 69 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 70.6% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, 78% of the students showed on grade level skills. In writing, just 60% of the 5th grade students were on grade level.[43]

AYP History

In 2009 through 2012, Elkins Park School achieved AYP status through special exceptions for the lagging achievement in reading and mathematics.[44]

  • 2008 - Warning AYP status
  • 2007 - AYP status
  • 2006 - Warning AYP status
  • 2005 - AYP status
  • 2003 & 2004 - Warning AYP status
PSSA Results;

Cheltenham Elementary School[edit]

Cheltenham Elementary School is located at 7853 Front Street, Cheltenham. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 419 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 27% of its 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 32 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[50] 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.[51] Cheltenham Elementary School provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[52]

2013 School Performance Profile

Cheltenham Elementary School achieved a score of 87 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 79% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 88% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 87.75% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[53]

AYP status

In 2011 and 2012, Cheltenham Elementary School achieved AYP status.[54] In 2012, 85% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. Boys were lagging behind with just 79% reading on grade level. In math, 90% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 60% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 89% of the pupils were on grade level.[55]

Glenside Elementary School[edit]

Glenside Elementary School is located 400 Harrison Avenue, Glenside, PA, 19038. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 463 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 22.68% of its 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 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of :1.[56] 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.[57] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[58] The attendance rate was 96% in 2013.

2013 School Performance Profile

Glenside Elementary School achieved a score of 82 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 76% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 86% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 81% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 77% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[59] The attendance rate was 96% in 2012.

AYP Results

In 2012, Glenside Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status.[60] In 2012, only 79% of the students in 3rd and 4th grade were reading on grade level. In math, 86% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 55% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 76% of the pupils were on grade level.[61] In 2011, Glenside Elementary School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. The attendance rate was 96% in 2012.

Myers Elementary School[edit]

Myers Elementary School is located at 7609 Montgomery Ave, Elkins Park. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 361 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 28% of its 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 28 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.[62] 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.[63] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[64] in 2013, the attendance rate was 96%.

2013 School Performance Profile

Myers Elementary School achieved a score of 80 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 80% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were reading on grade level. In 3rd grade, 82% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 86.9% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 84.9% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[65]

AYP Results

In 2011 and 2012, Myers Elementary School achieved AYP status.[66] In 2012, 83% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In math, 92% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 56% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 85% of the pupils were on grade level.[67]

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Cheltenham Township School District administration reported that 628 pupils or 13.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 57% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[68] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 205 pupils or 19% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with % 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.[69] 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.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72] 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.[73] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[74]

The Cheltenham Township School District received a $2,244,407 supplement for special education services in 2010.[75] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 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.[76][77] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 448 or 10.21% 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.[78] 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.[79][80]

Wellness policy[edit]

Cheltenham Township School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[81] 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.[82]

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

Cheltenham Township School District offers a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. The District does not offer a free or reduced price school breakfast. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[84] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[85]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[86] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[87]

Cheltenham Township School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[88] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

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.[89]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Cheltenham Township School District was $82,410.18 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $25,054 per employee (among the highest in the Commonwealth), for a total annual average teacher compensation of $107,464.39.[90] In 2011, the District employed 421 teachers with an average salary of $85,453 and a top salary of $170,000.[91]

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.[92]

In 2009, the Cheltenham Township School District reported employing 429 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $85,246 and a top salary of $183,600.[93] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours (with a 45 minute duty-free lunch) with 189 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension and a retirement bonus (based on years with the District), health insurance with prescription coverage, life insurance, vision insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, 5 paid days bereavement leave and other benefits.[94]

Administration spending Cheltenham Township School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1,158.12 per pupil ranking 27th in the Commonwealth. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[95] 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.[96] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[97]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the Cheltenham Township School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $19,482 which ranked 12th among Pennsylvania's then 501 public school districts. In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $21,100.97[98] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[99] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[100]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[101] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[102] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[103] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[104]

Reserves In 2008, the School District reported a balance of $556,000, in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $2,717,799.[105] In 2010, Cheltenham Township School District Administration reported an increase to $5,149,988 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. By 2013, Cheltenham Township School District had $9,625,631 in reserves.[106] The District also reported zero in its unreserved-designated 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. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[107] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[108]

'Audit In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration.[109] In a prior audit it was fund that Board members chronically failed to submit Statements of Financial Interest as required by state law. They were now 100% compliant according to this audit.

Tuition Students who live in the Cheltenham Township 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 Cheltenham Township 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 for Cheltenham Township School District are Elementary School - $15,035.69, High School - $15,321.78.[110]

Property Tax Abatement program Commercial property owners could be eligible for tax abatements (relief) on improvements they make to their business properties, as part of an ordinance passed by the Township Board of Commissioners and Cheltenham Township School District in December 2002. The tax break was extended in 2005. Under the ordinance, tax on the improved part of the property would be phased in over five years, and the owner would not pay the full amount of municipal and school district taxes on the improvements until six years after the abatement is granted. To be eligible for the tax abatement, properties must be deemed “deteriorating” (“a commercial, industrial, retail or other non-residential business property… that has fallen into a state of degeneration, decline or disrepair…”) and be in one of the Township’s five commercial districts – Glenside, Elkins Park East, Elkins Park West, East Cheltenham Avenue and Cheltenham Village.

Cheltenham Township School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%,[111] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[112] 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.[113] 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.[114]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Cheltenham Township School District received a 3.7% increase or $4,333,766 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $156,432 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Cheltenham Township School District received $114,171 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Montgomery County, Perkiomen Valley School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 4.9%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[115] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[116]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Cheltenham Township School District received $4,177,334.[117] 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. Cheltenham Township School District received $114,171 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[118] 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, Cheltenham Township School District received a $4,177,334 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[119][120] Additionally, CHeltenham Township School District received $114,171 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.[121] 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.[122] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[123]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a minimum 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,346,099 to Cheltenham Township School District. Among the districts in Montgomery County, the highest increase went to Perkiomen Valley School District which got a 9.13% increase. 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.[124] Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. 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.[125]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,260,881 to Cheltenham Township. Among the districts in Montgomery County, the highest increase went to Norristown Area School District which got a 13.10%. Ninety (90) Pennsylvania public school districts received the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[126] 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.[127]

In 2008-09, Cheltenham Township School District received $4,177,333.95 in Basic Education Funding form the state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 338 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[128] 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.[129][130]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cheltenham School District Hires Natalie Thomas of St. Louis". Citizen's Call. June 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Cheltenham Township School District, 2013
  3. ^ US Census Bureau, 2010 Census Poverty Data by Local Educational Agency, 2011
  4. ^ US Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, 2009
  5. ^ US Census Bureau (2010). "American Fact Finder, State and County quick facts". 
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