Chester Upland School District

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Chester Upland School District
Map of Delaware County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1720 Melrose Avenue
Chester, Pennsylvania, Delaware County, 19013
United States
Information
Closed Columbus Elementary School Jan 3, 2013 [1]
Superintendent Gregory G. Shannon
School number NCES:4205860
Faculty 268 teachers (2010)
Grades K-12
Age age 3 years (Preschool) to 21 years for special education students
Number of students 3,146 pupils (2013),[2]

4,072 pupils (2010)[3]
4,418 pupils (2008-2009)
4,095 pupils (2006-2007)

Kindergarten 166 (2012), 259 (2010), 183 (2006)
Grade 1 162 (2012), 296 (2010), 233
Grade 2 168 (2012), 223 (2010), 232
Grade 3 194 (2012), 258 (2010), 254
Grade 4 205 (2012), 264 (2010), 283
Grade 5 165 (2012), 263 (2010), 244
Grade 6 173 (2012), 314 (2010), 295
Grade 7 266 (2012), 320 (2010), 407
Grade 8 232 (2012), 277 (2010), 349
Grade 9 503 (2012), 520 (2010), 503
Grade 10 315 (2012), 498 (2010), 470
Grade 11 257 (2012), 294 (2010), 319
Grade 12 241 (2012), 286 (2010), 323 (2006)
Other Enrollment projected to decline to 3600 pupils by 2020
Student to teacher ratio Student/Teacher Ratio: 16.51
Language English
Mascot Clippers
Budget $123,211,860 (2014-2015)[4]

$101 million 2012–13 [5]

Per Pupil Spending $12,914 (2008)
Per Pupil Spending $15,327.40 (2010)
Website

The Chester Upland School District is midsized, urban public school district serving the City of Chester, the Borough of Upland and Chester Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The Chester-Upland School District encompasses approximately 5 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 44,435. In 2009, the District residents' per capita income was $13,521, while the median family income was $30,900.[6] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[7] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[8] By 2010, the District's population declined to 41,173 people.[9] The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 79.8% high school graduates and 10.2% college graduates.[10]

According to Chester-Upland School District officials, in school year 2005–06, the District had 5,003 pupils and 300 teachers, 290 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 20 administrators. Chester-Upland School District received more than $51.1 million in state funding in school year 2005–06. The District has a uniform policy which require students wear tan khaki slacks or skirts and white or navy shirts. District officials reported that the District provided basic educational services to 4,505 pupils. It employed: 343 teachers, 212 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 23 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. The District received $73.4 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.

Chester-Upland School District operates a high school (on two campuses) and five elementary schools. High school students may choose to attend Delaware County Technical High School for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Delaware County Intermediate Unit IU25 provides the 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.

Schools[edit]

In 2011, nearly 45 percent of Chester Upland School District children attend charter schools. Many of the community's elementary students attend the K-8 Chester Community Charter School, the state's largest, which academically outperforms the district schools.[11]

High schools
  • Chester High School (Chester)
  • Science and Discovery High School (Chester) opened in 2008
  • Smedley Allied Health School (Chester) opened in Fall 2008, in the former Smedley Middle School
Primary schools
  • Christopher Columbus Elementary School (Chester)
  • Main Street Elementary School (Upland)
  • Margaret C. Stetser Elementary School (Chester)
  • The Village (Chester)
  • Toby Farms Elementary School (Chester Township)
  • Chester Upland School for the Arts (opened in 2008, plans to become a K-8 school)[12]

Turnaround school district[edit]

The district is identified as a "turnaround district" due to chronic, low student academic achievement. The district is eligible to various supplemental funding like School Improvement Grants. Two of the district's nine schools achieved AYP in reading and math.[13] In 2011, Chester Upland School district is in "Corrective Action II 9th Year" due to chronic low student achievement for 12 years. It is one of three school districts in Pennsylvania that are at this low level.[14] Since 1994, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has engaged in escalating levels of intervention, including providing a wide variety of specialists for interventions, providing tens of millions in extra funding such as the Spring 2011 budget bailout of $20 million, and the mandated repeated change in governance.[15]

Governance[edit]

Chester-Upland School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members who serve four-year terms, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[16] 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 on reading and math skills.

In 2000, the Chester-Upland School District was declared financially distressed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, resulting in the appointment of a Special Board of Control. On March 8, 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak issued a Declaration Concerning Reestablishment of Sound Financial Structure in Chester-Upland School District,[17] stating that the Special Board of Control of the Chester-Upland School District had operated the district for a period sufficient to reestablish a sound financial structure, and, notwithstanding the district's many serious and continuing educational performance and other problems, a sound financial structure had been reestablished in the District. As a result of this declaration, the Empowerment Board of Control was replaced by a new three-member Empowerment Board of Control to address the district's poor educational performance while managing its fiscal condition. On June 30, 2010, the Education Empowerment Act expired and the elected board assumed leadership of the district.[18]

In September 2005, Governor Edward Rendell visited the district. He called for an investigation into its management. He also called on the members of the district's Board of Control to resign. In October, Rendell announced his intent to sue the Board of Control charging a failure to improve the district's financial status and a negligence related to making critical curriculum and program changes. Since its appointment in January 2003, the Board of Control had over-spent its approved budgets by more than $19 million. This is a violation of state law.[19]

From 2006 to 2011, the student population dropped from 4,300 to 3,600, but the number of employees increased from 590 to 720, while the District’s operating budget jumped from $83 million to $114.6 million. In the fall of 2011, the District rehired or recalled dozens of furloughed professionals and other staff members at a cost of $6.45 million, even though it lacked the funds to pay the individuals.[20]

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying Chester-Upland School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Nine CUSD schools, including Columbus Elementary School, Main Street Elementary School, Stetser Elementary School, The Village at Chester Upland, Toby Farms Elementary School, Chester Upland School of the Arts, Chester High School Crozier Allied Health School, Chester High School Science and Discovery School and Chester High School, are all 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.[21] 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.[22] Among the 4 neighboring Districts, the lowest tuition rate is $8,967 at Penn-Delco School District. Twenty eight public schools in Delaware 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, seven 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 and Steelton-Highspire School District.[23] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

In 2013, Chester-Upland School District remained on the lowest performing District list. The Pennsylvania Auditor General found that "The Chester Upland School District’s Ineffective Governance Has Prevented It from Meeting Its Primary Mission of Effectively Educating Its Students through the Judicious Use of Citizen Tax Dollars."[24]

In 1997, the District underwent a massive reorganization plan which included closing failing schools and shifting to a preschool-8th grade model.[25] In 2012, the District again underwent a massive reorganization involving reorganizing to preschool-5th grade and 6th through 8th grade model.[26] When the state intervened it was found that the District’s finances had widespread deviation from recommended financial practices and its annual outside audit repeated numerous exceptions, many for the second or third year in a row.

Statewide Academic Ranking

Chester-Upland School District was ranked 494th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2014, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and science PSSAs.[27] 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. Chester Upland School District ranked 15th out of 15 public school districts in Delaware County. The highest ranking public school district in Delaware County was Radnor Township School District which ranked 4th statewide (2012).[28]

  • 2013 - 495th[29]
  • 2012 - 496th[30]
  • 2011 - 496th
  • 2010 - 497th[31]
  • 2009 - 497th
  • 2008 - 498th
  • 2007 - 497th out of 498 school districts.[32]
Statewide Overachievers Ranking

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Chester-Upland School District ranked 491st. In 2010, the district ranked 497th. The paper 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."[33]

In January 2012, testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on Fiscally Distressed School Districts revealed that 37.3% of the district's students were on grade level in both reading and math as measured on the 2010–11 PSSAs. Statewide 75.3% of public and charter school students were on grade level in both reading and math. Additionally, only two of the district's nine schools had achieved adequate yearly progress as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education under No Child Left Behind. No Chester Upland school grade was performing at the statewide level of academic achievement in reading, math or science. In 2004, 22.6% of the students were achieving on grade level in reading and mathematics. At that time 60% of students statewide were on grade level in reading and math.[34]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Chester Upland School District was in the bottom percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[35]

In 2011, Chester Upland School District received a $924,300 PreK Counts state grant for taxpayer-funded preschool for 119 three-year-olds and four-year-olds.[36]

District AYP data[edit]

In 2012, Chester Upland School District declined to Corrective Action II 9th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status having failed to achieve any reading benchmarks and only 1 in 14 mathematics achievement benchmarks.[37] In 2011, Chester Upland School District declined further to Corrective Action II 9th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. Of the 14 Reading measures, the District achieved only one and that was using Safe Harbor, not straight student achievement. In mathematics the District achieved 4 out of 14 measures again by using Safe Harbor.[38] In 2010, Chester Upland School District declined to Corrective Action II 8th Year AYP status. In 2003, Chester Upland School District declined from School Improvement to Corrective Action Level 1 year 1. The District has never achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status in the 12 years it has been measured.[39] In 2011, 94% of Pennsylvania's 500 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 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.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Chester Upland School District's graduation rate was 56%.[40] In 2012, Chester Upland School District's graduation rate was 41%.[41] In 2011, the graduation rate was 50%.[42] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Chester Upland School District's rate was 44% for 2010.[43]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

In 2007, Johns Hopkins University reported that Chester High School was among 47 Pennsylvania high schools and nationwide nearly 2000 that have expectionally high drop out rates. Nearly 8 percent of Pennsylvania's high schools had high dropout rates, with 60 percent or less of their incoming freshmen making it to graduation.[48][49][50]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, "63% of the Chester Upland School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading" before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[51] Fewer 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.[52] 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 district offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books[53] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[54] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $20,260 for the program.[55]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Chester Upland School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 377. The Math average score was 370. The Writing average score was 366. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[56]

In 2012, School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 357. The Math average score was 338. The Writing average score was 346. 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 2010–2011, students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 372. The math average score was 358. The writing average score was 323.[57] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[58] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged scores were: Verbal 497 (out of 800), Math 514 and in Writing 489.[59]

Graduation requirements[edit]

In the Chester-Upland School District, ninth grade students must earn 7 credits to be promoted to 10th grade. To move from Grade 10 to Grade 11, 13 credits must have been earned. To be promoted from Grade 11 to 12 the student must have earned a total of 20 credits. The district offers students the opportunity to recover up to two credits, not earned during the previous school year through the Credit Recovery Program, which is offered during the second semester and during the summer.

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.[60]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016, 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. Students' Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[61][62][63]

Chester High School main campus[edit]

The school is an urban public school located at 200 West 9th St. Chester, Pennsylvania. The school provides grades 7 through 12. In 2009–10, the school had 1302 pupils, with 78 teachers and a Student/Teacher Ratio of 16.69.[64]

2013 School Performance Profile

Chester High School achieved 35.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 24% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 5% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 4% showed on grade level science understanding.[65] 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, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[66]

AYP history

In 2012, Chester High School was in "Corrective Action II 6th Year" due to chronic inadequate student achievement with the students achieving just 1 academic metric out of 10 measured.[67] In 2011, Chester High School was in "Corrective Action II 5th Year" due to chronic low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in "Corrective Action II 4th Year."[68]

Graduation rate

The graduation rate at Chester High School, in 2011 declined to 45.64%[69]

  • 2011 - 50%
  • 2010 - 63%.
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, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[70]

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.[71]

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 21% on grade level, (61% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[72]
  • 2011 - 15% (64% below basic). State - 69.1% [73]
  • 2010 - 24% (60% below basic). State - 66%[74]
  • 2009 - 18% (62% below basic). State - 65%[75]
  • 2008 - 10% (74% below basic). State - 65%[76]
  • 2007 - 9% (76% below basic). State - 65%[77]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 9%, on grade level (80% below basic). State - 59%[78]
  • 2011 - 15%, (68% below basic). State - 60.3%[79]
  • 2010 - 8%, (83% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 5% (80% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 3% (87% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 3% (86% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 2% on grade level (63% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 3%, (70% below basic). State - 40% [80]
  • 2010 - 1% (56% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 2% (71% below basic). State - 40%[81]
  • 2008 - 0.9% (65% below basic). State - 39%

Chester High School - Smedley Allied Health Campus[edit]

In 2012, The Smedley Allied Health Campus achieved AYP. It was the only school in the District to achieve AYP. In 2011, the school was in "Warning" status because it did not achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.[82] The school was established in 2008. It is operated in cooperation with Crozer-Keystone Health System. Students can earn 12 college credits at Widener University prior to graduation. The school focuses on preparing students to pursue health careers through providing opportunities to participate in internships and mentoring programs at Crozer-Keystone hospitals Students earn an Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant certification. To attend the school, students must complete an application process which includes meeting a grade point average and compliance with the district school attendance requirements. In 2009–10, enrollment was 141 pupils. There were 18 teachers.[83]

11th grade PSSA results
Reading:
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level, (26% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 31%, (38% below basic). State - 69.1%[84]
Math:
  • 2012 - 33% on grade level (43% below basic). State - 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[85]
  • 2011 - 21%, (53% below basic). State - 60.3% [86]
Science:
  • 2012 - 7% on grade level (47% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 0%, (83% below basic). State - 40% [87]

Chester High School - Science and Discovery Campus[edit]

The School serves 176 students in grades 9-11. The school is operated in partnership with Eastern University. Selected students enrolled in Science and Discovery High School earn college credits while earning credits towards high school graduation. Students receive instruction from college professors on the school's campus. Students receive extra help through tutoring during and after school using computer assisted programs such as Achieve 3000 (reading) and Apangea for mathematics. In September 2011, students staged a walkout in protest over several grievances, including class size and unqualified teachers.[88] According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education report, the school has 16 Non‐Highly Qualified Teachers and 6 with emergency certification. In Pennsylvania, a Highly Qualified teacher is one who: (1) holds full certification, (2) has at least a bachelor's degree, (3) has completed a content area major, (4) has passed a content area test, and (5) has completed teacher education coursework[89] In 2009–10, enrollment was 176 pupils. There were 7 teachers.[90]

2013 School Performance Profile

Chester Upland STEM High School achieved 15.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 30% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 14% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 7.7% showed on grade level science understanding.[91] In 2013, no SAT or graduation rate data was reported.

AYP History

In 2012, Science and Discovery Campus declined to School Improvement AYP status.[92] In 2011, the school was in Warning status because it did not achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.[93]

11th grade PSSA results
Reading:
  • 2012 - 28% on grade level, (48% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 34%, (38% below basic). State - 69.1% [94][95]
Math:
  • 2012 - 25% on grade level (45% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[96]
  • 2011 - 15% (66% below basic). State - 60.3% [97]
Science:
  • 2012 -11% on grade level (52% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 8% (56% below basic). State - 40% [98]

Columbus Elementary School[edit]

Columbus Elementary School is located at 320 W 10th Street, Chester. In 2013, the School's enrollment was 336 pupils in grades Preschool through 5th with 84.8% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 19.9% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[99] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, only 73% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides preschool and full day kindergarten.[100] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

2013 School Performance Profile

Columbus Elementary School achieved a score of 52 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 13.9% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 21% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 18% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 22% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 12% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[101]

AYP history

In 2012, Columbus Elementary School declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year status due to intractable, low student achievement. In 2011, the School was in Corrective Action II 5th Year status due to ongoing low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in Corrective Action II 4th Year status due to chronic low student achievement in reading and mathematics.[102] In 2011, the attendance rate was 89%, while in 2010 it was 88%.[103] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 41 of the Columbus Elementary School's classroom teachers are Not Highly Qualified. The school is on the state's Persistently failing school list in 2010 and 2011. Under No Child Left Behind, the school is mandated to provide Supplemental Education Services (outside of school tutoring) to assist students to succeed in reading and math. Additionally, the school was required to offer to transfer children to a successful school in the district. In 2009, as part of a district restructuring, eighth grade was added to the school. Seventh grade was added to the school, in 2008. Due to the inadequate achievement, the school is eligible for extra funding through the School Improvement Grants.[104] In 2009–10, enrollment was 828 pupils with 77 children in Preschool. There were 48 teachers.[105]

PSSA Results
8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 21% on grade level (52% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[106]
  • 2011 - 21% (62% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 34% (44% below basic). State - 81%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 24% on grade level (58% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76% of 8th graders are on grade level [107]
  • 2011 - 11% (68% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 8% (71% below basic). State - 75%[108]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 4% on grade level (84% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 4%, (85% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 2%, (93% below basic). State – 57%[109]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 17%, (54% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 31%, (36% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 27%, (50% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 0%, (28% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 30%, (37% below basic). State - 81%

Main Street Elementary School[edit]

Main Street Elementary School is located in the borough of Upland. The school provides a taxpayer-funded preschool and kindergarten through 5th grade in 2013. In 2013, the school's enrollment was 335 pupils, with 49.5% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 8.6% of the pupils receive special education services, while no children were identified as gifted.[111] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 96% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides preschool and full day kindergarten.[112]

AYP History

In 2012, the school declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year status due to intractable low student math and reading achievement.[113] In 2011, the school was in Corrective Action II 5th Year status due to chronic lagging math and reading achievement.[114] In 2010, the school declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year status due to continuing low student math and reading achievement. The attendance rate was 93% in both 2010 and 2011.[115] In accordance with No Child Left Behind, due to low student achievement, the school was mandated to allow students to transfer to a successful school in the district. Students may transfer to either Stetser Elementary School or Chester Upland School of the Arts. The district must provide transportation.[116] Free tutoring is offered after school to help eligible students improve in reading, mathematics and science. The school has a Title I and Parent- School Community Council which works with parents to improve student performance. In 2009–10, enrollment was 365 pupils with 40 children in preschool. There were 16.5 teachers.[117]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 13% on grade level (53% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 19% (49% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 15% (76% below basic). State – 57%[121]
  • 2009 - 11% (48% below basic). State - 55%[122]
  • 2008 - 8% (63% below basic). State - 52%[123]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2011 - 85%, (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 47%, (22% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 62%, (10% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 43%, (23% below basic), State - 81%

Chester Upland School for the Arts[edit]

The school was established in 2008, by Dr. John Alston in partnership with the Chester Upland School District. It began with an enrollment of 200 children in preschool through 2nd grade. The school provides taxpayer funded preschool through 4th grade in 2011. Fourth grade was added in fall 2010.

In 2013, the school's enrollment was 293 pupils in grades preschool through 5th, with 75% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 7% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2.7% are identified as gifted.[126] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 89% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides preschool and full day kindergarten.[127] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

2013 School Performance Profile

Chester Upland School for the Arts achieved a score of 56.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 30% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 28% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 47.5% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 66% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 18% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[128]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 322 pupils in grades preschool through 5th, with 239 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed more than 17 teachers.[129]

In 2010 the school received a three-year $360,000 grant from The Sunshine Lady Foundation (founded by Doris Buffett) which was used to extend the school day that provides: tutoring, club activities, and music, dance and visual-arts classes.[130] In 2009–10, enrollment was 245 pupils with 81 children in preschool. There were 10.5 teachers.[131] In 2011, the attendance rate was 92%, while in 2010 it was 93%. In 2011, the school applied to the Chester Upland School Board to be converted into a charter school. In January 2012, the application was denied without explanation.[132]

AYP history

In 2012, Chester Upland School for the Arts declined to Warning AYP status due to under achievement in reading and math.[133] In both 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[134]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 61% on grade level (21% below basic). State – 72% reading on grade level[135]
  • 2011 - 62%, (22% below basic). State – 73% [136]
4th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 86% on grade level (11% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 76%, (8% below basic). State – 85%
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 71% on grade level (4% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 76%, (16% below basic). State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 47% on grade level (29% below basic). State – 74%
  • 2011 - 58%, (24% below basic). State – 77% [137]
  • 2010 - 50%, (19% below basic). State - 75%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (12% below basic). State – 80%
  • 2011 - 68%, (11% below basic). State – 83%
  • 2010 - 67%, (8% below basic). State - 84% [138]

Stetser Elementary School[edit]

Stetser Elementary School is located at 808 E 17th Street, Chester. It provides a taxpayer-funded preschool which begins at age 3 and kindergarten through 5th grade in 2013. The school provides a reading skills intervention program called Reading Recovery for first graders. In 2013, the school's enrollment was 205 pupils, with 80% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.6% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2% are identified as gifted.[139] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[140] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Stetser Elementary School's enrollment was 214 pupils in grades preschool through 6th, with 161 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 14.8 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[141]

The attendance rate was 91% in 2011, while in 2010 it was 89%.[142] In 2011, the school reports that all the teachers are certified and highly qualified. In 2010 the enrollment was 268 students. During the summer of 2011, the pupils participated in First Lady Obama's Healthy Foods Initiative by growing a vegetable garden. The project was supported by an Earth Force Southeastern Pennsylvania service-learning grant and in-kind donations from the Home Depot in Folsom.[143]

2013 School Performance Profile

Stetser Elementary School achieved a score of 59 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 47% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 53.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 56% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 55% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 56% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[144] In 2013, the attendance rate was 93%

AYP History

In 2012, Stetser Elementary School declined to a Warning AYP status.[145] In 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status under the No Child Left Behind law based on Pennsylvania's Growth Model.[146] The growth model recognize the improvements in performance represented by significant growth even when the school does not reach targets of on grade level achievement.

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level, (26% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 39%, (35% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 38%, (26% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 38%, (12% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 25%, (16% below basic), State - 81%

The Village at Chester Upland School[edit]

The school is a suburban school located at 200 Commerce Dr., Chester Township, Pennsylvania. The school provides taxpayer funded preschool for ages 3 and 4, along with kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2011, the school declined to School Improvement Level II status due to continuing inadequate, on grade level achievement in reading and math. It was mandated, by the No Child Left Behind law, to offer students the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the district. In 2010, the school was in School Improvement Level I status.[149] The school was required to develop a formal school improvement plan that was submitted to the state for approval. The attendance rate was 91% in both years.[150] The school offers a wide variety of extracurriculars and after school programs. The Village Charter School was originally established as a nonprofit charter school in December 1997. In 2002, the school sued the Chester Upland School Board which had withheld the state funding it was mandated to forward to the school.[151][152] In June 2008, the school merged into the Chester Upland School District. The Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted an audit of the school, while it was a charter and found multiple irregularities.[153] In 2009–10, enrollment was 541 pupils, with 59 children in preschool. There were 22.5 teachers.[154]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 11% on grade level (73% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 12%, (64% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 5%, (87% below basic). State – 57%[160]
  • 2009 - 4%, (75% below basic). State - 55%[161]
  • 2008 - 8%, (69% below basic). State - 52%[162]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 18%, (39% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 49%, (23% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 38%, (46% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 55%, (12% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 28%, (38% below basic), State - 81%

Toby Farms Intermediate School[edit]

The school is a suburban school located at 201 Bridgewater Road, Brookhaven, Pennsylvania. In 2013, enrollment was 292 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 81.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 20% of pupils received special education services, while 4.4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[163] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 86% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[164]

In 2012, a district wide reorganization plan precipitated by a large decline in enrollment coupled with financial mismanagement resulting in a significant shortfall, the school was made a grade 6th-8th school.

In 2011 the school was a Pre-K - 8 School. The attendance rate was 91% in 2010 and 2011. In response to a district wide decline in enrollment, a middle school was closed and eighth grade was added to the Toby Farms Elementary School for the 2009–10 school year. In 2008–09, 7th grade was added to the Toby Farms. In 2009–10, the school enrollment was reported as 560 with 35.5 teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 15.77. Preschool enrollment was 59 pupils.[165]

2013 School Performance Profile

Toby Farms Intermediate School achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 33% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 47.9% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 7% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 30.9% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[166]

AYP History

In 2012, Toby Farms Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status. In 2011, the school is in Warning status due to lagging student achievement. In 2010 the school achieved AYP.[167] In compliance with No Child Left Behind, the school administration notified parents they could transfer their child to a successful school with in the district.[168]

PSSA Results: Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[169] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[170] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[171] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[172]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 10% on grade level (77% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 8% (60% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 15% (61% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 37%, (41% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 63%, (9% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 53%, (16% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 47%, (10% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 49%, (15% below basic). State - 81%

Showatter Intermediate School[edit]

Showatter Intermediate School is located at 1100 West 10th Street, Chester. In 2013, enrollment was 348 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 84% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 18.9% of pupils received special education services, while % of pupils were identified as gifted.[175] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 73% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[176]

2013 School Performance Profile

Showatter Intermediate School achieved 43.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 21% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 16% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 4% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 33% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[177]

Special education[edit]

In December 2012, the Chester Upland School District administration reported that 618 pupils or 15% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 54.9% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[178] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 205 pupils or 19% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 60% 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 2010-2011 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.[179] 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 December 2010, Chester Upland School District administration reported that 902 pupils or 19.9% of the district's pupils received special education services. Sixty percent of special education pupils were identified by the district, as having a specific learning disability.[180]

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.[181] The Pennsylvania's 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.[182] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[183] Overidentification of students in order to increase state funding has been an issue in Pennsylvania. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[184] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[185]

The Chester Upland School District received $5,008,554 in supplemental funding, for special education services in 2010.[186] For the 2011–12, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. 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.[187] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

School safety and bullying policy[edit]

The Chester Upland School District Administration reported there were 55 incidents involving local law enforcement, including 93 fights and 7 incidents of indecent assault, in 2009.[188] Twenty nine students were charged with assault. According to district officials, there were no incidents of bullying in 2009.

Chester-Upland School Board has provided the District's antibully policy online.[189] The district requires staff and faculty to report bullying.[190] All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[191] The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.[192]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[193]

Smedley Middle School[edit]

Closed in 2009. In its last year, there were 181 eighth graders enrolled in the school. At Smedley Middle School, the district provided 21st Century SKILLS College afterschool programming for 7th and 8th graders. The program included homework help and a wide choice of activities. Rewards were given for attendance.[194] In 2003, the school was in School Improvement level I status due to low student achievement.[195]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2009 - 8% (74% below basic). State - 55%[198]
  • 2008 - 0% (71% below basic). State - 52%[199]

Class action lawsuit[edit]

In 2012, the District sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding underfunding and payment of the District's outstanding debts. In July 2012 the Commonwealth entered into a settlement which provides: "$20.5 million in funds, which the Commonwealth and the District warrant are sufficient to eliminate past operating debts of the District to vendors, charter schools and district staff through the end of the 2011–12 school year, as well as $9.7 million in additional appropriated funding for 2012–13. The District agrees that it will undertake activities set forth in the Settlement Agreement to improve its special education programs, including adding personnel and development and implementation of a new or revised Special Education Plan. The Commonwealth also agrees that it will appoint a Special Education Officer located in the District with express authority to ensure that students with disabilities in the CUSD receive a free appropriate public education". Additionally, state taxpayers must pay the plaintiffs attorney's fees of $260,000.[200][201]

Recent history[edit]

In 1994, Chester Upland was named by the state as the worst-performing school district in Pennsylvania. The District had a multimillion dollar deficit and its decision-making ability was taken over by the state. A for-profit company, Edison Schools, was hired to try to improve the struggling district's test scores in 2001. After four years it was determined that Edison was not successful in turning the district around. A number of incidents, including an allegation of sexual misconduct on the part of an Edison employee, and policies such as not allowing students to bring home books, led to the state's decision to break its contract with Edison.

The District has regained local public control, but remains one of the lowest-performing in Pennsylvania. 72% of district students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, as compared to the state average of 33%. In recent years it has opened a number of selective-admission magnet schools.

Charter schools[edit]

Students in the district may also opt to attend a variety of public charter schools, including Widener Partnership Charter School (K-5) (operated by Widener University),[202] Chester Community Charter School (K-8)[203] or one of the statewide cyber charter schools. In 2006, over one third of the district's students have chosen to attend charter schools. By 2011–12, charter attendance at a charter school had risen to over 45%. of the district's pupils.[204] In 2011–12, 2,697 Chester Upland SD students attend CCCS, while 329 attend WPCS.[205]

The Chester Upland School Board rejected the establishment of several charter schools: Chester Charter School for Theater Arts and Excel Charter School, which intended to focus on dropouts, was rejected in fall 2011. In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board approved the school to open for the 2012–13 school year.[206]

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.[207]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Chester Upland School District was $75,069 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $33,378 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $108,448.[208] In 2012, the District employed 191 teachers with an average salary of $77,732 and a top salary of $108,000.[209][210] In 2009, the District employed 319 teachers with an average salary of $64,004 and a top salary of $105,000.[211]

In 2009, Chester Upland School District reported employing 316 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $64,004 and a top salary of $205,000.[212] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, and other benefits.[213]

Chester Upland School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1,151 per pupil ranking 29th in the Commonwealth for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[214] 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.[215] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[216] In March 2014, the Board eliminated 9 high cost, administration positions saving $1.4 million, which was repurposed to classroom needs.[217]

The District is funded by a combination of: a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with massive funding through a wide variety of lines items from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a small amount, $5.7 million of its budget from the federal government.[218] 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.[219] 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.[220]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Chester Upland School District receives 77.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[221]

For the 2014-15 school year, Chester Upland School District will receive $60,257,247 in State Basic Education funding. The Chester Upland School District will also receive $1,265,791 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[222] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[223]

In the 2013-2014 school year, Chester Upland School District received a 1.1% increase to $59,600,316 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This was $626,054 more state funding than the previous year. Additionally, Chester Upland School District received $980,044 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Delaware County, Upper Darby School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 11%. Chester Upland 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.[224] 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.[225] 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.[226]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Chester Upland School District received $58,965,034.[227] 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. Chester Upland School District received $980,044 in ABG 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.[228] 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 school year, Chester Upland School District received a 49,251,801 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[229][230] Additionally, the School District received $980,044 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.[231] 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.[232] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[233] Some public school Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $43,909,437. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Southeast Delco School District which got a 10.34% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-2011 was awarded to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County, which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[234] 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.[235]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 7.45% increase in Basic Education Funding (BEF) for a total of $43,048,467. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Upper Darby School District which got a 11.61% in BEF. 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.[236] The amount of increase each public 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.[237]

The state Basic Education Funding to the District in 2008-2009 was $40,065,439.18. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 3,066 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[238] 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.[239][240]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[241]

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 skills training; All Day Kindergarten; lower class size in Kindergarten through 3rd grade; literacy and math coaching programs (provides 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 $2,660,085 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide Full Day kindergarten, class size reduction, K-3 and publicly funded preschool.[242][243] In 2009, 100% of the kindergarteners in Area School District attended full-day kindergarten.[244]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the numer of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[245]

Chester Upland School District received $1,265,791 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant funding, PreK Counts funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Chester Upland School District receives state funding to provide taxpayer funded preschool at the elementary schools. For the 2013-14 school year, Chester Upland SD receive a Pre K Counts grant of $948,000.[246] For the 2011 school year, Chester Upland School District was a high priority for funding due to the 62% poverty level of children in the district's attendance area.[247][248][249] Enrollment for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is targeted to children living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

In addition to PreK Counts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional funding on an annual basis. The program is available to low income children residing within the District through private providers. In 2013, Pennsylvania contributed $39,178,000 to Head Start. In 2010, Head Start received $37.6 million in Pennsylvania state education dollars. Since 2003, Pennsylvania has more than doubled the number of preschoolers in publicly funded pre-kindergarten through a mulipronged system including: school-based pre-kindergarten, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts through private providers, Early Intervention, Head Start and Head Start Supplemental, and the school district’s use of Accountability Block Grants. Over 100,000 Pennsylvania preschoolers participate in state taxpayer funded pre-kindergarten programs. In 2013, the federal government spends $8 billion for preschool programs nation-wide.[250] In 2013, Pennsylvania was awarded a $51.7 million federl grant to fund early learning programs.[251] The funding will be used to create 50 Early Childhood Education Community Innovation Zones in areas where the lowest-performing public schools, including charter schools, exist. The federal dollars will not be used to provide seats for children in preschools. Instead the money will be used to build bureaucray and added training for teachers/providers.[252]

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 Chester Upland School District was denied funding by the PDE in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District received $532,990. The District received $97,248 in 2008-09.[253] Among the public school districts in Delaware County the highest award was given to Upper Darby School District which received $1,508,520. The highest funding statewide 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]

Columbus Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09.[254] For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[255] 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 was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[256] 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.[257] The District was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The School District Administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 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 for the program.[258] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state’s 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

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 2010-2011 the School District received $715,935.[259] The grant was discontinued by Governor Rendell.

Other grants[edit]

The Chester Upland School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[260][261] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[262] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.[263]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The District received an extra $16,039,537 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.[264][265] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[266] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, the Governor and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, 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]

Chester Upland School District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided several million dollars, in additional federal funding, to improve student academic achievement.[267] Plus since the District is so low performing with high poverty they would have also gotten $750 per pupil. 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.[268] 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.[269][270][271]

21st Century learning grant[edit]

Chester Upland School District received a federal grant which is run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. The District received $838,777. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved including eight charter schools. The District was not funded in 2010. The funding is for the 2012-13 fiscal year was $158,309.[272]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2013-14 were set by the school board at 56.348 mills for the City of Chester and 25.943 mills for Upland Borough property owners.[273]

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.[274] 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.[275] 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.[276] 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.[277]

Wellness policy[edit]

Chester Upland School Board established a district wellness policy.[278] 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.[279]

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

The District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to all its children. 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.[281] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[282]

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.[283] 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.[284] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.

In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[285] The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[286]

CHester Upland 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.[287][288] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[289]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Chester Upland School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, publicly funded sports program.[290] Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[291][292]

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.[293]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[294]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Varsity

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