Easton Area School District

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Easton Area School District
Type and location
Type Public
Grades K through 12
Region Northampton County
Country United States
Location Easton, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°42′10″N 75°14′29″W / 40.7027°N 75.2415°W / 40.7027; -75.2415Coordinates: 40°42′10″N 75°14′29″W / 40.7027°N 75.2415°W / 40.7027; -75.2415
District information
Superintendent John Reinhart
Schools 10
Budget $147 million
NCES District ID 4208850[1]
Students and staff
Students 9,000+
Teachers 646
Staff 623
Student-teacher ratio 13.96
Athletic conference Lehigh Valley Conference
District mascot Rover
Colors Red, White and Black             
Other information
Website www.eastonsd.org
Location of the Easton Area School District in Bucks and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania

Easton Area School District is an urban, suburban, and rural public school district located in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, USA. It serves the city of Easton, as well as Forks, Palmer, and portions of Lower Mount Bethel Townships. Easton Area School District encompasses approximately 28 square miles. In 2009 the per capita income was $20,875, while the median family income was $53,545.[2] According to 2005 local census data, it served a resident population of 63,195. Per school District officials, in school year 2007-08 the EASD provided basic educational services to 9,047 pupils through the employment of 767 teachers, 408 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 36 administrators.

The current superintendent of the Easton Area School District is John Reinhart who replaced Dr. Susan McGinley in July 2013.

Schools[edit]

Grade Configuration within the EASD: K-4 (Elementary School) 5-6 (Lower Middle School) 7-8 (Upper Middle School) 9-12 (High School)

F.A March Elementary School and Shawnee Elementary School (formerly Paxinosa Elementary) have now been completely renovated. To renovate both F.A. March Elementary School and Shawnee Elementary School, both school buildings moved to the former Easton Area Middle School 5/6 building in the 2008-2009 school year. Shawnee Elementary School was opened in the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, adding another elementary school in the EASD. Paxinosa Elementary School remains at the former location of the Easton Area Middle School 5/6 building, creating a neighborhood elementary school within the West Ward of Easton. In the 2009- 2010 school year, F.A. March School's students and staff members returned to their former location on College Hill after renovations were completed, thus departing from the former EAMS 5/6 building.

At the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, the Easton Area Middle School (EAMS) Campus was completed for grades five through eight. The EAMS Campus is separated into a fifth and sixth grade portion (EAMS 5/6) and a seventh and eighth grade portion (EAMS 7/8). Both EAMS 5/6 and EAMS 7/8 share separate facilities and have their own addresses. The EAMS Campus is located at the former site of Shawnee Middle School. Shawnee Middle School was renamed Easton Area Middle School Campus Grades 7/8 (EAMS 7/8) in 2008-2009.

Current board members[edit]

  • Mr. Frank Pintabone, President
  • Mrs. Kerri Leonard-Ellison, Vice President
  • Mr. Dominick Buscemi
  • Mr. Robert Fehnel
  • Mr. Matt Monahon
  • Mr. Robert Obey
  • Ms. Michelle Price
  • Mr. Brian Snyder[3]
  • Mr. Baron Vanderburg

Academic achievement[edit]

Easton Area School District was ranked 284th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance based on the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and three years of science.[4]

  • 2012 - 306th [5]
  • 2011 - 338th [6]
  • 2010 - 363rd[7]
  • 2009 - 396th
  • 2008 - 387th
  • 2007 - 397th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[8]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Easton Area School District, was in the 32nd percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best)[9]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Easton Area High School's rate was 86.71% for 2010.[10]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 25% of Easton Area High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[14] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years.[15] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Easton Area School Board has determined that a student must earn 28 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Arts and Humanities 2 credits, Physical Education/health 2.25 credits, and enough electives to achieve 24.5 credits.[16]

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.[17]

By Pennsylvania State 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.[18]

Middle School 7-8[edit]

In 2010, the Easton Area Middle School 7-8 was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action II AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement. In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action II 1st Year. The attendance rate in 2010 and 2010 was 94%.[19] Under the federal, No Child Left Behind law, students were permitted to transfer to another school in the district that was successful.

8th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 83% on grade level. 52% advanced (5% below basic) State - 81%[20]
  • 2009 - 80%, 55% advanced (11% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 75%, 46% advanced (10% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 73%, 42% advanced (13% below basic), State - 75%[21]
8th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 82% on grade level. 57% advanced (9% below basic) State - 75%
  • 2009 - 79%, 53% advanced (8% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 63%, 33% advanced (20% below basic), State - 70%[22]
  • 2007 - 63%, 33% advanced (13% below basic), State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 53% on grade level. State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 55%, State - 54%[23]
  • 2008 - 45%, State - 52%[24]
7th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 76% on grade level. 43% advanced, (10% below basic) State - 73%
  • 2009 - 63%, 37% advanced (9% below basic), State - 71.7%
  • 2008 - 71%, 37% advanced (12% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 60%, 29% advanced (21% below basic), State - 66%
7th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 84% on grade level. 60% advanced (8% below basic) State - 77%
  • 2009 - 73%, 43% advanced (11% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 72%, 44% advanced (14% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 62%, 35% advanced (21% below basic), State - 67%

Middle School 5-6[edit]

In 2010, the school achieved AYP status. In 2009 it was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action I.[25] The attendance rate was 96%.

6th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 65% on grade level. 34% advanced (17% below basic) State - 68%
  • 2009 - 62%, 35% advanced (17% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2008 - 56%, 25% advanced (21% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 61%, 30% advanced (17% below basic), State - 63%
6th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 81% on grade level. 57% advanced (8% below basic) State - 78%
  • 2009 - 73%, 47% advanced (12% below basic), State - 75.9%
  • 2008 - 61%, 31% advanced (19% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 64%, 32% advanced (16% below basic), State - 69%
5th Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 58%, 18% advanced (20% below basic), State - 64%[26]
  • 2009 - 56%, 16% advanced (22% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2008 - 57%, 19% advanced (22% below basic), State - 62%
  • 2007 - 47%, 13% advanced (22% below basic), State - 60%
5th Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 71%, 39% advanced (8% below basic), State - 74%
  • 2009 - 74%, 44% advanced (9% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2008 - 67%, 31% advanced (22% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2007 - 54%, 25% advanced (28% below basic), State - 71%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 1,256 pupils or 13.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[27]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.[28]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[29]

Easton Area School District received a $3,838,430 supplement for special education services in 2010.[30]

Gifted education[edit]

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.[31] Easton Area School District serves gifted students through an accelerated curriculum and enrichment programs.[32]

Bullying policy[edit]

The Easton Area School District administration reported there were 3 incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[33][34]

The Easton Area School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38]

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.[39]

In May 2014, Easton Area School Board and the Easton Area Teachers' Union agreed to a two year wage freeze to address a $5 million budget deficit. According to the Union's president 66 percent of the teachers approved the wage freeze. The School board had planned 72 job cuts if the contract change was not approved. Instead 22 positions will be eliminated when the teachers retire this year.[40]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Easton Area School District was $67,420 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $23,014 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $90,435. The cost of the teachers' benefits package was among the top 10% of Pennsylvania public school districts.[41][42]

In May 2011, Easton Area School Board and the teachers' union revised the employment contract. Under the new agreement, there is a one year freeze in wages in exchange for no teacher layoffs. Additionally, the contract was extended by two years, making it in effect until August 2015. The new agreement is reported to save $28.7 million over the next four years[43]

In 2009, the district reports employing over 430 teachers with a starting salary of $40,000 for 180 days of pupil instruction.[44] The average teacher salary was $57,439 while the maximum salary is $146,103.[45] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[46] Additionally, Easton Area School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 sick days and other benefits. Teachers are paid extra when they are required to work outside of the regular school day.[47] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[48]

In 2007, the district employed 587 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $49,442 for 180 school days worked.[49]

Per pupil spending Easton Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $727.68 per pupil. The district is ranked 276th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[50]

In 2008, Easton Area School District reported spending $13,262 per pupil. This ranked 153rd in the commonwealth.[51]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported $9,759,829 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $16,121,366.[52]

In December 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[53]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[54]

State basic education funding[edit]

For 2010-11 the Easton Area School District received a 3.67% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $20,217,421 payment.[55] Bethlehem Area School District received a 13.44% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Northampton County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[56]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.46% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $19,502,235. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $18,493,048.01. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[57] Bethlehem Area School District received an 8.98% increase, the highest increase in Northampton County for the 2009-10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding while ninety school districts received a base 2% increase.[58]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2998 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[59]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11 the Easton Area School District applied for and received $1,359,392 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten to 118 children for the 3rd year, to reduce class size K-3rd, to pay teachers/administrators to write new curriculum and teacher training programs.[60][61]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Easton Area School District received $445,873 in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $445,712. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $151,218 for a total of $1,042,803. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[62]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $5,355,261 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[63] The funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[64] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[65] The Easton Area School District teachers' union refused to sign the agreement.[66] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[67] 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.[68]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Easton Area School Board chose to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[69] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. The review identified potential annual savings of over $78,000 over a variety of cost centers, including food services, transportation, purchasing and utility costs. Opportunities for savings in food services and utility costs appeared particularly promising for the district.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Easton Area School Board set property tax rates in 2013-2014 at 55.3900 mills for Northampton County residents.[70] 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. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[71] 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. 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.[72] 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.[73]

  • 2012-13 - 54.4600 mills for Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 154.4200 mills[74]
  • 2011-12 - 53.2470 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 161.2110 mills[75]
  • 2010-11 - 52.3250 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 162.3840 mills.[76]
  • 2009-10 - 51.1220 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 155.2770 mills.[77]
  • 2008-09 - 49.7810 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 159.4450 mills[78]
  • 2007-08 - 45.1050 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 139.5740 mills[79]
  • 2006-07 - 44.8300 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 139.8460 mills[80]
  • 2005-06 - 42.9100 mills Northampton County properties. Bucks County - 107.0100 mills[81]

The average yearly property tax paid by Northampton County residents amounts to about 4.75% of their yearly income. Northampton County ranked 100th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[82] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[83] Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[84]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[85]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[86] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[87][88] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[89]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Easton Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[90]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Easton Area School Board applied for one exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to rapidly escalating teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[94]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Easton Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[95]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Easton Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[96]

For the 2011-12 school year, Easton Area School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the School Board has the option of adopting either: 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions: 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 public school district, in the Commonwealth, sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[97]

Easton Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[98] In the Spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.[99]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Easton Area School District was $213 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 15,452 property owners applied for the tax relief.[100] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The Pennsylvania Auditor General found that 72% of property owners applied for tax relief in Northampton County.[101] In Northampton County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was $284 awarded to the approved property owners in Bangor Area School District. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[102] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[103]

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[104]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Easton Area School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies.[105][106]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those home schooled, 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.[107]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Easton Area Sd". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2009
  3. ^ http://articles.mcall.com/2014-06-25/news/mc-easton-area-school-board-0624-20140624_1_easton-area-school-board-baron-vanderburg-president-frank-pintabone
  4. ^ "USC, Mt. Lebo top two scoring districts in state". 
  5. ^ "USC, Mt. Lebo top two scoring districts in state". 
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 2011). "Statewide Honor Roll Information.". 
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 1, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll.". 
  8. ^ "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County,". Pittsburgh Business Times,. May 23, 2007. 
  9. ^ "2009 PSSA RESULTS Easton Area School District,". The Morning Call. Retrieved May 2011. 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  11. ^ "Easton Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010 data table". Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 25, 2009). "Northampton County Graduation Rates 2008". 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "High School Graduation rate 2007". Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report". 
  15. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
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