Exeter Township School District

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Exeter Township School District
Map of Berks County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
3650 Perkiomen Ave
Reading, Pennsylvania, Berks County, 19606-2798
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr. Beverly Martin ( $134,971 in 2012)
Administrator Dr. Todd Davies ($124,000 in 2013) [1]
Faculty 296 in 2011 [2]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special education
Pupils 4,378 (2011-12) [3]
Kindergarten 254
Grade 1 300
Grade 2 297
Grade 3 311
Grade 4 327
Grade 5 301
Grade 6 359
Grade 7 316
Grade 8 345
Grade 9 351
Grade 10 346
Grade 11 349
Grade 12 349
Grade 13 351
Other Enrollment projected to be 3,700 pupils in 2020[4]
Budget $62 million (2012-13)
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES, HS [5]
Per Pupil spending $12,453 (2008)
Per Pupil spending $13,882.57 (2011)
Website
ETSDLogo.jpg

The Exeter Township School District is a small suburban public school district located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The District serves two municipalities southeast of Reading, the Borough of St. Lawrence, and Exeter Township. In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $24,836, while the median family income was $63,670.[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] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Exeter Township School District provided basic educational services to 4,376 pupils through the employment of 316 teachers, 297 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 26 administrators. Exeter Township School District received more than $19.4 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.[9]

Schools[edit]

  • Jacksonwald Elementary School (K-4)
  • Lorane Elementary School (K-4)
  • Owatin Creek Elementary School (K-4)
  • Reiffton School (5-6)
  • Exeter Township Junior High School (7-8)
  • Exeter Township Senior High School (9-12)

District profile[edit]

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without compensation for a term of four years.), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[11] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Exeter Township School Board and District Administration a "C" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[12]

Academic achievement[edit]

Exeter Township School District was ranked 153rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[13] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[14] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2011 - 147th [15]
  • 2010 - 147th [16]
  • 2009 - 132nd
  • 2008 - 113th
  • 2007 - 127th out of 501 school districts.[17]
District AYP status history

In 2012, Exeter Township School District declined to Warning AYP status due to a low graduation rate for low-income students (81%). In 2011, Exeter Township School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of 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.[18] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010.[19]

  • 2005 - Making Progress Student Improvement
  • 2004 - School Improvement
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Exeter Township School District’s graduation rate was 91%.[20] In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 92%.[21] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 91.85% for 2010.[22]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Exeter Township Senior High School is located at 201 East 37th St, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,422 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 230 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 93 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[27] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[28]

In 2012, Exeter Township Senior High School declined to Corrective Action Level 1 due to low graduation rate and missing 50% of academic metrics.[29] In 2011, Exeter Township Senior High School was in Making Progress: in School Improvement II. In 2010, Exeter Township Senior High School declined in School Improvement II AYP status. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[30] Due to the low academic achievement, the High School is eligible for extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[31]

PSSA results

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 71% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32]
  • 2011 - 75% (12% below basic). State - 69.1% [33]
  • 2010 - 65% (16% below basic). State - 66% [34]
  • 2009 - 69% (14% below basic). State - 65% [35]
  • 2008 - 67% (17% below basic). State - 65% [36]
  • 2007 - 76% (12% below basic). State - 65% [37]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 66% on grade level (17% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 71% (13% below basic). State - 60.3% [39]
  • 2010 - 70% (20% below basic). State - 59% [40]
  • 2009 - 58% (20% below basic). State - 56%.[41]
  • 2008 - 56% (25% below basic). State - 56% [42]
  • 2007 - 60% (17% below basic). State - 53% [43]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 50% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[44]
  • 2011 - 48% (13% below basic). State - 40% [45]
  • 2010 - 45% (15% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 47% (10% below basic). State - 40% [46]
  • 2008 - 39% (17% below basic). State - 39% [47]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 30% of the Exeter Township 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.[48] 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.[49] 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 Exeter Township Senior High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[50] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[51]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the Exeter Township School District received a state grant of $25,905 for the program.[52]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 240 Exeter Township School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 502. The Math average score was 513. The Writing average score was 493. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 244 Exeter Township School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 505. The Math average score was515 . The Writing average score was 495.[53] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[54] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[55]

Junior high school[edit]

Exeter Township Junior High School is located at 151 East 39th Street, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 698 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 120 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 53 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[56] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[57]

In 2012, Exeter Township Junior High School achieved AYP status. In 2011, Exeter Township Junior High School was in Warning status due to lagging student academic achievement.[58]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 74% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 67% (16% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 73% (10% below basic). State – 57% [63]
  • 2009 - 66% (13% below basic). State - 55% [64]
  • 2008 - 66% (15% below basic). State - 52% [65]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Elementary schools[edit]

Exeter Township School District operates 4 elementary schools.

Reiffton School is located at 4355 Dunham Drive, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 674 pupils in grades 5th and 6th, with 110 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 46 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[66] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[67] In 2011 and 2012, Reiffton School achieved AYP status.[68] In 2012, only 79% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 5th and 6th. In mathematics, 81% of the students in 5th and 6th grades were on grade level and 50% scored advanced.[69]

Jacksonwald Elementary School is located at 100 Church Lane, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 405 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 92 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 30 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[70] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[71] In 2011 and 2012, Jacksonwald Elementary School achieved AYP status.[72] In 2012, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 53% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 91% of the pupils were on grade level.[73]

Lorane Elementary School is located at 699 Rittenhouse Drive, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 502 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 107 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 33 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[74] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[75] In 2011 and 2012, Lorane Elementary School achieved AYP status.[76] In 2012, 81% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 54% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils were on grade level.[77]

Owatin Creek Elementary School is located at 5000 Boyertown Pike, Reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 621 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 77 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 41 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79] In 2011 and 2012, Owatin Creek Elementary School achieved AYP status.[80] In 2012, 86% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In math, 93% of the students in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level and 57% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils were on grade level, with 59% achieving advanced.[81]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the Exeter Township School District administration reported that 779 pupils or 17.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 49% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[82] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 758 pupils or 17.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 52.2% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[83] The largest group of stduents are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress .[84] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[85][86]

The Exeter Township School District provides a variety of types and levels of supports for students with physical and intellectual disabilities. These Support Programs include: Speech and Language Support, Vision Support, Hearing Support, Learning Support, Emotional Support, and Life Skills Support. Levels of support include Itinerant, Resource Room, Part-time, and Full-time. In some instances, arrangements are made for students to attend classes in neighboring districts, Berks County Intermediate Unit classes, or at an Approved Private special education schools for profoundly disabled children. Services and transportation are all paid for by the school district with some funds annually provided by the state and the federal government.

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.[87] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[88] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[89] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[90]

The Exeter Township School District received a $1,775,958 supplement for special education services in 2010.[91] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[92][93]

Gifted education[edit]

Exeter Township School District Administration reported that 297 or 6.76% of its students in 2010 were identified as gifted. In 2009, 202 or 4.57% of its students received gifted services. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted in 2009.[94] 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 are also considered for eligibility like consistently advanced classroom achievement.[95][96]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Exeter Township School District was $60,770 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $17,069 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $77,839.[97]

In 2009, the Exeter Township School District reported employing 356 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $58,913 and a top salary of $134,971.[98] The teacher’s work day is 7.5 hours with a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. There are 180 student days and 189 work days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (District pays 93%), dental insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid emergency days, 5 paid funeral days, malpractice insurance, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Retiring teachers receive $90 per unused sick and personal day, as well as, a $200 per year bonus.[99] 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.[100]

Exeter Township School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $614.66 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[101] 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.[102] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[103]

In 2008, Exeter Township School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $$12,453 which ranked 226th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, Exeter Township's per pupil spending had increased to $13,882.57 [104] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[105] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[106] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[107]

Reserves In 2008, the Exeter Township School District reported a balance of $2,994,777 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported at $3,880,929. [108] In 2010, Exeter Township School District Administration reported an increase to $6,226,500 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The unreserved-designated fund was $3,874,527. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[109]

District Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Exeter Township School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the Exeter Township School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School -$9,371.30, High School - $9,030.33 [5]

Audit In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the Exeter Township School Board and the District’s administration.[110]

Exeter Township School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, Business Privilege Tax 0.75 mills for retail/0.5 mills wholesale, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, Per Capita Tax $10, Local Services Tax $10, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[111] 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.[112]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Exeter Township School District received $8,070,934.[113] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Exeter Township School District received $180,893. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[114] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Governor Tom 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, the Exeter Township School District received a $7,888,244 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[115][116] Additionally, the Exeter Township School District received $180,893 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.[117] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[118] In 2010, Exeter Township School District reported that 708 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[119]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.41% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,636,431 to the Exeter Township School District. Among the 18 public school districts in Berks County, the highest increase went to Muhlenberg School District which got an 8.17% increase over 2009-10 funding. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[120] 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 public school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.[121]

For the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.93% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,351,870 to Exeter Township School District. Ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received a the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[122] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[123] 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.[124][125]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 608 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[126]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, the district applied for and received $490,989 in addition to all other state and federal funding. Exeter Township School District uses the funding to provide: Literacy and math coaching to improve instruction, teacher training, full-day kindergarten and reduced class size K-3rd grade.[127][128]

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 Exeter Township School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district was denied funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The district received $188,223 in 2008-09.[129] Among the public school districts in Berks County, the highest award was given to Reading School District. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Exeter Township School District received $88,174.[130]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: PA DEP Environmental Education grants, Science Its Elementary grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the 21st Century Learning grants for after school programs.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Exeter Township School District received an extra $2,710,306 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[131][132] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[133] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Exeter Township School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one half million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[134] 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.[135] 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.[136][137][138]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012-13 were set by the Exeter Township School Board at 30.1031 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.[139] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[140] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[141] 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.[142]

  • 2011-12 - 29.9820 mills.[143]
  • 2010-11 - 29.624 mills [144]
  • 2009-10 - 28.6180 mills.[145]
  • 2008-09 - 27.7840 mills.[146]
  • 2007-08 - 25.8250 mills.[147]
  • 2006-07 - 23.5000 mills.[148]
  • 2005-06 - 22.0000 mills.[149]

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.[150] The average yearly property tax paid by Berks County residents amounts to about 4.66% of their yearly income. Berks County is ranked 112th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[151]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted to raise property taxes above that Index unless they either: allow voters to vote by referendum or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[152] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[153] 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.[154][155]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Exeter Township School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[156]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Exeter Township School Board applied for 2 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and Grandfathered school construction debt. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[159]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Exeter Township School Board applied for 4 exception to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs, special education costs, School Construction Academic Project and Grandfathered school construction debt.. Each year, the Exeter Township School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[160]

According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions: 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[161]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association regulations.

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.[162]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [163]

Places of interest[edit]

Daniel Boone Homestead

References[edit]

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External links[edit]