Fairfield Area School District

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Fairfield Area School District
Map of Adams County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
4840 Fairfield Road
South Central Pennsylvania
Fairfield, Pennsylvania, Adams County, 17320-9200
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent William B. Chain (salary $115,350 in 2012)
School number (717) 642-8228
Administrator Ms. Caroline Dean, Business Manager

Ms. Karen Kugler, Coordinator of Curriculum & Special Programs

Director Mr. Gary Crevier, Technology

Ms. Laura Kennedy, Transportation
Mrs. Lynda Comeau, Food Service
Mr. Howie Kessel, Building and Grounds

Principal Mr. Brian W. McDowell, HS
Principal Mrs. Patti Weber, MS
Principal Mrs. Barbara Richwine, ES
Coordinator of Curriculum & Special Programs Ms. Karen Kugler salary $91,193 (2012)
Staff 79 non teaching staff members (2011)
Grades K - 12th
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special eductaion students
Enrollment 1,117 students 2013-14;[1] 1,294 students (2009-10)[2][3]
Kindergarten 100
Grade 1 77
Grade 2 97
Grade 3 73
Grade 4 64
Grade 5 91
Grade 6 101
Grade 7 95
Grade 8 80
Grade 9 100
Grade 10 111
Grade 11 110
Grade 12 96
Other Enrollment projected to decline to 908 pupils by 2020.[4]
Budget $15,702,070 (2013-14)[5]

$15,261,858 (2012-13)[6][7]
$15.49 million (2011-12)[8]

Per pupil spending $11,936 in 2008
Classification 3rd class district due to population of less than 30,000
Website

Fairfield Area School District is a small, rural, public school district. It is located in the south western portion of Adams County, Pennsylvania. It serves: the boroughs of Fairfield and Carroll Valley, as well as Hamiltonban Township and Liberty Township. Fairfield Area School District encompasses approximately 61 square miles (160 km2). Per 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 7,056. In 2010, the District's population rose to 7,998 people. In 2009, the Fairfield Area School District residents' per capita income was $20,625 a year, while the median family income was $52,087.

According to Fairfield Area School District officials, in school year 2007-08, the District provided basic educational services to 1,290 pupils. It employed: 94 teachers, 57 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators. Fairfield Area School District received more than $4.9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. Fairfield Area School District received more than $4.9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. By 2013, the District's enrollment had declined to 1,117 students.[9]

Fairfield Area School District operates three schools: Fairfield Area High School (grades 9-12) and Fairfield Area Middle School (grades 5-8) together in the main building and Fairfield Area Elementary School (grades k-4) in a separate building.

Governance[edit]

Fairfield Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms without compensation), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[10] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the District focus resources on student reading fluency and math skills. The superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.

Each school has a principal and vice principal (though the middle school and high school share a vice principal).

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D-" 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.[11]

In 2001, the Farifield Area School District filed suit in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas seeking an injunction barring the Einstein Academy (a subsidiary of the National Organization for Children) from operating as a charter school.[12] The suit was later joined by a number of other public school districts. The suit alleged, among other things, that charter schools generally violate various state laws and/or constitutional provisions and could not be legally formed and specifically sought to prevent the Einstein Academy from enrolling students. The suit and requested preliminary injunctions were dismissed on 21 May 2003 by the trial court which found that the district lacked standing to bring the suit. The Appeals Court upheld that decision in December 2003.[13]

Academic achievement[edit]

The Fairfield Area School District was ranked 303rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2013, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on the last three years of PSSAs results in: reading, writing, mathematics and science.[14] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and science.[15] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 332nd[16]
  • 2011 - 373rd[17]
  • 2010 - 349th [18]
  • 2009 - 382nd
  • 2008 - 400th
  • 2007 - 410th of 501 school districts.[19]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Fairfield Area School District ranked 491st. In 2012, the District was 493rd. [20] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[21]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Fairfield Area School District achieved AYP status, even though the high school declined into Warning AYP status.[22] In 2011, Fairfield Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[23] Fairfield Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[24]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Fairfield Area School District's graduation rate rose to 93.8%. In 2012, Fairfield Area School District's graduation rate was 89.89%.[25] In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 84%.[26] The Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate in 2010. Fairfield Area School District's rate was 87% for 2010.[27]

  • 2010 - 89% [28]
  • 2009 - 88% [29]
  • 2008 - 86%
  • 2007 - 86% [30]

High school[edit]

Fairfield Area High School is located at 4840 Fairfield Road, Fairfield. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 420 pupils in grades 9th through 11th, with 12.9% of its pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 35 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[31] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[32]

2013 School Performance Profile

Fairfield Area High School achieved 81 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.[33] In reading/literature - 82% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 63.56% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 47.6% showed on grade level science understanding.[34] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, they now take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.

AYP History

In 2012, Fairfield Area High School declined to Warning AYP status in reading and mathematics when it missed all measured metrics. The High School achieved AYP status in 2011, 2010 and 2009.[35]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 71% on grade level, (8% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[36]
  • 2011 - 77.5% (6% below basic). State - 69.1%[37]
  • 2010 - 61%, State - 67% [38]
  • 2009 - 68%, State - 65% [39]
  • 2008 - 62%, State - 65% [40]
  • 2007 - 54%, State - 65% [41]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[42]
  • 2011 - 65.4% (15% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 62%, State - 59% [43]
  • 2009 - 58%, State - 56% [44]
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 56% [45]
  • 2007 - 39%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 49% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[46]
  • 2011 - 44.9% (13% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 33%, State - 39%.
  • 2009 - 30%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 35%, State - 39% [47]

Science in Motion Fairfield Area High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[48] Gettysburg College provides the science enrichment experiences.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 40% of Fairfield 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.[49] 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.[50] 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]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. Fairfield Area School District School Board has determined that a student must earn the following credits in order to graduate: English 4 credits, Speech 0.5 credits, Math 3-4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3-4 credits, Health/Physical Education 1 credit, Arts and Humanities 2 credits, Driver Education 0.5 credits and Elective Courses 5.5credits.[51]

By law, all Pennsylvania high 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.[52] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[53]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[54] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[55]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exams, with those who do not able to perform a project in order to graduate.[56][57] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[58] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[59] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Fairfield Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 490. The Math average score was 506. The Writing average score was 479. 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.[60]

In 2012, 53 Fairfield Area High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 483. The Math average score was 500. The Writing average score was 470. 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, 35 Fairfield Area High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 490. The Math average score was 501. The Writing average score was 476.[61] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[62] 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.[63]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Fairfield Area High School did not offer any Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Near the end of the 2013-2014 school year, the school announced it would offer AP courses in Statistics, 12th Grade English, and 12th Grade Social Studies. The courses were available in the 2014-2015 school year.

Middle school[edit]

Fairfield Area Middle School is located at 4840 Fairfield Road, Fairfield. In 2013, Fairfield Area Middle School reported 355 pupils, with 21% coming from low income homes.[64] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 380 pupils in grades 5th through 8th, with 21% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[65] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 4 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[66] In 2013, the School continues to employ Non-Highly qualified teachers. The attendance rate was 95% in 2012.

2013 School Performance Profile

Fairfield Area Middle School achieved 84.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.[67] In reading, just 74% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, 78% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 75% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 62% of the 5th and 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level skills.[67]

AYP History

In 2012, Fairfield Area Middle School achieved AYP status even though it missed all the academic metrics measured on the PSSAs.[68] In 2011, 2010 and 2009, Fairfield Area Middle School was in AYP status.[69] The attendance rate was 95% in 2010.[70] The attendance rate was 94% in 2011.

PSSA Results
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 61.8% (% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 66%, State - 57.2%
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 65%, State - 50% [78]

Science in Motion Fairfield Area Junior Middle School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[48] Gettysburg College provided the service to Fairfield Area Middle School.

Elementary School[edit]

Fairfield Area Elementary School is located at 4840 Fairfield Road, Fairfield. In 2013, the school reported that there were 358 pupils, with 20% coming from low income homes.[80] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 340 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 18% of its pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is not a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 23 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 51:1.[81] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[82]

2013 School Performance Profile

Fairfield Area Elementary School achieved 78.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading and mathematics achievement.[83] In 2012-13, only 78.5% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 87% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 80.5% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 83% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[84]

AYP history

From 2004 through 2012, Fairfield Area Elementary School achieved AYP status each year.[85] The attendance rate was 94% in 2009 and 2010.[86] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[87]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 90% (5% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 87.5% (6% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 90% (4% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 82% (6% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 82% (1% below basic). State - 81%

Grades online[edit]

For grades 3rd to 12th parents and students have password controlled, online access to the students grades and other school district information.

Summer School[edit]

Middle and High School summer school credit recovery program is online. Students recommended for summer coursework receive their curriculum content online. Students will have the option to work from home or school as they complete their customized learning activities on the web.

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Fairfield Area School District administration reported that 121 pupils or 10.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 60% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[93] In December 2009, the district administration reported that 121 pupils or 9.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[94] 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.[95] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. 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.[96] 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.[97] 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.[98] 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.[99] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[100]

Fairfield Area School District received a $611,435 supplement for special education services in 2010.[101] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[102][103] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 20 or 1.64% of its students were gifted in 2009.[104] 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 should 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 may be considered for eligibility.[105] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Fairfield Area School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.

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.[106]

In 2012, the median teacher salary in Fairfield Area School District was $53,189 a year, while the cost of the benefits the teachers received was $22,065 per employee (which was among the highest for Pennsylvania public educators), for a total annual average teacher compensation of $75,254.85.[107] In 2011, the District employed 96 teachers with an average salary of $55,628 and a top salary of $115,350.[108]

In 2011, Fairfield Area School Board balanced the District's annual budget by raising taxes and cutting $756,727 in spending. This included eliminating a seventh grade language arts teaching position. The teacher has been reassigned to the library. Additionally, a third grade teaching position was dropped, leaving the district with three third-grade teachers, but due to low enrollment, third grade class size remained small.

In 2009, Fairfield Area School District reported employing 110 teachers with a starting salary of $41,685 for 180 days for pupil instruction and 188 days total.[109] The average teacher salary was $53,934 while the maximum salary is $109,200.[110] Longevity payments of $400 are added to the base salary of the teacher each year. 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.[111] Teachers work a 7 hour 30 minute day which includes a 30-minute paid lunch break. Teachers are provided a planning period each day. In addition to salary, Fairfield Area School District teachers receive: life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement 100% of costs, 2 paid personal days and emergency day, 10 sick days which accumulate (employee pays up to $50 per month) and other benefits. Teachers are paid extra if they are required to work outside of the regular school day and when they accept extra duties like mentoring in the district's Teacher Induction Plan. Upon retirement or death, teachers are paid for unused sick days. Employees may be granted one (1) day leave per year for the purpose of visiting other schools. The teachers' union is granted a total of six (6) days leave with pay to conduct union business.[112] 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.[113]

In 2007, the Fairfield Area School District employed 80 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,956 for 180 days worked.[114]

Per pupil spending Fairfield Area School District's administrative costs per pupil was $890.04 in 2008. The District ranked 110th in administrative sending, out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[115] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[116] In July 2007, the Fairfield Area School Board awarded a five-year contract to William B. Chain III to serve as superintendent, with an initial salary of $105,000. The contract includes an extensive benefits package.[117]

In 2008, Fairfield Area School District reported spending $11,936 per pupil. This ranked 280th in the Commonwealth.[118] In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $13,158.18.[119] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending had risen to $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[120] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[121]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[122] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[121] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[123] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[124]

Reserves In 2008, Fairfield Area School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $596,053.[125] In 2010, the District has $1,181,631 in an unreserved-undesignated fund. In 2012, the District's reserves had decreased to $635,314.[126] 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.[127] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[128]

Audit In April 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Multiple serious findings were reported to the administration and school board. The audit found that a professional employee was not properly certified for her assignment which violated PA School Code and No Child Left Behind which required highly qualified teachers.[129]

Tuition Students who live in the Fairfield Area School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Fairfield Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $9,208.47, High School - $9,232.05.[130]

Fairfield Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax 1%, a property tax, Amusement tax 4%, a statewide real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[131] Grants 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.[132] 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.[133]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Fairfield Area School District receives 26.9% of its annual revenue from the state.[134]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Fairfield Area School District received a 1.9% increase or $3,343,420 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $61,059 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Fairfield Area School District received $64,733 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Adams County, Conewago Valley School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 3.2%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[135] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[136]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Fairfield Area School District received $3,282,361.[137] 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. Fairfield Area School District received $64,733 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[138] 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, Fairfield Area School District received $3,282,361 in state Basic Education Funding.[139] Additionally, the District received $64,734 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding (BEF) appropriation. This BEF amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. 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.[140] In 2010, Fairfield Area School District reported that 211 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to their family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010-11 school year, the highest increase in state Basic Education Funding awarded to public school districts in Adams County was awarded to Fairfield Area School District at 2% for $3,473,266. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. In Adams County, the highest increase was awarded to Conewago Valley School District. Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[141] The amount of increase each school district received was determined by the Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[142]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.74% increase in Basic Education funding for Fairfield Area School District a total of $3,405,162. The highest increase in Adams County went to Conewago Valley School District which received a 9.48% increase in 2009-10. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received the highest increase in the Commonwealth - an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts received an increase in basic education funding of over 10 percent in 2009. Ninety school districts received the base 2% increase in state basic education funding.[143] 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 determined by the Governor Edward G Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[144]

The state Basic Education funding to Fairfield Area School District in 2008-09 was $3,282,361.28. In 2009, Fairfield Area School District reported having 204 students participating in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.[145]

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, Fairfield Area School District applied for and received $175,703 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten, increased instructional time through tutoring both during the school day and after school and teacher training.[146][147]

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 Fairfield Area School District received $30,471.[148]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Fairfield Area School District did not apply to participate and consequently, did not receive any funding over the three-year period of the program.[149] Among Adams County School District, Gettysburg Area School District received the highest funding - $341,842. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

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 Fairfield Area School District received $30,471.[150]

Other grants[edit]

Fairfield Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell), 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants,[151] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Fairfield Area School District received an extra $631,489 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[152] This funding is for the 2009-2011 school years.[153] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[154] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Fairfield Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[155] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[156] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[157] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state Race To The Top application judging will occur in June 2010.[158]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Fairfield Area School Board set property taxes at 9.6898 mills for 2013-14.[159] 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. In 2010, Adams County conducted a property reassessment.[160] 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.[161] 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.[162] 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.[163]

Tax history

The average yearly property tax paid by Adams County residents amounts to about 3.33% of their yearly income. Adams County ranked 444th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[171] 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.[172] 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%).[173]

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 allowed 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 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 percent, but it 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, rising health care costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling local 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.[174]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Fairfield Area School District 2006-2007 through 2012-2013.[175]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Fairfield 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 exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[180]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Fairfield Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[181]

For the 2011-12 school year, Fairfield Area School Board applied for several exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index, including: special education expenses, Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue, Health Care-Related Benefits and pension obligations. Each year the Fairfield Area 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 publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[182]

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.[183]

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.[184]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Fairfield Area School District was $187 per approved permanent primary residence. In the Fairfield Area School District, 2,461 property owners applied for the tax relief.[185] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Fairfield Area School District was $189 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2429 property owners applied for the tax relief. Among Adams County school districts, in 2009, Upper Adams School District received the highest relief allocation at $279. In Pennsylvania, the highest tax relief was allotted to Chester Upland School District in Delaware County which received $632 for 2009 and 2010.[186] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Adams County, 74% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[187]

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, so people who make 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.

Wellness policy[edit]

Fairfield Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[188] 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."

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 and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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.[189] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. 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.[190] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[191]

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.[192] 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 the lunch.[193]

Fairfield Area 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.[194] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2009, the Fairfield Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Fairfield Area High School received $9,900 to purchase bikes and helmets to implement the Trek the Trails bicycle program.[195] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5 year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Fairfield Area School Board offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive and costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is set by school board policies and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[196] Fairfield Area School District require students submit to a drug screening prior to all seasons for athletic participation.[197] The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website.

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 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.[198]

The schools' sports teams are known as the Fairfield Green Knights.

The school district has internal programs, including drama and foreign language. It also participates in other programs such as the Adams County Chorus, Adams County Band, and Adjudications. It also has a chapter of the National Honor Society

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2013 [199]

Intermediate Unit[edit]

Lincoln Intermediate Unit (IU#12) region includes: Adams County, Franklin County and York County. The agency provides Fairfield Area Schools, district home schooled students and area private schools many services, including: Special education services, combined purchasing, and instructional technology services. It runs Summer Academy which offers both art and academic strands designed to meet the individual needs of gifted, talented and high achieving students. Additional services include: Curriculum Mapping, Professional Development for school employees, Adult Education, Nonpublic School Services, Business Services, Migrant & ESL (English as a Second Language), Instructional Services, Special Education, Management Services, and Technology Services. It also provides a GED program to adults who want to earn a high school diploma and literacy programs. The Lincoln Intermediate Unit is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, each a member of a local school board from the 25 school districts. Board members are elected by school directors of all 25 school districts for three-year terms that begin July 1.[200] There are 29 intermediate units in Pennsylvania. They are funded by school districts, state and federal program specific funding and grants. IUs do not have the power to tax.

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External links[edit]

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