Harrisburg School District (Pennsylvania)

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Harrisburg School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
2101 North Front Street, Bldg #2
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County, 17110
United States
Information
Type Public
Closed Hamilton (6/2011), Lincoln (6/2011), Steele (summer 2010), William Penn (summer 2010), Harrisburg Career and Technology School (6 2011), Shimmell (provided alternative education and emotionally ill students) (6 2011)
School board 9 members locally elected
Superintendent Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney (2011)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old kindergarten to 21 years old special education
Pupils 6,311 students (2013);[1] 7,944 students Prek-12th (2011)[2]
Kindergarten 847 (2009), 606 (2011), 523 (2012)[3]
Grade 1 692 (2009), 606 (2011), 636
Grade 2 666 (2009), 605 (2011), 557
Grade 3 565 (2009), 624 (2011), 529
Grade 4 594 (2009), 586 (2011), 509
Grade 5 582 (2009), 575 (2011), 550
Grade 6 593 (2009), 536 (2011), 531
Grade 7 594 (2009), 548 (2011), 496
Grade 8 517 (2009), 557 (2011), 456
Grade 9 598 (2009), 776 (2011), 563
Grade 10 643 (2009), 591 (2011), 388
Grade 11 600 (2009), 393 (2011), 258
Grade 12 574 (2009), 518 (2011), 315 (2012)
Language English
Budget $133 million (2014-2015)[4]

$141 million (2013-14)[5]
$125 million budget (2012-13)[6]
$124 million 2011-12[7]

Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES -$10,329.89 , HS - $10,041.38[8]
Per pupil spending $16,447 (2008)
Per pupil spending $16,709.32 (2011)
Charter Schools Infinity Charter School, Sylvan Heights Science Charter School, Capital Area School for the Arts, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
Website

The Harrisburg School District is a large, urban, public school district based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The school district boundaries are coterminous with the city of Harrisburg. The Harrisburg City School District encompasses approximately 11 square miles (28 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 48,950. By 2010, the District's population increased to 49,550 people.[9]

Harrisburg public schools provide education for the city's youth, beginning with preschool through twelfth grade. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Harrisburg City School District provided basic educational services to 8,391 pupils through the employment of 723 teachers, 209 full-time and part-time support personnel and 60 administrators. Enrollment steadily declined since 2005 due to a steady exodus from the city and a lower reproductive rate. A multi-year restructuring and reform plan was aimed at making the district a model, urban educational system.

In July 2000, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling that upholds the Education Empowerment Act adopted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and signed by then Governor Tom Ridge, that permitted a change in the governance of the Harrisburg School District from an elected school board, to a board of control named by Harrisburg mayor Stephen R. Reed, and which gave the mayor direct oversight of the troubled district. It was the first time a mayor had taken on the role in the state.[10]

Schools[edit]

The District operates the following schools for 2013-2014:

  • Marshall (K-8th)
  • Math and Science Academy (5-8)
  • Melrose (K-8th)
  • Rowland (5-8)
  • Scott (K-4th)

Pennsylvania State University conducted a phone survey of 6th grade parents in 2003. Questions focused on parent awareness of services available to students.[11]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2014, Harrisburg City School District ranked 492nd out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[12] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[13] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Harrisburg City School District ranked 478th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[20]

  • 2011 - 474th
  • 2010 - 450th[21]
  • 2009 - 422nd

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students in the district was in the bottom percentile of all Pennsylvania school districts.[22]

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying four Harrrisburg School District schools remained among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[23] Included on the 2014-2015 list are: Foose School, Rowland School, Scott School and Harrisburg High School. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[24] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[25] This was the third year that these Harrisburg School District schools were placed on the lowest achievement list. In 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, the following District schools were on the list: Ben Franklin School, Camp Curtin School, Downey School, Foose School, Marshall School, Melrose School, Rowland School, Scott School and Harrisburg High School.

AYP overview[edit]

In 2012, Harrisburg City School District was in Corrective Action II 10th Year due to continuing low student achievement.[26] One school in the District achieve Adequate Yearly Progress as measured by NCLB. The District reported that 42 teachers were rated "Non Highly Qualified" under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.

  • 2011 - Corrective Action II 9th Year"'[27]
  • 2010 - Corrective Action II 8th Year"'[28][29]

Then District Superintendent Gerald Kohn, rebutted the poor rankings saying the district is showing improvement since 2002.[30] Harrisburg City School District had 15.5 percent of students scoring advanced or proficient in reading and math on the state tests in March 2002. By March, 2006, the district had increased that number to 23.6 percent[31]—a 52.3 percent improvement that landed the district at 25 in its own ranking system. Three of the district's 15 schools achieved adequate yearly progress in 2009. The district was in Corrective Action II 7th Year.

Graduation Rate district wide[edit]

In 2014, Harrisburg School District's graduation rate was 42.6%.[32] In 2013, Harrisburg School District's graduation rate remained 45%.[33] In 2012, Harrisburg City School District's graduation rate was 45%.[34] In 2011, the district wide graduation rate was 73%.[35] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Harrisburg City School District's rate was 52.95% for 2010.[36]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 82%[37]
  • 2009 - 80%
  • 2008 - 78%
  • 2007 - 74%[38]
  • 2005 - 71%[39]
College Remediation for graduates

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 67% of Harrisburg City Schools graduates required costly remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or Pennsylvania community colleges.[40] 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.[41] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Harrisburg School Board requires that students earn 24 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Humanities 2 credits, Electives 5 credits, Physical Education 1 credits, Wellness 1 credits, and Senior Project 1 credit.[42]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[43]

Beginning with the class of 2017, all Pennsylvania high school students must take the Keystone Exams in literature, Biology and Algebra 1.[44]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Harrisburg School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 344. The Math average score was 346. The Writing average score was 324.[45] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[46]

In 2013, 164 Harrisburg School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 398. The Math average score was 407. The Writing average score was 359. 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.[47]

In 2012, 183 Harrisburg School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 404. The Math average score was 404. The Writing average score was 390. 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, 224 Harrisburg School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 392. The Math average score was 392. The Writing average score was 350.[48] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[49] 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.[50]

Harrisburg High School[edit]

Harrisburg High School is located at 2451 Market Street, Harrisburg. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 1146 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 81% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 29% of pupils received special education services, while 0.09% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 117 teachers.[51] Per the PA Department of Education 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The School is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 1,318 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 861 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2011, the School employed 117 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 11:1.[52] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 29 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[53] The School was a federally designated Title I school.

In 2009, Harrisburg High School ranked 636th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[54] In 2007, Johns Hopkins University reported that Harrisburg High School was listed among 47 Pennsylvania schools and 1700 nationwide high schools with high drop out rates.[55]

Graduation rate
2014 School Performance Profile

Harrisburg High School achieved 39.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 20% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 18.6% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 11% showed on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[59][60] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[61] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[62][63]

2013 School Performance Profile

Harrisburg High School achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 27.48% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 12.21% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 10.45% showed on grade level science understanding.[64] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[65]

AYP Status

In 2012, Harrisburg High School declined to Corrective Action II 9th Year achieving 4 of 14 metrics measured. In 2011, Harrisburg High School was in Corrective Action II 8th Year due to continuing, low student achievement[66] In 2007, Harrisburg High School was in Corrective Action II 4th Year and continued to decline each year to Corrective Action II 7th Year in 2010.

PSSA results
11th grade Science on grade level
  • 2012 - 4% (62% below basic). State - 42%
  • 2011 - 2% (68% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 5.9%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 4%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 3%, State - 39%

William Penn High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2006 [69]

Harrisburg University Science & Tech School[edit]

Harrisburg University Science & Tech School is located at 215 Market Street. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 368 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 83% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 3% of pupils received special education services, while 1.6% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 29 teachers.[70] Per the PA Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Harrisburg University Science & Tech School was recognized by US News and World Report as a Bronze level high school in a nation-wide school ranking. Among Pennsylvania high schools (traditional, charter and private) 56 achieved gold or silver medals. Another 103 high schools achieved bronze rating out of 698 Pennsylvania high schools reviewed.[71]

2014 School Performance Profile

Harrisburg University Science & Tech School achieved 63.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 79% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 74% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 36.5% showed on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[60][72] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[61] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[62][63][73]

See School's wiki page for more information Harrisburg High School SciTech Campus

Benjamin Franklin School[edit]

Benjamin Franklin School is located at 1205 North 6th Street, Harrisburg. In 2014, Benjamin Franklin School's enrollment was 743 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 88% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 14% of the pupils receive special education services, while 0.13% are identified as gifted.[74] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 98% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provided half day kindergarten.[75] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Benjamin Franklin School the school has 597 enrolled in grades preschool through 8th grade, with 494 pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. The School employed 51 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[76]

2014 School Performance Profile

Benjamin Franklin School achieved a score of 44.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 31.9% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 45% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 35.7% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 33.6% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[77]

AYP History

In 2012, Benjamin Franklin School declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year status.[78] The school administration was mandated under No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the achievement and to offer the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the district.

  • 2011 - Benjamin Franklin School declined to Corrective Action II AYP status
  • 2010 - Benjamin Franklin School declined to Corrective Action I AYP status.
  • 2009 - Benjamin Franklin School was in School Improvement II AYP status.
  • 2008 - Benjamin Franklin School was in School Improvement I AYP status.

In the 2002 school year, the District initiated full-day kindergarten. While proponents of full day kindergarten claim it will reduce special education numbers and it will raise primary student academic achievement especially in reading and math, those outcomes have not been realized in the Harrisburg City School District. Reading achievement in particular has remained flat.[79]

PSSA History
  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2011 - 34.1% on grade level | 2010 - 52% on grade level, State - 61%
    Math 2011 - 48.4% on grade level | Math 2010 - 47% on grade level, State - 61%[83]
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2012 - 27% (42% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 52% (15% below basic). State - 82.9%[85]
  • 2010 - 56.6%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009 - 35%, State - 83%[86]
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 81%

Camp Curtin School[edit]

Camp Curtin School is located at 2900 North 6th Street, Harrisburg. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the school has 670 students enrolled in grades preschool through 8th grade, with 575 pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 61 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[87]

In 2010 & 2011, Camp Curtin School is in Corrective Action II 6th Year. The school is identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application.[88][89] In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action II 5th Year due to chronically low student academic achievement.[90]

  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2010 - 47% on grade level | 2011 - 41.3%, State - 64.3% on grade level.
    Math 2010 - 58% on grade level, | 2011 - 43.5%, State - 73%[83]
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011: 23.5%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010: 18.9%, State - 84.1%
  • 2009: 40%, State - 83%[94]
  • 2008: 49%, State - 81%
8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 9.8%, State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 7.3%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 5%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 3%, State - 52%

Benjamin Franklin School Academic Achievement Report Card 2005 [95]

Downey School[edit]

Downey School is located at 1313 Monroe Street, Harrisburg. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the school has 498 students enrolled in grades preschool through 8th grade, with 427 pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 43 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[96] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[97]

In 2011, Downy School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to continuing, low student achievement.[98] In 2010, Downey School achieved Warning status in student achievement. In 2009, Downey School (PreK - 8th grade) achieved Adequate Yearly Progress ranking through safe harbor, rather than actual achievement.[99]

  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2010 - 46% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 43.2%, State 64.3%
    Math 2010 - 51% on grade level, State - 61%[83] | 2011 - 49%, State - 73%
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 40% (33% below basic), State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 13% (55% below basic) State - 81.4%[103]
  • 2009 - 31%, State - 83%[104]
  • 2008 - 21%, State - 81%[105]
8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 4% (76% below basic), State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 13% (65% below basic), State - 57%
  • 2009 - 14% (59% below basic), State - 55%

Foose School[edit]

Foose School is located at 1301 Sycamore Street, Harrisburg. In 2010, the school had 641 students enrolled in grades preschool through 6th grade, with 598 pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 52 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[106]

In 2011, Foose School declined to Corrective Action II 7th Year AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement.[107] Under No Child Left Behind, the school administration was required to notify parents they could transfer their child to another school, within the district which was achieving AYP. In 2010, Foose School achieved Making Progress: in Corrective Action II status. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action II 6th Year due to chronic, low student achievement.[108]

  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2010 - 46.7% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 60%, State - 64.3%
    Math 2010 - 60% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 52.9%, State - 73%[83]
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 31%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 15%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009 - 23%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 29%, State - 81%
  • Harrisburg City Foose School Report Card 2006 [112]
  • Harrisburg City School District Foose School Report Card 2005 [113]

Marshall School[edit]

Marshall School is located at 301 Hale Avenue, Harrisburg. In 2010, the school had 446 students enrolled in grades preschool through 8th grade, with 353 pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[114]

In 2011, Marshall School is in Corrective Action II 2nd Year due to a chronic decline in academic achievement.[115] The school remains identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application.

  • 2010 - Corrective Action II 1st Year due to a further decline in achievement. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application.
  • 2009 - Making Progress: in Corrective Action II for low student achievement.[116]
  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2010 - 51% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 46.7%, State - 63.7%
    Math 2010 - 78% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 76.7%, State - 73%[83]
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 64.5%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 63%, State -81.4%
  • 2009 - 55%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 50%, State - 81%
8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 5.4%, State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 4.3%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 4%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 12%, State - 52%

Math Science Academy @ Benjamin Franklin[edit]

The school is located at 1205 North Sixth Street, Harrisburg. In 2010, there were 167 pupils enrolled in grades 5th through 8th, with 124 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 10 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[118]

In 2009 through 2011, the school achieved Adequate Yearly Progress.[119][120]

8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 75.6%, State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 23.8%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 54%, State - 52%

Melrose School[edit]

The school is located at 2041 Berryhill Street, Harrisburg. In 2010, there were 413 pupils enrolled in grades preschool through 8th, with 327 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 31 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[123]

In 2011, the school declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status, due to a failure to reverse, low student achievement.[124] The school administration was required under No Child Felt Behind, to notify parents of the school's low achievement and offer to them the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the district.

  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to chronically low student achievement. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as being in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application.
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action I due to chronic, low student achievement.
  • Low income 3rd grade student achievement:
    Reading 2010 - 29% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 33.4%, State - 63.7%
    Math 2010 - 51.9% on grade level, State - 61% | 2011 - 42.8%, State - 73%[83]
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011: 32.5, State - 82.9%
  • 2010: 29%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009: 46%, State - 83%[94]
  • 2008: 26%, State - 81%

Rowland School[edit]

In 2012, Rowland School was reorganized to provide grades 5th through 8th. In 2012, Rowland School declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement.[128] In 2010, the school was identified, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2012, the PDE announced that students in the school may seek a scholarship to transfer to another school.

  • 2011 - Corrective Action II 2nd Year due to ongoing low student achievement.
  • 2010 - Corrective Action II 1st Year due to chronic, low student achievement.
  • 2009 - Corrective Action I due to low student achievement.
4th Grade Science on grade level[131]
  • 2011: 15.1%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010: 29%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009: 29%, State - 83%[94]
  • 2008: 21%, State - 81%
8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2012: 12% (62% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011: 9.3%, State - 58.3%
  • 2010: 11%, State - 57%[133]
  • 2009: 7%, State - 55%
  • 2008: 5%, State - 52%

Scott School[edit]

The Scott School offers PreK through 4th grade in 2012. In 2012, the school declined to School Improvement II due to chronic low student achievement.[134] In 2011, Scott School remains in School Improvement level I due to continuing low student achievement.[135] In 2010, Scott School's AYP rating declined to School Improvement I status. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2009, the school was in Warning Level. The school is eligible for additional funding due to a low AYP status.

4th Grade Reading on grade level
  • 2012: 21%, (60% below basic). State - 72%
4th Grade Math on grade level
  • 2012: 23%, (52% below basic). State - 82%
4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2012: 26%, (41% below basic). State - 82%

Closed schools[edit]

Due to steadily declining enrollment coupled with financial challenges the District's Board has realigned building utilization.

Steele School[edit]

In August 2010, the school board closed the school due to low enrollment and a district wide budget shortfall.[139] The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2010, Steele School was in School Improvement I. In 2009 - School Improvement I due to chronically low student achievement.

4th Grade Science on grade level[131]
  • 2010 - 25%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009 - 20%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 17%, State - 81%

Hamilton School[edit]

Effective with the 2011-12 school year, Hamilton School was closed due to low student enrollment coupled with significant budget constraints for the district.[143] Students will be assimilated into other district schools.

In 2010, Hamilton School is in Corrective Action I due to chronically low student achievement. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2009, the school was in School Improvement II.

4th Grade Science on grade level[131]
  • 2011: 37.1%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010: 27%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009: 17%, State - 83%[86]

Lincoln School[edit]

Effective with the 2011-12 school year, Lincoln School was closed due to low student enrollment coupled with significant budget constraints for the district.[146] Students will be assimilated into other district schools.

In 2010, Lincoln School was in Corrective Action II 6th Year due to chronic low student achievement. The school was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application. In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action II 5th Year.

4th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011: 31%, State - 82.9%
  • 2010: 31%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009: 51%, State - 83%
8th Grade Science on grade level
  • 2011 - 4.2%, State - 58.3%
  • 2010 - 9%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 7%, State 55%

Career Technology Academy[edit]

Closed by the board in the summer of 2011. In 2010, the school improved to School Improvement Level 1 AYP Status. In 2009, the school was in School Improvement II due to chronic low student achievement. The school is identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as in the bottom 5% in the state in the state's School Improvement Grant application.

In 2009, Career Technology Academy ranked 656th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[54]

Graduation Rate
  • 2010: 76%
  • 2009: 72%
  • 2008: 79%
11th grade Science on grade level
  • 2010: 0%, State - 39%[150]
  • 2009 - 1.8%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 1.5%, State - 39%

Wellness policy[edit]

Harrisburg City School District established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[151] 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, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[152] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Harrisburg City School District provides a federally funded free breakfast program for its pupils. In 2006, it was lauded by the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center for the high participation rate of the children in the program 61% in 2006.[153] In 2007, the free school breakfast participation rate in the city schools was 56.9% or 7,519 pupils. In 2008 the participation rate rose again to 64%.[154] The district also provides a federal free lunch and a summer program of providing lunch in selected buildings.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district reported that 1,711 students were identified as needing Special Education Services. Fifty one percent of the identified students had a specific learning disability.[155] In December 2009, the district administration reported that 1,687 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[156]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Department of Special Education.[157]

The Harrisburg City School District received a $5,128,246 supplement for special education services in 2010.[158] 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.[159][160]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 52 or 0.61% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[161] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[162][163] Elementary aged gifted students in the District can opt to attend the Infinity Charter School with the District paying all the costs.

Budget[edit]

As part of the 2011-12 school year, the elected school board eliminated over 150 teachers, 22 administrators and 39 support staff through closing buildings and transferring control of the preschool program to Capital Area Head Start. Hamilton School, Lincoln School and Shimmel School were closed due to low student enrollment coupled with significant budget constraints for the district.[143]

In 2010, the district laid off 23 administrators as a part of school consolidations and a budget shortfall plan.[164]

In 2009, the district employed over 800 teachers with a salary range of $40,590 to $204,790.[165] Additionally, the teachers receive: a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, life insurance 5 paid bereavement leave days, and other benefits.[166] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[167]

The District reported spending $16,447 per pupil, in 2008, which ranked 35th among all of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.[168]

In 2007, the district employed 651 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $52,073 for 180 days worked. The district ranked third in Dauphin County for average teacher salary in 2007.[169] 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.[170]

Harrisburg City School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $856 per pupil which ranked 137 in the state for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[171] The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that in 2008 the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165.[172] In March 2010, Mayor Thompson and the board of control rescinded the contract of Gerald Kohn. He had been paid a $235,431 annual salary.[173]

In April 2008, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Multiple significant findings were reported to the Board of Control and the school district administration.[174] In January 2013, the District was audited again. Many findings were reported by the Pennsylvania Auditor General's Office.[175]

Reserves

In 2008, the Harrisburg City School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of -$592,184.00.[176]

In June 2014, the Board announced it was moving the District's headquarters from its long time Front Street office building. The administration is moving to offices in the former Lincoln Elementary School at 17th and State streets. The District will save approximately $500,000 a year in lease payments.

The Harrisburg School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, and grants, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In Pennsylvania, both pension income and social security income are exempt from Pennsylvania personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of income.

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-2014 school year, the Harrisburg School District will receive a 1.1% increase or $44,282,950 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $485,464 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Harrisburg School District will receive $964,822 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. 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 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.[177] 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.[178]

In 2011-2012 school year, Harrisburg School District received $42,065,524 in state Basic Education Funding.[179] Additionally, the district received $964,822 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 is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[180] 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.[181] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[182]

For the 2010-2011 school year, Harrisburg School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $42,942,167.[183] In Dauphin County, the highest increase went to Susquehanna Township School District which received a 15.89% increase in funding. One hundred and fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received the 2% minimum increase. The highest increase in the state was awarded to Kennett Consolidated School District which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[184] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by then Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation made in the budget proposal made in February each year.[185]

For the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.73% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $42,104,082 to the Harrisburg School District.[186] The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a $27 million poverty supplement for the commonwealth and more. State money makes up 52 percent of district revenue, compared to 32 percent from local sources and 16 percent from the federal government.[187] Seven Dauphin County school districts received increases of over 4.5% in Basic Education Funding in 2009-10. Susquehanna Township School District received an 10.66% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[188]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Harrisburg School District was $40,201,675.68 in 2008-2009.

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 over $2,500,000 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide all-day kindergarten 610 pupils $1,998,768, Elementary Science Education $145,000, and for High School Reform measures $475,000.[189][190]

In 2009-10, the grant was used to reform the high school curriculum, to provide all-day kindergarten, and to fund elementary science education.[191]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Camp Curtin School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09.[192] For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[193] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[194] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[195] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated. The State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006-07 school year. This was an 8% increase over 2005-06 public school funding.[196] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 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 Harrisburg City School District received $802,642.[197]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Harrisburg City School District applied for, but did not receive funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $585,907. In 2008-09 the district received $4106,902. In total the district received $692,809.[198]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Harrisburg City School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[199] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal funding[edit]

The federal government provides funding to the school district in several forms, including Title I funding for low-income children and special education funding.

ARRA Stimulus grant[edit]

In 2009, Harrisburg City Schools received $10 million in ARRA Federal Stimulus education funding. This money was in addition to all regular funding from local, state and federal sources.[200] The funding was for the 2009-2001 school years.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 7,277 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[201]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

The district has been identified as a turnaround school district for the federal Race to the Top competitive grant. If awarded, the district will receive an additional $700–$900 per pupil as well as, millions of federal dollars that are targeted at reforms designed to result in improved student academic achievement.[202] 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.[202] 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.[203]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In the summer of 2011, Harrisburg School District applied for and was awarded over $9.9 million in School Improvement grants. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. Harrisburg City School District schools received: Camp Curtin, Transformation, $2,303,237; Foose School, Transformation, $2,208,251; Harrisburg High School, Transformation, $2,910,514; Rowland School, Transformation, $2,499,430; and Scott School Early Childhood Center, Transformation, $2,034,887. Transformation calls for a change in faculty and administration evaluations, mandated training in proven teaching techniques and rigorous curriculum change that focuses on student achievement.[204]

In its 2010 application for School Improvement Grants, the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Career & Tech Academy as a candidate for closure.[205][206] The district was awarded $300,000 to cover the costs of the necessary changes. Nineteen Pennsylvania school districts and five charters statewide applied for the money. Schools accepting it must agree to adopt federal government-specified "interventions" that would lead to staffing changes and other shifts in how they operate.[207] The School Improvement Grant program began in 2002. In 2010, there is the one-time addition of almost $3 billion in stimulus funding. The district received $3,360,000 to transform the high school.[208] The school district was required to notify parents of its intention to implement the changes required by the grant.[209]

In 2007-08, the district reported actual spending of $94,233,023.61.[210] For the 2006-2007 school year, the district received a $13.5 million grant to support its all-grade alternative school at the William Penn building, a program credited with improving discipline and performance across the district.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2014-15 were set at 27.93 mills.[211] 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.

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Harrisburg City School District was $446 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 5,280 property owners applied for the tax relief. This was the highest tax relief in Dauphin County in 2009.[217] The tax 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 Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[218] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[219]

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

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%).[220]

Governance[edit]

In January 2010, Mayor Linda Thompson took control of the district. In 2010, the local community elected a school board restoring local control of the district.

Mayor Stephen R. Reed was given charge of the district after a takeover approved by the state in 2000. He appointed a Board of Control that made most decisions. The city also continued to elect a school board that had marginal power or control. The elected board annually set the local property tax rate.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies.[221]

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.[222]

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