Mifflin County School District

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Mifflin County School District
Map of Mifflin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
"Educate each student to meet life's challenges."
Address
201 Eighth Street
Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Mifflin County, 17044, United States
Information
Established 1966
School board 9 members elected at large
Superintendent Mr. James A. Estep
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 5436 pupils (2013-14)
Other Enrollment Projected to be 5584 by 2019[1]
Color(s) Black, Purple, and Silver
Mascot Huskies
Budget $63,438,258 [2]
Tuition ES - $7,117.61, HS - $8,056.97 [3]
Website

The Mifflin County School District is a midsized, rural public school district located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The district boundaries coincide with the boundaries of Mifflin County, minus the southwestern muicipalities of Kistler and Newton Hamilton boroughs and Wayne Township, which are part of the Mount Union Area School District. Mifflin County School District encompasses approximately 362.3 square miles. Based on 2010 federal census data, the district serves a resident population of 46,682. According to District officials, in the 2013-2014 school year the Mifflin County School District provided basic educational services to 5,436 pupils through the employment of 400 administrators and teachers and 214 full-time and part-time non-instructional staff. The superintendent is James Estep and the Director of Secondary Education is Mr. Vance S. Varner.

Due to decreasing enrollment, rising operating costs, and aging facilities that required significant upgrades, on January 13, 2011, the Mifflin County School Board approved a consolidation plan to combine the high schools and reduce the total schools in the district from 15 to 10. These changes went into effect during the 2011-2012 academic year.[4]

Mifflin County School District consists of 5 elementary schools, 2 intermediate,1 middle school,1 junior highschool, and 1 high schools and a distance learning program for grades 6 through 12.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2013, Mifflin County School District was ranked 446th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and science.[5] The PSSAs are given to all students in 3rd through 8th grades and then once more to students in 11th grade. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2011 - 418th [6]
  • 2010 - 414th [7]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Mifflin County School District ranked 397th. In 2011, the district was 325th. [8] 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."[9]

District AYP status history

In 2011, Mifflin County School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[10] In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[11] Mifflin County School District achieved AYP status each year in 2009 and 2010. Mifflin County School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 [2]

  • 2008 - Making Progress Corrective Action I
  • 2007 - Declined to Corrective Action I
  • 2006 - Making Progress School Improvement 2
  • 2005 - Declined to School Improvement 2
  • 2004 - Declined to School Improvement I
  • 2003 - Warning [12]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate at Mifflin County School District was 88%.[13] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Mifflin County's rate was 87% for 2010.[14]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Schools[edit]

In 2010, the Mifflin County School Board voted to reduce 15 schools to 10.[17] The High schools saw the first change. 10th through 12th graders at Indian Valley High and Lewistown Area High were placed at the new Mifflin County High School for the 2011-12 school year. Five schools were closed and the former Indian Valley and Lewistown Middle Schools were retrofitted to serve students in grades 4-5. However, Indian Valley serves students in grades K-5, due to its size.

Elementary Schools[edit]

There are five Elementary Schools, all serving students in grades K-3

School Name Street Address Principal
East Derry Elementary School 2316 Back Maitland Road
Lewistown, Pennsylvania 17044
E. Terry Styers
Indian Valley Elementary and Intermediate Center 125 Kish Road
Reedsville, Pennsylvania 17084
Michael H. LaMarca
Lewistown Elementary School 1 Manor Drive
Lewistown, Pennsylvania 17044
Mark K. Hidlay
Strodes Mills Elementary School 185 Chestnut Ridge Road
McVeytown, Pennsylvania 17051
E. Terry Styers
Union Elementary School 95 No. Penn Street
Belleville, Pennsylvania 17004
Michael H. LaMarca

Intermediate Schools[edit]

There are two Intermediate Schools, which were former Middle Schools, they were retrofitted for school-age children[18] as well as playgrounds were added, due to District re-organization in 2011. The Intermediate Schools serve students in grades 4 and 5.

School Name Street Address Principal
Indian Valley Elementary and Intermediate Center 125 Kish Road
Reedsville, Pennsylvania 17084
Michael H. LaMarca
Lewistown Intermediate School 212 Green Avenue
Lewistown, Pennsylvania 17044
Paul J. Maidens

Mifflin County Middle School[edit]

Mifflin County Middle School serves students in grades 6 and 7 and is located at 2 Manor Drive in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, ZIP code 17044. The Principal is D. Robert Reeder III and the Assistant Principal is Heidi Welham. MCMS is the former Lewistown Area High School and re-opened as MCMS as 2011 District reorganization . The school serves around 890 students

Mifflin County Junior High School[edit]

Mifflin County Junior High is located in the former Indian Valley High School at 700 Cedar Street in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, 17044. The Principal is Michael V. Zinobile and the Assistant Principal is Mr. Conner. The school serves around 865 students in grades 8 and 9.

High School[edit]

Mifflin County High School is located at 501 Sixth Street in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, 17044. The Principal is Mark Crosson, the Assistant Principals are Angela Pollock and Kelly Campagna, and the Dean of Students and Athletic Direction is Matt Shoemaker. College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 15% of Mifflin County School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[19] 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.[20] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[21] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[22] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $11,094 for the program.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Students must satisfy earn the following 23 credits to earn a diploma from the Mifflin County School District: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 2 credits, Biology 1 credit, Social Studies 3 credits, Computer 0.5 credit, Fitness 2 credits, Health 0.5 credit, and Electives 6 credits. If a student successfully completes course work at the Career and Technology Center in 10th, 11th and 12th grades, he/she will be exempt from taking the senior year social studies and senior year math courses.[23]

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.[24]

Distance Learning[edit]

The Mifflin County School District provides a distance learning program which is designed to provide the student with an alternative way to earn middle and/or high school education credits. MCSD goals are, and the student’s goals should be for him/her to complete satisfactorily all courses in which he/she enrolls, to perform at proficient or higher levels on the PSSA, and to graduate from high school. The student must be a resident of Mifflin County in order to be enrolled in the program. Students and parents must sign a contract agreeing to the terms of enrollment.[25]

Additionally, school aged residents of Pennsylvania are eligible to enroll in one of the 11 cyber charter schools.[26]

Special education[edit]

In 2008, the district reported that 14% of its pupils received a broad variety of services for all children with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Students were also provided with gifted education services.[27] By law, parents may make a written request for their child to be evaluated for special education or gifted education services.[28]

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

Mifflin County School District received a $3,162,989 supplement for special education services in 2010.[30] For the 2011-12 school year, 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.[31]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 33 or .56% of its students were gifted in 2009.[32] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum. 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.[33]

Wellness policy[edit]

Mifflin County School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[34] 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.[35] The policy requires that the Superintendent or designee shall report to the Board on the district’s compliance with law and policies related to student wellness. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, Indian Valley Elementary School in Mifflin County School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. The Elementary School received $9,979 which was used to implement the Weller Center's nutrition education program for all 2nd grade students. Concurrently, all students in the school (Grades K-5) participated in a 6-week online evidence-based fitness and nutrition program.[36] 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.

Budget[edit]

Per pupil spending The district reported spending $11,589 per pupil in 2013.

Reserves In 2008, the district reported having $2,126,725 in an Unreserved - Undesignated Fund Balance.[37] In 2010, Mifflin County School District Administration reported a balance of $1,690,170.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund. Pennsylvania 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.[38]

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the Mifflin County School District. The findings were reported to the administration and school board.[39]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.35%, a local real property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, and a per capita tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[40] Grants provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. 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 individual's wealth.[41]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, Mifflin County School District received $19,381,183 in state Basic Education Funding.[42] Additionally, the district also received $390,435 in Accountability Block Grant funding.[43] The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $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. 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.[44] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in June 2011. In 2010, the district reported that 2,485 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010-11 school year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided the district with a 4.76% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $21,310,018. One hundred and fifty school districts received the base 2% increase. In Pennsylvania, the highest increase went to Kennett Consolidated School District, which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[45] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district receives was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of the Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided an increase in Basic Education Funding to the Mifflin County School District, for a total of $20,418,218.[46] The district also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low-income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. The highest increase in the state went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received a 22.31% increase.[47] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[48] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,333 students in the Mifflin County School District received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[49]

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, Mifflin County School District applied for and received $1,059,737, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten.[50]

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 state grant requires the district hire a part-time technology coach, whose role is to assist the teachers in using the equipment and software effectively to improve their instruction. The salary is covered by the grant.[51] The program was funded from 2006-2009. Mifflin County School District never applied for funding.[52][53]

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 Mifflin County School District received $334,609.[54]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

For the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years the district received an extra $3,906,135. The dollars were to be used to improve academic achievement of economically disadvantaged children and special needs children. Some dollars were also provided to advance the district's technology infrastructure.[55] 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]

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district up to one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[56][57] 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. 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.[58]

Literacy grant[edit]

In April 2012, the district was awarded a federal Keystone Opportunity Grant of $1.5 million to be used to improve reading and literacy skills in children from birth to grade 12. Mifflin County School District was one of 56 of the Commonwealth's 500 school districts to be awarded the funding in 2012. The grant money will be used to serve four specific areas: reading and language arts on the elementary level, the birth to age 5 community, the middle schools and the high school. The funds will be used to develop a state-mandated district literacy plan that will include the use of literacy coaches who will be in classrooms to assist teachers.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Mifflin County School Board set property taxes for Mifflin County District residents at 30.9436 mills for 2012-13.[59] 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 taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. On the local level, Pennsylvania 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.[60]

  • 2011-12 - 28.7636 mills [61]
  • 2010-11 - 26.2300 mills.[62]
  • 2009-10 - 25.2000 mills.[63]
  • 2008-09 - 25.2000 mills.[64]
  • 2007-08 - 25.2000 mills.[65]
  • 2006-07 - 23.0000 mills.[66]
  • 2005-06 - 20.0000 mills.[67]

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 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[68] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[69] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[70][71]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Mifflin County School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[72]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.2%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4% [73][74]
  • 2012-13 - 2.4%, Base - 1.7% [75]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Mifflin County School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: Special Education expenditure and teacher pension costs. 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. 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.[76]

For the 2011-12 school year, Mifflin County School Board sought 3 exceptions: Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue, Special Education Costs and Pension Costs.[77] For the district's 2010-11 budget year, the Mifflin County School Board sought 2 exceptions: special education costs and pension costs.[78] Each year, the school district 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.[79]

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.[80]

In 2010, the Mifflin County School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[81] 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.[82] Mifflin County School Board applied for a Grandfathered Debt exception to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget, in 2009-10.[83]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Mifflin County School District was set at $173 per approved permanent primary residence.[84] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. In Mifflin County 11,111 property owners applied 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The highest property tax relief was given to property owners in the Chester Upland School District in Delaware County who got $632 in 2010 and in 2009. In February 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General, Jack Wagner reported that 70% of eligible Mifflin County property owners applied for the rebate.[85]

In 2008, 10,446 Mifflin County School District property owners and farmers received a $184 rebate.[86]

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%).[87]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The school board elected 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.[88] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Mifflin County School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and interscholastic athletics. The school board determines eligibility for participation in coordination with respective individual governing organizations.[89][90] Varsity and junior varsity athletic activities are under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association. In some cases they collaborate with neighboring districts to offer programs together. In April 2012, the Mifflin County School Board approved raising the extracurricular fee from $75 to $135 per athlete per year. The decision saved four sports (junior high girls and boys soccer, junior high softball and varsity indoor winter track teams) which were to be eliminated due to a funding shortfall. The District spends over $500,000 a year providing sports in the junior high and high school.[91]

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.[92]

Closed schools[edit]

In June 2011, the district faced a major budget shortfall. As a result the Administration and School Board embraced a plan to realign the use of buildings and reconfigure several schools. Students were assigned to other schools within the district.[93]

Armagh Elementary School - Mascot: Armadillo
283 Broad St. Ext., Milroy, Pennsylvania 17063. Armagh Elementary school was built in 1962. At that time it housed grades one through six. Grade six moved when Indian Valley Middle School was started in 1987. The school originally was part of the Kishacoquillas School District. It became a part of the Mifflin County School District when it was formed in 1966. With an enrollment of 203 students, it was closed June 2011.

Brown Elementary School - Mascot: Bear
96 Kish Rd., Reedsville, Pennsylvania 17084. Brown Elementary was constructed in 1962 and was opened for students in 1963 for grades 1 through 6. Kindergarten classes started later and were held in the old school until it was finally torn down in the 1970s. With an enrollment of 155 students, it was closed June 2011.

Buchanan Elementary School - Mascot: Bulldog.
100 Franklin Ave., Lewistown, Pennsylvania 17044. Buchanan Elementary School opened in 1951 as an elementary facility and had continued in that capacity. With an enrollment of 276 students, it was closed June 2011.

Highland Park Area Elementary School - Mascot: Penguin.
490 Sixth St., Lewistown, Pennsylvania 17044. Opened originally in 1978 as Chief Logan Middle School. In 1989, it became an elementary facility as a result of district reorganization. With an enrollment of 516 students, it was closed June 2011.

Strodes Mills Middle School - Mascot: Panther
205 Chestnut Ridge Road, McVeytown, PA 17051. Strodes Mills Middle School opened in 1978. The school consists of grades 6 through 8, however, all of grade 5 and one section of grade 4 was housed at Strodes Mills Middle School. With an enrollment of 395 students, it was closed June 2011

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, January 2009
  2. ^ Cannon, Joe., Budget passes with 2.18-mill tax hike, The Lewistown Sentinel, June 29, 2012
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Tuition rates per LEA, 2011
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide ranking, April 5, 2013
  6. ^ "2011 Statewide Rankings". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ "2010 Guide to Western Pennsylvania School - Statewide Rankings". Retrieved May 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Statewide Overachivers Ranking Information, April 6, 2012
  9. ^ "Overachiever statewide ranking". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Mifflin County School District AYP report 2011". 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Public School District AYP History, 2011
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania District AYP History 2003-2010, 2011
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Mifflin County School District AYP Data Table 2011". 
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Mifflin County School District Academic Achievement Report Card Data table 2010, October 20, 2010
  16. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 27, 2010). "PA School District Statistical Snapshot Database 2008-09". 
  17. ^ Cannon, Joe (1 July 2011). "Board Approves Budget". Lewistown Senteniel. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Cannon, Joe (10 June 2011). "Bids for retrofitting awarded by board". Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  20. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2010-2011 Dual Enrollment Guidelines". 
  22. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement.". 
  23. ^ Mifflin County School District Administration and School Board (September 28, 2007). "Mifflin County School District Strategic Plan 2007-2013 Academic Standards and Assessment Chapter 4.". 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education. "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
  25. ^ Mifflin County School District Administration (2010). "Mifflin County School District Distance Learning Program". 
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Pennsylvania Department of Education Charter Schools information". 
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education (2009). "Mifflin County School District Special Education Data Report LEA Performance on State Performance Plan (SPP) Targets School Year 2008-2009". 
  28. ^ Mifflin County School District Administration (2011). "Mifflin County School District ANNUAL PUBLIC NOTICE Special Education Services and Programs, Services for Gifted Students and Services for Protected Handicapped Students". 
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania Special Education Funding". 
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  31. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year". 
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (Revised December 1, 2009 Child Count (Collected July 2010)). "Gifted Students as Percentage of Total Enrollment by School District/Charter School". 
  33. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania School Board. "CHAPTER 16. Special Education For Gifted Students". Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  34. ^ Mifflin County School Board (2006). "Mifflin County School Board Policy Manual online". 
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Division of Food and Nutrition. (July 2008). "Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools for the School Nutrition Incentive,". 
  36. ^ Highmark Foundation, 2011 School Challenge Grants, 2011
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  40. ^ What are the Local Taxes in Pennsylvania?, Local Tax Reform Education Project, Penn State Cooperative Extension web site. Accessed 2010.
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  42. ^ Prnnsylvania Department of Education, Basic Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year, July 2011
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  45. ^ Office of the Budget, (February 2010). "Pennsylvania Budget Proposal 2010". 
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  47. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education 2009-2010 Funding Report by LEA October 2009.
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  51. ^ Scott, Rob (September 7, 2007). "New Software enhances Core Subject". The Daily Item,. 
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  59. ^ "Budget passes with 2.18-mill tax hike". Lewistown Sentinel. June 29, 2012. 
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  69. ^ Kaitlynn Riely (August 4, 2011). "Law could restrict school construction projects". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  70. ^ Pennsylvania General Assembly, (June 29, 2011). "SB330 of 2011". 
  71. ^ Eric Boehm (July 1, 2011). "Property tax reform final piece of state budget". PA Independent. 
  72. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2010-2011,". 
  73. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Index Calculation Required by the Taxpayer Relief Act Sept 18,". 
  74. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Financial Data Elements". 
  75. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2011). "The Index Special Session Act 1 of 2006". 
  76. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Report on Referendum Exceptions For School Year 2012-2013, March 30, 2012
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  84. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead, Pennsylvania Department of Education report. May 1, 2009
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  87. ^ Tax Foundation, (September 22, 2009). "New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners,". 
  88. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2007). "Common Cents program - Making Every Dollar Count". 
  89. ^ Mifflin County School District Student Handbook - Middle and High Schools Extracurriculars Policy, Mifflin County School Board, 2008
  90. ^ Mifflin County School District Student Handbook - Middle and High Schools Interscholastic Athletics Policy, 2008
  91. ^ Cannon, Joe., Activity fee soars in order to save 4 athletic teams, Lewistown Sentinel, April 27, 2012
  92. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
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