Bellefonte Area School District

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Bellefonte Area School District
Map of Centre County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
318 North Allegheny Street
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Centre County 16823
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Oversight Pennsylvania Department of Education
Superintendent

Dr. Michelle Saylor (contract 2016 to June 30, 2020)[1]

former Cheryl Potteiger[2] salary $143,475.32 (served 2011-2016)
Staff 226 non teaching staff[3]
Faculty 222 teachers (2010)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

2,665 pupils (2014-15)[4]
2,719 pupils (2013-14)[5]
2,811 pupils (2012-13)[6]
2,912 pupils 2009-10[7]

2,990 pupils 2004-05[8]
 • Kindergarten 180 (2014), 238 (2010)
 • Grade 1 190 (2014), 204
 • Grade 2 223 (2014), 209
 • Grade 3 193 (2014), 237
 • Grade 4 205 (2014), 228
 • Grade 5 224 (2014), 199
 • Grade 6 216 (2014), 216
 • Grade 7 200 (2014), 222
 • Grade 8 216 (2014), 205
 • Grade 9 235 (2014), 208
 • Grade 10 198 (2014), 209
 • Grade 11 195 (2014), 197
 • Grade 12 188 (2014), 239 (2010)
Language English
Budget

$48.825 million (2016-17)[9]
$45,750,000 (2013-14)[10]
$42.6 million (2012-13)[11]

$41.75 million (2011-12)[12]
Per pupil spending

$14,909.25 (2013-14)[13]
$13,210.81 in 2010

$12,268 in 2008
Website

The Bellefonte Area School District is a midsized, rural, public school district which covers the Borough of Bellefonte and Benner Township, Marion Township, Spring Township and Walker Township in Centre County, Pennsylvania. Bellefonte Area School District encompasses approximately 115 square miles (300 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 21,480. By 2010, the District's population increased to 25,351 people.[14] In 2009, the District residents' per capita income was $18,308 a year, while the median family income was $46,786.[15]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Bellefonte Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,946 pupils. In 2008, it employed: 243 teachers, 178 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 27 administrators. Bellefonte Area School District received more than $12.5 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. In school year 2009-10, the Bellefonte Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,910 pupils through the employment of 239 teachers, 180 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 27 administrators.

Schools[edit]

Secondary[edit]

Elementary[edit]

All Elementary Schools are Grades K-5.

  • Bellefonte Elementary School
  • Benner Elementary School
  • Marion Walker Elementary School
  • Pleasant Gap Elementary School

Academic achievement[edit]

The Bellefonte Area School District was ranked 204th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2013, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.[16] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 – 199th[17]
  • 2011 – 190th[18]
  • 2010 – 228th[19]
  • 2009 – 197th
  • 2008 – 171st
  • 2007 – 183rd out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts[20]

Overachievers ranking: In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Bellefonte Area School District ranked 303rd.[21] 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."[22]

  • 2012 – 283rd
  • 2011 – 265th

AYP History[edit]

In 2012, Bellefonte Area School District declined to Warning AYP status due to low graduation rate and lagging student achievement.[23] In 2010 and 2011, Bellefonte Area School District achieved AYP status.[24] 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. From 2004 to 2009, Bellefonte Area School District achieved AYP status. In 2003, the District was in Warning status due to low student academic achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Bellefonte Area School District reported a 91.7% graduation rate. In 2012, Bellefonte Area School District reported a 91% graduation rate. In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 91%.[25] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Bellefonte Area School District's rate was 91% for 2010.[26]

Former calculation graduation rate:

High school[edit]

Bellefonte Area High School is located at 830 E. Bishop Street, Bellefonte. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 997 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 249 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 72 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[31] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[32]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Bellefonte Area High School remained in Warning status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics and a low graduation rate.[33] In 2011 Bellefonte Area High School declined to Warning status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[34] In 2010, the high school achieved AYP status under No Child Left Behind.

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Bellefonte Area High School achieved a score of 79.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 82.9% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 73% showed on grade level skills. In Biology I, 51% showed on grade level science understanding.[35]

PSSA results[edit]

11th grade reading

  • 2012 – 67% on grade level, (18% below basic). State – 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[36]
  • 2011 – 62% (20% below basic). State – 69.1%[37]
  • 2010 – 74% (13% below basic). State – 67%
  • 2009 – 69%, State – 65%[38]
  • 2008 – 63%, State – 64%
  • 2007 – 70%, State – 65%[39]

11th grade math:

  • 2012 – 59% on grade level (22% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[40]
  • 2011 – 56% (26% below basic). State – 60.3%[41]
  • 2010 – 66% (20% below basic). State – 59%[42]
  • 2009 – 61%, State – 56%[43]
  • 2008 – 60%, State – 56%
  • 2007 – 53%, State – 53%

11th grade science:

  • 2012 – 43% on grade level (15% below basic). State – 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[44]
  • 2011 – 43% (16% below basic). State – 40%[45]
  • 2010 – 50% (9% below basic). State – 39%[46]
  • 2009 – 41%, State – 40%[47]
  • 2008 – 31%, State – 39%[48]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 2% of Bellefonte Area High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[49] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years.[50] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Bellefonte Area High School students improved in all three sections of the SAT exam over previous years for a composite average of 1511. The average reading score was 411. The average math score was 513. The average writing score was 487.[51]

In 2013, Bellefonte Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 491.96. The Math average score was 497.71. The Writing average score was 472.15. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[52]

In 2012, 142 Bellefonte Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 487. The Math average score was 494. The Writing average score was 469. 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, 166 Bellefonte Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 508. The Math average score was 508. The Writing average score was 490.[53] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal – 493, Math – 501, Writing – 479.[54] In the United States 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[55]

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program, which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts. BASD students may schedule up to half of the school day at the Pennsylvania State University, Lock Haven University, or South Hills School of Business and Technology taking courses for college credit at their own expense. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books in 2008 through 2010. Bellefonte Area School District did not apply for the grants.[56] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[57] Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[58] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

AP courses[edit]

Advanced placement (AP) courses are offered in English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Computer Science, and Fine Arts. Students wanting to take an AP course must complete an application. Upon achieving a score of 3 or better on the College Board's AP exam in the spring, the student may be awarded college credits depending on the policy at the college or university.

Senior Institute[edit]

This senior year program is open only by application. It is a multidisciplinary program. The English class covers core content, including: grammar, vocabulary, writing and literature, with a focus on literature inspired by art and the canon of British literature, from Spencer to William Shakespeare to James Joyce. The class also focuses on accomplishing the mandated Senior Research Project. There are also course on painting and pottery.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Bellefonte Area School Board has determined that a pupil must earn at least 25 credits to graduate, including: Math 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, science 3 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Driver Education Theory 0.25 credits, Personal Finance 0.5 credits, and electives 6.75 credits.[59]

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.[60]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students' Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[61][62][63] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit – 49% on grade level.[64] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Middle school[edit]

Bellefonte Area Middle School is located at 100 N School Street, Bellefonte. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 605 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 164 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 54 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[65] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[66]

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Bellefonte Area Middle School achieved a score of 81.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 75.68% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, 81.8% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 68.7% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 78.76% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[67]

====PSSA history====: In 2012, Bellefonte Area Middle School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics. In 2010 and 2011, Bellefonte Area Middle School achieved AYP status.[68]

PSSA results[edit]

8th grade reading:

  • 2012 – 86% on grade level, 58% advanced (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[69]
  • 2011 – 87%, 63% advanced (5% below basic). State – 81.8%[70]
  • 2010 – 86%, 60% advanced (7% below basic). State – 81%
  • 2009 – 79% (11% below basic), State – 80%
  • 2008 – 81% (8% below basic), State – 78%[71]
  • 2007 – 84% (7% below basic), State – 75%

8th grade math:

  • 2012 – 85% on grade level (3% below basic). State – 76%[72]
  • 2011 – 78% (11% below basic). State – 76.9%
  • 2010 – 81% (8% below basic). State – 75%[73]
  • 2009 – 68% (15% below basic). State – 71%[74]
  • 2008 – 73% (13% below basic). State – 70%
  • 2007 – 84% (5% below basic). State – 68%

8th grade science:

  • 2012 – 71% on grade level (10% below basic). State – 59%
  • 2011 – 70% on grade level (13% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 72% (17% below basic). State – 57%[75]
  • 2009 – 89% (20% below basic). State – 55%[76]
  • 2008 – 58% (17% below basic). State – 52%[77]
  • 2007 – tested, but results not made public.

Bellefonte Elementary School[edit]

Bellefonte Elementary School is located at West Linn Street, Bellefonte. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 426 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 46% of its pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 32 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[80]

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Bellefonte Elementary School achieved a score of 78.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 66.8% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 72% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 75% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 82% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 72% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[81]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Bellefonte Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics. In 2011, Bellefonte Elementary School achieved AYP status.[82] Bellefonte Elementary School achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010.[83]

4th grade science:

  • 2012 – 84% (7% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 – 76% (5% below basic). State – 82.9%

Benner Elementary School[edit]

Benner Elementary School is located at 490 Buffalo Run Road, Bellefonte. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 263 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 52 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is not a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 19 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[87] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[88] The school offers full day kindergarten to all of its pupils.[89]

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Benner Elementary School achieved a score of 90.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 95% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 84.9% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 88.89% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[90]

AYP history[edit]

From 2003 through 2012, Benner Elementary School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress each school year.[91]

PSSA history[edit]

4th grade science:

  • 2012 – 92%, (3% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 – 98%, (0% below basic). State – 82.9%

Marion-Walker Elementary School[edit]

Marion-Walker Elementary School is located at 100 School Drive, Bellefonte. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 373 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 104 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is not a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 25 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[95] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[96] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[97]

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Marion-Walker Elementary School achieved a score of 92.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 84.53% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 84.61% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 86.19% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 94.82% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 89.47% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[98]

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) history[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Marion-Walker Elementary School achieved AYP status.[99] The school achieved AYP status each school year 2004 through 2010.[100]

PSSA history[edit]

4th grade science:

  • 2012 – 93%, 57% advanced (2% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 – 94%, 65% advanced (0% below basic). State – 82.9%

Pleasant Gap Elementary School[edit]

Pleasant Gap Elementary School is located at 230 South Main Street, Pleasant Gap. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 252 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 100 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 18 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[104] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[105] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[106]

2013 school performance profile[edit]

Pleasant Gap Elementary School achieved a score of 83.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 77.87% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 95% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 78.69% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 82.5% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 77.5% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[107]

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) history[edit]

In 2004 through 2012, Pleasant Gap Elementary School achieved AYP status each school year.[108][109]

PSSA history[edit]

4th grade science:

  • 2012 – 91%, 62% advanced (2% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 – 94%, 58% advanced (0% below basic). State – 82.9%

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Bellefonte Area School District administration reported that 444 pupils or 15.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 45.7% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, the district administration reported that 450 pupils or 15.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[113][114]

In order to comply with state and federal laws, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.[115] 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 Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Director of Special Education.[116]

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.[117] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district's students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student's needs accrue the same level of costs.[118] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[119] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[120] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[121]

Bellefonte Area School District received a $1,599,993 supplement for special education services in 2010.[122] For the 2013-14, 2012–13 and the 2011-12 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.[123][124] Additionally, the State provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The Bellefonte Area School District Administration reported that 38 or 1.26% of its students were gifted in 2009.[125] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. Gifted children are provided services by a certified teacher in a separate classroom.[126] The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by a child's teachers or parents by contacting the student's 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.[127] At Bellefonte Area High School the gifted program, under the direction of their parents and teachers, develop an Individually Prescribed Educational Plan which determines their course of study.

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania's Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days' public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[128]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Bellefonte Area School District was $50,665.60 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $21,337.61 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $72,003.20.[129] In 2011, the District employed 247 teachers with an average salary of $53,043 and a top salary of $130,000.[130]

In 2009, Bellefonte Area School District reported employing 330 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $54,178 and a top salary of $135,022.[131] The teacher's work day a 7.25 hours with 180 instructional days in the 187-day contract year. Teachers receive a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (teacher pays $80 per month), dental insurance, vision insurance, a prescription drug plan, professional development reimbursement, 3-5 paid personal days based on longevity with the District (unused days accumulate as sick days), 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Teachers may take a sabbatical leave at 1/2 pay for one year. Retiring teachers receive a $5,000 bonus plus full health insurance coverage until they reach age 65 years plus payment for accumulated sick days.[132][133] In 2011, the average teacher salary in BASD was $62,287.80 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $19,375.21 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $71,663.[134] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers' total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[135]

In 2007, Bellefonte Area School District employed 220 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $50,073 for 181 days worked.[136] 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.[137] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[138]

Per pupil spending The Bellefonte Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $840 per pupil, which ranked in the top 25% of districts for administrative spending in the Commonwealth.The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. The district ranks 148th among PA's 500 districts for administrative spending.[139]

In 2008, the Bellefonte Area School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,268 which ranked 245th among Pennsylvania's then 501 public school districts. In 2010, the District's per pupil spending had increased to $13,210.81.[140] In 2011, Pennsylvania's per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[141] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[142]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[143] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[144] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania's total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[145] Pennsylvania's total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[146]

Reserves In 2008, Bellefonte Area School District reported a balance of zero in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $7,842,724 [147] In 2010, Bellefonte Area Administration reported $5,608,483 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and its unreserved-designated fund was $2,687,664. By 2012, the District reported holding $8,994,167 in reserves.[148] 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.[149] For the 2012-13 school year budget, the district intends to use $1.36 million from its substantial fund balance to achieve a balanced budget. The Board approved four new teaching positions: two learning support teachers for math, one teacher for autistic students and one language arts coach for the new language arts curriculum.

Audit In April 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The significant findings were reported to the Bellefonte Area School Board and the District's administration. Specifically, the audit of nonresident pupil membership for the 2009-10 and 2008-09 school years found discrepancies in reports submitted to the Department of Education. The district's state funding was adjusted accordingly.[150]

Tuition Students who live in the Bellefonte Area School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Bellefonte Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School – $8,796.74, High School – $11,827.43.[151]

Bellefonte Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.05%, a property tax, per capita taxes, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[152] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual's personal wealth.[153] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[154]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Bellefonte Area School District receives 32.1% of its annual revenue from the state.[155]

In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Education Funding Reform Commission conducted a hearing. The commission developed a new basic education funding formula which sets a new way to distribute state basic education dollars. It abolished the practice of "hold harmless" funding, which gave districts at least the same as they got the previous school year regardless of declining enrollment. The plan became law in June 2016 (House Bill 1552).[156][157][158]

For the 2016-17 school year, Bellefonte Area School District received $8,357,414 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a 2.9% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Centre County was 9.1% awarded to State College Area School District under the state's Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[159] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[160] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher's pension fund.[161] The District also received $310,013 in state Ready to Learn funding and an increase in special education funding.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,984,721 to Bellefonte Area School District, in January 2016.[162] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[163] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[164]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[165] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Bellefonte Area School District received $8,447,066 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 2.1% increase yielding a $173,360 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $382,898 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[166]

For the 2014-15 school year, Bellefonte Area School District received $7,949,221 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $324,549 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State's enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[167] The Education budget also included Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State paid $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania's Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[168]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Bellefonte Area School District received a 2.2% increase or $7,949,198 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $168.667 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Bellefonte Area School District received $169,233 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Centre County, Penns Valley Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 13.4%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth's budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[169] 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.[170]

For the 2012-13 school year, Bellefonte Area School District received $7,949,764.[171] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $6,516,087,000 for the Student Achievement Education Block Grant appropriation (SAEBG).[172] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation, which are rolled into SAEBG.

In 2011-12, Bellefonte Area School District received $7,779,897 in state Basic Education Funding.[173] Additionally, the District received $169,233 in Accountability Block Grant funding.[174] The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that 901 Bellefonte Area School District pupils received a federal free and reduced-price lunch, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. 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.[175] 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.[176] In 2010, Bellefonte Area School District reported that 882 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[177]

In the 2010-2011 school year, Bellefonte Area School District received an increase of 4.41% ($354,484) in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,401,443. Four Centre County school districts received increases of less than 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2010-11. In Centre County, the highest increase went to Penns Valley Area School District which received a 5.17% increase. In Pennsylvania, 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2010. Camp Hill School District received a 13.99% increase, while Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest with a 23.65% increase in funding.[178] One hundred fifty school districts were allotted the base 2% state funding increase in 2010-11. 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 received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell's policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.[179]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.43% increase in Basic Education funding to the District for a total of $8,046,959. The highest increase among the public school districts in Centre County, Penns Valley Area School District received an 3.89% 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. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Bellefonte Area School District in 2008-09 was $7,779,896.94.[180] The amount of increase each school district received was determined by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year. In 2008 the district reported that 791 pupils participated in the federal, free or reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.

Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; and Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including Special Education and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010 Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education – local, state and federal dollars combined.

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 the 2010-11 school year, the Bellefonte Area School District applied for and received $459,342 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide all-day kindergarten for the 6th year and for teacher training.[181][182]

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. Bellefonte Area School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07 nor in 2007-08. The district applied for and received $165,458 in 2008-09.[183] The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County – $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Science It's Elementary grant[edit]

Pleasant Gap Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It's Elementary grant in 2008-09. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[184] 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 was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[185] 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.[186] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The school district administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 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 for the program. The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state's 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

Other grants[edit]

The Bellefonte Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2012 and 2013 Hybrid Learning Grants,[187] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Bellefonte Area School District received an extra $2,773,929 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[188] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[189] 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. In 2009, the district reported that 798 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income. In 2008, there were 722 low-income students.[190]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Bellefonte Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant.[191] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign in support of the grant. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[192] 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.[193]

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Bellefonte Area School Board set the property taxes rate at 47.4102 mills for the 2013-14 school year.[194] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. 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. 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[195] 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.

  • 2012-13 – 48.5500 mills.
  • 2011-12 – 45.4050 mills.[196]
  • 2010-11 – 44.6050 mills.[197]
  • 2009-10 – 42.9750 mills.[198]
  • 2008-09 – 41.0800 mills.[199]
  • 2007-08 – 39.6920 mills.[200]
  • 2006-07 – 37.9860 mills.[201]
  • 2005-06 – 36.9860 mills.[202]

The average yearly property tax paid by Centre County residents amounts to about 3.34% of their yearly income. Centre County ranked 438th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[203] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[204] 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%).[205]

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. School districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 percent, but 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.[206]

The Act 1 School District Adjusted Index for the Bellefonte Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[207]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Bellefonte Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[212]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Bellefonte Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index for the 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.[213]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Bellefonte Area School Board applied for 2 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating teacher' pension costs and for special education costs. Each year, Pennsylvania School Boards have 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.[214]

According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district's index. Of the districts who sought exceptions 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[215]

Tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Bellefonte Area School District was $196 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 5,995 property owners applied for the tax relief. The district received the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, in Centre County The highest property tax relief, in Pennsylvania school districts, went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[216] 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 Centre County, 72.21% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[217]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district provides a wide variety of clubs, activities and interscholastic sports. Eligibility is determined by school board policy.[218][219] Varsity and junior varsity athletic activities are under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

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.[220]

Athletics[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School sports:

According to PIAA directory July 2013[221]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]