Brownsville Area School District

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Brownsville Area School District
Map of Fayette County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1025 Lewis Street
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Fayette County and Washington County, Pennsylvania 15417
United States of America
Information
Type Public
Established 1966
Closed Hiller ES (2001), Colonial ES 2012), Cardale ES (2012)
School board 9 locally elected school board members serve 4 year terms
Superintendent Philip J. Savini Jr., Ph.D. (Contract July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017)[1] Salary $115,500 (2013)[2]
Administrator Mr Michael A Gigliotti, Business Manager salary $80,100 (2013)
Principal Jason Kushak, HS salary $72,000 (2013)
Principal Vincent Nesser, MS salary $94,403 (2013)[3]
Principal Amy L Guty, CES
Principal Frank Berdar, CDES salary $85,200 (2013)
Staff 88 non teaching staff members 2013 [4]
Faculty 120 teachers (2013)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,660 pupils (2015)[5]
1,657 pupils (2013)[6]
1,899 pupils (2010)[7]

1,883 pupils (2006)[8]
 • Kindergarten 140 (2014), 137 (2010)
 • Grade 1 141 (2014), 116
 • Grade 2 130 (2014), 149
 • Grade 3 97 (2014), 143
 • Grade 4 122 (2014), 133
 • Grade 5 127 (2014), 137
 • Grade 6 131 (2014), 151
 • Grade 7 133 (2014), 164
 • Grade 8 129 (2014), 165
 • Grade 9 162 (2014), 180
 • Grade 10 114 (2014), 162
 • Grade 11 118 (2014), 134
 • Grade 12 116 (2014), 128 (2010)
Language English
Color(s) Black, White and Gold
Mascot Falcons
Budget $26,298,731 (2015-16)[9]
Administration Building

Former Hiller Elementary School Bldg. built 1964
1025 Lewis Street, Brownsville, Pennsylvania, 15417

Telephone: (724) 785-2021
Website
Map of Washington County, Pennsylvania public school districts showing the portion of Brownsville Area SD

The Brownsville Area School District spans portions of two counties. In Fayette County, Pennsylvania it covers the Borough of Brownsville and Brownsville Township, Luzerne Township and Redstone Township in Fayette County. In Washington County, Pennsylvania it covers the Borough of West Brownsville. Brownsville Area School District encompasses approximately 57 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 15,097. By 2010, the District's population declined to 14,959 people per the US Census Bureau.[10] The educational attainment levels for the Brownsville Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 80% high school graduates and 9.9% college graduates.[11] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 64.7% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[12] In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that 73 students in the Brownsville Area School District were homeless.[13] In 2009, Brownsville Area School District residents' per capita income was $15,486 a year, while the median family income was $32,956 a year.[14] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [15] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[16] In Fayette County, the median household income was $39,115.[17] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[18] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[19]

According to District officials, in school year 2005-06 the Brownsville Area School District provided basic educational services to 1,977 pupils. The district employed 141 teachers, 88 full-time and part-time support personnel, and nine administrators. Brownsville Area School District received more than $15 million in state funding in school year 2005-06. In 2011-12, the District enrollment was 1,657 pupils. The District employed: 130 teachers, 76 full-time and part-time support personnel, and ten (10) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. Brownsville Area School District received $16 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Brownsville Area School District operates: one Middle School and one High School in a single building, Cox-Donahey Elementary School (kindergarten through second grade) located in Redstone Township. Central Elementary School (third through fifth grade) located in Luzerne Township. High school students may choose to attend the Fayette County Career and Technical Institute for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Intermediate Unit IU1 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, background checks for employees, state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training, speech and visual disability services and criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.

The District was created in 1966 as a merger of the Brashear, Redstone Township, and Luzerne Township School Districts.

Governance[edit]

Brownsville Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms without compensation), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[20] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[21] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[22] Brownsville Area School District has posted its 2015-16 report in its website.

The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. Brownsville Area School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[23] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[24]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[25]

Academic achievement[edit]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that Central Elementary School in Brownsville Area School District is among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[26][27] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[28]

Opportunity - Lowest achievement - Scholarship list

In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying that three Brownsville Area School District schools were among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[29] Central Elementary School, Brownsville Area Middle School and Brownsville Area High School were all on the list. The high school has been on the list each year since 2011-12. The Middle School and Central Elementary School were both on and off the list over the past 5 years. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[30] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[31] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, nine public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Steelton-Highspire School District, Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, and William Penn School District.[32] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Statewide ranking

Brownsville Area School District was ranked 468th out of 493 Pennsylvania school districts in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[33] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[34] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.[35]

Overachievers ranking

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Brownsville Area ranked 345th. In 2010 the district was 177th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[42][43]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Brownsville Area School District was in the lowest 4 percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [44]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Brownsville Area School District declined to District Improvement level I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to chronic, low academic achievement.[45]

  • 2011 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging academic achievement. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[46][47]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status[48]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status
  • 2008 - achieved AYP status
  • 2007 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging academic achievement
  • 2006 - achieved AYP status
  • 2005 - Making Progress School Improvement level 1 AYP status
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement level 1 AYP status due to low reading and math achievement
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging academic achievement in reading and math

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Brownsville Area School District’s graduation rate was 77.42%.[49]

  • 2014 - 83.73%[50]
  • 2013 - 78.40%[51]
  • 2012 - 86.78%[52]
  • 2011 - 77%.[53]
  • 2010 - 86.78%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[54]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Brownsville Area High School is located at 1 Falcon Drive. Brownsville. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 510 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 59.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 17.25% of pupils received special education services, while 4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[58] The school employed 39 teachers.[59] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[60]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, Brownsville Area High School reported an enrollment of 519 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 302 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2013, the School employed 36 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[61] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[62] Built in 1961 near the Redstone football field, that building was salvaged and the new high school in Brownsville was built in 2006.

2015 School Performance Profile

Brownsville Area High School achieved 52.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that just 60% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 47.37% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 42.48% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[63] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[64][65]

2014 School Performance Profile

Brownsville Area High School achieved 68 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 72.50% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 52.07% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 31% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[66][67] Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.[68]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[69] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[70][71]

Compared with 2013, the percentage of schools that earned below 60 declined by nearly 1 percent per Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq. She reported that this is an indication that student achievement is improving as school resources are being used better.[72]

2013 School Performance Profile

Brownsville Area High School achieved 68 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 71.82% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 40.54% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 28.83% showed on grade level science understanding.[73] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[74]

AYP status[edit]

In 2012, Brownsville Area HIgh School declined further to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status.[75]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action Level II - 1st year due to chronic, low student achievement.[76]
  • 2010 - Making Progress: in Corrective Action II due to low student achievement. The administration was required by No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the school's poor performance and to offer transferring to a quality school in the district. No other high school is operated in the district. The high school is listed among the lowest-performing schools in the Commonwealth.[77][78] The school has been required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop and implement a school improvement plan to address the serious shortcomings reflected in the low student academic success.[79]
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action 2 (first year) AYP level
  • 2008 - Making Progress Corrective Action 1
  • 2007 - declined Corrective Action 1 (first year) AYP level
  • 2006 - Making Progress School Improvement 2 AYP level
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement 2 AYP level
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement 1 AYP level
  • 2003 - Warning level AYP level due to lagging reading and math achievement
PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[80]

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[81]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 58% on grade level, (18% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[82]
  • 2011 - 71% (9% below basic). State - 69.1%[83]
  • 2010 - 55% (28% below basic). State - 66%[84]
  • 2009 - 54% (24% below basic). State - 65%[85]
  • 2008 - 67% (21% below basic). State - 65%[86]
  • 2007 - 50% (31% below basic). State - 65%[87]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 48% on grade level (27% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[88]
  • 2011 - 59%, (17% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 66%, (23% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 43%, (21% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 56%, (30% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 26% (37% below basic). State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 24% on grade level (23% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[89]
  • 2011 - 37% (16% below basic). State - 40%[90]
  • 2010 - 28% (28% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 40%, State - 40% [91]
  • 2008 - 27%, (22% below basic). State - 39%

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 35% of the Brownsville 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.[92] 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.[93] 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 and programs 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[94] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[95]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $4,160 for the program.[96]

Challenge Program[edit]

The Challenge Program, Inc. offers $250.00 cash incentives to Senior High School students who excel in the categories of: Academic Improvement, Attendance, Community Service and Academic Excellence. The program partners with businesses to motivate students both in and out of the classroom by encouraging good habits in students that will last throughout their education and into their future careers. For the 2010-2011 school year, the top 10% of students in each of the categories will be eligible to win $250.00.[97]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Brownsville Area School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 26 credits to graduate, including: Math 4 credits one class each year, English 4 credit (pass one each year), Social Studies 4 credits, Science, including Biology 3.5 credits (Juniors are required to take Global Science and Science 11), Computers 2 courses, School to Career - .5 Credits, Physical Education 2 credits, health 0.5 credit, Arts/Humanities 3.5 credits and electives.[98]

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.[99] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[100]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[101] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[102][103] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[104]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[105][106] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[107] 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.[108] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT history[edit]

In 2014, 62 Brownsville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 650. The Math average score was 650. The Writing average score was 680.[109][110] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[111] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 90 Brownsville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 426. The Math average score was 419. The Writing average score was 399. 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.[112]

In 2012, 68 Brownsville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 453. The Math average score was 461. The Writing average score was 430. 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, 64 Brownsville Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 421. The Math average score was 430. The Writing average score was 401.[113] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[114] 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.[115]

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a research arm of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania’s SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.[116]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 71 percent of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania chose to continue their education after high school in 2003, whereas 79 percent of urban high school graduates opted to continue their education.

AP Courses[edit]

In 2014, Brownsville Area High School offered 3 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[117] The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Brownsville Area High School 30% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[118]

Middle school[edit]

Brownsville Area Middle School is located at 3 Falcon Drive, Brownsville. In 2015, enrollment was 393 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 68% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 20% of pupils received special education services, while 2% of pupils were identified as gifted.[119] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1% of its teachers were rated "Non-Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[120]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the Brownsville Area Middle School reported an enrollment of 378 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 251 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 28 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[121] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the School's teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[122]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 23% of 8th grade students at Brownsville Area Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 4% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 47% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 41% were on grade level in reading, while 17% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 37% were on grade level in reading and 8% were on grade level in mathematics.[123] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[124]

2014 School Performance Profile

Brownsville Area Middle School achieved 52.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 52.46% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 54.92% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 40.87% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 34% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[125]

2013 School Performance Profile

Brownsville Area Middle School achieved 64.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 57.85% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 62% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 44.19% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 32.31% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[126] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Brownsville Area Middle School declined further to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status, missing 6 academic metrics in reading and mathematics.[127]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement.[128] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District.
  • 2010 - Making Progress: in School Improvement II level. The attendance rate was 90% in both 2011 and 2010.[129]
  • 2009 - remained in School Improvement 2 AYP status, due to ongoing low academic achievement.[130]
  • 2008 - declined further to School Improvement Level 2 AYP status due to low academic achievement.[131]
  • 2007 - remained in School Improvement 1 AYP status due to low academic achievement.[132]
  • 2006 - remained in School Improvement 1 AYP status.
  • 2005 - remained to School Improvement 1 AYP status.
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level 1 AYP status. The school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[133] The Middle School was eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[134]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status, due to lagging student achievement.
PSSA Results

Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[135] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[136] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[137] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[138]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 25% on grade level (46% below basic). State - 59%[144]
  • 2011 - 34%, (39% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 26%, (52% below basic). State – 57%[145]
  • 2009 - 28%, (37% below basic). State - 55% [146]
  • 2008 - 41%, (33% below basic). State - 52% [147]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2014, Brownsville Area School District implemented a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[148] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[149]

Central Elementary School[edit]

Central Elementary School is located at 234 Arensburg Road, East Millsboro. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 346 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 73.7% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 24% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[150] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[151] The school is a federally designated Title I school. The building was buiit in 1965. in 2011-12, 2014–15 and 201-16, Central Elementary school was listed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as one of the bottom 15% of schools for academic achievement in the Commonwealth.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, enrollment was 375 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 254 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 28 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[152] 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.[153]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 44% of 5th grade students at Central Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, just 14% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 32% were on grade level in reading, while 8% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 54% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 47% were on grade level in reading and 26% were on grade level in mathematics.[154] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[155]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Elementary School achieved a score of out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 52.78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 54.7% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 57% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 76% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 61% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[156]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Elementary School achieved a score of out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 54.7% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 60.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 57.26% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 78% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 38% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[157] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Central Elementary School remained in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[158]

  • 2011 - Warning AYP status[159] Just 48% of students area reading on grade level. 63% perform math on grade level.[160]
  • 2005-2010 - achieved AYP status[161]
  • 2004 - Making Progress School Improvement level I
  • 2003 - School Improvement level I due to low student academic achievement in reading and mathematics.[162]
PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Law, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[163] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[164][165][166] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[167] The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 80%, (6% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 91%, (0% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 82%, (6% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 69%, (9% below basic). State - 83%

Cox-Donahey Elementary School[edit]

Cox-Donahey Elementary School is located at 112 Thornton Road, Brownsville. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 411 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 70% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 18% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[173] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The school provides full day kindergarten.[174] The school is a federally designated Title I school. Year Built: 1968 No state testing is done since 2013, since the school offers K-2nd.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, Cox-Donahey Elementary School enrollment was 375 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 266 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 29 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[175] 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.[176] The school has provided full day kindergarten to all its pupils since 2008.[177] In 2012 the school offered kindergarten-5th grade. Third through 5th grades were shifted to Central Elementary School in a reorganization plan. At the same time, all k-2 pupils were shifted to Cox-Donahey Elementary School.

AYP history

In 2012 and 2011, Cox-Donahey Elementary School achieved AYP status based on Safe Harbor provisions, even though reading and math achievement were low.[178]

  • 2007-2010 - achieved AYP status each school year[179]
  • 2006 - Making progress School Improvement Level I AYP status
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement. The School's administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement.
  • 2004 - remained in Warning AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Brownsville Area School District administration reported that 353 pupils or 20.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 38.8% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[180] In December 2010, the district administration reported that 331 pupils or 17.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[181]

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[182] Brownsville Area School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2008. The District has seen an increase in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress .[183] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[184][185] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.

Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[186] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[187] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[188]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[189] 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.[190] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[191] Overidentification of students in order to increase state funding has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some public school districts (like Brownsville Area) have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services, while others have 10% supported through special education.[192] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[193]

Brownsville Area School District received a $1,287,703 supplement for special education services in 2010.[194] 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. 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.[195] For the 2014-2015 school year, Brownsville Area School District received an increase to $1,317,693 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[196]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 59 pupils or 3.08% of its students were gifted in 2009.[197] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[198]

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.[199]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Brownsville Area School District was $59,365 a year.[200] The District employed 155 teachers with a top salary of $115,500.[201][202] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[203] Brownsville Area School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[204] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. 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.[205] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[206] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[207]

In 2009, Brownsville Area School District reported employing 150 teachers with a salary range of $39,205 to $105,000.[208][209]

In 2007, Brownsville Area School District employed 130 teachers. The average teacher salary in the District was $52,946 for 180 days worked.[210] 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.[211] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[212]

Brownsville Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $899 per pupil, which ranked 106th in the state. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[213] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[214]

Administrative spending Brownsville Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $899.83 per pupil ranking 106th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[215] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania.[216] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[217]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the District administration reported that its per pupil spending was $11,974 which ranked 273rd among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $12,122.92 [218] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $13,039.10.[219] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[220] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[221] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[222] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[223] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[224] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[225]

Reserves In 2010, Brownsville Area School District reported zero in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $968,285.00.[226] In 2012, Brownsville Area School District Administration reported an increase to $2,727,866 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported zero in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[227] In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion.[228] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[229][230][231]

Audit In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Many serious findings were reported to the school board and the district's administration. The findings included: Teacher Certification Deficiencies (two individuals have been assigned to positions for which they are not properly certified); Continued Lack of Internal Controls Over Student Activity Fund Practices; Possible Improper Retirement Contributions Reporting (questionable wages for the former superintendent); plus issues regarding funds, transportation, and a lack of documentation of MOUs.[232] In January 2015, the District was audited again with findings reported to the Board and administration.[233]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Brownsville 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 2013 tuition rates are Elementary School - $7,465.49, High School - $8,427.07.[234]

Brownsville Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%,[235] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a small amount, generally 10% of its budget from the federal government.[236] 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.[237] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits. Both retirement benefits are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[238] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[239][240]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Brownsville Area School District receives 64.4% of its annual revenue from the state.[241] This exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[242]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $5,756,886 to Brownsville Area School District, in January 2016.[243] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[244] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[245] Brownsville Area School District received a 2.07% increase in BEF. Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in funding.[246][247]

For the 2014-15 school year, Brownsville Area School District received $11,773,910 in State Basic Education funding. The District also received $329,271 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.[248] 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.[249]

In the 2013-2014 school year, the Brownsville Area School District received a 1.4% increase or $11,775,798 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $157,525 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Brownsville Area School District received $175,729 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Fayette County, Laurel Highlands School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 1.9%. The District had 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.[250] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[251] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[252]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Brownsville Area School District received $11,618,273.[253] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. Brownsville Area School District received $175,729. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[254] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Brownsville Area School District received a $11,618,273 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[255][256] Additionally, Brownsville Area School District received $175,729 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted 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.[257] 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.[258] In 2010, the District reported that 1,235 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[259] Some Pennsylvania public school districts experienced a reduction of total funding due to the termination of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

For the 2010-11 budget year, Brownsville Area School District received a 2.91% increase in Basic Education Funding The highest increase in Fayette County was given to the Laurel Highlands School District which received a 6.29% increase in Basic Education Funding. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest funding increase, in 2010-11, went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[260] Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was 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 public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[261]

'For the 2009-10 school budget year', the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.52% increase in Basic Education Funding to Brownsville Area School District, for a total of $12,027,308. Among the districts in Fayette County, the highest increase went to Laurel Highlands School District which got a 4.23%. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[262] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[263]

For the 2008-09 school year, the state Basic Education Funding to the district was $11,301,719.96. In 2008, the District reported that 1,234 pupils qualified for a free or reduced-price lunch according to Federal poverty guidelines.[264] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[265][266]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several funding allocations, including: Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding 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.[267] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[268]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010-11, the district applied for and received $476,973 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten, to pay teachers to write new curriculum and to increase instructional time.[269][270]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[271]

Brownsville Area School District received $329,271 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, PreK Counts funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive. In 2015-16, Brownsville Area School District received $362,029 in RTL grant dollars.

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, Uniontown Area School District received $143,685.[272]

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. The Brownsville Area School District applied, but was denied for funding by the PDE in 2006-07. In 2007-08, Brownsville Area School District received $153,453. The District received $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $198,866.[273]

In Fayette County, the maximum grant was awarded to Albert Gallatin Area School District - $487,912. 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 his 2009-10 state budget.

Environmental Education Grant[edit]

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that 5 percent of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department of Environmental Protection be set aside for environmental education. In 2012, Brownsville Area School District was awarded $7,500.[274]

Project 720[edit]

Project 720 was a high school reform program implemented for three years under the Rendell administration. The intent was to increase academic rigor and improve the instruction of teachers in the Commonwealth’s high schools. Teachers were expected to use data driven instructional practices and to meet the needs of diverse learners.[275] The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades.[276] High schools applied for funding and were required to agree to report to the PDE their plans, their actions and the outcomes. In 2007-08 budget year, the Commonwealth provided $11 million in funding. Brownsville Area School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $76,000 funding over three years.[277][278] For 2010-11, Project 720 funding was decreased to $1.7 million by Governor Rendell. The grant program was discontinued effective with the 2011-12 state budget.[279]

Other state grants[edit]

Brownsville Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[280] Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[281] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; nor 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.[282]

Federal grants[edit]

Brownsville Area School District received an extra $2,791,996 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[283] The funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[284] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[285] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, the Governor and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, 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]

Brownsville Area School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement. 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.[286] 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.[287][288][289]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with "Highly Quality" teachers and principals as defined by the state.[290] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[291] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Brownsville Area School District received $228,301 in federal Title II funding.[292] In 2014-15, Brownsville Area School District applied for and received $223,000.[293]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[294] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[295]

In 2012-13 - Area School District received zero in Title III funding for English language learners.[296] For 2014-15, Brownsville Area School District received $570 in Title III funding.[297]

21st Century learning grant[edit]

In July 2003, Brownsville Area School District received a federal grant which is run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. The school received $270,000. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved including eight charter schools. The funding is for the 2003-04 fiscal year.[298]

Technology grant[edit]

In 2010, Brownsville Area School District was determined to be eligible for the federal Enhancing Education through Technology grant.[299] The district did not apply for funding.[300] Several Fayette County school districts received funding.

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Brownsville Area School Board elected to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program.[301] 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.[302][303] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2015-16 were set by the Brownsville Area School Board at 18.1880 mills for properties in Fayette County and 108.5000 mills for properties in Washington County.[304] 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.[305] 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. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[306] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[307] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, Brownsville Area School District is adversely impacted this way.[308]

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.[309] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties (like Brownsville Area School District), each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[310] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[311]

  • 2014-15 - 16.3200 mills for Fayette County and 98.2700 mills for Washington County.[312]
  • 2013-14 - 16.5700 mills for Fayette County and 91.2300 mills for Washington County.[313]
  • 2012-13 - 16.5700 mills for Fayette County and 86.4700 mills for Washington County.
  • 2011-12 - 16.5700 mills for Fayette County and 93.2100 mills for Washington County.[314]
  • 2010-11 - 13.0700 mills for Fayette County and 73.4700 mills for Washington County.[315]
  • 2009-10 - 11.7700 mills for Fayette County and 66.5500 mills for Washington County [316]
  • 2008-09 - 11.0800 mills for Fayette County and 62.1100 mills for Washington County.[317]
  • 2007-08 - 11.0800 mills for Fayette County and 67.2500 mills for Washington County [318]
  • 2006-07 - 11.0800 mills for Fayette County and 67.3800 mills for Washington County
  • 2005-06 - 10.5800 mills for Fayette County and 55.9800 mills for Washington County

The average yearly property tax paid by Fayette County residents amounts to about 3.48% of their yearly income. Fayette County ranked 382nd out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[319] 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.[320] 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%).[321] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[322]

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.[323] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[324] 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 taking into account on the PSERS contribution rate.[325][326]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Brownsville Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[327]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Brownsville Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for rising special education costs and for its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[334]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Brownsville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[335] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[336]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Brownsville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). 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 pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[337]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Brownsville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 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.[338]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Brownsville Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. They applied for Grandfathered Construction Debt and rising teacher pension costs. Each year, the Brownsville Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[339]

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.[340]

For 2010-11, Brownsville Area School Board applied for an exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index, due to teacher pension costs.[341]

For 2009-10 school budget, Brownsville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[342] 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.[343]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Brownsville Area School District 3,665 approved homestead properties received $92.[344] The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[345]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Brownsville Area School District was $92 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,665 property owners applied for the tax relief.[346] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Brownsville Area 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 Fayette County, 71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. In Washington County 73% have applied for tax relief.[347] In Fayette County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to property owners in Uniontown Area School District at $202. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[348] This was the third year they were the top recipient.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Brownsville Area School District residents 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, individual with income much 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.[349]

Consolidation and enrollment[edit]

In 2011, State Representative Tim Mahoney, of South Union Township, pushed a proposal to consolidate the administration of Fayette County's six school districts into one administration. A study was done, by The Education Management Group, LLC., that demonstrated millions would be saved by consolidating just the administrations into one central administration. Several counties in Pennsylvania have just one school administration, including Philadelphia County, Warren County School District, Forest Area School District, Juniata County School District and Sullivan County School District.[350] In August 2011, Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman barred placement of a voter referendum regarding school administration consolidation, on the November 2011 ballot.[351]

From 2000 to 2010, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment decreased by 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline was in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts had a 16 percent decline. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania experienced significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[352] Statewide, there are 187 districts that are projected to have an enrollment decline of 15 percent or greater. Geographically, these districts are clustered in western Pennsylvania and in the state’s northern tier.[353]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[354] A study was done examining consolidating Sto-Rox School District with neighboring Cornell School District.[355] The study noted that consolidation could significantly decrease administrative costs for both communities while improving offerings to students.

In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.[356]

Wellness policy[edit]

Brownsville Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[357] 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." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[358]

Brownsville Area School District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[359] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[360]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[361] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[362] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93. In 2015, federal reimbursement rates were: $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches and $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.[363]

In 2014, President Barack Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[364][365]

The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[366][367]

Brownsville Area School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[368][369] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[370]

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.[371] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[372]

Health eTools program

Brownsville Area School District participated in Highmark Foundation’s Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools grant which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[373] Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued by the company in 2013.[374]

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, Brownsville Area School District received nearly $40,000 in funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grants. Brownsville Area High School received $9,358 which was used to support the Running for Results Program. Brownsville Area Middle School $1,990 for Spinning for Success. Cardale Elementary School received $9,122 for Dance, Dance, Cardale. Central Elementary School received $5,245 for Dance Dance Program. Cox-Donahey Elementary School received $9,720 for Cox-Donahey goes Cardio Program.[375] 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.[376]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Brownsville Area School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, publicly funded sports program.[377] Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA mandates that student athletes must be passing at least four full-credit subjects to participate in sports.[378]

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.[379]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[380][381][382]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[383] Brownsville School District provides its athletics disclosure form on its web site.[384] Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[385]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[386][387]

The District funds:

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015[388]

Closed schools[edit]

Cardale Elementary school was closed in 2012, due to decline in enrollment. The building was sold in 2012. The school was located at Cardale Elementary School 112 Thornton Road, Brownsville. Enrollment was 253 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th grade. In 2012, Cardale Elementary School remained in 'Warning AYP status due to missing all academic metrics in both math and reading.[389] Just 68% were on grade level in mathematics and just 56% of pupils in (3rd-5th) were reading on grade level. In 3rd grade, 67% were reading on grade level with 26% of pupils at below basic.[390] The school had offered full-day kindergarten since 2008. In 2011, the School was in Warning AYP status, due to lagging academic achievement.[391] Just 51% of students area reading on grade level. 74% perform math on grade level.[392] Year Built: 1962.

The District has also closed: Colonial Elementary School (2001), Hiller Elementary School (2001) and Redstone Middle School (2001). In 1966, the state of Pennsylvania mandated that Redstone Township's schools be merged with the Brownsville Area School District beginning with the 1967 school year.

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  389. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Cardale Elementary School - School AYP Overview 2012". 
  390. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Cardale Elementary School Academic Report Card 2012" (PDF). 
  391. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "CARDALE Elementary School - School AYP Overview 2011". 
  392. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "CARDALE Elementary School AYP Performance Report". 

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