Central Columbia School District

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Central Columbia School District
Map of Columbia County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Map of Columbia County, Pennsylvania School Districts, with Central Columbia School District in blue in the center of the county.
Address
4777 Old Berwick Road
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Columbia County 17815-3515
United States of America
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Harry Mathias salary $120,408 (2012)[1] Contract July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019[2] $123,900 (2013-14)[3]
School number (570)784-2850
Administrator

Ms Annette M Lowery, Business Manager
Fish, Christina, Special Education Supervisor $85,032 (2012), $89,957 (2013)
Mathias, Bridget Supervisor $69,521
Dwayne Prosceno, Director of Buildings and Grounds
Tracy Krum, Curriculum Coordinator
Kimberly MacDonald, Food Services Director

John Monick, Technology Director
Principal

Groshek, Jeffrey HS, salary $105,215 (2012)

Christopher Snyder, High School Assistant Principal $78,530 (2013)
Principal

Heintzelman, Chad MS, salary $93,112, $99,000 (2013)

Carla Sauer, Elementary/Middle School Assistant Principal
Principal Sharrow, Thomas ES, salary $92,984, $97,058 (2013)
Staff 126 non teaching staff members
Faculty 132 teachers (2014), 138 teachers (2011)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,762 pupils (2016)[4]
1,742 pupils (2015)[5]
1,832 pupils (2014)[6]
1,841 pupils (2012)[7]
1,931 pupils (2011)[8]
1,964 pupils (2010)[9]
1,989 pupils (2009)

2,132 pupils (2005)[10]
 • Kindergarten 139 (2012),[11] 136 (2006)
 • Grade 1 130 (2012), 135
 • Grade 2 138 (2012), 143
 • Grade 3 136 (2012), 140
 • Grade 4 147 (2012), 150
 • Grade 5 150 (2012), 167
 • Grade 6 160 (2012), 179
 • Grade 7 142 (2012), 185
 • Grade 8 141 (2012), 190
 • Grade 9 126 (2012), 171
 • Grade 10 135 (2012), 180
 • Grade 11 149 (2012), 184 (2006)
 • Grade 12 147 (2012), 172 (2006)
Language English
Color(s) Blue and Silver
Mascot Fighting Bluejay
Budget

$27,549,755 (2013-14)[12]

$24,813,401 (2011-12)[13]
Per pupil spending $9,991 (2008)
Per pupil spending $11,529.80 (2010)
Website

The Central Columbia School District is a small, rural, public school district that serves the Borough of Orangeville and Mifflin Township, Mount Pleasant Township, North Centre Township, Orange Township, Scott Township and South Centre Township in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania. Central Columbia School District encompasses approximately 77 square miles (200 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, the District served a resident population of 14,107. By 2010, the District's population increased to 14,833 people.[14] The educational attainment levels for the Central Columbia School District population (25 years old and over) were 89.9% high school graduates and 23% college graduates.[15]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 28.6% of the Central Columbia School District's pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty level as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[16] In 2009, the District residents' per capita income was $20,989, while the median family income was $47,805.[17] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [18] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[19] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[20]

According to Central Columbia School District officials, in school year 2007–08, reported the District provided basic educational services to 2,128 pupils. The District employed: 154 teachers, 112 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 13 administrators. Central Columbia School District received over $9.6 million in state funding during the school year 2007–08. In school year 2009-10, the Central Columbia School District provided basic educational services to 1,993 pupils. The District employed: 156 teachers, 112 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 13 administrators. Central Columbia School District received more than $9.5 million in state funding in school year 2009-10. In 2011-12, the District reported 1,922 pupils. It employed: 146 teachers, 105 full-time and part-time support personnel, and twelve (12) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $9.8 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Central Columbia School District operates three schools: Central Columbia High School (9th–12th), Central Columbia Middle School (5th–8th) and Central Columbia Elementary School (K–4th). In May 2013, Superintendent Mathias completed a staffing/enrollment report and made revised staffing recommendations. The report was based on a comparison of current enrollment figures and enrollment figures from 2007. The comparison showed an overall decline of 3% in the elementary school, decline of 16.5% in the middle school enrollment and a decline of 17.5% in the high school's enrollment. Mr. Mathias then pointed out an increase in staff of 5.9% in the elementary school (full-day kindergarten), a reduction in staff of 14.4% in the middle school (not replacing teachers who retired), and 5.7% reduction in the high school.[21]

Central Columbia High School students may choose to attend Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School which provides training in the trades. The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit IU16 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Overview[edit]

According to the 2003 data collected by Standard & Poor's, 18.4% of students are economically disadvantaged, 13.1% receive special education services and 71.1% of students pass the state-mandated testing. The district spent about $6,999 per student.[22] The middle school was renovated in 2006 to 2007.

Governance[edit]

Central Columbia School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serving four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[23] 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 its resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[24] 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.[25] In 2015-16 and 2016-17 the school board did not comply with this mandate.[26]

The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. 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 regarding renewal of the employment contract. 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.[27]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D–" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information, and more.[28]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2016, Central Columbia School District ranked 90th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[29] 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.[30] 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.

Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Central Columbia School District ranked 371st. The paper describes the ranking as: "the 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."[38]

  • 2011 - 431st
  • 2010 - 383rd
  • 2009 - 427th

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Central Columbia School District achieved AYP status.[39] 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.[40] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the Central Columbia School District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[41]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2016, Central Columbia High School graduation rate was 90.44%.[42]

Former AYP graduation rate:

High school[edit]

Central Columbia High School is located at 4777 Old Berwick Road, Bloomsburg. In 2015, enrollment had declined further to 477 pupils in 9th through 12th grade.[52] In 2013, the School's enrollment declined to 558 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 20% eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. According to the administration, 12.9% of pupils received special education services. Additionally, 4.4% of pupils were identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[53]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Central Columbia High School reported an enrollment of 613 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 83 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is a federally Title I school. The school employed 46.5 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[54] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 20 classes were taught by teachers who were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[55]

Central Columbia High School was ranked 76th out of 609 Pennsylvania high schools for combined 2006 PSSA scores for 11th graders.[56] In 2010 and 2011 the school achieved AYP status.[57]

2016 School Performance Profile (SPP)

SPP 2016 – 93.4 out of 100 points. Central Columbia High School Keystone Exams mandated testing results were: 91.9% of students were on grade level in reading.literature and 92.5% of students demonstrated on grade level in Algebra I. In Biology I, 93.5% of pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the Biology course.[58] The requirement that pupils pass the Keystone Exams in reading, algebra I and bIology I in order to graduate was postponed until 2019 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly because less than 60% of 12 grade pupils statewide would have been eligible for graduation from high school due to failing one or more Keystone Exams.[59]

2015 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia High School achieved a score of 78.5 out of 100. The PDE reported that 80% of the High School's students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 76% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 76% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[60] 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.[61][62]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia High School achieved 79.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature 74.5% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 76% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 80% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[63][64] 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%.[65]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia High School achieved 84.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 86% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 79% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 79% showed on grade level science understanding.[66] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, they now take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[67]

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. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. 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 course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[68]

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 course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[69]

11th grade Reading
  • 2012 - 78% on grade level, (10% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[70]
  • 2011 - 78% (9% below basic). State - 69.1%[71] Of the 18 CSIU16 region high schools, CCHS ranked 3rd for reading achievement.[72]
  • 2010 - 78%, State - 67%. Of the 18 CSIU16 region high schools, Central Columbia High School ranked 5th for reading achievement.[73]
  • 2009 - 83%, State - 65%. Of the CSIU16 region high schools, CCHS ranked 3rd for reading achievement.[74]
  • 2008 - 78%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 76%, State - 65%[75]
11th grade math
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (18% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[76]
  • 2011 - 69.4% (13% below basic). State - 60.3%. Of the 18 high schools in Central Susquehanna IU16, Central Columbia High School ranked 5th for math achievement of 11th graders.[77]
  • 2010 - 65%, State - 59%. Of the 18 high schools in Central Susquehanna IU16, CCHS ranked 8th for math achievement of 11th graders.[78]
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 56%. Of the Central Susquehanna IU16 high schools, CCHS ranked 2nd for math achievement of 11th graders.[79]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 67%, State - 53%
11th grade science
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[80]
  • 2011 - 50% (5% below basic). State - 40%. Of the Central Susquehanna IU16 high schools, Central Columbia High School ranked 7th for Science achievement of 11th graders.
  • 2010 - 51%, State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.[81]
  • 2009 - 61%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 54%, State - 35.5%[82]
  • 2007 - tested scores withheld from public.

Science in Motion Central Columbia High School and Middle School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[83] Susquehanna University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 14% of Central Columbia 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.[84] Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania 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.[85] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading, or English.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Central Columbia School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 24 credits to graduate, including: a required classes in: math, English, social studies, science, Physical Education and electives.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students had been required to 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.[86] 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.[87]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[88][89][90] 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.[91] 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.[92] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2015, 94 Central Columbia School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 513. The Math average score was 539. The Writing average score was 490.[93] The College Board also reported that statewide 96,826 pupils took the exams with average scores declining in all three measurers to: 495 in reading, 511 in math and 484 in writing.[94]

In 2014, 107 Central Columbia School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 517. The Math average score was 523. The Writing average score was 491.[95][96] 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.[97] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, Central Columbia School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 499. The Math average score was 506. The Writing average score was 490. 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.[98]

In 2012, 125 Central Columbia School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 505. The Math average score was 510. The Writing average score was 478. 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, 114 Central Columbia School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 492. The Math average score was 498. The Writing average score was 475.[99] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[100] 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.[101]

Advanced Placement[edit]

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in English, mathematics, history, and science. In 2005 70 students took courses and 140 tests were taken.

  • English – 74.2% earned a 3 or better (state – 67.2%)
  • Mathematics – 78% earned a 3 or better (state – 72.3%)
  • History – 68.4% earned a 3 or better (state – 66.9%)
  • Science – 73.3% earned a 3 or better (state – 64.8%)[102]

In 2013, the Central Columbia High School offered 5 AP courses at a higher cost than the other high school classes. 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 Central Columbia High School 53% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[103]

  • 2014, 79% of the pupils, at Central Columbia HIgh School, that took an AP course achieved a 3 or better on the College Board AP exam.[104]
  • 2015, 69% of the pupils, at Central Columbia HIgh School, that took an AP course achieved a 3 or better on the College Board AP exam.[105]
  • 2016, 99% of the pupils, at Central Columbia HIgh School, that took an AP course achieved a 3 or better on the College Board AP exam.[106]

Dual enrollment[edit]

Central Columbia 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 do not count towards high school graduation requirements, but only 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 to a pre-determined number of students. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[107] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[108] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[109] For the 2009–10 funding year, Central Columbia School District received a state grant of $4,908 for the program. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis. Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[110]

The District does not participate in the Penn College NOW dual enrollment program offered by Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn College NOW classes are taught by approved local high school teachers, at the high school.[111] Penn College NOW is partially funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-270) through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, by the support of Pennsylvania companies through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

ACE[edit]

Central Columbia School District students have access to Bloomsburg University's Summer College and Advanced College Experience (ACE) during the summer of their sophomore, junior and senior years (after high school graduation). Tuition is deeply discounted to 75% of the regular student rate.[112] Successful students earn college credits that can be transferred to other Pennsylvania public colleges and universities through the Pennsylvania TRAC system.[113]

Middle school[edit]

Central Columbia Middle School is located at 4777 Old Berwick Road, Bloomsburg. In 2015, enrollment was 574 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 30% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of pupils received special education services, while % of pupils were identified as gifted.[114] According to a 2015 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[115]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 597 pupils in grades 5th through 8th, with 138 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 43.5 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1. The school is a federally designated Title I school.[116] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 teacher was rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[117]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 2016 71.9 out of 100 points. Central Columbia Middle School PSSA mandated testing results were: 71.3% of students in 8th grade were on grade level in reading, while 67.6% of students demonstrated on grade level in mathematics. In science, 75.2% of eighth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding.[118] In 7th grade, 71.4% of pupils were on grade level in reading, while just 67.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 75.9% were on grade level in reading and only 60.3% were on grade level in math. In mathematics, just 53.2% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported.

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that 73% of 8th grade students at Central Columbia Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 58% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 32% of the school's 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 71% were on grade level in reading, while 53% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 81% were on grade level in reading and 61% were on grade level in mathematics. Among fifth graders, 69% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, 54% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported.[119] 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.[120]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia Middle School achieved 73.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature 77% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 84% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 71% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 65% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[121]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia Middle School achieved 78.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 77% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 86% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 70% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 81% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[122] 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

In 2012, Central Columbia Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[123] In 2011, the School declined to "Warning AYP Status" due to declining student achievement. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Central Columbia Middle School achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 96% in 2011 and was 95% in 2010.[124] In 2006 and 2007, the School declined again to Warning AYP status, due to lagging academic achievement. In 2005, the school achieved AYP status. IN 2004, the School declined to Warning AYP status. IN 2003, the school achieved AYP status.

PSSA Results
8th grade Science
  • 2012 - 66% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 – 63% (20% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 62%, State - 57%
  • 2009 – 69%. State - 55%
  • 2008 – 72%, State - 52%

Elementary school[edit]

Central Columbia Elementary School is located at 4777 Old Berwick Road, Bloomsburg. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 691 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 37% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 14% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[139] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[140] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 743 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 33% of its pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 48 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[141] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[142] The school provides full day kindergarten to all its pupils.[143]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 2016 – 90.8 out of 100 points. Central Columbia Elementary School PSSA mandated testing results were: 78.8% of students in 4th grade were on grade level in reading, while just 65.3% of students demonstrated on grade level mathematics skills. In science, 91.7% of fourth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding of science concepts in the state standards. Among the school's third graders, 73.3% were on grade level in reading and only 66% showed on grade level mathematics skills.[144][145]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in Central Columbia Elementary School 4th grade, 67% were on grade level in reading, while 57% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 92% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 74% were on grade level in reading and 60% were on grade level in mathematics.[146] Statewide, 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.[147]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia Elementary School achieved a score of 82.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 71% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 84% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 83% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, 90% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[148]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Columbia Elementary School achieved a score of 90.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 77.7% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 78.8% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 88% of the pupils in 3rd and 4th grades were on grade level. In 4th grade science, just 89.7% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[149]

In 2012, Central Columbia Elementary School remained in School Improvement I AYP status missing all metrics in reading.[150] In 2011, Central Columbia Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to significantly declining student achievement. The school administration was required, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to prepare and submit for approval a School Improvement Plan. In 2010, the school was in Warning status due to low student achievement.[151] The attendance rate was 96% in both 2010 and 2011.

4th grade Science
  • 2012 - 92%, 57% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 – 90%, 50% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 – 93.1%, State – 81%
  • 2009 – 86.9%, State – 83%
  • 2008 – 86.6%, State – 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, the District administration reported that 273 pupils or 14.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 45.1% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[157]

In 2013, the District reported that 286 pupils or 14.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 48.3% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[158]

In 2011, the Central Columbia School District reported that 295 pupils or 14.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 48.8% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[159] In 2009, the District administration reported that 278 pupils or 13% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 48.6% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[160] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 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.[161] Central Columbia School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2011-12. The District has seen no decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings. In fact, every school year since 2010, the Board has sought an exception to raise taxes above the Act 1 index due to its escalating special education costs. (See Act I index section below).

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 .[162] 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. If screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the Central Columbia School 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.[163][164] 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.

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.[165] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district's students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student's needs accrue the same level of costs.[166] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[167] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[168] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[169]

The Central Columbia School District received a $1,112,337 supplement for special education services in 2010.[170] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[171][172] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 69 or 3.47% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 public school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[173] 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.[174][175]

Wellness policy[edit]

Central Columbia School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 called Policy 246.[176] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age-appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108–265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006".

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low-nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[177] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Central Columbia School District offers a free school breakfast and 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.[178] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[179]

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.[180] 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.[181]

Central Columbia 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.[182] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

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.[183] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[184]

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.[185]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Central Columbia School District was $57,014.68 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $15,494 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $72,509.[186] The District employed 150 teachers with an average salary of $58,107 and a top salary of $120,408.[187]

In 2009, Central Columbia School District reported employing 160 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $56,049 and a top salary of $110,000.[188] The teacher's work day is 7.5 hours with 180 student days (185 total days) in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (teachers pay 13% of the costs of their health insurance), vision insurance, dental insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, at least 10 paid sick days, paid death leave, a paid emergency day and other benefits. Department heads and grade group leaders receive additional compensation.[189]

In 2007, Central Columbia School District employed 138 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $51,143 for 180 days worked. The district's average teacher salary was the second highest of all the Columbia County school districts in 2007.[190]

Per pupil spending Central Columbia School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $612.80 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[191] In 2005, the school board awarded a five-year contract to Harry C Mathias, Jr., with an initial salary of $95,500; and an annual raise of $3,000–$5,000. Additionally, Mathais receives an extensive benefits package. Mathais pays 5% of the cost of his health insurance.[192] On July 20, 2009, the school board voted to extend Mathias' contract beginning July 1, 2010, and ending June 30, 2015.[193]

In 2008, the Central Columbia School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $9,991 which ranked 478th among Pennsylvania's then 501 public school districts. In 2010, the District's per pupil spending had increased to $11,529.80.[194] In 2011, Pennsylvania's per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[195] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[196]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[197] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[198] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania's total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[199] Pennsylvania's total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[200]

Reserves In 2008, the Central Columbia School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $703,500.00 and an unreserved undesignated fund balance of $5,215,089.00.[201] In 2010, Central Columbia School District Administration reported $3,602,538 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported $5,138,500 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. IN 2012, Central Columbia School District reported $10,915,161 in reserves.[202] 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.[203] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[204]

Audit In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District's administration.[205]

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 Central Columbia School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $7,756.21, High School - $8,718.57.[206]

The Central Columbia School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax 1.05%, a property tax, per capita taxes, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In Pennsylvania, pension income and social security income is exempt from both state income tax and local earned income taxes regardless of income level.[207]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Central Columbia School District receives 30.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[208]

In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Education Funding Reform Commission conducted a hearing regarding school funding by the Commonwealth.[209][210] The commission developed a new basic education funding formula which sets a new way to distribute state basic education dollars. It abolished the practice of "hold harmless" funding, which gave districts at least the same as they got the previous school year regardless of declining enrollment. The plan became law in June 2016 (House Bill 1552).[211][212][213]

For the 2016-17 school year, Central Columbia School District received $6,375,268 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a 2.2% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Columbia County was 3% awarded to both Bloomsburg Area School District and Benton Area School District, under the state's Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[214] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[215] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher's pension fund.[216] Central Columbia received an increase in special education funding and Ready to Learn funding to $255,774.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $2,998,431 to Central Columbia School District, in January 2016.[217] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[218] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[219] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in Basic Eductaion funding under Governor Wolf.[220][221] In April 2016, Governor Wolf announced his finalized dispersement of 2015-16 state Basic Education Funding. Central Columbia School District received a 1.70% increase for a total funding of $6,441,374.[222] This was $51,238 less than the District was to receive by law under the state's Fair Funding Formula approved in 2015.[223][224] The highest increase in funding statewide was awarded by Governor Wolf to Wilkinsburg Borough School District which got a 44.1% increase in state Basic Education Funding. The average BEF increase among the Commonwealth's 500 public school districts for 2015-16 was 2.21%. In Columbia County, the highest percentage increase in state funding was awarded to Berwick Area School District - 2.62%.

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[225] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Central Columbia School District received $6,236,997 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.69% increase yielding a $103,402 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $255,774 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[226]

For the 2014-15 school year, Central Columbia School District received $6,133,617 in State Basic Education funding. The District also received $199,817 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State's enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[227] The Education budget also includes 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 is paying $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.[228]

For the 2013-14 school year, Central Columbia School District received a 1.7% increase or $6,128,263 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $104,776 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Central Columbia School District received $96,858 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Columbia County, Southern Columbia Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.1%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth's budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[229] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[230]

For the 2012-13 school year, Central Columbia School District received $6,023,487.[231] 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. Central Columbia School District received $96,858 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[232] 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, the Central Columbia School District received $6,023,487 in state Basic Education Funding.[233][234] Additionally, the district will receive $96,858 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011–2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010–2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011–12.[235] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

For the 2010–11 school year, Central Columbia School District received a 4.90% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $6,610,621. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in Columbia County was awarded to Southern Columbia Area School District at 7.38%. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010–11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[236] The amount of increase each school district received was determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[237] In 2010, the Central Columbia School District reported that 446 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

In the 2009–10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.62% increase in Basic Education Funding to Central Columbia School District for a total of $6,301,630. Among Columbia County public school districts, the largest increase a 6.11%, went to Berwick Area School District. In Pennsylvania, fifteen school districts received basic education funding increases over 10% in 2009. The largest increase went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received 22.31% increase in 2009–10.[238] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[239]

The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008–09 was $6,023,486.79. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 446 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[240]

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.[241] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[242]

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides additional education funding to schools in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses designed to improve student academic achievement. Central Columbia School District uses its $262,897 to fund extending the school day/year, literacy and math instruction coaching for teachers, and tutoring before and after school and on weekends. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding and all federal funding.[243] School Districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[244] In 2009–10, the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[245]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-15 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.[246]

Central Columbia School District received $199,817 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in 2015-16 in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive. In 2016-17, the District received an increase to $255,774 in Ready to Learn Block grant.

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, Mathematics) and paid for mandatory teacher training to optimize the computers' use in the classroom for improving instruction. The program was funded from 2006–2009. Central Columbia School District administration did not apply for the grant in 2006–07. In 2007–08, the district received $203,921 in funding. For the 2008–09, school year the district received a final $45,413 for a total funding of $249,334. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[247]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010–11 the Central Columbia School District did not apply for funding.[248]

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.[249] The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades.[250] 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. Central Columbia School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $114,478 funding over three years.[251][252] 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.[253]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[254][255] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[256] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[257] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[258] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal grants[edit]

The Central Columbia School District received an extra $1,228,778 in ARRA—Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[259][260] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.[261] 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]

Central Columbia School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district would have received hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[262] No Columbia County school district applied for funding. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[263] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[264] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to former Governor Ed Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[265]

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 provide each child in public schools with "Highly Quality" teachers and principals as defined by the state.[266] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[267] 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, Central Columbia School District received $68,586 in federal Title II funding.[268] In 2014-15, Central Columbia School District applied for and received $64,751.[269]

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.[270] 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.[271]

In 2012-13, Central Columbia School District received $1,358 in Title III funding for English language learners.[272]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Central Columbia School District School Board chose to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[273] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Central Columbia School Board has raised property taxes each year since 2005, even though the DIstrict has received an annual increase in state and federal funding. Property tax rates in 2016-17 were set by the Central Columbia School Board at 43.1040 mills.[274] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate—i.e., land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions, and government property. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Additionally, service related, disabled U.S. 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.[275] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[276] 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, Sayre Area School District is adversely impacted this way.[277][278][279] The Atlantic Sunrise Gas Pipeline passes through Mount Pleasant Township in the western region of the district.[280]

Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75–85%) of local revenues and Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[281] Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the Commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. In 2010, 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 like Central Columbia School District.[282]

Act 1 adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010–2011 school year is 2.9 percent, but it can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increasing rising health care 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 Pennsylvania 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.[294]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Central Columbia School District 2006–2007 through 2012–2013.[295]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Central Columbia School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit: increased special education costs and the escalating cost of the teachers pension.[304] Statewide 299 school boards adopted a resolution to not exceed their district's Act I index in 2016-17.

For the 2015-16 budget year, Central Columbia School Board applied for one exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: 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.[305]

For the 2014-15 budget year, the Central Columbia School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to special education costs. 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.[306]

For the 2013-14 budget year, the Central Columbia School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for special education costs and for the escalating costs of the teacher pension. 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.[307]

For the 2012-13 budget year, the Central Columbia School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: special education costs and the rapid growth in teacher pension costs. 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.[308]

For the 2011–12 school year, the Central Columbia School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. Each year the Central Columbia School Board has the option of adopting either:

  • A resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index
  • A preliminary budget in February

A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[309]

According to a state report, for the 2011-12 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 one school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while another sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[310]

Central Columbia School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11.[311]

For the 2009-10 school budget, the Central Columbia School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[312] 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.[313]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2016, Central Columbia School District approved 4,059 homestead properties to receive a $88 discount on their property taxes.[314]

In 2013, Central Columbia School District approved 4,066 homestead properties to receive $89.[315] The decline in amount was related to more residents applying for tax relief and a decline in table games tax revenues. The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[316]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Central Columbia School District was $90 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4,026 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Columbia County, Benton Area School District received the highest relief at $225 for 2010. In 2009, Central Columbia School District was allotted $91 for 3,951 homesteads/farmsteads. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Columbia County 71% of eligible property owners applied for tax relief in 2009.[317] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[318] This was the second year they were the top recipient.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the United States 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%).[319]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Central Columbia High School offers many extracurricular activities to its students. It has many clubs, including foreign language clubs, band, chorus, and community service clubs. Students may participate in a variety of athletic teams throughout the school year. The district is a member of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference for all athletics and participates under the rules and guidelines of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Central Columbia School Board has published eligibility rules for participation in extracurriculars and sports.[320][321]

The school's mascot is a Blue Jay. The official colors for the school are red, white, and blue; however red has been substituted across the board by silver/grey, such as the football team's helmets, which are a silver.

The District employs an athletic director, assistant director and a trainer.[322] Academic Eligibility is reviewed on a weekly basis.[323] 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.[324] 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.[325][326][327]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the Central Columbia School 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.[328]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[329] Central Columbia School District does not provide its athletics disclosure form on its web site.[330] 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.[331]

The District funds an extensive interscholastic athletics program.[332][333]

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015[334]

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