Columbia Borough School District

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Columbia Borough School District
Map of Lancaster County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Map of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts. Columbia Borough School District is the small orange area surrounded by green at the left (west) side of the map.
Address
200 North Fifth Street
Columbia, Pennsylvania, Lancaster 17512
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent Dr. Robert Hollister
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1363 pupils in 2009-2010 [1]
 • Kindergarten 117
 • Grade 1 120
 • Grade 2 121
 • Grade 3 105
 • Grade 4 107
 • Grade 5 91
 • Grade 6 97
 • Grade 7 103
 • Grade 8 111
 • Grade 9 101
 • Grade 10 117
 • Grade 11 91
 • Grade 12 85
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 1403 in 2015
Mascot Crimson Tide
Website

The Columbia Borough School District is a diminutive, urban, public school district serving the Borough of Columbia in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[2] Columbia Borough School District encompasses approximately 2 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 10,311. Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08 the Columbia Borough School District provided basic educational services to 1,452 pupils through the employment of 123 teachers, 67 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 13 administrators. It is a member of Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit (IU) 13.

The district operates four schools: Park Elementary School, Columbia Middle School -Taylor Campus, Columbia Middle School -Hill Campus, and Columbia High School.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2010, the Columbia Junior Senior High School and Park Elementary School were cited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as one of the persistently, lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[3]

Columbia Borough School District was ranked 473rd out of 498 Pennsylvania School Districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance based on the PSSA's on reading, mathematics and writing, as well as, three years of science.[4]

  • 2010 - 466th[5]
  • 2009 - 462nd
  • 2008 - 470th
  • 2007 - 471st out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts[6]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Columbia Borough School District was in the bottom 7th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best).[7]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Columbia Borough High School's rate was 70% for 2010.[8]

Traditionally calculated graduation rate

High school[edit]

In 2010, Columbia Junior Senior High School AYP status declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to chronic low achievement of its 11th grade students. In 2009, the school was also in Corrective Action II 1st Year.[13] As required by the federal No Child Left Behind law, students were sent a letter that they were entitled to transfer to a successful high school within the district.[14]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 53% on grade level (29% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.[15]
  • 2009 - 48% (21% below basic), State - 65%
  • 2008 - 54% (22% below basic), State - 65% [16]
  • 2007 - 44% (32% below basic), State - 65% [17]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 35% on grade level (32% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 41% (36% below basic), State - 56% [18]
  • 2008 - 38% (30% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 36% (38% below basic), State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2010 - 13% on grade level (27% below basic). State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 25% (30% below basic), State - 40%
  • 2008 - 14% (36% below basic), State - 39% [19]

Attendance at Columbia Junior Senior High School in Columbia, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 85.12%, a dramatic improvement over the 75.73% scored in the prior year. Students were 41.7% proficient in math, 57.3% proficient in reading.[20]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 42% of 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.[21] 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.[22] 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.

2012 SAT: average scores
Lancaster County schools
School district Verbal Math Writing Total
Cocalico 498 515 491 1504
Columbia Borough 463 471 431 1365
Conestoga Valley 508 523 492 1523
Donegal 501 488 476 1465
Eastern Lancaster County 490 506 468 1464
Elizabethtown Area 510 522 486 1518
Ephrata Area 508 523 477 1508
Hempfield 519 547 499 1565
Lampeter-Strasburg 526 542 512 1580
Lancaster 415 426 402 1243
Manheim Central 510 514 496 1520
Manheim Township 537 557 524 1618
Penn Manor 497 516 479 1492
Pequea Valley 479 494 466 1439
Solanco 487 489 460 1436
Warwick 522 532 499 1553
County average 498 510 479 1487
Pennsylvania average 473 481 450 1404
U.S. average 497 514 489 1500
Possible on each test: 800 points
Source: Public School SAT Scores, PA Department of Education [1]
U.S. Average Source: 2011 SAT Report, CollegeBoard [2]

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.[23] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[24]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $5,411.00 for the program.[25]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Columbia Borough School Board has determined that 24 credits are required for graduation, including English 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Math 4 credits, Physical Education 1 credit, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Speech 0.5 credit, Health 0.5 credit and Electives 5 credits.[26]

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.[27] At Columbia Borough School District students complete a career research project during the required Speech class in their junior year. Additionally, forty hours of Service Learning are required of all Columbia Junior Senior High students as a prerequisite for graduation.

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[28]

Junior high school[edit]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 69% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 81% [29]
  • 2009 - 65%, (18% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 73%, (17% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 59%, (17% below basic), State - 75%
8th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 54% on grade level (23% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 56% (25% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 69% (20% below basic), State - 70% [30]
  • 2007 - 52% (30% below basic), State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 38% on grade level (43% below basic). State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 33% (39% below basic), State - 54% [31]
  • 2008 - 48% (26% below basic), State - 52% [32]
7th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 61% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2009 - 59% (17% below basic), State - 71.7%
  • 2008 - 53% (21% below basic), State - 70%
7th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 67% on grade level (19% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 64% (12% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 71% (17% below basic), State - 72%

Park Elementary School[edit]

In 2010, Park Elementary is in School Improvement II, Making Progress due to chronic low achievement of its students. As required by No Child Left Behind, the school notified its pupils they could transfer to Taylor Elementary School.[33] In both 2009 and 2010, the school reported a 95% attendance rate.[34]

PSSA results
6th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 43% (36% below basic), State - 68% [35]
  • 2009 - 61% (23% below basic), State - 67%
6th grade Math
  • 2010 - 58% (18% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2009 - 73% (18% below basic), State - 75%
5th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 54% (32% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2009 - 55% (31% below basic), State - 64%
5th grade Math
  • 2010 - 71% (15% below basic), State - 74%
  • 2009 - 68% (12% below basic), State - 73%
4th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 52% (21% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 37% (43% below basic), State - 72%
4th grade Math
  • 2010 - 70% (12% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 55% (21% below basic), State - 81%
4th grade Science
  • 2010 - 69% (7% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 57% (12% below basic), State - 83%
3rd grade Reading
  • 2010 - 78% (13% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 68% (20% below basic), State - 77%
3rd grade Math
  • 2010 - 79% (41% advanced), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 82% (36% advanced), State - 81%

Attendance at Park Elementary School in Columbia, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.11%, slightly higher than the 94.32% scored in the prior year. Students were 75.9% proficient in math, 64.7% proficient in reading.[36]

Taylor Elementary School[edit]

In 2010, Taylor Elementary School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress in 2010 and 2009.[37] The attendance rate was 95% in both 2009 and 2010.

PSSA results
6th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 45% (18% below basic), State - 68% [38]
  • 2009 - 70% (15% below basic), State - 67%
6th grade Math
  • 2010 - 76% (16% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2009 - 80% (10% below basic), State - 75%
5th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 74% (13% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2009 - 44% (15% below basic), State - 64%
5th grade Math
  • 2010 - 79% (3% below basic), State - 74%
  • 2009 - 68% (5% below basic), State - 73%
4th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 70% (18% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 78% (8% below basic), State - 72%
4th grade Math
  • 2010 - 80% (7% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 81% (8% below basic), State - 81%
4th grade Science
  • 2010 - 77% (7% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 89% (3% below basic), State - 83%
3rd grade Reading
  • 2010 - 76% (11% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 77% (17% below basic), State - 77%
3rd grade Math
  • 2010 - 69% (2% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 79% (5% below basic), State - 81%

Attendance at Taylor Elementary School, during the 2005-2006 school year, was 95.25%, slightly lower than the 96.23% scored in the prior year. Students were 71.3% proficient in math, 65.6% proficient in reading.[39]

Comparison to other Lancaster County school districts 2006[edit]

Of the 117 schools in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, only 13 failed to reach all their Adequate Yearly Progress goals, none of them were in the Columbia Borough School District.

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment
2011-2012 PSSA proficiency levels for Lancaster County schools
School district 3-5 Reading 3-5 Math 6-8 Reading 6-8 Math 11 Reading 11 Math
Cocalico 82.7% 86.1% 85.8% 89.5% 68.1% 61.4%
Columbia Borough 60.9% 72.4% 53.2% 67.3% 46.8% 45.3%
Conestoga Valley 76.3% 84.9% 83.9% 90.0% 82.7% 75.0%
Donegal 73.1% 82.5% 71.5% 82.9% 62.3% 51.8%
Eastern Lancaster County 72.5% 81.7% 79.9% 84.0% 74.4% 68.1%
Elizabethtown Area 70.8% 80.3% 76.6% 85.4% 72.2% 67.3%
Ephrata Area 77.4% 87.7% 79.1% 85.4% 72.3% 75.7%
Hempfield 85.5% 89.8% 86.5% 88.8% 76.6% 73.8%
Lampeter-Strasburg 89.0% 91.0% 86.9% 90.7% 86.1% 81.0%
Lancaster 50.5% 63.5% 46.4% 55.4% 43.9% 32.6%
Manheim Central 76.6% 83.7% 84.3% 90.1% 64.6% 64.5%
Manheim Township 80.1% 90.2% 85.9% 88.0% 77.7% 72.1%
Penn Manor 75.5% 86.4% 80.7% 85.6% 76.3% 69.7%
Pequea Valley 77.7% 86.4% 68.9% 74.4% 72.2% 52.0%
Solanco 82.9% 88.5% 85.6% 87.9% 69.6% 56.5%
Warwick 79.5% 83.7% 86.6% 87.1% 77.8% 72.8%
Source: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/school_assessments/7442

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 322 pupils or 23.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[40]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Student Support Team/Evaluation Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may request a multidisciplinary evaluation in writing to the Special Education Department.[41]

In 2010, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[42]

Columbia Borough School District received a $1,176,993 supplement for special education services in 2010.[43]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 28 or 2.04% of its students were gifted in 2009.[44] 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. The principal acts as the case manager for the referral process. A 60 calendar day time-line begins when the signed Permission to Evaluate form is received. 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.[45] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Columbia Borough School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both. The district's program is based on student needs and provides differentiated curriculum using acceleration, enrichment and pull-out options.[46]

Bullying Policy[edit]

The Columbia Borough School District Administration reported that there were no incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[47][48]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees.[49] The Board directs that complaints of bullying and harassment shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[50] All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[51] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.[52]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[53]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reported employing over 100 teachers with a starting salary of $36,892 for 180 days for pupil instruction.[54] The average teacher salary was $53,924 while the maximum salary was $108,160.[55]

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.[56] Additionally, Columbia Borough School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, reimbursement for professional development courses, 2 paid personal days, 10 sick days, 5 paid bereavement days and many other benefits. Teachers are paid an additional hourly rate, if they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The school day is 7 hours 35 minutes for teachers. Retirees receive payment for each unused accumulated sick day. Teachers who perform additional duties receive additional in compensation.[57] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[58]

In 2007, the district employed 110 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $49,690 for 180 school days worked.[59]

Columbia Borough School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $622.45 per pupil. This ranked 416th among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[60]

In 2008, Columbia Borough School District reported spending $12,517 per pupil. This ranked 218th in the commonwealth.[61]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported $1,293,850 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $1,406,932.[62]

In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Significant findings were reported to the administration and school board.[63]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes.[64] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[65]

State basic education funding[edit]

For 2010-11 the Columbia Borough School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $6,799,051 payment.[66] In 2010, Conestoga Valley School District received an 18,51% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF among Lancaster County public school districts. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[67]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Columbia Borough School District an 8.61% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,665,736. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $6,137,298.55. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[68] Columbia Borough School District received the highest increase in Lancaster County for the 2009-10 school year at 8.61%. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[69]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 746 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[70]

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 Columbia Borough School District applied for and received $325,644 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the seventh year and for teacher training.[71][72]

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 to 2009. Columbia Borough School District received did not apply for funding in 2006-07 or in 2007-08. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $74,691. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[73]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's Education Assistance Program 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 Columbia Borough School District received $119,489.[74]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal department of education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[75] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[76] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[77] Two district schools qualified for this funding in 2010. Columbia Borough School District Administration did not apply for the grant.[78]

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received an extra $1,851,015 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[79] The funding was for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.[80]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[81][82] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[83] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[84] 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.[85]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Columbia Borough 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.[86] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Columbia Borough School Board set property tax rates in 2010-2011 at 25.3700 mills.[87] 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. 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[88]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not authorized 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.[89]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Columbia Borough School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[90]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.3%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.9%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.2%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%

Columbia Borough School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[91][92] 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.[93]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Columbia Borough School District was $287 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,219 property owners applied for the tax relief.[94] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's 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 Lancaster County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in School District of Lancaster at $446. 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.[95] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[96]

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%).[97]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policy[98][99]

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.[100][101]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment and Projections by LEA July 2010
  2. ^ Columbia Borough School District
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department o Education (January 11, 2011). "Persistently failing schools Pennsylvania Title I School Improvement List January 11, 2011". 
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 2011). "Pennsylvania School District Rankings,". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. 
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Pennsylvania School District Rankings,". 
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County". 
  7. ^ The Morning Call (2010). "Columbia Borough School District 2009 PSSA Results". 
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2011). "Columbia Borough School District Report Card 2010". 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Columbia Borough School District Report Card 2009". 
  11. ^ The Times Tribune (2009). "2008 Lancaster County School Districts Graduation rates 2008". 
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "High School Graduation rate 2007". Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2011). "Columbia Junior Senior High School - School AYP Overview". 
  14. ^ Columbia Borough School District Administration (July 2010). "School Improvement Notice - School Choice letter" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2011). "Columbia Junior Senior High School Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "2008 PSSAs: Reading, Mathematics and Writing Results". 
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