Derry Township School District

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Derry Township School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
30 East Granada Avenue, P.O. Box 898
Hershey, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County, 17033
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent Joseph McFarland
Staff 257 non teaching staff members
Faculty 248 teachers 2013[1]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

3,468 pupils (2014-15)[2]
3,613 pupils (2012-13)[3]
3,551 pupils (2009-10)[4]

3,520 pupils (2006-07)
 • Kindergarten 205 (2012), 201 (2010)
 • Grade 1 229 (2012), 319
 • Grade 2 271 (2012), 259
 • Grade 3 251 (2012), 246
 • Grade 4 303 (2012), 264
 • Grade 5 287 (2012), 278
 • Grade 6 287 (2012), 259
 • Grade 7 288 (2012), 297
 • Grade 8 296 (2012), 276
 • Grade 9 302 (2012), 299
 • Grade 10 303 (2012), 258
 • Grade 11 285 (2012), 300
 • Grade 12 306 (2012), 281 (2010)
Language English
Mascot Trojans
Budget

$55.3 million (2013-14)[5]
$52 million (2012-13)[6]
$52.9 million (2011-12)

$50,700,506 (2009-10)[7]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $9,236.94, HS - $9,632.21 [8]
Per pupil Spending $14,693 (2008)
Per pupil Spending $13,438.17 (2010)
Website

The Derry Township School District is a midsized, suburban public school district which serves Derry Township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The district includes the unincorporated Village of Hershey. Derry Township encompasses approximately 27 square miles (70 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 21,273. By 2010, the District's population increased to 24,690 people.[9] The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 94% high school graduates and 51.4% college graduates.[10] Pennsylvania State University's Hershey Medical Center is located within the District. Derry Township School District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 13.6% of the 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.[11] In 2009 the District residents' per capita income was $16,811, while the median family income was $40,063.[12] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[13] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[14] In Dauphin County, the median household income was $52,371.[15] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[16]

Per school district officials, in school year 2007-08, Derry Township School District provided basic educational services to 3,492 pupils through the employment of 267 teachers, 216 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 21 administrators. In 2009-10, the District's enrollment was reported as 3,543 pupils. The District employed: 274 teachers, 219 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 21 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. Derry Township School District received $6.7 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.

Derry Township School District operates five schools: Hershey High School (9th-12th), Hershey Middle School (6th-8th), Hershey Intermediate Elementary School (4th-5th), Hershey Primary Elementary School (2nd-3rd) and Hershey Early Childhood Center (K-1st). High school students may choose to attend Dauphin County Technical School for training in the construction and mechanical trades. [1]

Derry Township School District is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 which offers a variety of services, including a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.

Governance[edit]

Derry Township School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[17] 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, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. 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. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[18]

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.[19]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, Derry Township School District was ranked 34th out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. [20] 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.[21] 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.

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 497 Pennsylvania school districts. Derry Township School District ranked 238th.[28] In 2011, the district ranked 204th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations." [29]

  • 2010 - 223rd.[30]
  • 2009 - 219th

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2014, Derry Township's graduation rate was 95.58%.[31]

  • 2013 - 96.96[32]
  • 2012 - 96%.[33]
  • 2011 - 97%.[34]
  • 2010 - 96%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[35]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school[edit]

Hershey High School is located at 550 Homestead Road, Hershey. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 1,156 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 12.98% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 10% of pupils received special education services, while 5.19% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 80 teachers.[41] Per the PA Department of Education 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Hershey High School reported an enrollment of 1,147 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 118 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 79 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[42] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[43]

2014 School Performance Profile

Hershey High School achieved 95.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 90.5% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 84.8% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 76% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[44] 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%.[45]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[46] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[47][48]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hershey High School achieved 95.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 90% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 81.34% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 65.8% showed on grade level science understanding.[49] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[50]

AYP history

In 2010 through 2012, Hershey High School achieved AYP status under No Child Left Behind.[51]

PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[52] 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.[53]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 82% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[54]
  • 2011 - 88% (3% below basic). State - 69.1% [55]
  • 2010 - 76%, State - 66% [56]
  • 2009 - 75%, State - 65% [57]
  • 2008 - 85%, State - 65% [58]
  • 2007 - 85%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 72% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 81% (5% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 71%, State - 59% [59]
  • 2009 - 75%, State - 56%[60]
  • 2008 - 82%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 75%, State - 53% [39]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 72% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[61]
  • 2011 - 72% (3% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 61%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 57%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 65%, State - 39% [62]

College remediation According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 31% of Derry Township School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[63][64] 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.[65] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Hershey 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 offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. [66] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. [67] 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.[68] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $1628 for the program. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Derry High School has a graduation requirement that includes: English 4.25 credits, Math 3 credits, Science - 3 credits, Social Studies - 3 credits, Computers - .5 credit, Health, Physical Education and Drivers Ed - 1.33 credits, Electives 8.5 credits and Arts 2 credits.[69] 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.[70][71] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[72]

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.[73][74][75] 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.[76] 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.[77] 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 2014, Hershey School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 543. The Math average score was 553. The Writing average score was 535.[78][79] 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.[80]

In 2013, 251 Hershey School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 556. The Math average score was 573. The Writing average score was 554. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[81]

In 2012, 224 Derry Township School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 554. The Math average score was 563. The Writing average score was 546. 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, 260 Derry Township School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 533. The Math average score was 553. The Writing average score was 521.[82] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[83] 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.[84]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2014, Hershey High School offered 18 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Hershey High School, 98.7% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[85]

Middle school[edit]

Hershey Middle School is located at 500 Homestead Road, Hershey. In 2014, enrollment was 849 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 16.9% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 10% of pupils received special education services, while 6.3% of pupils were identified as gifted.[86] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 99% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[87]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Hershey Middle School reported an enrollment of 870 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 134 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 68 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[88] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 5 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[89]

2014 School Performance Profile

Hershey Middle School achieved 84.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 87% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 89% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 81.8% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 86.9% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[90]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hershey Middle School achieved 96 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 87.75% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 89% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 84% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 89.5% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[91]

AYP history

In 2010 through 2012, Hershey Middle School achieved AYP status.[92] Hershey Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status each school year 2003-2010.

PSSA history

Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics/algebra and science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[93] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[94] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[95] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[96]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 94% on grade level, 77% advanced. State - 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[97]
  • 2011 - 93% (2% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 94%, State - 81% [98]
  • 2009 - 92%, State - 80.9%[99]
  • 2008 - 92%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 86%, State - 75% [100]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 90% on grade level, 68% advanced. State - 76% [101]
  • 2011 - 91% (1% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 90%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 87%, State - 71%[102]
  • 2008 - 85%, State - 70%[103]
  • 2007 - 86%, State - 67%[104]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 84% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 83% (5% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 83%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 83%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 81%, State - 50% [105]

Hershey Intermediate Elementary School[edit]

Hershey Intermediate Elementary School is located at 450 Homestead Road, Hershey. In 2014, the School's enrollment was 551 pupils in grades 4th and 5th, with 19.2% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 11% of the pupils receive special education services, while 3.8% are identified as gifted.[106] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.[107]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 546 pupils in grades 4th and 5th, with 77 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The Hershey Intermediate Elementary School employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[88] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[108]

2014 School Performance Profile

Hershey Intermediate Elementary School achieved a score of 90.1 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, 79.5% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 4th and 5th. In math, 88% were on grade level (4th-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 71% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[109]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hershey Intermediate Elementary School achieved a score of 94.1 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 77% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 4th and 5th. In math, 88.41% were on grade level (4th-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 91% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 81% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[110]

AYP History

In 2010 through 2012, Hershey Intermediate Elementary School achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 95% in 2011 and 96% in 2010.[111] Hershey Intermediate Elementary School achieved Adequate YEarly Progress each school year 2003-2010.

PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, the fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[112][113][114] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[115]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 92%, 54% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 - 92%, 50% advanced. State - 82.9%

Hershey Primary Elementary School[edit]

Hershey Primary Elementary School is located at 450 Homestead Road, Hershey. In 2014, the School's enrollment was 491 pupils in grades 2nd and 3rd, with 20.7% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.6% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[116] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 571 pupils in grades 2nd and 3rd, with 92 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 40 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[117] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[118]

2014 School Performance Profile

Hershey Primary Elementary School achieved a score of 81.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, the 3rd grade had 71.6% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 79.5% were on grade level (3rd grades).[119]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hershey Primary Elementary School achieved a score of 87.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, the 3rd grade had 84.39% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 85.96% were on grade level (3rd grades).[120]

AYP History

In 2012, Hershey Primary Elementary School declined to Warning status. In 2011 and 2010, the School achieved AYP status. The attendance rate was 95% in 2011 and 96% in 2010.[121] The attendance rate was 96% in 2011 and in 2010.[122]

PSSA History

Third grade has been tested in reading and mathematics, in the spring of each school year, since 2006. Second grade is not tested. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[123][124][125]

Wellness policy[edit]

Derry Township School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006 - Student Wellness Policy 246.[127][128] 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 public school 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.[129] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the District to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Derry Township 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.[130] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[131] In June 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.[132]

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.[133] 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.[134] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.

In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[135] The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[136][137]

Derry Township 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.[138][139] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[140]

Bullying Policy and School safety[edit]

The Derry Township School District administration reported there was one incident of bullying in the District in 2013-14. Additionally, there were 5 assaults on students and one sexual assault as well as a sexual harassment incident involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in 57 incidents at the schools, with 16 arrests.[141][142] Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.[143]

In 2009, the Derry Township School District reported 7 incidents of bullying in the previous school year.[144][145]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. A policy approved in March 2009 defines bullying and cyberbullying - Policy 249. The Board directs that complaints of bullying 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.[146] 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.[147] 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.[148]

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.[149]

Special education[edit]

In December 2012, the Derry Township School District administration reported that 401 pupils or 10% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 37% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[150]

In December 2010, the District administration reported that 391 pupils or 10.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 40% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 387 pupils or 10.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[151][152]

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.[153] The District has offered full-day kindergarten since 2008-09. Derry Township School District has seen no decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

In order to comply with state and federal laws, the Derry Township 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.[154] To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Director of Special Education.[155] The district has a Parent Advisory Council for Children with Special Needs which is an outreach program to families with special needs children.

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[156] 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.[157] 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.[158] 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.[159] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[160]

Derry Township School District received a $1,396,991 supplement for special education services in 2010.[161] For the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[162] For the 2014-2015 school year, Derry Township School Ditrict received an increase to $1,411,560 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[163]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 166 or 4.67% of its students were gifted in 2009.[164] 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.[165]

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.[166]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Derry Township School District was $58,897 a year.[167]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Derry Township School District was $56,476.49 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $15,028 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $71,505.35.[168] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[169]

In 2009, the Derry Township School District reported employing over 300 teachers with a salary range of a starting at $40,281 [170] to $130,000.[171] In 2009, the professional employee contract required a modest annual contribution towards the employee's health insurance plan $296 for a single person, $770 for family coverage.[172][173]

In 2007, Derry Township School District employed 230 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $53,419 for 180 days worked.[174] According to the report, Derry Township teachers were the highest paid in Dauphin County in 2007.[175]

Administration spending Derry Township School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $810 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[176] The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that in 2008 the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165.[177] In July 2004, the school board hired Linda C. Brewer as Superintendent, with an initial salary of $115,000; minimum 3.5% annual raise, plus maximum 3% merit bonus.[178] In 2009, Brewer's salary was reported by the district as $142,166.[179] Superintendent Brewer retired in February 2011. In April 2011, the Derry Township School Board awarded a contract to Richard Faidley as superintendent at $142,000 for four years.[180] In 2013, Richard Faidley abruptly left the district for similar position in Boyertown Area School District.[181] In 2014, Joseph McFarland was named the Superintendent.[182]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Derry Township School District reported spending $14,693 per pupil. This ranked 72nd out of 501 school districts in Pennsylvania.[183]

Audit In January 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General office conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings, including certification irregularities, were reported to the school board and school administration.[184]

In 2006, Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner conducted an audit of the school district. The report faulted the school board for a confidentiality clause which held much of a termination agreement from public disclosure. Auditors found that Derry Township School District terminated John DiSanti, superintendent in October 2003 with eight months remaining on the 41 month contract initially signed in February 2001.[185] Terms of the buyout included: $88,000 in salary, $23,352 for 50 unused vacation days, $7,710 for health benefits, $3,500 for attending professional conferences, and $350 per month for office expenses.[186]

Reserves In 2008, Derry Township School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,500,000.00 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $3,881,984.00.[187] In 2012, the Administration reported the District had over $6.7 million in reserve funds.[188]

The Derry Township School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax - 0.5%, and grants, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In Pennsylvania, both pension income and social security income are exempt from Pennsylvania personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the individual's level of wealth.[189]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, Derry Township School District received a 5.4% increase or $2,183,957 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding, which is $111,935 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Derry Township School District received $64,464 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. 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 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.[190] The state also funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[191]

For the 2012-13 school year, Derry Township School District received $2,136,425.[192] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. Derry Township School District received $64,464 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[193] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. 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, Derry Township School District received $2,070,099 in state Basic Education Funding.[194] Additionally, the District received $64,454 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.[195] 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.[196] In 2009, the administration reported that 441 students received a free or reduced-price lunch based on the federal poverty levels.

In 2010-11 school year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided the Derry Township School District a 9.10% increase in basic education funding for a total of $2,236,803. In Dauphin County, the highest increase in BEF went to Susquehanna Township School District which received a 15.89% increase. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a base 2% increase. Fifteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase in funding over 10% in 2010. In Dauphin County, Susquehanna Township School District received the highest increase in BEF a 15.89% increase. The highest increase went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which was 23.65% in BEF for 2010.[197] Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[198]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.79% increase in Basic Education Funding to Derry Township School District, for a total of $2,049,859. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $1,956,105.18. Fifteen Pennsylvania school districts received an increase in funding over 10% in 2009. 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.[199] Seven Dauphin County school districts received increases of over 4.5% in Basic Education Funding in 2009-10. Susquehanna Township School District received an 10.66% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[200] The amount of increase each school district received was determined by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[201]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, the district applied for and received $174,945 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide Professional Teacher Education and to hire coaches to teach the teachers.[202][203]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Derry Township School District applied to participate receiving $126,270 in 2007-08 and $90,873 in 2008-09 for a total of $217,143.[204]

Other grants[edit]

Derry Township School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell), Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2012 and 2013 Hybrid Learning Grants,[205] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $751,240 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[206] This federal funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010–2011 school years.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 300 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[199]

Race to the Top[edit]

Derry Township School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which could have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[207] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[208] 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.[209]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The school board elected to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[210] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2014-15 were set by the Derry Township School Board at 17.9227 mills.[211] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[212]

According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09.[221] The average yearly property tax paid by Dauphin County residents amounts to about 3.48% of their yearly income. Dauphin County is ranked 382nd of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[222]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[223]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Derry Township School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[224]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Derry Township School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit.: escalating pension costs and increasing special education costs In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[228] 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.[229]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Derry Township School Board applied for two (2) exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. For 2013-2014, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[230]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Derry Township School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. For 2012-2013, 274 Pennsylvania public school boards adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their Act 1 of 2006 index limit; 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.[230]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Derry Township School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: the rising cost of teacher's pension payment to the state and for special education costs. The PDE approved both exceptions. Each year the Derry Township School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[231]

According to a state report, for the 2011-2012 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.[232]

For the 2009-10 and the 2010-11 budget years, the Derry Township School Board did not seek an exception to raise property taxes above the index.[233] 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.[234]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Derry Township School District's 5,450 approved homestead properties received $122 each.[235] The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[236] Among the ten public school districts operating in Dauphin County, Harrisburg School District received the highest property tax relief - $416.

In 2011, property tax relief for 5,418 approved residents of Derry Township School District was set at $122.[237] Among Dauphin County public school districts, the highest school property tax relief went to Harrisburg School District at $421.

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Derry Township School District was $125 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 5,280 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Dauphin County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Harrisburg School District (Pennsylvania) at $446.[238] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[239] 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.[240]

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

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[241]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Derry Township School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies.[242]

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.[243]

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.[244][245][246]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[247]

Derry Township School District provides its athletics disclosure form on its web site.[248] 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.[249]

The Derry Township School District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2013 [250]

National Recognition[edit]

On April 14, 2013, it was announced that Derry Township School District had been named a grand prize winner of the 19th annual Magna Awards program in the enrollment category of under 5,000 students. The Magna Awards program, sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) American School Board Journal (ASBJ) and supported by Sodexo, recognizes districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. Derry Township received a $4,000 contribution at NSBA’s 73rd Annual Conference in San Diego. DTSD won the grand prize for its COCOA Principles program which aims to prepare students to be global citizens. COCOA Principles, which stands for Community, Opportunity, Citizenship, Ownership and Academics, has encouraged the entire community, not just students to be more inclusive, respectful and responsible citizens. Students seen reflecting the program’s principles are nominated for awards and high school graduation projects must identify the COCOA principle the student is modeling.[251]

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