Middletown Area School District

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Middletown Area School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
55 West Water Street
Middletown, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County 17057
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent Dr Lori A Suski (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2017) salary $137,183.95 (2014-15),[1] salary $129,000,[2][3]
Administrator

Christine Mosteller (2012) salary $94,300[4]
David A. Franklin, CPA, Asst to Super for Finance and Operations $111,362 (2013)
John W. Brougher, MS, Director of Technology $81,766
Marie Drazenovich, Director of Assessment and Support Services $80,696
Rebecca Delisio, $97,373
Eric Graeff, Grants and Taxes Accountant
Patrick Irvin, IT Systems Manager
Krystal Palmer, Director of Special Education
Heidi Zula, Director of Human Resources
Jody Zorbaugh, Communications Specialist
Richard Burgit, Facilities Supervisor
Joseph Corsnitz, Head Groundskeeper
William Hoyer, Facilities Supervision Monitor
William Meiser, Director of Operations, $81,636 (2013)

Amy McPhilemy, District Social Worker
Principal Dr. Chelton L. Hunter, KES $93,369 (2012)
Principal Thomas Shaffer, FES $89,496
Principal Earl W. Bright IV, RES $90,796
Principal Kevin E. Cook, MS salary $96,375 (2012)
Principal Michael Carnes, HS salary $73,700 (2013)
Staff

137 non teaching staff members (2014)

142 non teaching staff members (2011) [5]
Faculty 176 (2013)[6]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

2,293 pupils (2015-16)[7]
2,321 pupils (2012-2013),[8]
2,297 pupils (2011-2012)[9]
2,389 pupils (2009-2010)[10]

2,392 pupils (2005-06)[11]
 • Kindergarten 200 (2012), 174 (2010)
 • Grade 1 188 (2012), 181
 • Grade 2 200 (2012), 181
 • Grade 3 167 (2012), 162
 • Grade 4 158 (2012), 171
 • Grade 5 185 (2012), 181
 • Grade 6 173 (2012), 206
 • Grade 7 176 (2012), 185
 • Grade 8 182 (2012), 210
 • Grade 9 191 (2012), 182
 • Grade 10 166 (2012), 189
 • Grade 11 173 (2012), 194
 • Grade 12 162 (2012), 173 (2010)
Language English
Color(s) Blue and Gold
Mascot Blue Raider
Budget

$41,928,853 (2015-16)[12]
$40.6 million (2014-2015)[13]
$39,173,622 (2013-2014)[14]
$38,025,402 (2012-13)

$37,034,951 (2011-12)[15]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $9,641.54, HS - $10,617.72 [16]
Per Pupil Spending $15,069.09 in 2010[17]
Per pupil spending $14,270 in 2008
Website

Middletown Area School District, is a small, suburban, public school district located in Middletown, Pennsylvania serving students in a portion of southern Dauphin County. The District includes the boroughs of Middletown and Royalton and Lower Swatara Township in Dauphin County.[18] Middletown Area School District encompasses approximately 17 square miles (44 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 18,355. By 2010, the District's population declined to 18,084 people.[19] The educational attainment levels for the Middletown Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 79.2% high school graduates and 13.2% college graduates.[20] The District is one of twelve public school districts operating in Dauphin County and one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 38.9% 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.[21] In 2009, Middletown Area School District residents' per capita income was $20,611, while the median family income was $49,728.[22] In Dauphin County, the median household income was $52,387.[23] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[24]

According to Middletown Area School District officials, in school year 2009-2010, the District's enrollment was 2,332 pupils. The District employed: 209 teachers, 119 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 18 administrators. Middletown Area School District received more than $11.9 million in state funding in school year 2009-2010.[25] Per District officials, in school year 2007-2008, Middletown Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,427 pupils. It employed: 212 teachers, 110 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 18 administrators. Middletown Area School District received more than $11.9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. Total enrollment as of 2006-2007 was 2,469 students.[18]

Middletown Area School District operates five public schools: Middletown Area High School (grades 9-12), Middletown Area Middle School (grades 6-8), Lyall J. Fink Elementary School (grades K-5), John C. Kunkel Elementary School (K-5th) and Robert G. Reid Elementary School (K-5th). Middletown Area School District is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit CAIU15 [1] which offers a variety of services, including a completely developed Kindergarten - 12th grade 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. High school students may choose to attend Dauphin County Technical School for training in the building trades and mechanical trades. [2] The District pays the student's tuition to attend the school.

Governance[edit]

Middletown Area 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.[26] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[27] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[28]

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. Middletown Area School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[29] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[30]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C-" 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.[31]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, Middletown Area School District ranked 347th out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[32] 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.[33] 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 October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that three schools in the District are among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Fink Elementary School, Kunkel Elementary School and Middletown Area High School were all on the list.[40][41] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[42]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students in the Middletown Area School District was in the 39th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [43]

District Adequate Yearly Progress History[edit]

In 2012, Middletown Area School District declined to Warning status due to missing several academic metrics measured in Reading and Mathematics.[44] In 2011, Middletown Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[45]

  • 2006-2010 - School District achieved AYP status each school year.
  • 2005 - remained in School Improvement status
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement status
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[46]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Middletown Area School District's graduation rate increased to 89.35%.[47]

  • 2014 - 86%.[48]
  • 2013 - 92.7%[49]
  • 2012 - 89%.[50]
  • 2011 - 91%.[51]
  • 2010 - 85%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[52]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school[edit]

Middletown Area High School is located at 1155 North Union Street, Middletown. In 2015, enrollment had declined to 647 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 40.9% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of pupils received special education services, while 6.4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[57] The school employed 49 teachers.[58] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In 2013, Middletown Area High School enrollment had declined to 686 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 34.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of pupils received special education services, while 6.7% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 52 teachers.[59] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. For more information, see the School's wiki page Middletown Area High School

According to the National Center for Education Statistics the Middletown Area High School enrolled 721 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 164 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 59 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[60]

2015 School Performance Profile

Middletown Area High School achieved 61.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.The PDE reported that 56% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 45% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 51% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[61] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[62][63]

2014 School Performance Profile

Middletown Area High School achieved 65.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 70% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 55% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, only 48% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[64][65] 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%.[66]

2013 School Performance Profile

Middletown Area High School achieved 61.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 80% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 58% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 47% showed on grade level science understanding.[67] 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.[68]

AYP history

In 2012, Middletown Area High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to missing all 6 reading and mathematics academic metrics.[69] In 2011, the High School achieved AYP status. In 2010, Middletown Area High School was in Warning AYP status.[70]

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.[71]

11th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 61% on grade level. (21% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level.[72]
  • 2011 - 68% (22% below basic). State - 69% [73]
  • 2010 - 58%, (23% below basic). State - 67% [74]
  • 2009 - 66%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 65%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 54%, State - 65%[75]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 50% on grade level, (29% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 49%, (30% below basic). State - 60%
  • 2010 - 45%, (31% below basic). State - 59% [76]
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 56%[77]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 42%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 30% on grade level, (15% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 35% (23% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 41% (17% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 41%, State: 40%
  • 2008 - 38%, State: 39% [78]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 100 Middletown Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 481. The Math average score was 495. The Writing average score was 468.[79][80] 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.[81]

In 2013, 70 Middletown Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 488. The Math average score was 497. The Writing average score was 479. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[82]

In 2012, 94 Middletown Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 489. The Math average score was 500. The Writing average score was 467. 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, 96 Middletown Area students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 472. The Math average score was 486. The Writing average score was 449.[83] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[84] 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.[85]

Graduation requirements[edit]

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.[86] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[87]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[88] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[89]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[90][91] 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.[92] 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.[93] 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.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 45% of Middletown Area 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.[94] 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.[95] 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.

AP Courses[edit]

In 2014, Middletown Area High School offered 7 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam was $91 (2014).[96] 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 Middletown Area High School only 17.5% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[97] In 2015, Middletown Area High School offered 12 AP courses, however just 20% of pupils who took the course earning a 3 or better on the College Board's associated AP exam.[98]

Middle school[edit]

Middletown Area Middle School is located at 215 Oberlin Road, Middletown. In 2015, enrollment was 526 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 51% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 17.6% of pupils received special education services, while 3% of pupils were identified as gifted.[99] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[100]

In 2013, the School's enrollment declined to 528 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 44.7% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of pupils received special education services, while 3.98% of pupils were identified as gifted.[101] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[102] The School is not a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for education Statistics, in 2010, Middletown Area Middle School had 582 pupils enrolled in grades 6th through 8th, with 207 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 52 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[103]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that 53% of 8th grade students at Middletown Area Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 30% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 58% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 53% were on grade level in reading, while 35% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 55% were on grade level in reading and 42% were on grade level in mathematics.[104] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[105]

2014 School Performance Profile

Middletown Area Middle School achieved 84.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 73% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 81.5% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 67% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 78% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[106]

2013 School Performance Profile

Middletown Area Middle School achieved 85.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 70% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 80% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 63% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 73% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[107]

AYP History

In 2012, Middletown Area Middle School remained in Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging student academic achievement in reading.[108]

  • 2011 - declined to Warning status due to lagging reading achievement.
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status.[109] The attendance rate in 2010 was 94%.
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status
  • 2008 - declined to Warning status due to lagging math and reading achievement.[110]
  • 2006 and 2007 - achieved AYP status[111]
  • 2005 - declined to Warning status due to lagging math and reading achievement.
  • 2004 - achieved AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging math and reading achievement.
PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are NCLB related examination given in the Spring of each school year. Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999.[112] 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.[113] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[71] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[114]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[115]
  • 2011 - 86%, 56% advanced. State - 81% [116]
  • 2010 - 76%, 36% advanced. State - 81% [117]
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 80% [118]
  • 2008 - 82%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 78%, State - 75% [119]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 82% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 76% [120]
  • 2011 - 81%, 51% advanced. State - 76%
  • 2010 - 75%, 49% advanced. State - 75%
  • 2009 - 83%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 80%, State - 70% [121]
  • 2007 - 75%, State - 68%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 51% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 59%[122]
  • 2011 - 56%, (23% below basic). State - 58%
  • 2010 - 57%. (26% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 52%, State - 54%
  • 2008 - 51%, State - 52% [123]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Middletown Area School District did not implement the state's free dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[124] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[125]

Fink Elementary School[edit]

Lyall J. Fink Elementary School is located at 150 North Race Street, Middletown. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 221 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 76% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 13.5% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[126] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[127] The school remains a federally designated Title I school.

In 2013, Fink Elementary Schoo's enrollment was 213 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 67% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 7% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[128] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[129] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2010, the Fink Elementary School enrolled 185 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 95 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.[130]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 63% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 47% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 53% were on grade level in reading, while 28% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 90% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, just 47% were on grade level in reading and 53% were on grade level in mathematics.[131] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[132]

2014 School Performance Profile

Fink Elementary School achieved a score of 63.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 53% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 56.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 60.6% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 75% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 44% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[133]

2013 School Performance Profile

Fink Elementary School achieved a score of 81.1 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 72% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 73% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 73.9% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 76% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 57% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[134]

AYP status

In 2009 through 2012, Fink Elementary School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[135][136]

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[137] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[138][139][140] 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.[141]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 83%, (4% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 92%, (3% below basic), State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 81%, (0% below basic), State - 81%

Kunkel Elementary School[edit]

John C. Kunkel Elementary School is located at 2401 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 433 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 39% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 10% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[145] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[146] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2013, the school's enrollment was 433 pupils in grades Kindergarten through 5th, with 33.9% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 11.7% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1.6% are identified as gifted.[147] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school has provided full day kindergarten since 2003.[148] The School is not a federally designated Title I school.

In 2010, Kunkel Elementary School had 379 pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 100 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 27 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[149] In 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[135]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 72% of 5th grade students at Kunkle Area Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 51% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 55% were on grade level in reading, while 32% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 76% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 81% were on grade level in reading and 62% were on grade level in mathematics.[150] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[151]

2014 School Performance Profile

Kunkel Elementary School achieved a score of 68.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 70.9% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 74% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72.9% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 81.9% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 45% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[152]

2013 School Performance Profile

Kunkel Elementary School achieved a score of 77.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 73% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 80% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 81% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 80% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 70% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[153]

PSSA history
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 92%, (2% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 90%, (2% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 92%, (5% below basic), State - 81%

Reid Elementary School[edit]

Robert G. Reid Elementary School is located at 201 Oberlin Road, Middletown. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 466 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 60% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[158] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[159] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2013, Reid Elementary School's enrollment was 451 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 53% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.7% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[160] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school has provided full day kindergarten since 2003.[161] The School is the lowest achieving school in the District.

In 2010, Reid Elementary School enrolled 464 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 235 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The School employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[162]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 52% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 30% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 44% were on grade level in reading, while 28% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 70% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 60% were on grade level in reading and 50% were on grade level in mathematics. Among 6th graders, % were on grade level in reading and % were on grade level in mathematics.[163] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[164]

2014 School Performance Profile

Reid Elementary School achieved a score of 70.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 62% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, just 71% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, only 62.6% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 41.5% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[165]

2013 School Performance Profile

Reid Elementary School achieved a score of 69.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 64% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, just 73% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, only 69% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 79% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 43% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[166]

AYP history

In 2010 through 2012, the Reid Elementary School achieved AYP status, through special exceptions.[167]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 85%, (4% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 72%, (4% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 84%, (4% below basic), State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Middletown Area School District administration reported that 387 pupils or 15.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 40.6% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[171] In December 2012, the District administration reported that 380 pupils or 15.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 43% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[172] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 427 pupils or 17% of the district's pupils received special education services.[173]

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.[174] Middletown Area School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2003. The District has seen an increase in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

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 Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance 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 verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[175]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 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.[176] 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.[177] 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.[178] 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.[179] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[180]

Middletown Area School District received a $1,529,979 supplement for special education services in 2010.[181] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[182][183] For the 2014-2015 school year, Middletown Area School District received an increase to $1,574,427 from the Commonwealth for special education funding, even though the number of pupils served had declined.[184]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 79 or 3.39% of its students were gifted in 2009.[185] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[186]

Wellness policy[edit]

Middletown Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Student Wellness Policy 246.[187][188] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[189] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[190] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[191] In the summer of 2014 it is participating in the Summer Food Service Program which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A free lunch is available to all pupils.[192]

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.[193] 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.[194] In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[195] 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.[196]

Middletown Area School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[197][198] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[199]

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.[200]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Middletown Area School District was $58,366 a year.[201] Middletown Area School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[202] After 40 years of service, a teacher can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[203]

In 2007, the District employed 186 teachers and the average teacher salary in the district was $51,724 for 180 days worked.[204] 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.[205] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, and other benefits.[206] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[207]

In September 2010, Middletown Area School Board approved an increase in Superintendent Richard Weinstein’s 2010-11 salary from $135,105 to $139,700, retroactive to July 1, 2010.[208] In July 2012, Richard Weinstein retired.[209] In December 2014, MIddletown School Board approved a retroactive pay raise for Superintendent Lori Suski. Suski is in the third year of a five-year contract and will be paid $137,183.95.[210]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Middletown Area School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $14,270 which ranked 91st among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, Middletown's per pupil spending had increased to $15,069.09.[211] Among the 50 states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[212] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[213]

Administration spending Middletown Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $996.19 per pupil. The District was ranked 61st among Pennsylvania's 500 districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[214] In 2007 the school board contracted with Richard P. Weinstein as superintendent. He was given a 5-year contract with a salary of $125,096; raises to be based on an annual evaluation. The terms include that the board cannot cut his pay. He is also getting an extensive benefits package. Additionally, the Board must provide a 1-year notice regarding ending the contract. The contract ends June 30, 2012.[215]

Reserves In 2008, Middletown Area School District reported $1,597,904 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $888,475.[216] In 2010, Middletown Area Administration reported an increase to $2,980,508 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance had increased to $1,537,329. Pennsylvania school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[217]

Audit In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[218]

Sports construction In 2011, Middletown Area School Board approved the construction of two soccer fields at an estimated cost of $420,222.[219]

Tuition Students who live in the Middletown Area School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $10,486.19, High School - $10,954.10.[220]

Highspire annexation In 2014, a group of Highspire taxpayers successfully circulated a petition to secede from the Steelton-Highspire School District. They point to chronic low student achievement coupled with District mismanagement and fiscal shortfalls.[221] They sought to join neighboring Middletown Area School District. The Board of the MIddletown Area School District opposed the petition in Dauphin County court pointing to their own low student academic achievement.[222] The Steelton-Highspire School Board opposes the petition as does the District's administration. A Dauphin County County judge approved the petition to shift. The process moved to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in January 2015.[223] In recent years several other communities have successfully shifted from one public school districts to another.

Middletown Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax - 1.25%; Local Services tax- Lower Swatara Township - $5 and $10 for Middletown Borough and Royalton Borough;[224] 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. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless the individual's level of wealth.[225] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[226]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Middletown Area School District receives 32.3% of its annual revenue from the state.[227]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,696,280 to Middletown Area School District, in January 2016.[228] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[229] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[230][231][232]

For the 2014-15 school year, Middletown Area School District received $7,424,369 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $293,510 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[233] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[234]

In the 2013-14 school year, Middletown Area School District received a 1.9% increase or $7,430,402 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $ more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Middletown Area School District received $163,913 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Dauphin County, Derry Township School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 5.4%. All public school districts have the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[235] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[236] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[237]

For the 2012-13 school year, Middletown Area School District received $7,289,962 in state Basic Education funding.[238] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. Middletown Area School District received $163,913 in ABG funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[239] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Middletown Area School District received $7,288,846 in state Basic Education Funding.[240] Additionally, the District received $163,913 in Accountability Block Grant funding and $337,611 reimbursement for social security payments. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[241] 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.[242] In 2010, the district reported that 765 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[243]

For the 2010-11 school year, Middletown Area School District received 6.07% increase in state Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,076,297. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest percentage increase in Dauphin County was again awarded to Susquehanna Township School District which received a 15.89% increase. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[244] 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 receives is determined by Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[245]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.17% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,613,480 to the Middletown Area School District. The district also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low-income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. Three school districts in Dauphin County received an increase in excess of 5%. In Dauphin County, the highest 2009 state funding increase was 10.66% for Susquehanna Township School District. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest increase in the commonwealth at 22.31%.[246] The amount of increase each school district receives was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[247]

The state Basic Education funding to the Middletown Area School District in 2008-09 was $7,239,141.19. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 799 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[248]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; transportation subsidy, PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[249] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[250]

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 Middletown Area School District applied for and received $444,901 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year, to fund interventions for struggling students and to pay for teacher training.[251]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[252] Middletown Area School District received $293,510 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, state Special Education funding, PreK Counts funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

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. Middletown Area School District did not apply in 2006-07 nor in 2007-08. Middletown Area School District received $110,962 in 2008-09.[253]

Project 720[edit]

Project 720 was a high school reform program implemented for three years under the Rendell administration. The intent was to increase academic rigor and improve the instruction of teachers in the Commonwealth’s high schools. Teachers were expected to use data driven instructional practices and to meet the needs of diverse learners.[254] The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades. High school’s applied for funding and were required to agree to report to the PDE their plans, their actions and the outcomes. In 2007-08 budget year, the Commonwealth provided $11 million in funding. Middletown Area School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $52,000 funding over three years.[255][256] For 2010-11, Project 720 funding was decreased to $1.7 million by Governor Rendell. The grant program was discontinued effective with the 2011-12 state budget.[257]

Other state grants[edit]

Middletown Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[258][259] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[260] Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[261] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[262] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal grants[edit]

Middletown Area School District received an extra $1,654,853 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[263] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[264] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Middletown Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would bring the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[265] 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.[266] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[267]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is provide each child in public schools with “Highly Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[268] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[269] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Middletown Area School District received $90,596 in federal Title II funding.[270] In 2014-15, Middletown Area School District applied for and received $84,454.[271]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[272] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[273]

In 2012-13, Middletown Area School District received $11,814 in Title III funding for English language learners.[274] For 2014-15, Middletown Area School District received $9,695 in Title III funding.[275]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

Middletown Area 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.[276] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Building sold[edit]

Mansberger Elementary School was sold to developer Kutztown Group Holdings for $407,900 in January 2009.[277] The district had hoped to get $700,000, but a sharp decline in local and national property values influenced the negotiated sale price.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Middletown Area School Board set property tax rates in 2015-16 at 22.1500 mills.[278] 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 all government property (local, state and federal). Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. According to state tax policy, unlike other states, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[279]

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. On the local level, 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.[280] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[281] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[282]

The average yearly property tax paid by Dauphin County residents amounts to about 3.48% of their yearly income. Dauphin County ranked 382nd out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[293] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[294] 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%).[295] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[296]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010-2011 school year is 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.[297] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[298] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[299][300]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Middletown Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[301]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Middletown Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for special education cost and for its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[308]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Middletown Area School Board once again applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to the teachers' rapidly escalating pension 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).[309] 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.[310]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Middletown Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to the rising costs of the teachers' pension payment. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[311]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Middletown Area School Board apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating pension costs for teachers. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. In Area School District the approved real estate tax rate Increase due to exceptions was 3.7148 mills.[312]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Middletown Area School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating teacher pension costs, grandfathered debt and rising special education costs. Each year, the Middletown Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[313]

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.[314] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed SB330 which amended Act 1 2006 to eliminate many of the exceptions that permitted school districts to exceed the Act 1 limit. School boards will likely need to go to voter referendum for future construction spending, unless they have a sufficient reserves to cover the costs.[315]

For the 2010-11 budget, Middletown Area School Board applied for several exceptions to increase taxes above the index limit, including school construction costs and pension costs.[316]

For the 2009-10 school budget, Middletown Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Index, due to the rapidly rising cost of the teachers' health insurance premiums.[317] 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.[318]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Middletown Area School District approved 4,524 homestead properties received $204.[319] The decline in amount was related to more residents applying for tax relief and a decline in table games tax revenues. The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[320]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Middletown Area School District was $210 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4,392 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres 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.[321]

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, so people who make 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.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The school district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy The district mascot is a Blue Raider and the colors are blue and gold. The high school and middle school participate in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The school's marching band is the Blue Wave Marching Band.

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.[322]

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.[323][324][325]

Spring Musicals[edit]

Year Show 2008
2007 Bye Bye Birdie
2006 Once Upon a Mattress
2005 Fiddler on the Roof
2004 Honk!
2003 Grease
2002 Damn Yankees
2001 Oliver!
2000 Hello, Dolly!
1999 The Music Man
1988 Annie
1987 Oliver!
1986 no performing arts program
1985 Trixie True, Teen Detective

Sports[edit]

Sports scores and calendars are available at the following link: * Middletown Sports In 2001, the boys soccer team won the Class "AA" State title. Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[326] Article XVI-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania, including Middletown Area School District. 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.[327]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[328][329]

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2014[330]

Famous Alumni[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]