Millersburg Area School District

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Millersburg Area School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
799 Center Street
Millersburg, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County 17061
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent

Thomas J Haupt, contract May 11, 2015 to June 30, 2019[1]

former Super Sheree-Lee S. Knorr M'Ed ($107,635 in 2010), $112,480 in 2012
Administrator

Erin Hepworth, Special Education Supervisor
Mrs Cathy Artz - Business Manager salary $82,688 in 2012
Jeffrey L. Prouse, Director of Student Services and Athletics salary $94,235 2012
Eric S Petery - IMS Director, salary $68,565 in 2012

Angelo, Gaynelle, Supervisor salary $69,651 in 2012
Principal

David C Shover, SHS

formerStephen A. Herman, High School Principal salary $82,800 in 2012
Principal Jennifer T. Wicht, Middle School Principal
Principal Michael A. Lyter, Elementary Principal
Head teacher Brian W. Campbell, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor salary $64,896 in 2012
Staff 50 staff (2015), 52 staff (2011)
Faculty 74 teachers 2015,[2] 76 teachers (2011)[3]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

819 pupils (2015),[4]
825 pupils (2014)[5]
855 pupils (2013)
862 pupils (2009–10)[6]

949 pupils (2006-2007)[7]
 • Kindergarten 53 (2014),[8] 82 (2012) 73 (2010)
 • Grade 1 57 (2012) 55
 • Grade 2 58 (2012) 59
 • Grade 3 57 (2012) 79
 • Grade 4 71 (2012) 66
 • Grade 5 58 (2012) 49
 • Grade 6 81 (2012) 77
 • Grade 7 74 (2012) 65
 • Grade 8 52 (2012) 62
 • Grade 9 69 (2012) 64
 • Grade 10 74 (2012) 76
 • Grade 11 60 (2012) 62
 • Grade 12 61 (2012) 75 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected by PDE to be 900 in 2019[9]
Language English
Mascot Indians
Budget

$14,446,918 (2015-16)[10]
$13,216,238[11]
$12,677,348 in 2011-12[12]

$12.2 million (2008–09)
Per Pupil Spending

$14,401.93 (2012)[13]
$14,094.41 (2010)

$12,427 (2008)
Website

The Millersburg Area School District is a small, rural, public school district located in the northwestern portion of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. It encompasses the borough of Millersburg and Upper Paxton Township. Millersburg Area School District encompasses approximately 32 square miles (83 km2). According to 2007 local census data, it served a resident population of 6,420. By the 2010 federal census data, the District's resident population grew to 6,721. The educational attainment levels for the Millersburg Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 82.1% high school graduates and 13.5% college graduates.[14]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 33.8% 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.[15] In 2009, Millersburg Area School District residents' per capita income was $18,447, while the median family income was $45,919.[16] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[17] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[18] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[19]

According to Millerburg Area School District officials, the District provided basic educational services to 849 pupils in 2009-10. The District employed: 83 teachers, 36 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. The District received $5.4 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year. In school year 2007-08, the Millersburg Area School District provided basic educational services to 927 pupils. In 2008, the District employed of 84 teachers, 33 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators. Millersburg Area School District received more than $5.3 million in state funding for the school year 2007-08.

Millersburg Area School District operates one elementary school and one combined junior/senior high school. High school students may choose to attend Dauphin County Vo Tech for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Capital Area Intermediate Unit IU15 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Millersburg Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serving four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[20] The federal government controls the 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 public school districts focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and mathematics skills. 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.[21] Millersburg Area School District has failed to comply with this state mandate in 2015 and 2016.[22]

Millersburg Area School District's 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 regrading renewal of the employment contract.

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.[23]

Academic achievement[edit]

Opportunity Scholarship - lowest achieving schools

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one Millersburg Area School District school as remaining among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[24] Included on the list was Millersburg Area HIgh School. Five hundred fifty-two (552) public schools were on the list for 2016. The program empowers eligible students residing within the boundaries of a low-achieving school to apply for a scholarship to attend another public or nonpublic school.

In May 2015, the PDE released its annual report identifying Millersburg Area High School as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[25] One hundred four (104) Pennsylvania public school districts had one or more schools on the list. In April 2014, the PDE identified Millersburg Area School District's high school as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[26] In Dauphin County, Harrisburg School District and Steelton-Highspire School District also had schools on the lowest academic achievement list.

In 2013, Millersburg Area High School was among the 15% lowest achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[27] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[28]

Statewide academic ranking

In 2016, Millersburg Area School District ranked 239th out of 494 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[29] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[30] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

Overachievers ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Millersburg Area School District ranked 435th. 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." [38]

  • 2012 - 448th
  • 2011 - 460th
  • 2010 - 434th [39]
  • 2009 - 470th

In 2009, Millersburg Area School District student academic achievement ranked in the 48th percentile among 500 PA school districts. (0-99; 100 is state best)[40]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Millersburg Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[41] In 2011, Millersburg Area School District also 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 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.[42] Millersburg Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2003 to 2010.[43]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, the graduation rate at Millersburg Area School District declined to 78%.[44]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school[edit]

Millersburg Area Senior High School is located at 799 Center Street, Millersburg. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 256 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 30% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 13% of pupils received special education services, while 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[51] The school employed 25 teachers, with a pupil teacher ratio of 10:1.[52] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In 2013, enrollment was reported as 264 students in grades 9th through 12th inclusive, with 26% from a low income family. Nine percent of students received special education services. Ninety eight percent (98%) of the teachers were rated highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In 2010, Millersburg Area Senior High School enrolled 275 students grades 9th through 12th, with 52 students receiving federal free or reduce price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 23 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[53] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 6 of its teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[54]

2015 School Performance Profile

Millersburg Area Senior High School achieved 80.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.The PDE reported that 87% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 73.7% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 74% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[55] 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.[56][57]

2014 School Performance Profile

Millersburg Area High School achieved 74.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 72% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 60% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, only 62% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[58][59] 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%.[60]

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.[61] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[62][63]

2013 School Performance Profile

Millersburg Area High School achieved 78.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics, writing and science achievement. In reading/literature, 82.14% of students were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 62.07% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 52% of students were on grade level.[64] 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.[65]

AYP status history

In 2012, Millersburg Area High School again declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all the academic metrics for both: reading and mathematics. In 2011, Millersburg Area Senior High School achieved "AYP" status. In 2010, Millersburg Area High School was in "'Warning'" AYPstatus due to chronic, low student achievement.[66]

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.[67] In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[68]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 61% on grade level, (19% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[69]
  • 2011 - 67% (16% below basic). State - 69.1% [70]
  • 2010 - 64%, State - 66% [71]
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 65% [72]
  • 2008 - 77%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 78%, State - 65%[73]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 42% on grade level (41% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[74]
  • 2011 - 45% (38% below basic). State - 60.3% [75]
  • 2010 - 40%, State - 59%
  • 2009 - 54%, State - 56% [76]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 57%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[77]
  • 2011 - 45% (16% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 37%, State - 39% [78]
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 42%, State - 39% [79]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 42% of Millersburg 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.[80] 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.[81] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Millersburg Area School Board has determined that a student must earn 24.5 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Math 3 credits, Science 3 credits, ArtsHumanities 2 credits, Physical education 1 credits, Health 0.5 credit, Safety education .25 credit and 7.75 credits in electives.[82]

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.[83] At Millersburg Area School District students are required to perform 20 hours of approved service to the school or community.[84] The students must perform various tasks related to their project and submit them to the school. 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.[85]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[86] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[87] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[88]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam, with those who do not pass, able to perform a project in order to graduate.[89][90] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[91] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[92] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Millersburg Area 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 at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[93] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[94] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $558 for the program.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Millersburg Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 495. The Math average score was 493. The Writing average score was 467.[95][96] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[97]

In 2013, 34 Millersburg Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 501. The Math average score was 494. The Writing average score was 469. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[98]

In 2012, 38 Millersburg Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 493. The Math average score was 478. The Writing average score was 458. 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, 28 Millersburg Area students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 479. The Math average score was 471. The Writing average score was 457.[99] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[100] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[101]

Online learning[edit]

The school administration has implemented an online learning program called Capital Area Online Learning Association. It is provided through the area's Capital Area Intermediate Unit #15. In 2011, twenty central Pennsylvania region school districts and charter schools were participating in the virtual education program.[102]

Middle school[edit]

Millersburg Area Middle School is located at 799 Center Street, Millersburg. In 2015, enrollment was 201 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 43% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 13.9% of pupils received special education services, while 4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[103] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[104] In 2013, enrollment rose to 207 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 38% of students receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty.

In 2010, the school had 196 students enrolled in grades 6th through 8th, with 45 students receiving federal free or reduce price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 22 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 8:1.[105] 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.[106]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that just 61% of 8th grade students at Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 16% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 72% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 62% were on grade level in reading, while 24% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 67% were on grade level in reading and only 26% were on grade level in mathematics.[107] 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.[108]

2014 School Performance Profile

Millersburg Area Middle School achieved 73.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 78% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 81% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 72% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, only 63% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[109]

2013 School Performance Profile

Millersburg Area Middle School achieved 69 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 72% were on grade level in reading. In mathematics 78.79% showed on grade level skills. In science, just 59% of 8th graders were on grade level. In writing, 47% demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[110]

AYP status history

In 2009 through 2012, Millersburg Area Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status each school year.[111][112] The attendance rate was declined to 94% in 2010. In 2009, the attendance rate was 95.6%.[113]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 70% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 60% (18% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 56% (26% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 63%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 56%, State - 52% [118]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Millersburg Area School District implemented dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[121] 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.[122]

Lenkerville Elementary School[edit]

Lenkerville Elementary School is located at 520 South Market Street, Millersburg. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 362 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 47% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while 0.3% are identified as gifted.[123] 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 half day kindergarten.[124] The school is a federally designated Title I school. In 2013, enrollment was 384 students with 47% of pupils receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty. 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.

In 2010, Lenkerville Elementary School enrolled 384 students grades kindergarten through 5th, with 134 students receiving federal free or reduce price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 32 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[125] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[126] The school provided half day kindergarten.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 68% of 5th grade students at Lenkervville Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 44% of 5th grade students showed on grade level math skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 71% were on grade level in reading, while 61% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 96% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 79% were on grade level in reading and 69% were on grade level in mathematics.[127] 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.[128]

2014 School Performance Profile

Lenkerville Elementary School achieved a score of 78.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 76% 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, 84% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 96% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 49% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[129]

2013 School Performance Profile

Lenkerville Elementary School achieved 86.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, 73.86% were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In mathematics, 88.64% on grade level skills in grades 3rd through 5th. In 4th grade science, 90% showed on grade level understanding. In writing, 78% of students were on grade level.[130]

AYP Status History

In 2009 through 2012, Lenkerville Elementary School achieved "AYP" status.[131][132] The attendance rate was 95% in both 2010 and 2009.[133] In 2012 the school's attendance rate rose to 96%.[134]

4th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 94%, 64% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 - 91%, 52% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 91%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 91%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 89%, State - 81%

Enrollment and Consolidation[edit]

The enrollment at Millerburg Area School District is among the lowest 8% of public school districts in Pennsylvania. Department of Education enrollment projections do not anticipate a growth in enrollment for the next decade.[141] From 2007 to 2015 the District's enrollment declined by more than 100 pupils. A Standard and Poors 2007 study found that an optimal school district size, to constrain administration costs, was 3000 pupils. Consolidation of administrations with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.[142] According to a 2009 proposal by Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improving high school student academic achievement, enriching the curriculum programs or to reducing local property taxes.[143]

A state study was conducted in 2006, examining consolidating school administration of Halifax Area School District with Millersburg Area School District administration. The projected savings was over $1,600,000. The study also examined a consolidation with Line Mountain School District which also yielded significant savings for local taxpayers.[144] A third consolidation option was with neighboring Upper Dauphin Area School District which saved over $1,000 per pupil. The study noted that consolidation could significantly decrease school administrative costs for the communities while significantly improving offerings to students.

More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools (middle schools and high schools) in Pennsylvania are experiencing significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[145] Pennsylvania Department of Education data shows that from 1999-2000 to 2008-09 there has been a 12 percent increase in public school staff even as there was a 1 percent decline in enrollment. Pennsylvania schools added 17,345 professional employees and 15,582 support workers over this time, while enrollment declined by 26,960.[146] Total public school enrollment in 2009 was 1,787,351 pupils.

Pennsylvania continues to experience a steady exodus of young people and a loss of population that has resulted in the loss of seats in the US Congress.[147] Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[148][149] In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.[150]

In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[151] Pennsylvania had 2,361 public school districts in 1959. The state compelled mergers reducing the number to 505 by 1980. Mergers slowed through the 1980s after a 1981 court order desegregated and combined the Edgewood, General Braddock, Swissvale, Churchill and Turtle Creek districts into the Woodland Hills district.[152]

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, Millersburg Area School District administration reported that 120 pupils or 14.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 37.5% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[153]

In December 2013, the District administration reported that 114 pupils or 13.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 35% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[154] In December 2012, the District administration reported that 110 pupils or 12.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 36% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[155]

In December 2011, Millersburg Area School District administration reported that 123 pupils or 14% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 42% of the identified students having an identified learning disability. In December 2010, Millersburg Area School District administration reported that 131 pupils or 15% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 46% of the identified students having an identified learning disability. In December 2009, the District administration reported that 120 pupils or 14% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[156]

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 Special Education Supervisor.[157]

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.[158] 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.[159] 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.[160] 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.[161] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[162]

Millersburg Area School District received a $540,283 supplement for special education services in 2010.[163] 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. 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.[164] For the 2014-15 school year, Millersburg Area School District received an increase to $551,421 from the Commonwealth for special education funding even though the numbers of pupils served has declined in MASD.[165] For 2016-17, MASD received $575,748 from the state for special education services.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 22 or 2.57% of its students were gifted in 2009.[166] 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.[167] 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.[168]

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 first.

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.[169]

In 2014, the average teacher salary in MASD rose to $53,228.28.[170] In 2012, the average teacher salary in Millersburg Area School District was $50,336 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $19,943 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $70,280.[171]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Millersburg Area School District was $52,259 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $19,421 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $71,680.[172] 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.[173] In 2011-12, the District's budget had across-the-district pay freezes for all administrators, teachers, classified employees, coaches and every school employee for one year.

In 2009, Millersburg Area School District reported employing 91 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $53,733 and a top salary of $107,635.[174] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 45 minutes with a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily prep period, with 190 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[175]

In November 2008, the school board approved a five-year contract with the teachers' union that includes 3% raises for 3 years followed by a 3.5% increase the final two years. The contract began July 2009.[176] The contract calls for 190 working days with 9 as faculty inservice days. The contract calls for an extensive benefits package which includes: a defined benefit pension (PSERS), health insurance (teacher contributes $5–$10 per pay), prescription insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, liability insurance, 2 paid personal days (which accumulate), 10 paid sick days (which accumulate), 5 paid bereavement leave days, reimbursement for college courses, and an early retirement bonus of $6,000 to $10,000 depending on length of employment and $60 per day for accumulated unused sick days up to 125 days.[177]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in Millersburg Area School District was $47,048 for 180 days worked.[178]

Per pupil spending Millersburg Area School District administrative costs in 2008 were $1,140 per pupil. The Millersburg Area School District was ranked 29th among Pennsylvania's 500 districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[179] In 2009, the district reported the superintendent's salary was $100,000.[180]

In 2008, Millersburg Area School District per pupil spending was $12,427. This ranked 231st in 500 Pennsylvania public school districts.[181] by 2010, the per pupil spending rose to $14,094.41.[182] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[183] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[184]

Reserves In 2008, the Millersburg Area School District reported a balance of $200,000 in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,661,910. [185] In 2010, Millersburg Area Administration reported an increase to $1,898,020 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance, with a $400,000 unreserved-designated fund. In June 2012, the District reported $1,413,319 in reserves.[186] 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. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[187] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[188]

Audit In September 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Results were reported to the school board and administration.[189]

Tuition Students who live in the Millersburg 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 Millersburg 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 - $10,234.48, High School - $11,647.38.[190]

Millersburg Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local income tax 0.5%, a $250 annual Occupation tax if earned income is greater than $3000, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, per capita taxes $10, 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. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[191] 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.[192] Pension income, investment income and social security income are not included in the District's occupation tax.

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Millersburg Area School District receives 44.5% of its annual revenue from the state.[193]

For the 2016-17 school year, Millersburg Area School District received $3,946,733 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a 1.1% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Dauphin County was 10.8% awarded to Derry Township School District under the state’s Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania once again increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[194] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[195] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher’s pension fund.[196]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $1,866,397 to Millersburg Area School District, in January 2016.[197] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[198] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[199][200][201]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[202] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Millersburg Area School District received $3,900,090 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.53% increase yielding a $99,046 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $111,356 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[203]

For the 2014-15 school year, Millersburg Area School District received an increase to $3,871,690 in State Basic Education Funding. The District also received another $99,046 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.[204] 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.[205]

For the 2013-14 school year, Millersburg Area School District received a 1.4% increase or $3,871,060 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $52,000 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Millersburg Area School District received $46,262 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, South Fayette Township School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 5.5%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[206] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[207]

For the 2012-13 school year, Millersburg Area School District received an increase to $3,865,322 in state BEF dollars.[208] 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. Millersburg Area School District received $46,262 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[209] 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.

For the 2011-12 school year, Millersburg Area School District received $3,819,060 in state Basic Education Funding.[210][211] Additionally, the District received $46,262 in Accountability Block Grant funding. 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.[212] In 2010, the District reported that 224 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch.

For the 2010-11 school year, the Millersburg Area School District received a 3.22% increase in state basic education funding (BEF) for a total of $4,105,973.[213] Among school districts in Dauphin County, the highest increase went to Susquehanna Township School District which received a 15.89% increase in BEF. In Pennsylvania 150 school districts received the base 2% increase. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the largest, a 23.65% increase. 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 public school district received was determined by then 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.This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[214]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.16% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $3,977,943 to the Millersburg 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%. Ninety school districts in Pennsylvania received a base 2% increase in state funding in 2009. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Ed Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[215]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Millersburg Area School District in 2008-09 was $3,819,059.77. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 184 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[216] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[217][218]

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 $125,566 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Millersburg Area School District uses the funding to reduce class size in K-3rd grade and to provide teacher training to improve instruction through the use of research based programs.[219][220]

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.[221]

In 2016-17, Millersburg Area School District received $127,733 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

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. Millersburg Area School District was one of 50 out of 500 PA public school districts that failed to apply for the grants.[222] The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of his 2009-10 state budget.

Other state grants[edit]

The Millerburg Area School District did not apply to participate in: PreK Counts preschool grants, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection environmental education annual grants; Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[223] 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[224] Project 720 High School Reform grants;[225] nor the 2012 and 2013 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant.[226]

Federal grants[edit]

Millersburg Area School District received an extra $721,236 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[227] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[228] 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]

Millersburg 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.[229] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic achievement. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[230] 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.[231]

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.[232] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[233] 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, Millersburg Area School District received $40,372 in federal Title II funding.[234] In 2014-15, Millersburg Area School District applied for and received $38,109.[235]

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.[236] 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 2016-17 were raised to 19.5974 mills, by the Millersburg Area School Board.[237] Tax rates are set as a part of the annual school budget process which must be passed by June 30 of each year. 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. According to state tax policy, unlike other states, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes. 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.[238] 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. 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.[239] 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.[240]

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.[250] 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.[251] The median property tax in Dauphin County was $2,357 in 2011. 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%).[252][253]

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.[254]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[255] Several 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.[256][257] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

The School District Adjusted Index for the Millersburg Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[258]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit.[265] Statewide 299 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2016-17.

For the 2015-16 budget year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[266]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[267] 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.[268]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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 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 their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[269]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. 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.[270]

For the 2011-12 school year, Millersburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Millersburg Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[271]

According to a state report, for the 2011-12 school year budgets, 247 Pennsylvania public 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.[272]

The Millersburg School Board also did not seek exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the 2010-11 school year.[273] 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.[274]

In 2007, the Millersburg School Board adopted a resolution to not exceed the assigned Act 1 limit.[275]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2015, Millersburg Area School District approved 1,667 homestead properties to receive $151.[276] The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[277] Farmers with 10 acres or more may apply for a second allocation of the tax relief. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $653 per homestead and farmstead in 2015.

In 2014, Millersburg Area School District approved 1,664 homestead properties to receive $151.[278]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Millersburg Area School District was $150 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,669 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Dauphin County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Harrisburg School District at $446.[279] 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Dauphin County, just 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[280] 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.[281] According to a report released by the Pennsylvania Auditor General, in Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[282]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for several groups of low income Millersburg Area School District residents including: residents aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently individuals whose income is 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.[283]

Wellness policy[edit]

Millersburg Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[284][285] 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 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.[286] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Millersburg Area School District has served a free breakfast to low-income children since 2009.[287] Additionally, the District provides 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.[288] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[289]

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.[290] 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 the lunch.[291]

Millersburg 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.[292] Nurses also monitor each child's weight and report the data to the state.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.[293] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[294]

Bullying Policy[edit]

In 2009, the Millersburg School District reported zero incidents of bullying in the previous school year, although since then there have been several cases that students feel have not been properly addressed.[295][296]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. A policy approved in March 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.[297] 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.[298] 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.[299]

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.[300]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Millersburg Area School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility to participate is determined by the school board in policy.[301] For 2015-16, the Board budgeted over $328,000 for student activities.[302]

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.[303]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities at Millersburg Area School District, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[304][305][306]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[307] Millersburg Area School District must provide its athletics disclosure form on its web site. 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.[308]

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.[309][310]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015 [311]

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