School District of Lancaster

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This article is about the Pennsylvania district. For other school districts with similar names, see Lancaster School District (disambiguation).
School District of Lancaster
Location
Lancaster County
Pennsylvania

United States
District information
Grades preschool to 12th grade
Established 1836
Superintendent Pedro Rivera[1] 2008 to 2015[2]
Matt Przywara, CFO[3]
Budget $185,106,035 (2014-15)[4]
$170 million (2012-13)[5]
$162 million (2009-10)
Students and staff
Students 11,127 pupils (2014)[6]
10,851 pupils (2011)[7]
10,920 pupils
Teachers 765 teachers (2012)
Staff 628 non teaching staff (2012)
Other information
per pupil spending $13,324 (2008)
per pupil spending $14,606.43 (2010)[8]
per pupil spending $15,275.60 (2012)
Website www.lancaster.k12.pa.us
Map of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

The School District of Lancaster is a large, urban school district of 11,300 students educated in 19 schools in central Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[9] Established in 1836, it is the second oldest school district in the state.[9] School District of Lancaster encompasses approximately 11 square miles (28 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 70,348. By 2010, the District's population increased to 74,989 people.[10] The School District of Lancaster serves a racially and economically diverse population of students: 55.5% Hispanic, 22.7% African American, 19.5% Caucasian, 2.3% Asian/other. The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 78.5% high school graduates and 20.5% college graduates.[11]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 80.8% 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.[12] In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $16,273 a year, while the median family income was $38,429.[13] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [14] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[15] In Lancaster County, the median household income was $54,765.[16] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[17]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the School District of Lancaster provided basic educational services to 11,591 pupils through the employment of 990 teachers, 524 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 129 administrators. The School District of Lancaster received more than $63.9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. The budget was $162 million for the 2009-2010 school year. The district is a member of Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit (IU) 13.

The District operates nineteen schools in 2014: one early childhood center, thirteen elementary schools, four middle schools, one high school campus and two alternative schools. It employs 1,620 staff members, including administrators, teachers, counselors, and support staff.[18] High school students may choose to attend Lancaster County Career and Technology Center for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit IU13 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]

The Lancaster 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.[19] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[20]

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.[21]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2014, the School District of Lancaster ranked 482nd out of 498 Pennsylvania districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[22] 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.[23] 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 2009, the academic achievement of the students of the School District of Lancaster was in the bottom 2 percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [29]

Opportunity Scholarship status[edit]

In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying fourteen Lancaster School District schools as among the lowest achieving schools in the state, in reading and mathematics.[30] The identified schools included: Carter Macrea Elementary School, Fulton Elementary School, George Washington Elementary School, Hamilton Elementary School, Hand Middle School, King Elementary School, Lafayette Elementary School, McCasket Campus, Phoenix Academy, Price Elementary School, Reynolds Middle School, Wheatland Middle School, Thomas Wharton Elementary School, and Burrows Elementary School.

In both 2012 and 2013, all the same Lancaster School District schools were 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.[31] 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.[32] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, nine public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Steelton-Highspire School District, Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[33] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, the Lancaster School District declined further to Corrective Action II Year 4 status due to its failure to improve student academic achievement.[34]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action II Year 3 status due to its failure to adequately improve student academic achievement.[35]
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement in reading and in mathematics.[36] The district administration was mandated by the state to develop a school improvement plan that focused on raising students' achievement. Nine of the district's school were required to permit students to transfer within the district to a better achieving school.
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action II first Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement in reading and in mathematics.[37]
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action 1 AYP status due to failure to raise student achievement[38]
  • 2007 - remained in School Improvement 2 AYP status due to lagging student achievement[39]
  • 2006 - remained in School Improvement 2 AYP status due to lagging student achievement[40] The district administration was mandated by the state to develop a school improvement plan that focused on raising students' achievement. Six of the district's school were required to permit students to transfer within the district to a better achieving school.
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement 2 AYP status due to persistent, lagging student achievement[41]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to persistent, lagging student achievement[42]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2014, the District’s graduation rate was 81%.[43]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High schools[edit]

The school district operates 2 high school buildings on a single campus. They are J. P. McCaskey High School and McCaskey East School. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 2,542 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 80% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 21% of pupils received special education services, while 2.8% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 195 teachers.[52] Per the PA Department of Education, 94% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The school is a Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the Schools reported an enrollment of 2,686 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 1,982 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2011, the School employed 194 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[53] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 75 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[54]

2014 School Performance Profile

McCaskey High Schools Campus achieved 61.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - just 46% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 37.7% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, only 27% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[55][56] 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%.[57]

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.[58] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[59][60]

2013 School Performance Profile

McCaskey High Schools achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 49.6% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 34.8% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology, 15.18% showed on grade level science understanding.[61] 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.[62]

AYP status

In 2012, McCaskey Campus declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year AYP status due to missing all but 2 academic metrics of the 14 measured.[63]

  • 2011 - declined further to Corrective Action II 5th Year in 2011.[64]
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year in 2010 as a result of continuing very low achievement of its pupils.
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year due to chronic low achievement of the pupils.[65] The school district was mandated to develop a school improvement plan to address the shortcomings, in the summer of 2009.[66] The J. P. McCaskey High School Campus year consists of two semesters, four marking periods of nine weeks each. J.P. McCaskey High School Campus is structured by Small Learning Communities, for grades 9 – 12, with each community focusing on a set of related career pathways.
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status[67]
  • 2007 - declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status[68]
  • 2006 - declined to Corrective Action I AYP status[69] The School's administration was required under No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the right to transfer their child to a better performing school in the district. However no better performing school was available.
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement II AYP status[70]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement I AYP status[71] The School's Administration was required by the PDE to develop a plan to improve student achievement and to provide after school tutoring for students.
  • 2003 - declined to Warning AYP status[72]
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.[73] 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.[74]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 20% on grade level, (44% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[75]
  • 2011 - 28% (33% below basic). State - 69.1%[76]
  • 2010 - 41% (38% below basic). State - 66%[77]
  • 2009 - 35% (42% below basic), State - 65%[78]
  • 2008 - 38% (43% below basic), State - 65%[79]
  • 2007 - 44% (37% below basic), State - 65%[80]
  • 2006 - 44%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 10% on grade level (35% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[81]
  • 2011 - 26% on grade level (30% below basic). State - 60.3%[82]
  • 2010 - 32%, (48% below basic). State - 59% [83]
  • 2009 - 25% (53% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 33% (43% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 39% (39% below basic), State - 53%
  • 2006 - 33.1%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 24% on grade level (20% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[84]
  • 2011 - 16% on grade level (46% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[85]
  • 2010 - 10%, (52% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 13% (53% below basic). State - 40% [86]
  • 2008 - 11% (53% below basic). State - 39%

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards both 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.[87] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[88] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[89] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $43,304 for the program.[90]

SAT scores[edit]

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

From January to June 2011, 296 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 400. The Math average score was 409. The Writing average score was 367.[91] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[92] 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.[93]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The School District of Lancaster School Board has determined that a high school student must earn 24.2 credits in order to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Art or Music 0.5 credit, World Language 2 credits and 5.5 elective credits.[94]

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.[95]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[96][97][98]

International baccalaureate program[edit]

McCaskey High School participates in the International Baccalaureate Program since July 1997. The PreIB curriculum offers honors level courses in grades 9 and 10 as preparation for the IB courses. The International Baccalaureate Program is a very rigorous, preuniversity two year curriculum offered to students during grades 11 and 12. Students who fulfill the academic and community service requirements and obtain at least 24 of the 45 points on the required exams receive a diploma from the International Baccalaureate in addition to their McCaskey Diploma. The first students who received an IB Diploma graduated in June, 2000.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 52% of Lancaster High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[99] 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.[100] 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.

Hand Middle School[edit]

Hand Middle School is located at 431 South Ann Street, Lancaster. In 2014, enrollment was 489 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 93% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 19.8% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[101] Hand Middle School is a federally designated Title I school. 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]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2010, the school had 468 pupils enrolled in grades 6th through 8th, with 434 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 50 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 9:1.[103]

2014 School Performance Profile

Hand Middle School achieved 69 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 48% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 66.8% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 35.5% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, just 31% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[104]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hand Middle School achieved 52.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 40% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 54.4% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 17% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 24.5% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[105] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP status

In 2012, Hand Middle School declined further to Corrective Action II 6th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to missing 5 academic metrics out of 12 measured.[106]

  • 2011 - declined further to Corrective Action II 5th Year AYP status.[107] The school was required under No Child Left Behind to inform parents that they could transfer their child to a satisfactorily performing middle school within the district.
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year AYP status due to chronically low student achievement.
  • 2009 - declined further to Corrective Action II 3rd Year due to chronically low student achievement.[108] The attendance rate was 93% in both 2009 and 2010.[109]
  • 2008 - declined further to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status
  • 2007 - declined further to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status
  • 2006 - Making Progress Corrective Action I AYP status
  • 2005 - declined further to Corrective Action I AYP status
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level II AYP status
  • 2003 - School Improvement level I AYP status
PSSA Results:

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, as a state initiative.[110] 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.[111] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[73] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[112]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 12% on grade level (60% below basic). State - 59%[119]
  • 2011 - 14% (71% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 15% (73% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 12% (66% below basic), State - 55% [120]
  • 2008 - 18%, State - 52% [121]

2006 - Attendance at Hand Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 89.52%, barely better than the 89.00% scored in the prior year. Students were 38.4% proficient in math, 35.8% proficient in reading.[122]

Lincoln Middle School[edit]

Lincoln Middle School is located at 1001 Lehigh Ave. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2014, enrollment was 519 pupils, in grades 6th through 8, with % of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 85% of pupils received special education services, while 21% of pupils were identified as gifted.[123] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 92% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[124]

In 2010, Lincoln Middle School had 564 students with four hundred fifty six (456) students qualifying for the federal free lunch program due to family poverty. There were 51 teachers for a low 11:1 student to teacher ratio.[125]

2014 School Performance Profile

Lincoln Middle School achieved 61.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - just 55% of pupils were reading on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 66% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 32% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 50% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[126]

2013 School Performance Profile

Lincoln Middle School achieved 61.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 54% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 68.7% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 31% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 43.6% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[127] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP history

In 2012, Lincoln Middle School declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to chronic low student academic achievement.[128]

  • 2011 - Making Progress: in School Improvement II AYP status.[129]
  • 2010 - declined to School Improvement II AYP status due to ongoing low student achievement. Children were permitted to transfer to a better performing school in the district.
  • 2009 - Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status.[130] The attendance rate was 92% in both 2009 and 2010.[131]
  • 2008 - declined to School Improvement I AYP status. The administration was required to develop a plan to raise student achievement and to submit it to the PDE for approval.[132]
  • 2007 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging reading and math achievement
  • 2006 - achieved AYP status[133]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 23% on grade level (58% below basic). State - 59%[119]
  • 2011 - 26% (51% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 20% (60% below basic). State - 57% [136]
  • 2009 - 19% (56% below basic), State - 55% [120]
  • 2008 - 15%, State - 52% [121]

Attendance at Lincoln Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 91.82%, essentially the same as the 91.65% scored in the prior year. When reported school wide, students were 49.0% proficient in math, 51.5% proficient in reading.[137]

Reynolds Middle School[edit]

Reynolds Middle School is located at 605 W Walnut Street, Lancaster. In 2014, enrollment was 559 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 84% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 20% of pupils received special education services, while 1.6% of pupils were identified as gifted.[138] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 97% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[139]

In the 2010 school year, Reynolds Middle School reported there were 513 students grades 6th through 8th, with 421 students receiving a federal free lunch due to family poverty.[140] The school had 48 teacher for a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.

2014 School Performance Profile

Reynolds Middle School achieved 58.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - only 51% of students were reading on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 62% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 23% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, just 30% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[141]

2013 School Performance Profile

Reynolds Middle School achieved 63.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 49% of the students were reading on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 60% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 30% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 33% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[142]

AYP history

In 2012, Reynolds Middle School declined further to Corrective Action II 6th Year AYP status.[143]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action II 5th Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement.[144] The school was required under No Child Left Behind to inform parents that they could transfer their child to a satisfactorily performing middle school within the district.
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement.
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year AYP status.[145]
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status.[146]
  • 2007 - declined to Corrective Action II First Year AYP status.[145]
  • 2006 - Making Progress Corrective Action I AYP status
  • 2005 - declined to Corrective Action I AYP status
PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 24 on grade level (56% below basic). State - 59%[119]
  • 2011 - 22% (57% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 22% (66% below basic). State - 57% [136]
  • 2009 - 26% (51% below basic), State - 55% [120]
  • 2008 - 18%, State - 52% [121]

Attendance at Reynolds Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 89.54%, an improvement from the 88.57% scored in the prior year. Students were 56.3% proficient in math, 52.8% proficient in reading.[150]

Wheatland Middle School[edit]

Wheatland Middle School is located at 919 Hamilton Park Drive, Lancaster. In 2014, enrollment was 605 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 79% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.8% of pupils received special education services, while 2.9% of pupils were identified as gifted.[151] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 92% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[152]

In 2010, Wheatland Middle School had 638 students with four hundred sixty four students received a federal free lunch. There were 48 teachers.[153]

2014 School Performance Profile

Wheatland Middle School achieved 64.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 56% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 56.8% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, just 39% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, only 46% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[154]

2013 School Performance Profile

Wheatland Middle School achieved 63.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 53% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 55% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 32% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 48% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[155]

AYP history

In 2012, Wheatland Middle School declined further to Corrective Action II 4th Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement in both reading and math.[156]

  • 2011- declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement in both reading and math.[157] The school was required by No Child Left Behind, to inform parents that they could transfer their child to a satisfactorily performing middle school within the district.
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status due to continuing low student achievement.
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status.[158] The attendance rate was 95% in 2010 and 94% in 2009.[159]
PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 22% on grade level (51% below basic). State - 59%[119]
  • 2011 - 31% (49% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 32% (44% below basic). State - 57% [136]
  • 2009 - 25% (48% below basic), State - 55% [120]
  • 2008 - 23% (49% below basic), State - 52% [121]

Attendance at Wheatland Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 91.82%, essentially the same as the 91.21% scored in the prior year. Students were 42.3% proficient in math, 57.0% proficient in reading.[163]

Buehrle Alternative School[edit]

Serves grades 6th through 11th. Provides a program for students who do not do well in the traditional classroom setting due to serious behavioral problems. Students undergo an academic evaluation at the start of each school year. Students follow an individualized academic and behavioral improvement plan prepared by the staff. The school uses small class sizes and intensive remediation to improve student achievement with the goal to have students earn a high school diploma. In 2010, nearly 90 students were attending the school.

In 2011, the district contracted with a private company (Camelot Schools LLC ) to run the school for 3 years at a cost of $4.45 million.[164] An application, by Camelot Schools, LLC to convert the school to a charter school and combine it with the district's Phoenix Academy, was rejected by the school board in Spring 2011.[165]

Attendance at the Buehrle Alternative School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 80.72%. This was their first year of operation for Buehrle. Students are referred to Buehrle after discipline and programs have been exhausted.[166] Students were 13.5% proficient in math, 14.3% proficient in reading.[167]

Elementary Schools[edit]

Attendance at Burrowes Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 94.15%, essentially the same as the 94.46% scored in the prior year. Students were 56.0% proficient in math, 37.7% proficient in reading.[168]

Attendance at Carter Macrae Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 93.22%, essentially the same as the 93.27% scored in the prior year. Students were 56.3% proficient in math, 35.0% proficient in reading.[169]

Attendance at Elizabeth R Martin Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 96.17%, up from the 94.33% scored in the prior year. Students were 71.2% proficient in math, 57.5% proficient in reading.[170]

Attendance at Fulton Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 93.54%, slightly lower than the 94.52% scored in the prior year. Students were 59.2% proficient in math, 45.5% proficient in reading.[171]

Attendance at George Washington Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 93.33%, slightly higher than the 93.06% scored in the prior year. Students were 55.7% proficient in math, 40.8% proficient in reading.[172]

Attendance at Hamilton Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.00%, essentially the same as the 95.22% scored in the prior year. Students were 58.8% proficient in math, 41.9% proficient in reading.[173]

Attendance at James Buchanan Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.14%, slightly higher than the 94.89% scored in the prior year. Students were 77.8% proficient in math, 68.4% proficient in reading.[174]

Attendance at King Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 94.54%, slightly higher than the 94.14% scored in the prior year. Students were 49.8% proficient in math, 33.1% proficient in reading.[175]

Attendance at Lafayette Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.60%, essentially the same as the 94.15% scored in the prior year. Students were 57.0% proficient in math, 77.2% proficient in reading.[176]

Attendance at Price Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 93.99%, essentially the same as the 93.97% scored in the prior year. Students were 56.4% proficient in math, 42.2% proficient in reading.[177]

Attendance at Ross Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.03%, essentially the same as the 94.88% scored in the prior year. Students were 57.9% proficient in math, 46.4% proficient in reading.[178]

Attendance at Thomas Wharton Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 95.58%, slightly higher than the 94.58% scored in the prior year. Students were 70.1% proficient in math, 68.7% proficient in reading.[179]

Attendance at Wickersham Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 2005-2006 school year was 94.44%, essentially the same as the 94.37% scored in the prior year. Students were 69.7% proficient in math, 50.4% proficient in reading.[180]

Special education[edit]

In December 2012, the Lancaster School District administration reported that 1,987 pupils or 18.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 42% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[181] Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[182] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In December 2009, the Lancaster School District administration reported that 2,060 pupils or 18.3% of the district's pupils received special education services.[183][184]

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.[185] Lancaster School District has seen a slight decline in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding minimal savings.

In order to comply with state and federal laws, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.[186] To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Coordinator.

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.[187] 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.[188] 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.[189] 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.[190] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[191]

School District of Lancaster received a $8,715,043 supplement for special education services in 2010.[192] 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.[193][194] For the 2014-2015 school year, Lancaster School District will receive an increase to $8,910,085 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[195]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 285 or 2.40% of its students were gifted in 2009.[196] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[197]

School safety and bullying[edit]

In 2010, the administration reported there were 73 reported episodes of bullying in the district. Although there were 77 incidents of assault on students, no students were placed in Alternative Education. The district also reports there were 216 incidents of fighting, 18 sexual assaults and 101 cases of harassment or intimidation.[198][199]

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. School District of lancaster has posted its antibullying and cyberbullying policy in its website [200] 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.[201] 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.[202]

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.[203]

Failing schools[edit]

Of the 117 schools in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, only 13 failed to reach all their Adequate Yearly Progress goals, and six of them were in the School District of Lancaster.

King Elementary School achieved only 12 of their 17 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 33.1% reading proficiency overall
  • 33.5% reading proficiency among Latino/Hispanic students
  • 16.7% reading proficiency among those with limited English proficiency
  • 32.6% reading proficiency among the economically disadvantaged
  • 32.9% math proficiency among those with limited English proficiency

Price Elementary School achieved only 12 of their 13 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 42.2% reading proficiency overall

Burrowes School achieved only 10 of their 13 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 37.7% reading proficiency overall
  • 31.5% reading proficiency among Latino/Hispanic students
  • 33.1% reading proficiency among the economically disadvantaged

Wheatland Middle School achieved only 21 of their 23 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 31.3% math proficiency among African American students
  • 29.2% math proficiency among the economically disadvantaged

The McCaskey campuses achieved only 26 of their 29 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 56.83% graduation rate overall
  • 20.1% math proficiency among Latino/Hispanic students
  • 7.1% math proficiency among IEP/Special Education students

The Buehrle Alternative school achieved 3 of their 9 AYP goals. Their failures:

  • 86.4% participation in reading proficiency test overall
  • 88.3% participation in math proficiency test overall
  • 84.0% participation in reading proficiency test among Latino/Hispanic students
  • 84.0% participation in math proficiency test among Latino/Hispanic students
  • 89.3% participation in reading proficiency test among the economically disadvantaged
  • 89.3% participation in math proficiency test among the economically disadvantaged

Comparison to other Lancaster County school districts[edit]

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

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.[204]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Lancaster School District was $58,697 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $25,455 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $84,152.62.[205]

In 2009, the district reported employing over 1200 teachers and 21 administrators with a salary range of $43,000 to $164,800.[206]

In 2007, the district employed 723 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $51,333 for 180 days worked.[207] 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.[208] The work year is 189 days with student days limited to 182. Teachers' work day is limited to 7 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Work hours on Thursday and Fridays are 8 hours long. Additionally, Lancaster School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (teacher pays $15 a month), professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10-12 paid sick days (which accumulate), and many other benefits.[209] Officers and duly elected delegates of the teacher's union are released fkom school to attend meetings or conventions of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and National ducati ion Association and to attend to Association business to a maximum of 40 days per year.

Administration costs Lancaster School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $680.06 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[210] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[211]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the Lancaster School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $13,324 which ranked 149th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $14,192.70 [212] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[213] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[214]

Reserves In 2008, the Lancaster School District reported zero in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $6,132,140. [215] In 2010, Lancaster School District Administration reported an increase to $6,817,216 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. 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.[216] In 2014, the Lancaster School Board reported having $22,186,644 in reserves.[217]

Audit In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. In particular, the audit of professional employees’ certification and assignments found 19 individuals were employed without the proper certification.[218]

Tuition Students who live in the Lancaster 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 Lancaster School District's schools. The 2013 tuition rates are Elementary School - $9,149.43, High School - $11,560.82.[219]

The Lancaster School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. 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 individual’s personal wealth.[220] 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.[221]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Lancaster School District receives 42.3% of its annual revenue from the state.[222]

For the 2014-15 school year, Lancaster School District will receive $54,112,364 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $1,842,552 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.[223] 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.[224]

In the 2013-2014 school year, Lancaster School District received a 6.4% increase or $54,112,364 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $$3,269,336 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Lancaster School District received $910,964 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Lancaster County, Lancaster School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF. 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.[225] 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.[226] 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.[227]

For the 2012-13 school year, Lancaster School District received $50,822,921.[228] 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. Lancaster School District received an additional $910,964 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.[229] 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 2011-12 school year, Lancaster School District received a $48,405,632, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[230][231] Additionally, the Lancaster School District received $910,964 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[232] 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.[233] In 2010, the district reported that 8,689 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[234]

For the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.71% increase in Basic Education Funding to Lancaster School District, for a total of $47,800,907.37. Among the districts in Lancaster County, the highest increase went to Conestoga Valley School District which was awarded an 18.51% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11, went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state basic education funding.[235] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where enrollment had significantly declined.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.75% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $47,798,068. Among the districts in Lancaster County, the highest basic education funding increase went to Manheim Township School District which got a 7.26% increase. The State Basic Education Funding to Lancaster School District in 2008-09 was $45,199,217.82. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[236] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given in February.[237] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 8,928 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[238]

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 $2,472,583 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten.[239][240] The district has provided all day kindergarten since 2003.

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.[241]

Lancaster School District received $1,842,552 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant 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 to 2009. Lancaster School District was denied funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $1,009,236. The district received $184,141 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $1,193,377. Lancaster School District received the highest grant awarded in Lancaster County.[242] The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073.

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Lancaster School District receives state funding to provide taxpayer funded preschool at the elementary schools. For the 2013-14 school year, Lancaster School District received a Pre K Counts grant of 1,210,160.[243] For the 2011 school year, Lancaster School District was a high priority for funding due to the 72% poverty level of children in the district's attendance area.[244][245][246] Enrollment for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is targeted to children living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. In 2013, the state’s PreK Counts program received $87,284,000. In 2010, the PreK Counts program received $83.6 million statewide in Governor Corbett’s education budget. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. Lancaster School District received funding in 2007-08.[247] In 2009-10 the district received funding to provide preschool.[248][249]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Lancaster School District received $925,246.[250]

Environmental Education Grant[edit]

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that 5 percent (5%) of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department of Environmental Protection be set aside for environmental education. In 2011, Lancaster School District was awarded $3000 to take Martin Elementary School students on a one-day field trip to the Chesapeake Bay.[251]

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.[252] 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. Lancaster School District was one of 161 PA public school district to apply, receiving $150,000 in funding over three years.[253][254] 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.[255]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Martin Elementary School, Wickersham Elementary School and Price Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09.[256] For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[257] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[258] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[259] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The school district administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated for the program.[260] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state’s 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants 2012, 2013 or 2014;[261][262] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[263] 2013 Safe Schools grants; nor the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.[264]

Federal grants[edit]

Federal Stimulus ARRA grant[edit]

Lancaster School District received an extra $22,460,550 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[265] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[266] 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 textbooks, computers and software.

21st Century Learning after school grant[edit]

In July 2003 and 2004, Lancaster School District received a federal grant which was run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. The school received $750,000 in 2003 and $796,746 in 2004. Again in 2010, the District received $750,00. In 2011, the District received $500,000 and it got $500,000 in 2012. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved including eight charter schools. The funding is for the 2012-13 fiscal year.[267]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Lancaster School District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided several million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[268] Lancaster School District was designated a Turnaround district due to low student achievement. Since the school is among the lowest-achieving in the Commonwealth it would also receive an extra $750 per student. 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.[269] 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.[270][271][272]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In the summer of 2011, the federal government offered School Improvement Grant funding. Several Lancaster School District were eligible for funding due to chronic low student academic achievement. They included: George Washington Elementary School, Hand Middle School, James Buchanan Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School, MCCaskey Campus, Price Elementary School, Reynolds Middle School, Ross Elementary School, and Wheatland Elementary School.[273] The grant stipulates the funds must be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools.[274] The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools in August 2011. The funding is for three years.[275]

For the 2010-11 school year, Lancaster School District administration applied for a School Improvement Grant for Price Elementary School and Wheatland Middle School. The district selected the transformation model for both schools. Price Elementary School received $1,011,000, while Wheatland Middle School received $3,320,516.[276][277]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the US Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[278] Lancaster School District received funding for three schools: McCaskey High School - Transformation model - $1,854,809; Hand Middle School - Turnaround model - $1,675,099; Reynolds Middle School - Transformation model - $1,622,148. Hand Middle School hired a new principal and assistant principal for instruction. The school replaced almost half of its math, science, social studies and communication arts teaching staff with new educators. The Pennsylvania Department of Education identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[279] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[280]

Technology grant[edit]

In 2010, the district was eligible for a federal Enhancing Education through Technology grant.[281] The district did not receive funding.[282]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Lancaster 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.[283] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2014-2015 were set by the school board at 26.6793 mills.[284] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.[285] 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. 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.[286] Some Pennsylvania school district include municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[287] In 2010, miscalculations by the board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts.[288]

The average yearly property tax paid by Lancaster County residents amounts to about 4.01% of their yearly income. Lancaster County ranked 231st out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[297] 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.[298] 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%).[299]

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.[300] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[301] 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.[302][303]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Lancaster School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[304]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Lancaster School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: increasing special education costs and rapidly escalating teacher 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).[310] 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.[311]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Lancaster School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[312]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Lancaster School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: escalating special education costs and rising teacher pension costs. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[313]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Lancaster School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: Special Education and Pension expenses. Each year, the Lancaster 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 annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[314]

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.[315]

Lancaster School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011: teachers' pension costs.[316] For 2009-10 school budget, the Lancaster School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[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 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Lancaster School District was $446 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 11,169 property owners applied for the tax relief.[319] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Lancaster School District received the highest relief among the districts in Lancaster County.[320] The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[321] Chester Upland School District has been the top recipient since the program began.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.

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]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  169. ^ Carter Macrae Elementary
  170. ^ Elizabeth R Martin Elementary
  171. ^ Fulton Elementary
  172. ^ George Washington Elementary
  173. ^ Hamilton Elementary
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