Shamokin Area School District

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Shamokin Area School District
Map of Northumberland County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
2000 West State Street
Coal Township, Pennsylvania, Northumberland County 17866-2807
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Mr. James Zack (2010-2015)[1] salary $120,719 (2013)[2] Contract renewed 2015 to December 12, 2018[3]
Administrator

Sherry Glosek, Special Ed Supervisor, salary $69,930 (2013)
Mr Stephen C Curran, Business Manager, salary $94,247 (2013)
Ruby Michetti, director of Curriculum and Instruction, salary $84,442 (2013)
Diane C Serafin, Guidance salary $67,609 (2013)

Donna L Talisesky, Coordinator $67,209 (2013)
Principal

Chris Venna, HS & MS salary $95,593 (2013)
William Callahan, Vice Principal HS salary $86,169 (2013)

Anthony Carnuccio, Vice Principal HS, salary $69,384 (2013)
Principal

Mary Teresa Komara, ES salary $94,247 (2013)

Karen Colangelo, Vice Principal ES/Federal Programs Coordinator salary $75,011 (2013)
Staff 89 non teaching staff 2014)[4]
Faculty

180 teachers (2014)[5]
161 teachers (2013),[6]

167 teachers (2011)[7]
Grades Preschool-12th grade
Age 4 years old preschool to 21 years old special education students
Pupils

2,375 pupils (2016),[8]
2,514 pupils (2015)[9]
2,522 pupils (2014),[10]
2,344 pupils (2013),[11]
2,344 pupils (2012)
2,356 (2010-11)[12]

2,443 pupils (2005-06)
 • Kindergarten 177 (2012),[13] 287 (2010)
 • Grade 1 189 (2012), 162
 • Grade 2 170 (2012), 183
 • Grade 3 180 (2012), 162
 • Grade 4 167 (2012), 152
 • Grade 5 194 (2012), 171
 • Grade 6 178 (2012), 178
 • Grade 7 178 (2012), 212
 • Grade 8 186 (2012), 142
 • Grade 9 202 (2012), 179
 • Grade 10 183 (2012), 189
 • Grade 11 149 (2012), 169
 • Grade 12 154 (2012), 170 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be 2,400 pupils by 2020.
Medium of language English
Color(s) Purple
Mascot Indians
Budget

$31,606,300 (2017-18)[14]
$30,943,006 (2016-17)[15]
$32,314,272 (2015-16)[16]
$32,465,169 (2014-15)[17]
$28,812,428 (2012-13)[18]

$31,836,636 (2011-12)[19]
Per-pupil spending

$10,475 (2008)[20]
$11,782.84 (2010)

$10,818.49 (2014)[21]
Website

Shamokin Area School District is a small, rural public school district located in Coal Township, Pennsylvania, US. The Shamokin Area School District community consists of the city of Shamokin and the townships of Coal, East Cameron and Shamokin. It is located at the southern end of the anthracite coal region in Northumberland County in central Pennsylvania with a population of approximately 21,000. According to the US Census Bureau, by 2010, the district's population declined to 20,876 people.[22] The educational attainment levels for the Shamokin Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 82.4% high school graduates and 9.3% college graduates.[23] The district is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 59.5% 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.[24] In 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 11 students in the Shamokin Area School District were homeless.[25] In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $14,514, while the median family income was $34,189 a year.[26] In the Commonwealth, the median family income declined to $49,501 [27] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[28] In Northumberland County, the median household income was $41,208.[29] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[30]

According to Shamokin Area School District administrative officials, during the 2005-06 school year, the district provided basic educational services to 2,443 pupils. It employed: 10 administrators, 167 teachers, and 103 full-time and part-time support personnel. In 2010, Shamokin Area School District reported an enrollment of 2,759 pupils. The district employed: 166 teachers, 126 full-time and part-time support personnel, and increased to 12 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. Shamokin Area School District received $15.7 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year. In 2013, Shamokin Area School District reported an enrollment of 2,507 pupils. The district employed: 193 teachers, 53 full-time and part-time support personnel, and increased to 11 administrators during the 2013-14 school year. Shamokin Area School District received $16,927,439 in state funding in the 2013-14 school year which was 61% of the district's budget.

The Shamokin Area School District operates four schools: Shamokin Area High School, Shamokin Area Middle School, Shamokin Area Intermediate School and Shamokin Area Elementary School and Annex. The high school and middle school share a single building. The intermediate school and elementary school also occupy a single building. In 2015, more than 165 Shamokin Area pupils attend full-time cyber school.[31] The district does not offer its own cyber school program. The pupils may attend any of the 13 cyber schools operating in Pennsylvania in 2015, including locally operated SusQ Cyber Charter School.[32] Shamokin Area High School students may choose to attend Northumberland County Career Technology Center for training in the trades.

Special education services are provided by the district personnel and the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit CSIU16, which provides the district with a wide variety of services like: specialized education for disabled students and hearing; state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training; speech and visual disability services; criminal background checks processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.[33]

Governance[edit]

Shamokin Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[34] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[35] 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.[36]

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. Shamokin Area 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.[37] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[38] These objectives are not posted in the website in March 2016.[39]

In September 2017, the Shamokin Area School Board announced hiring Chris Venna as Superintendent effective July 2018. Salary to be $127,500 each year for five years. The retiring Superintendent will receive $68,000 over six months after his retirement.[40]

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.[41]

Academic achievement[edit]

Shamokin Area School District academic ranking declined further to 445th out of the 493 ranked Pennsylvania school districts, in 2016, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[42] The district is the lowest ranked school district in the CSIU16 region. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in the last 3 years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[43] 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 examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

  • 2015 - 428th[44]
  • 2014 - 407th[45]
  • 2013 - 381st
  • 2012 - 375th[46]
  • 2011 - 383rd[47]
  • 2010 - 396th[48]
  • 2009 - 401st
  • 2008 - 381st[49]
  • 2007 - 416th[50]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Shamokin Area School District ranked 30th.[51] The editor 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."[52]

  • 2012 - 53rd[53]
  • 2011 - 116th
Opportunity Scholarship - lowest achieving schools

In 2016, Shamokin Area High School remained on the state's lowest academic achievement list.[54] In May 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one Shamokin Area School District school was among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[55] Included on the list was Shamokin Area High School. One hundred four (104) Pennsylvania public school districts had one or more schools on the list. 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.[56] 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.[57] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state business tax credit for donating.

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General DiPasquale reported that three schools in the Shamokin Area School District are among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Shamokin Area High School, Shamokin Area Intermediate School and Shamokin Area MIddle School were all on the list of 561 poor performing schools in the Commonwealth.[58] He reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the schools to raise student academic achievement or provide them with targeted professional assistance.[59]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Shamokin Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[60] 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.[61] Shamokin Area School District achieved AYP status each school year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the district was in Warning status due to low student achievement.[62]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2016, the district’s graduation rate declined further to 81.82%.[63]

  • 2015 - 82.04%[64] The nationwide graduation rate was 83%.[65]
  • 2014 - 82.84% [66]
  • 2013 - 86.7%.[67]
  • 2012 - 74.88%.[68]
  • 2011 - 86%.[69]
  • 2010 - 75%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[70]
Former calculation graduation rate

High school[edit]

Shamokin Area High School is located at 2000 West State Street, Shamokin. In 2016, enrollment was reported as 674 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 66% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal federal poverty level. Additionally, 15% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted.[75] The school employed 41 teachers.[76] Per the PA Department of Education, 5% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[77]

In 2013, enrollment was reported as 687 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 53% of pupils qualifying for the federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 14% of pupils received special education services, while 1% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 40 teachers.[78] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 4% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 the school had 748 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 356 pupils qualifying for the federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 42 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[79] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 4 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[80]

In 2015 and 2016, Shamkoin Area High School was unrecognized by US News and World report's nationwide high school ranking.[81] In 2014, Shamokin Area High School was recognized by US News and World Report as a Bronze level high school in a nationwide school ranking. Among Pennsylvania high schools (traditional, charter and private) 56 achieved gold or silver medals. Another 103 high schools achieved bronze rating out of 698 Pennsylvania high schools reviewed.[82] The school was also ranked Bronze level in 2012 and 2013.

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP was 71.8 out of 100 points. Shamokin Area High School Keystone Exams mandated testing results were: 76% of students were on grade level in reading.literature and just 62% of students demonstrated on grade level in Algebra I. In Biology I, only 54% of pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the Biology course.[83] The requirement that pupils pass the Keystone Exams in reading, algebra I and bIology I in order to graduate was postponed until 2019 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly because less than 60% of 12 grade pupils statewide would have been eligible for graduation from high school due to failing one or more Keystone Exams.[84] Fifty-four percent of the 2,676 public schools in Pennsylvania achieved a passing score of 70 or better.[85]

2015 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area High School declined further to 51.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 63.33% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, just 61.8% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, only 38% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[86] 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.[87][88]

2014 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area High School declined to 55 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - only 53% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 62% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 42.7% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[89][90] Shamokin Area High School's score ranked last among 18 Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit high schools.[91] 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.[92] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[93][94]

Compared with last year, the percentage of schools that earned below 60 declined by nearly 1 percent per Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq. She reported that this is an indication that student achievement is improving as school resources are being used better.[95]

2013 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area High School achieved 58.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 64.23% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 65% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 41% showed on grade level science understanding.[96] 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.[97]

AYP status[edit]

In 2012, Shamokin Area High School declined further to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to missing all of the eight academic metrics in reading and mathematics.[98] The school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[99] The High School was eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[100]

  • 2011 - declined to Warning status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[101]
  • 2008-2010 - achieved AYP status each school year.[102]
  • 2007 - Warning AYP status due to lagging math achievement[103]
PSSA History

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. 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.[104] 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 applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[105] The state announced the change in 2010 and made it in order to comply with Governor Edward G. Rendell's agreement to change to the national Common Core standards.[106]

11th Grade Mathematics
  • 2012 - 60%, on grade level (21% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 66%, (15% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 68% (14% below basic). State - 59%[107][108]
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 56%[109]
  • 2008 - 45%, State - 56%[110]
  • 2007 - 36%, State - 55%[111]
  • 2006 - 35%, State - 53%[112]
11th grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level, Boys 59% | Girls 66% (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[113]
  • 2011 - 60%, Boys 55% | Girls 67% (20% below basic). State - 69.1% [114]
  • 2010 - 67.8%, (14% below basic) State - 67%[115] Ranks 13th out of 18 high schools in the CSIU region[116]
  • 2009 - 71% (17% below basic). State - 65%
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 65%[117]
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 65.4%[118]
  • 2006 - 68%, State - 65%
11th grade Science
  • 2012 - 29% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[119]
  • 2011 - 32% (12% below basic). State - 40% [120]
  • 2010 - 33% (20% below basic). State - 39%. Ranked 17th out of 18 local 11th grades.[121]
  • 2009 - 27% (18% below basic). State - 40%[122]
  • 2008 - 24%, State - 39%[123]

Science in Motion Shamokin Area High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[124] Susquehanna University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College Remediation[edit]

In January 2009, research was presented to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. The research examined course enrollment trends at the state’s 14 community colleges and the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The data, provided by PASSHE and the community colleges, showed that during the 2007–08 school year 19% of Shamokin Area High School graduates required costly remediation in math and/or reading before they could take regular college courses.[125] This was the average remediation rate among the IU16 region's high schools.[126] 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.[127] 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.[128]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2016, 71 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 457. The Math average score was 513. The Writing average score was 448.[129] The College Board also reported that statewide 92,569 pupils took the exams with average scores declining again in all three measurers to: 494 in reading, 508 in math and 482 in writing.[130] Among the 12 high schools in the CSIU16 region, Shamokin Area High School ranked last which was also below the state average.[131] Nationally, 1,681,134 students took the SATs.[132]

In 2015, 79 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 485. The Math average score was 481. The Writing average score was 439.[133] The College Board also reported that statewide 96,826 pupils took the exams with average scores declining in all three measurers to: 495 in reading, 511 in math and 484 in writing.[134]

In 2014, 92 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 466. The Math average score was 480. The Writing average score was 426.[135][136] 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.[137]

In 2013, 78 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 451. The Math average score was 481. The Writing average score was 431. 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.[138]

In 2012, 103 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 463. The Math average score was 483. The Writing average score was 436. 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, 99 Shamokin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 456. The Math average score was 488. The Writing average score was 432.[139] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[140] 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.[141]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania’s SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.[142] The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 71 percent of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania chose to continue their education after high school in 2003, whereas 79 percent of urban high school graduates opted to continue their education.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Shamokin 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 and programs at their high school, including the graduation ceremony. 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.[143] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[144] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $30,670 for the program. In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

Penn College NOW

In 2015, Shamokin Area School District did not offer dual enrollment courses in conjunction with Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn College NOW classes are taught by approved local high school teachers, at the high school.[145] Penn College NOW is partially funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-270) through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, by the support of Pennsylvania companies through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 24 credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in math, English, plus social studies 3 credits, science 3 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, health 0.5 credits, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, and electives.[146]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school from 1998 to 2016. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[147] 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.[148]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[149] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[150] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[151]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Those who do not pass after several attempts may perform a project in order to graduate.[152][153] Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP. School district superintendents have the discretion to graduate up to 10% of pupils who do not pass the exams or project. For the class of 2019, a Composition exam was to be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam was to be added to the graduation requirements.[154] 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.[155] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

In 2017, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed House Bill 202,[156] which makes modifications of the Keystone Exam mandates for students who attend VoTech and Career Tech schools. These pupils will be allowed to use alternate assessments or industry-based certifications.[157][158]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Shamokin Area High School offered 7 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Shamokin Area High School just 10% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[159]

In 2014, Shamokin Area High School offered 7 AP courses. Just 17% of SAHS students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[160] In 2015, Shamokin Area High School continued to offer 7 AP courses. Just 24.67% of SAHS students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[161]

Middle school[edit]

Shamokin Area Middle School is located at 2000 West State Street, Shamokin. In 2016, enrollment was 377 pupils, in grades 7th and 8th, with 72.9% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 16.7% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted.[162] According to a 2015 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 98% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[163]

In 2013, enrollment was 365 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 65% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% of pupils were identified as gifted.[164] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[165]

In 2010, Shamokin Area Middle School had 342 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 178 pupils receiving the federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 29 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[166] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 of its teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[167]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 54 out of 100 points. Shamokin Area Middle School PSSA mandated testing results were: 41% of students in 8th grade were on grade level in reading, while 19% of students demonstrated on grade level in mathematics. In science, just 43% of eighth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding.[168] In 7th grade, 54% of pupils were on grade level in reading, while just 27% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Statewide just 31% of eighth graders demonstrated on grade level in math and 58% of eighth graders were on grade level in reading. In science, 57.7% of eighth graders showed on grade level proficiency. Among 7th graders, just 37% of students demonstrated on grade evel skills in mathematics. In seventh grade reading, 58% were on grade level. Sixth graders had 61.5% showing on grade level math skills. In reading, 61.5% of sixth graders were on grade level.[169]

2015 School Performance Profile

SPP withheld by PDE. The PDE reported that 47% of 8th grade students at Shamokin Area Middle School students were on grade level in reading. In math/Algebra 1, 17% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills (37% below basic). In science, 54% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding (22% below basic). No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 64% were on grade level in reading, while just 16% showed on grade level math skills (38% below basic). Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[170]

2014 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Middle School achieved an SPP of 65.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 73.8% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, just 72.7% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, only 37% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 72% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[171]

2013 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Middle School achieved 62 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 62% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 71% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 44% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 73% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[172]

AYP History[edit]

Shamokin Area Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status in 2010 through 2012.[173] In 2007 and 2008, Shamokin Area Middle School was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student academic achievement in reading and mathematics.

PSSA Results

PSSAs are NCLB related examination given in the Spring of each school year. Sixth and seventh grades are 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. 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. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[174]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 71% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[175]
  • 2011 - 72% (15% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 – 78%, State – 81%[176]
  • 2009 – 73%, State – 80.9%[177]
  • 2008 – 77%, State – 78%
  • 2007 – 76%, State – 75%[178]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 77% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76% of 8th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 81% (8% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 – 80.7%, State – 75%[179]
  • 2009 – 67%, State – 71%
  • 2008 – 72%, State – 70%
  • 2007 – 72%, State – 67%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 51% on grade level, (29% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 45% (29% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 52%, State – 47%[180]
  • 2009 – 42%, State −55%
  • 2008 – 53%, State – 50%
7th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 70% on grade level (15% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2011 - 67% (14% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 57% (20% below basic). State - 73% [181]
  • 2009 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2008 - 56% (22% below basic). State - 70%
  • 2007 - 62% (13% below basic). State - 67%
7th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 82% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 80%
  • 2011 - 72% (13% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 80% (10% below basic). State - 77%[182]
  • 2009 - 69% (14% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 56% (25% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 69% (13% below basic), State - 67%

Intermediate School[edit]

Shamokin Area Intermediate School is located at 3000 West State Street, Shamokin. In 2016, the school's enrollment was 356 pupils in grades 5th and 6th, with 74% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 20% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[183] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.

In July 2013, Shamokin Area School Board reorganized the elementary school making 5th and 6th grade into a separate school in the same building - Shamokin Area Intermediate School. In 2014, Shamokin Area Intermediate School's enrollment was 362 pupils in grades 5th and 6th, with 64% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 21.8% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 87% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.[184]

2016 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Intermediate School PSSA mandated testing results were: just 47% of students in 6th grade were on grade level in reading, while only 23% of students demonstrated on grade level mathematics skills. In 5th grade, just 63% were on grade level in reading, while 36% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[185][186]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 53% of 5th grade students (18% below basic) at Intermediate School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 30% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills (30% below basic). No fifth grade writing scores were reported. Among 6th graders, 48% were on grade level in reading (8% below basic) and 24% were on grade level in mathematics (25% below basic).[187] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders statewide, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[188]

2014 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Intermediate School achieved a score of 66 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 56.5% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 5th through 6th. In math, 70.9% were on grade level (5th and 6th grades). In writing, 66% of 5th grade pupils writing on grade level.[189]

Elementary School[edit]

Shamokin Area Elementary School is located at 3000 West State Street, Shamokin. In 2016, the school's enrollment declined further to 888 pupils in grades preschool through 4th, with 77% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 19% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[190] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full-day kindergarten and taxpayer paid preschool.[191] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2014, Shamokin Area Elementary School's enrollment was 923 pupils in grades preschool though 4th, with 66% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16.7% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full-day kindergarten and a half day preschool for 4 year olds.[192] The school has provided full-day kindergarten since 2008.

In 2013, Shamokin Area Elementary School's enrollment was 1,262 pupils in grades preschool though 6th, with 61.9% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17.7% of pupils received special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full-day kindergarten and a half day preschool for 4 year olds.[193] The school has provided full-day kindergarten since 2008.

In 2010, Shamokin Area Elementary School had 1,355 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 736 pupils qualifying for the federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 93 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[194] One teacher was designated as a Non‐Highly Qualified Teacher under No Child Left Behind in 2012.[195]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 77.8 out of 100 points. Shamokin Area Elementary School PSSA mandated testing results were: 4th grade, 59% were on grade level in reading, while just 47% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 80% of fourth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding of science concepts in the state standards. Among the school's third graders, just 53% were on grade level in reading and only 44% showed on grade level mathematics skills.[196][197]

2015 School Performance Profile

SPP withheld by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in Shamokin Area 4th grade, 55% were on grade level in reading (10% below basic), while just 34% showed on grade level math skills (27% below basic). In science, 79% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 48% were on grade level in reading (17% below basic) and just 41% were on grade level in mathematics (32% below basic).[198] Statewide 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.[199]

2014 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Elementary School achieved a score of 76.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 65% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 69% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 76% were on grade level (3rd and 4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 76% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[200]

2013 School Performance Profile

Shamokin Area Elementary School achieved a score of 66.3 out of 100. The score reflects student on grade level achievement in: reading, science, writing and mathematics. In 2012-13, only 63.23% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, just 62% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 75% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, 84% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 53.7% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[201]

AYP History

In 2012, Shamokin Area Elementary School (SAES) achieved AYP status. The school was in Warning status in 2011. In 2010, SAES achieved AYP status.[202] The attendance rate was 92% in 2010 and 2011.[203]

PSSA Results

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. The sixth grade is tested in reading and mathematics. The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 81%, (4% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 86%, (5% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 80%, (8% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 82%, (5% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 80%, (5% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, Shamokin Area School District administration reported that 422 pupils or 17.7% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 40.5% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[210] In 2013, Shamokin Area School District administration reported that 407 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 36.9% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[211] In 2012, Shamokin Area School District administration reported that 414 pupils or 17.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 36% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[212] In December 2010, the district administration reported that 471 pupils or 18% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 32% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 375 pupils or 15.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[213]

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.[214] School District has provided full-day kindergarten since 2008. The district has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

The district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the district seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the district or contact the Special Education Department.[215]

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.[216] 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.[217] 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.[218] 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.[219] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[220]

Shamokin Area School District received a $1,564,575 supplement for special education services in 2010.[221] For the 2011-12, 2012–13, 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts, including Shamokin Area School District received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding was 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.[222] In 2014, Shamokin Area School District received an increase to $1,590,485 from the Commonwealth for special education services.[223] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The district must apply for this added funding each school year.

  • 2015-16 - $1,640,683
  • 2016-17 - $1,671,656
  • 2017-18 - $1,697,024[224]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 15 or 0.58% of its students were gifted in 2009.[225] 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.[226] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Shamokin Area School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both. The Shamokin Area School District gifted curriculum focuses on complex and in-depth study of major ideas, key concepts and themes that integrate knowledge within and across disciplines.[227]

Bullying Policy and safety[edit]

Shamokin Area School District administration reported there was one incident of bullying in the district in 2013. Additionally, there were three assaults on pupils and two sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement were involved in 18 incidents at the schools, with 9 arrests.[228]

The Administration reported four incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[229][230]

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. 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.[231] 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.[232]

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.[233]

Wellness policy[edit]

Shamokin Area School Board was mandated by the state and federal government to establish a district wellness policy in 2006. The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[234]

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.[235] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The district offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[236] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[237]

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.[238] 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.[239]

Shamokin 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 fully comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[240] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

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.[241] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[242]

Health eTools program

The district participated in Highmark Foundation’s Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools grant which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[243] Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued by the company in 2013.[244]

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2008 and 2011, the Shamokin Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Shamokin Area Elementary School received $6,545 which was used to implement the Weller Health Education Center's nutrition education programming.[245] In 2008, Shamokin Area High School received a grant. Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

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.[246]

Teacher union contracts

In March 2016, the Board and Teachers union announced a five-year contract settlement, which was retroactive to 2013. For the 2015-16 school year, the teachers received a $3000 across the board raise. In 2016-17, the teachers received a $2500 across the board raise. The raise in 2017-18, was based on a salary schedule, with an average raise of another $2500. The teachers will be contributing to the cost of their health insurance.[247]

Teacher union strike In April 2014, the Shamokin Area Education Association (teachers' union) voted to authorize a strike.[248] The date of the labor action was not set. The Union and School Board are engaged in contract negotiations. Shamokin Area School Board members indicate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cause an anticipated 12 to 15 percent increase to health insurance costs for teachers.[249] Under the current costs of the teacher benefits, the district will be hit by the PPACA's 40% excise tax due to the high cost of the teachers' health insurance plan.[250] Of nearly 140 teacher strikes that occurred nationally between 2000 and 2007, 60 percent took place in Pennsylvania, according to a report released in August 2012, by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.[251] Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in which teacher strikes are legal. Pennsylvania has the highest rate of teacher strikes in the United States. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there were three teacher union strikes in 2010; one teacher union strike in 2011, one teacher union strike in 2012 and three teacher union strikes in 2013.[252] Wyoming Area School District and Danville Area School District both went on strike in the spring of 2014. State law gives the Pennsylvania Department of Education the power to order the teachers to return so that students will complete 180 days of school by June 15.

On September 8, 2015, 193 teachers walked off the job in the Shamonkin Area School District.[253] The length of the strike was not announced. The Shamokin Area School Board has made multiple offers to the union which have all been rejected by the union negotiating team. Teachers were ordered back to work after 12 days of striking by Northumberland County President Judge William Harvey Wiest.[254] State law mandates a 180-day school year be completed by June 30, limiting the number of days a teachers union can strike. In accordance with state law, the school board and teachers union must submit to mandatory non-binding final best offer arbitration which could months to be completed. In September 2015, Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor ordered teachers back to work effective September 24, 2015.[255] In January 2016, the teachers went on strike again and were ordered back to work effective February 5, 2016.[256]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Shamokin Area School District was $44,518 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $28,619 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $73,138.[257]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Shamokin Area School District was $44,287 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $24,228 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $68,515.[258] In 2011, the district employed 184 teachers with an average salary of $46,482 and a top salary of $114,971.[259]

In April 2012, Shamokin Area School Board voted to eliminate 21 positions due to revising instructional programs and addressing chronic declining enrollment. The staffing cuts saved the District $1.3 million. Art, music and physical education lessons will be taught by classroom teachers in kindergarten through 8th grade, instead of hiring extra teachers to teach them. Nine elementary teacher positions were cut, as were two art teachers, two gym teachers, four music teachers, a library teacher, computer teacher as well as a school counselor and school nurse. One Board member called for cuts in administration. The curriculum coordinator position was eliminated.[260] The majority of the positions were restored when the final budget was passed in June.[261]

In 2009, Shamokin Area School District reported employing over 200 teachers and administrators with a salary range of $32,000 to $106,400. The median teacher salary was $43,431.[262] Teachers have a 7 hours and 35 minutes work day. The school year is 180 days with teachers scheduled for 183 days. All teachers have a duty-free lunch period of a minimum of thirty minutes as scheduled. Teachers are scheduled one preparation period per day to plan lessons and perform grading. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Designees of the local teacher's union are granted leave for an aggregate total of ten cumulative school days per school year without loss of pay or benefits for the purpose of attending PSEA or NEA conferences, conventions or other PSEA or NEA meetings directly related to the welfare of the Association.[263]

In 2007, the Shamokin Area School District employed 158 teachers with the average teacher salary in the district at $36,450 for 180 days worked.[264]

Per-pupil spending In 2008, the per-pupil spending at Shamokin Area School District was $10,475 for each child. This ranked 494th among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.[265] In 2010, the per-pupil spending in Shamokin Area School District had increased to $11,782.84 which ranked 397th.[266] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[267] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[268]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[269] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[270] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[271] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[272]

Administrative costs Shamokin Area School District administrative costs in 2008 were $489.30 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[273] The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165, in 2008.[274]

Reserves In 2010, the Shamokin Area School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,800,000 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $7,067,872.[275] In 2013, the district's reserves was $6,085,510. 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.[276] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[277]

Audit In June 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. The auditors noted that Board members had failed to file Statements of Financial Interests in violation of the Pennsylvania Public Official and Ethics Act.[278] In July 2013, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted another performance audit on the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[279]

Tuition Students who live in the Shamokin 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 Shamokin 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 - $7,180.20, High School - $7,050.50.[280] In 2015-16, Shamokin Area tuition rates were ES - $7,086 and HS - $7,718.[281]

Shamokin Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local Earned Income tax - 1%,[282] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, per capita taxes $5, Occupation Privilege tax $10, and a Public Utility Realty Tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the income level.[283] In 2011, the average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension exceeded $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both of which are exempted from both Pennsylvania state income tax and the local school income tax which funds local public schools.[284] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[285][286]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Shamokin Area School District receives 56.6% of its annual district revenue from the state.[287] This exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[288]

In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Education Funding Reform Commission conducted a hearing.[289] The commission developed a new basic education funding formula which sets a new way to distribute state basic education dollars. It abolished the practice of "hold harmless" funding, which gave districts at least the same as they got the previous school year regardless of declining enrollment. The plan became law in June 2016 (House Bill 1552).[290][291][292]

For the 2017-18 school year, Shamokin Area School District received an increase to $12,442,125 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[293] Pennsylvania again increased its public education spending to a record high of $5.995 billion. It was a $100 million increase, 1.7% increase over the 2016-17 state education appropriation.[294] Additionally, the state continued to fund its Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $25 million increase to $1.121 billion.[295] The state also paid $529,5 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.304 billion to the teacher’s pension fund, an increase of 7.6% over the state’s 2016-17 payment. The state maintained its $100 million reimbursement to school districts for transportation costs. Governor Wolf had proposed cutting the funding by 50% shifting the costs to local taxpayers.[296][297]

For the 2016-17 school year, Shamokin Area School District received $12,343,184 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This was a 2.2% increase over 2015-16 funding to the district. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Northumberland County was 3.3% awarded to Shikellamy School District under the state’s Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania 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.[298] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[299] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher’s pension fund.[300] Statewide Conestoga Valley School District received a 13.3% increase in state BEF funding. Five PA public school districts received an increase of 10% or greater in Basic Education funding over their 2015-16 funding.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $5,828,186 to Shamokin Area School District, in January 2016.[301] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public school, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[302] The dispersment did not follow the new Basic Education Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2015.[303] The district also received $440,583 in Ready To Learn funds from the Commonwealth.

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the PA House and Senate,[304] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Shamokin Area School District received $12,492,412 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.81% increase yielding a $222,584 increase over the previous school year funding. The district also received $440,583 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[305]

For the 2014-15 school year, Shamokin Area School District received $11,864,558 in State Basic Education funding. The district also received $203,878 in Accountability Block Grant funding and $201,338 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[306] The Education budget also included 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 paid $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.[307]

For the 2013-14 school year, Shamokin Area School District received a 1.8% increase or $$11,867,345 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $207,019 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the district. Additionally, Shamokin Area School District received $203,878 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Northumberland County, Shikellamy School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 1.9%. 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.[308] 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.[309]

For the 2012-13 school year, Shamokin Area School District received $11,660,329.[310] 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. Shamokin Area School District received $203,878 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement. The state also provided $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[311] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011-12 school year, Shamokin Area School District received $11,660,326 in state Basic Education Funding.[312][313] Additionally, the Shamokin Area School District received $203,878 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. 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.[314] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011. In 2010, the district reported that 1,679 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

In the 2010-11 budget year, Shamokin Area School District received a 3.29% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $12,281,937. The highest increase in state funding, among Northumberland County school districts, was awarded to Milton Area School District at 6.46% increase. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received the 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was awarded a 23.65% increase, in state basic education funding.[315] Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[316]

In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.33% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $12,281,938. The Pennsylvania Department of Education gave 15 school districts an increase of Basic Education Funding of over 10% in the 2009 – 10 budget.[317] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[318]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Shamokin Area School District in 2008–09 was $11,660,325.71. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that 403 students received a free or reduced-price lunch, in 2007, due to low family income. Many state and federal programs use the threshold to calculate benefits.

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including Special Education and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides additional education funding to schools in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses designed to improve student academic achievement. Shamokin Area School District uses its $553,376 to fund all day kindergarten for the sixth year. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding and all federal funding.[319] School Districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[320] In 2009-10, the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[321]

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.[322][323]

Shamokin Area School District received $201,338 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.

  • 2015-16 - $440,583
  • 2016-17 - $514,641
  • 2017-18 - $514,641[324]

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, Mathematics) and paid for mandatory teacher training to optimize the computers' use in the classroom for improving instruction. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Shamokin Area School District administration did not apply for the grant in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $211,342 in funding. For the 2008-09, school year the district received a final $45,413 for a total funding of $256,755 Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[325]

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 Shamokin Area School District did not apply for funding.[326]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Shamokin Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[327] 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 is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[328] 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.[329] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 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. The 2006-07 State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006-07 school year. This was an 8-percent increase over 2005-06 public school funding.[330] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget.

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.[331] The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades.[332] High schools 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. Shamokin Area School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $160,358 funding over three years.[333][334] 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.[335]

Other grants[edit]

The Shamokin Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants,[336][337] 2012 and 2013 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant,[338] 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants,[339] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal funding[edit]

Shamokin Area School District received $2,357,830 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[340] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[341] 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[edit]

Shamokin Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district a million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[342] To participate the administration, school board and teachers' union were required to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[343] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[344] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant.[345]

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.[346] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[347] 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, Shamokin Area School District received $$176,616 in federal Title II funding.[348] In 2014-15, Shamokin Area School District applied for and received $169,114.[349]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[350] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[351]

In 2012-13, Shamokin Area School District received $2,444 in Title III funding for English language learners.[352] For 2014-15, Shamokin Area School District received $2,851 in Title III funding.[353]

Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant[edit]

In Spring 2014, Shamokin Area School District was awarded a $537,167 federal US Department of Education grant for physical fitness.[354] The funds will come to the district over three years. It will be used to purchase: rock climbing walls, treadmills and elliptical machines, new strength training machines, outdoor adventure equipment like intricate rope climbs and zip lines and a large video screen for interactive dance exercise program. A full-time project director to oversee the program will be paid using the grant funds. The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides taxpayer funded grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.[355][356]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Shamokin Area School District School Board chose to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[357] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Shamokin Area School Board set the property taxes rate at 30.9500 mills for the 2017-18 school year.[358] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and # Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[359] 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.

Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from local property taxes.[360] There is a major gas pipeline being built in the district due to marcellus shale gas development.[361][362][363] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, Shamokin Area School District is adversely impacted this way by the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.[364][365][366] The Atlantic Sunrise Gas Pipeline passes through Mount Pleasant Township.[367]

The average yearly property tax paid by Northumberland County residents amounts to about 2.23% of their yearly income. Northumberland County ranked 1219th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[381] 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.[382] 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%).[383]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2016, Shamokin Area School District approved 4,928 homestead properties to receive $71.[384] The increase in the amount was related to a decline in the residents who applied for tax relief. The amount received by the district must be divided equally among all approved residences.[385] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.

In 2013, Shamokin Area School District approved 5,025 homestead properties to receive $70 in property tax relief.[386] The decline in amount was related to more residents applying for tax relief and a decline in table games tax revenues. The amount received by the district must be divided equally among all approved residences.[387]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Shamokin Area School District was $83 per approved permanent primary residence. This was among the lowest amounts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the district, 4,230 property owners applied for the tax relief.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for Shamokin Area School District residents who are: low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate.

Act 1 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 it 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: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increasing rising health care costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or declining local tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the Pennsylvania 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.[388] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum.[389]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Shamokin Area School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[390]

For the 2017-18 budget year, Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the district's Act 1 Index limit.[400] Statewide 356 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2017-18. In 2017-18, all Pennsylvania public school districts were required to make a 32.85% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[401] This was in addition to the 6.2% social security employer match payment and the Medicare match of 1.45%.[402][403]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for any 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.[404]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[405]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Shamokin 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.[406]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[407] 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.

For the 2011-12 school year, the Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[408] Each year the Shamokin Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[409]

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.[410]

Shamokin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10, nor in 2010-11.[411][412]

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.[413]

Facilities[edit]

The middle/high school, housing grades 7 through 12, was constructed in 1973–1975. The multi-floor building houses a 1280-seat auditorium, a 3000-seat gymnasium, and a regulation pool with spectator seating. This building was renovated in 1995–1996 to provide additional classroom space to accommodate grades 7 and 8. The building's HVAC system was renovated in this project, and modifications were made to meet ADA regulations. The former middle school building was sold to a county agency at the conclusion of the renovation project in 1996. It is currently being used by the county as a career development and arts center.

The elementary school was constructed in 1980, and houses grades 1 through 6. It is also the home of several special needs classes administered by the local intermediate unit (IU16). The building's HVAC system was renovated in 1990. The elementary houses a large combination auditorium/gymnasium, a tiered-seating vocal music classroom, a band and orchestra suite, and a library.

The elementary annex building was constructed 1959 as a vocational education facility for the district. This building was recently renovated to meet ADA regulations and houses grades K4 (kindergarten for four-year-olds), K5 kindergarten, and first grade. The building also houses administrative offices and a large gymnasium to provide accommodations for additional athletic activities.

Both the secondary and elementary schools have extensive libraries, and participate in the Access Pennsylvania system. A mini-library is available at the annex building with holdings from the elementary library that are age appropriate for students located in the building. Library automation and circulation software is used in both libraries, with networked computers and printers for use by students and faculty.

A large LAN on the main campus of the district serves the district administrative offices, the elementary school, and the middle/high school. A LAN is also present in the elementary annex building. A WAN/VPN connection links the remote elementary annex building to the main campus LAN to better utilize district resources and avoid duplication of services. The district aggressively pursues federal and state grant monies to fund its technology initiatives. A closed-circuit television distribution system is also provided for the elementary and secondary buildings, with access points in every classroom. All television programming originates from a sophisticated television studio in the middle/high school, and includes digital video production equipment.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Shamokin Area School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program.[414] In 2014, the district reported spending over $580,000 for student activities (excluding transportation and facility costs).[415] In 2016-17, spending on extracurriculars had grown to $687,813.[416] Eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities is determined by the school board and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The Shamokin Area School District is a Division I member of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference.[417]

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.[418]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 aged 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 district's extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.[419]

The district maintains an extensive outdoor athletic complex. Kemp Memorial Stadium is a large football and track complex with a seating capacity of 6000, with artificial turf and lighting for night games. The outdoor athletic complex also features practice fields, a lighted soccer stadium, and a baseball field dedicated to Douglas Dobson. The athletic facilities of the district are utilized heavily not only by the home teams, but also by various league organizations for hosting playoff games and events. A well-equipped weight room and athletic training facilities are located in the middle/high school. The plastic turf field was installed in 2005 at a cost of $648,991.23 to the taxpayers.[420]

Sports[edit]

The sports programs participate in the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[421] The Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference is a voluntary association of 25 PIAA High Schools within the central Pennsylvania region. Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[422] Coaching compensation increases the employee's state pension benefits.

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.[423][424]

The district funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA School Directory July 2015 [425]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Education Names and Addresses - Shamokin Area School District, 2013
  2. ^ Openpagov.org, Shamokin Area School District Payroll 2013, 2014
  3. ^ PDE, EDNames and Addresses, 2017
  4. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2014
  5. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2015
  6. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2014
  7. ^ NCES, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2012
  8. ^ PDE (October 4, 2016). "Shamokin Area School District Fast Facts 2016". 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 4, 2015). "Shamokin Area School District Fast Facts 2015". 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, July 2014
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Shamokin Area School District Fast Facts 2013, October 4, 2013
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, July 2010
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA 2012-2013, 2013
  14. ^ Shamokin Area School District Administration (June 2017). "Final General Fund Budget Report 2017-18" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Shamokin Area School District Administration (June 2016). "Final General Fund Budget Report 2016-17" (PDF). 
  16. ^ Shamokin Area School District Administration (June 15, 2015). "Final General Fund Budget Report 2015-16". 
  17. ^ Shamokin Area School District Business Manager, Shamokin Area School District General Fund Budget report to PDE 2014-2015, June 17, 2014
  18. ^ Eric Scicchitano., 12 to return at Shamokin Area as board OKs $28M budget, The News Item, June 20, 2012
  19. ^ Shamokin Area School District Administration, Shamokin Area School District 2012-13 Budget Book Final, June 19, 2012
  20. ^ PDE, Finance - Selected Data by LEA, 2009
  21. ^ PDE, Finance - Selected Data by LEA, 2015
  22. ^ US Census Bureau, 2010 Census Poverty Data by Local Educational Agency, 2011
  23. ^ proximityone (2014). "School District Comparative Analysis Profiles". 
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External links[edit]