South Western School District

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South Western School District
More Color Map of York County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
225 Bowman Road
Hanover, Pennsylvania, York County 17331-4213
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent

Dr Barbara A Rupp (contract 2011 - 6/30/2014)

Salary - $152,250 in 2012
Specialist Dr Jill T Wenrich - Assistant Superintendent
Administrator

Mr Jeffrey Mummert - Business Administrator salary $110,257 (2012)
Renehan, Cynthia, Supervisor salary $102,460 (2012)
Greenholt, Douglas, Director of Management Info System salary $91,706
Aileen Hower, Reading Supervisor
Melissa Bush, Psychologist
Abbie Sager, Psychologist
Mike Wildasin, Director of School Facilities
Ken Weaver, Director of Maintenance
Shawn Harlacher, Supervisor of Food Service

Chuck Baumgardner, Director of Transportation
Principal Hartman, Daniel, EHMIS
Principal Berryman, Judy, HS
Principal Smale, Jeffery, BES
Principal Kelly, Mary Kay, MES
Principal Cromer, Brian, WMES salary $83,644 (2012)
Faculty 269.60 (2012)[1]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 year old special education
Pupils 4047 pupils in 2011 [2]
 • Kindergarten 310
 • Grade 1 316
 • Grade 2 316
 • Grade 3 322
 • Grade 4 319
 • Grade 5 286
 • Grade 6 338
 • Grade 7 296
 • Grade 8 325
 • Grade 9 320
 • Grade 10 289
 • Grade 11 304
 • Grade 12 306
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 4300 pupils by 2019[3]
Budget

$55,630,723 (2012-13)[4] $54,493,498 in 2011-12

$53,198,155 (2010-11)
per pupil spending $10,718 (2008)
per pupil spending $12,046.03 (2012)
Website

South Western School District is a midsized, suburban public school district in York County, Pennsylvania. It serves the townships of Penn Township, Manheim Township and West Manheim Township. It encompasses approximately 56 square miles (150 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, South Western School District serves a resident population of 22,576 people. By 2010, the district's population increased to 26,768 people.[5] In 2009, South Western School District residents’ per capita income was $20,618, while the median family income was $56,296.[6] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [7] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[8] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08, South Western School District provided basic educational services to 4,073 pupils through the employment of 298 teachers, 196 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 24 administrators. In the 2009-2010 school year, the South Western School District celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. South Western School District received more than $15.5 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

District schools[edit]

  • Baresville Elementary School
  • Manheim Elementary School
  • Park Hills Elementary School
  • West Manehim Elementary School
  • Emory H. Markle Intermediate School
  • South Western High School

Governance[edit]

South Western 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.[9] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus its resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[10]

Academic achievement[edit]

South Western School District was ranked 188th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic achievement on the PSSA results in: reading, writing, math and science.[11] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 188th [12]
  • 2011 - 215th
  • 2010 - 246th [13]
  • 2009 - 259th
  • 2008 - 274th

2007 - 258th of 500 school districts in Pennsylvania.[14]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of South Western School District was in the 60th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [15]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. South Western School District ranked 418th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[16]

  • 2011 - 426th
  • 2010 - 479th
  • 2009 - 426th

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, South Western School District achieved AYP status even though only one district school achieved AYP and the High School is in School Improvement status due to lagging achievement. In 2011, South Western School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[17] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[18]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, the South Western School District graduation rate was 92%.[19] In 2011, the South Western School District graduation rate was 84%.[20] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 83% for 2010.[21]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

South Western High School is located at 200 Bowman Road, Hanover. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,303 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 244 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 85 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[26] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 5 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind while 4 teachers had emergency certification.[27]

In 2012, South Western High School declined to School Improvement status due to missing all 6 academic metrics for reading and mathematics. In 2011, High School declined to Warning status due to lagging reading achievement. In 2010, South Western High School achieved AYP status.[28] In 2012, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the High School administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes. Additionally 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 must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[29] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[30]

The school offers over 150 courses to meet the needs of college preparatory and general education students. Honors courses and advanced placement courses are available in: English, social studies, mathematics, and science. Students interested in specific trades may attend the York County School of Technology on a full-time basis.

PSSA results
11th grade reading
  • 2012 - 63% on grade level, (14% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2011 - 73% (11% below basic). State - 69.1% [32]
  • 2010 - 70% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 68% of 11th graders on grade level.[33]
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 65% [34]
11th grade Math
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (22% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[35]
  • 2011 - 76% (14% below basic). State - 60.3%[36]
  • 2010 - 65% (21% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 60%, State - 56% [37]
  • 2008 - 59%, State - 56% [38]
11th grade science
  • 2012 - 46% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[39]
  • 2011 - 49% (10% below basic). State - 40%[40]
  • 2010 - 41% (15% below basic). State - 39% [41]
  • 2009 - 44.8%, State - 40% [42]
  • 2008 - 34%, State - 39% [43]
  • 2007 - Tested, The state did not make the results public.

Graduation requirements[edit]

To graduate from South Western School District, students must complete a minimum of 28.0 credits, including: English 4 credits, Speech Communication 0.5 credit, Mathematics 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Arts and/or Humanities 2 credits, Health 1 credit, Safety Education 0.25 credits, First Aid 0.25 credits, Physical Education (each year) 2.0 credits.[44]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[45] South Western School district requires completion by a designated date during the student's senior year.[46]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[47][48][49] For the class of 2019, a composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[50] 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.[51] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 32% of South Western School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[52] 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.[53] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

South Western 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.[54] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[55] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $7,877 for the program.[56]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 199 South Western School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 503. The Math average score was 518. The Writing average score was 484. 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, 201 South Western School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 498. The Math average score was 505. The Writing average score was 472.[57] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[58] 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.[59]

Emory H. Markle Intermediate School[edit]

Markle Intermediate School is located at 225 Bowman Road, Hanover. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 954 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 213 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 64 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[60] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[61] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 of the teachers was rated "Non-Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act, in 2012.[62]

Markle Intermediate School was cited in a state report regarding irregularities in the PSSA testing. After an investigation, Markle Intermediate School was cleared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Statewide 48 school districts or charter programs had suspicious results in the exams administered in 2009, 2010, or 2011.[63]

In 2012, Markle Intermediate School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging reading achievement.[64] In 2010 and 2011 Markle Intermediate School achieved AYP status.[65]

8th grade reading
  • 2012 - 85% on grade level, 59% advanced. In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[66]
  • 2011 - 87%, 67% advanced. State - 81.8% [67]
  • 2010 - 88%, 56% advanced. State - 81%[68]
  • 2009 - 83%, State - 80%[69]
  • 2008 - 85%, State - 78%[70]
8th grade Math
  • 2012 - 87% on grade level, 67% advanced. State - 76% [71]
  • 2011 - 82%, 63% advanced. State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 88%, 70% advanced. State - 75%
  • 2009 - 77%, State - 71% [72]
  • 2008 - 78%, State - 70%
8th grade Science
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 66% (15% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 61% (18% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 50%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 52%

Baresville Elementary School[edit]

Baresville Elementary School is located at 135 Sanford Avenue, Hanover. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 509 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 150 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 32 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[73] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[74]

In 2012, Baresville Elementary School declined to Warning AYP due to lagging reading achievement. In 2010 and 2011, Baresville Elementary School achieved AYP status.[75] In 2012, 81% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. Just 79% of boys are reading on grade level. In math, 86% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 54% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils were on grade level.[76]

In 2011, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 49% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 87% of the pupils were on grade level.[77]

Manheim Elementary School[edit]

Manheim Elementary School is located at 5778 Blooming Grove Road, Glenville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 146 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 26 pupils received a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to poverty. The school employed 9 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79]

Each year 2010 through 2012, Manheim Elementary School achieved AYP status.[80] In 2012, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 81% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 48% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 91% of the pupils were on grade level, with 60% achieving advanced.[81]

In 2011, only 78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 82% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 44% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 85% of the pupils were on grade level.[82]

Park Hills Elementary School[edit]

Park Hills Elementary School is located at 137 W Granger Street, Hanover. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 497 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 159 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[83] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[84]

In 2012, Park Hills Elementary School declined again to Warning status due to lagging reading achievement. In 2011, Park Hills Elementary School achieved AYP status. In 2010, Park Hills Elementary School was in Warning status due to lagging reading achievement.[85] In 2012, only 70% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. None of the reading meterics were met. In math, 82% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 39% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 87% of the pupils were on grade level.[86]

In 2011, only 70% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 81% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 46% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 89% of the pupils were on grade level.[87]

West Manheim Elementary School[edit]

West Manheim Elementary School is located at 2000 Baltimore Pike, Hanover. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 636 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 121 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 37 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[88] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[89]

In 2010 through 2012, West Manheim Elementary School achieved AYP status.[90] In 2012, 78% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 83% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 44% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 96% of the pupils were on grade level, with 63% advanced.[91]

In 2011, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 86% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 50% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 100% of the pupils were on grade level, with 76% advanced.[92]

Bullying policy[edit]

In 2012, South Western School District administration reported that there were four incidents of bullying. Additionally, there were 12 incidents involving local law enforcement and 25 fights.[93] In 2009, the administration reported there were 13 incidents of bullying in the district.[94][95]

South Western School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The board policy 249 (Adopted January 15, 2009) defines bullying and cyberbullying. 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.[96] The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms 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.[97] 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.[98]

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.[99]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, South Western School District administration reported that 558 pupils or 13.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. Of the identified students, 57% had a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 544 pupils or 13% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[100][101]

South Western School District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. When a child experiences difficulty within the classroom, screening information will be gathered by a team located within the child’s school to determine his or her specific needs. 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 make a written request, for a multidisciplinary evaluation to the building principal.[102]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for 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.[103] 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.[104] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[105] Overidentification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have reported that more than 20% of its students receiving special education services, while others have 10% supported through special education.[106] 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.[107] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[108]

South Western School District received a $1,970,424 supplement for special education services in 2010.[109] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[110]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 144 or 3.56% of its students were gifted in 2009.[111] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[112]

Wellness policy[edit]

South Western School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006.[113] 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 Pennsylvania school districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[114]

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.[115] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required all school districts to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

South Western School District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to low-income children. The program is funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[116]

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, 5 schools in South Western School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Baresville Elementary School received $8,085 which was used to Railyard Fitness with stations to be used by all students in grades K-5. Manheim Elementary School received $3,587 to implement a climbing wall in the Physical education program K-5th. Park Hills Elementary School received $4,290 to implement a FitKids program. West Manheim Elementary School received $5,095 to implement a Fitness Fundamentals program. Emory H. Markle Intermediate School received $9,098 to implement a mountain biking program for grades 6th to 8th.[117] 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.[118]

In 2011, South Western School district employed 312 teachers and administrators. The average teacher salary in South Western School District was $68,134 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $15,563 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $77,647.[119] In 2012, 35 teachers earned over $80,000 a year.

In 2009, South Western School District reported employing 405 teachers with a salary range of $40,527 to $116,930.[120] The starting base salary is $47,029 in 2011. The average salary in the district is $59,058.[121] Teachers work 7 hours 45 minutes per day with a 30-minute duty-free lunch included. The school year is 182 days of student instruction and 191 days total. Additionally, the district's teachers receive: a defined benefit pension, health insurance (employee contributes $50 per pay), vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, college credit reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, 2 paid emergency leave days, and other benefits. Twelve paid leave days per year are allotted to the teacher's union to conduct union business.[122] Teachers receive additional pay ($27 per hour) for extra duties outside of regular school hours. The South Western School District teachers' union contract expires in June 2013.

In 2007, South Western School District employed 250 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $52,491 for 180 days worked.[123] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[124]

South Western School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $607.42 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[125] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165.[126]

Reserves In 2008, South Western School District reported a $3,949,901 balance in an unreserved-undesignated fund. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[127] In 2010, South Western Administration reported an increase to $5,850,061 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and an additional $1,597,888 in the unreserved-designated fund. By 2012, the total reserves had increased to $9,347,885 with $6,095,546 in its unreserved-undesignated account. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania public school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[128]

Licensing In November 2010, the board entered into an agreement with PEI Industries giving them non-exclusive license to sell athletic apparel and novelty items with the district's logo. The district received $68 for signing and will receive an 8% royalty check on sales.[129]

Per pupil spending The district administration reported that per pupil spending in 2008 was $10,718 which ranked 421st in the state's 501 school districts. In 2010 per pupil spending had risen to $14,555.89 which ranked 141st.[130] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[131] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[132]

Audit The Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district in November 2010. Findings were reported to the administration and the school board, including possible conflicts of interests in the actions of board members.[133]

APA study According to an extensive study of York County school districts conducted by APA Associates in 2008, South Western School District achieved a +6 rating based on Performance and Relative Efficiency. Central York School District and Northeastern York School District ranked +10. Eleven of 16 York County districts achieved a positive rating.[134]

Tuition Students who live in South Western 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 South Western 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 South Western School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,844.77, High School - $9,260.22.[135]

South Western School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a real estate property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual's personal wealth.[136]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, South Western School District received $9,656,600.[137] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. South Western School District received $222,605 in ABG funding.

In 2011-12, South Western School District received a $9,433,995 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[138][139] Additionally, the School District received $222,605 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[140] 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.[141] In 2010, South Western School District reported that 784 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[142]

For the 2010-11 budget year, South Western School District received a 2.38% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $9,986,555. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in York County was awarded to Hanover Public School District at 8.39%. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[143] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[144]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.39% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $9,753,938 to South Western School District. Four school districts in York County received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009. The highest increase, in York County, was awarded to Central York School District which received 12.54% in 2009. In York County, 12 school districts received a less than 6% increase in state basic education funding in 2009 and three districts received the base 2% increase. Ninety school districts in the commonwealth were given the base 2% increase. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The state Basic Education funding to South Western School District in 2008-09 was $9,433,944.[145]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 619 students, in the district, received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[146]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training to improve instruction, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010-11 the South Western School District applied for and received $604,206 in addition to all other state and federal funding. South Western School District used the funding to provide extensive teacher training to improve instruction and to provide full-day kindergarten (5th year).[147][148]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. South Western School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $423,577 and an additional $77,237 in 2008-09, for a total funding of $500,814.[149] In York County the highest award was given to West Shore School District. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Other grants[edit]

South Western School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants, Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the 21st Century learning grants.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

South Western School District received an extra $1,351,681 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[150] The Pennsylvania Department of Education advised the districts to use the money for nonrecurring expenses like purchasing equipment and teaching resources like computers, books, and software or for teacher training.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

South Western School District officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district would have received millions in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[151] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Six York County school districts applied to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of the majority of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[152]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

South Western School Board decided 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.[153] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The school board levied a property tax of 16.8900 mills in 2012-13. 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. On the local level, Pennsylvania district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[154] 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.

  • 2011-12 - 16.5500 mills[155]
  • 2010-11 - 16.2800 mills [156]
  • 2009-10 - 15.6200 mills [157]
  • 2008-09 - 15.0200 mills [158]
  • 2007-08 - 14.2400 mills.[159]
  • 2006-07 - 13.6600 mills.[160]
  • 2005-06 - 16.5000 mills

The average yearly property tax paid by York County residents amounts to about 4.01% of their yearly income. York County ranked 232nd of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[161] 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.[162] 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%).[163]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[164] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[165] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[166][167]

The School District Adjusted Index for the South Western School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[168]

For the 2012-13 budget year, South Western School Board applied for an exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index due to pension costs. 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.[171]

For the 2011-12 school year, the South Western School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the South Western School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[172]

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.[173]

The South Western School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11 citing pension costs.[174] For the 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[175] 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.[176]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the South Western School District was $152 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 7,354 property owners applied for the tax relief.[177] In 2009, the district's property tax relief amount was set at $152 to 7,298 approved homestead owners. In 2010 within York County, the highest amount went to York City School District set at $495 per approved homestead. The property tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $641 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[178] CUSD was given $632 in 2009. This was the second year they were the top recipient.

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

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[179]

Extracurriculars[edit]

South Western School District's students have access to a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by South Western School Board policies.[180] The district is part of the York Adams League for sports. In 2011, South Western School District reported spending over $561,000 providing sports to students. The district charged a $15 activity fee to participate in sports.[181] Countywide nearly $1 million was spent on transporting public school sports teams.[182] The Schools are in PIAA District 3.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.[183][184]

The District funds:

Markle Intermediate Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [185]

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