Southeast Delco School District

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Southeast Delco School District
Map of Delaware County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1560 Delmar Drive
Folcroft, Pennsylvania 19032-0328
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Stephen Butz, M'Ed ($165,000 in 2012)
School number (610) 522-4300
Faculty 293 teacher (2010)
Grades PreK-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 4051 pupils(2010–11)[1]
 • Kindergarten 351
 • Grade 1 367
 • Grade 2 336
 • Grade 3 337
 • Grade 4 346
 • Grade 5 290
 • Grade 6 332
 • Grade 7 328
 • Grade 8 307
 • Grade 9 311
 • Grade 10 310
 • Grade 11 294
 • Grade 12 261
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 5300 in 2019[2]
Budget $64,303,936. (2012–13)[3] $61.8 million (2011–12)[4]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $10,882.03, HS - $8,656.69[5]
Per Pupil Spending $14,248 (2008)
Per pupil Spending $13,851.36 (2010)
Website

Southeast Delco School District is a midsized, regional suburban public school district located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The District encompasses approximately 10 km² (4 square miles). It serves the residents of Collingdale, Darby Township, Folcroft, and Sharon Hill. The district is adjacent to the City of Philadelphia. The District was created from the merging of smaller, local school districts. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 30,732. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $17,418, while the median family income was $47,321.[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 the Southeast Delco School District provided basic educational services to 4,123 pupils through the employment of 317 teachers, 279 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 28 administrators. Southeast Delco School District received more than $20.6 million in state funding in school year 2007- 08.

Schools[edit]

  • Kindergarten Center (Darby Township) - Principal - Colleen Burke
Grades 1-8 Schools
  • Darby Township School (Darby Township)- Principal -
  • Delcroft School (Folcroft) - Principal - Ms. Stacey Ray
  • Harris School (Collingdale)- Principal - Mr. Shawn McDougall
  • Sharon Hill School (Sharon Hill) - Principal - Mr. Charles Baxter
  • Academy Park High School (Sharon Hill)- Principal - Mr. Nate Robinson

Governance[edit]

The 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 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]

In the fall of 2000 the district began a voluntary school uniform policy for its elementary school students; in 1999 the school board voted to implement.[11]

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying several Southeast Delco School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. They include: Academy Park High School, Sharon Hill School, Delcroft School and Darby Township Elementary School. In 2010, Academy Park High School had just 37.61 students on grade level in reading and mathematics, placing it on the Pennsylvania Lowest Achieving Public Schools list in 2010. Under a newly passed state law, 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.[12] 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.[13] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012–13 school year, seven public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[14] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Southeast Delco School District was ranked 479th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[15] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[16] 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. Southeast Delco School District ranked 13th out of 15 public school districts in Delaware County. The highest ranking public school district in Delaware County was Radnor Township School District which ranked 4th statewide (2012).[17]

  • 2011 - 481st[18]
  • 2010 - 483rd[19]
  • 2009 - 483rd
  • 2008 - 484th
  • 2007 - 482nd out of 501 school districts.[20]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Southeast Delco School District ranked 312th. In 2011, the district was 353rd.[21] 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."

District AYP status history

In 2011, Southeast Delco School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the first time in nine years.[22] 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.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 84.95%.[23] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Academy Park High School's rate was 73% for 2010.[24]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Academy Park High School is located at 300 Calcon Hook Road, Sharon Hill. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,280 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 749 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 93 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[29] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[30]

In 2011, Academy Park High School was in Making Progress: in Corrective Action II AYP status.[31] In 2010, the school was in Corrective Action II 4th Year status when it met only four of eight metrics in academics.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 51% on grade level, (28% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32]
  • 2010 - 40% (33% below basic). State - 66%[33]
  • 2009 - 36% (34% below basic). State - 65%[34]
  • 2008 - 37% (36% below basic). State - 65%[35]
  • 2007 - 45% (36% below basic). State - 65%[36]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 46% on grade level (33% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[37]
  • 2010 - 31% (43% below basic). State - 59%[38]
  • 2009 - 37% (43% below basic). State - 56%.[39]
  • 2008 - 35% (47% below basic). State - 56%[40]
  • 2007 - 40% (41% below basic). State - 53%[41]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 11% on grade level (37% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[42]
  • 2010 - 12% (44% below basic). State - 39%[43]
  • 2009 - 9% (49% below basic). State - 40%[44]
  • 2008 - 10% (37% below basic). State - 39%[45]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 87% of the Academy Park High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[46] This was the highest remediation rate among Pennsylvania public high schools. 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.[47] 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 English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Academy Park 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. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[48] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[49] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $2,735 for the program.[50]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Southeast Delco School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 27 credits to graduate, including: Math 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, science 3 credits, Wellness/Fitness 4 classes, Health 1 credit, Arts 1 credit, Computers 1 credit, School to career 1 credit, Foreign Language 2 classes and electives. In addition the student must score at the Proficient Level or higher on the PSSA Reading, Math, Writing and Science tests, administered in the 11th grade, or demonstrate proficiency on a Southeast Delco School District adopted assessment.[51] A student must have earned a minimum of 6 credits to be promoted to 10th grade. A student must have earned a minimum of 11 credits to be promoted to 11th grade.

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.[52]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[53][54][55] 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.[56] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 122 Academy Park High School students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 413. The Math average score was 416. The Writing average score was 378.[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]

Delcroft School[edit]

Delcroft School is located at 799 School Lane, Folcroft. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 549 pupils in grades 1st through 8th, with 372 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 44.70 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[60] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 teacher was rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[61]

In 2010 and 2011, Delcroft School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress.[62]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 33% on grade level (52% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 49% (33% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 28% (45% below basic). State - 55%
  • 2008 - 25% (50% below basic). State - 52%
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 71%, (13% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 74%, (9% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 71%, (4% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 69%, (9% below basic), State - 81%

Harris Elementary School[edit]

Harris Elementary School is located at 501 Sharon Avenue, Collingdale. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 843 pupils in grades first through 8th, with 595 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a Title I school. The school employed 51 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[68] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[69] In 2011, Harris Elementary School was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status.[70] In 2010, Harris Elementary School was in School Improvement I AYP status due to chronically low student achievement in reading. Under the Federal No Child Behind law, parents were notified of the school's low achievement and children must be offered the opportunity to transfer to a successful school in the district at not cost to the parents. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the school administration to write a School Improvement Plan to raise student achievement in reading and mathematics. The plan was submitted to the state for approval.

PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 53% on grade level (26% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 52% (22% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 33% (33% below basic). State - 55%
  • 2008 - 38%, (36% below basic). State - 52%
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 68%, (14% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 69%, (16% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 73%, (1% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 60%, (15% below basic), State - 81%

Sharon Hill School[edit]

Sharon Hill School is located at 701 Coates Street, Sharon Hill. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 520 pupils in grades first through 8th, with 396 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 43 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[75] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[76] In 2011, Sharon Hill School declined to Warning AYP status due to low reading and math scores.[77] In 2010, Sharon Hill School achieved AYP status.

PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 32% on grade level (42% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 34% (27% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 28% (39% below basic). State - 55%
  • 2008 - 25%, (47% below basic). State - 52%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 64%, (10% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 65%, (17% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 60%, (7% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 50%, (12% below basic). State - 81%

Darby Township School[edit]

Darby Township School is located at 801 Ashland Avenue, Glenolden. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 660 pupils in grades first through 8th, with 442 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 44 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79] In 2011, Darby Township School achieved AYP status.[80] In 2010, Darby Township School was in Warning AYP status.

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 34% on grade level (36% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 40% (46% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 - 37% (44% below basic). State - 55%
  • 2008 - 29% (50% below basic). State - 52%
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 75%, (3% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 70%, (11% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 78%, (7% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 74%, (6% below basic), State - 81%

Kindergarten[edit]

Southeast Delco Kindergarten Center is located at 1 School Lane, Glenolden. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 335 pupils in kindergarten with 214 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is school-wide Title I. The school employed 18 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 19:1.[85] During the Kindergarten registration diagnostic assessments are administered. When the testing determines the readiness of the child is insufficient, parents are offered summer Pre-Kindergarten instruction for their child. The taxpayer funded intensive preparation program is offered for 5 weeks at Harris School.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 735 pupils or 17.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 49% of identified students having a specific learning disability.[86] In December 2009, the district administration reported that 775 pupils or 17.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.

Southeast Delco School District received a $2,249,578 supplement for special education services in 2010.[87] For the 2011–12 and 2012–13 school year, 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.[88][89]

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.[90] 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.[91] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[92] Overidentification 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.[93]

Gifted education[edit]

The Southeast Delco School District Administration reported that 59 or 1.45% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[94] 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.[95][96] At Southeast Delco School District an enrichment program is housed in each school and offered to students on a rotating schedule.

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Southeast Delco School District was $67,086.60 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $16,797.73 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $83,884.33.[97] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[98]

In 2009, the district reported employing 475 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $67,628 and a top salary of $135,000.[99] The teacher’s work day is seven hours thirty minutes with 190 days in the contract year. Teachers receive a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and many other benefits.[100][101]

Southeast Delco School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $625.14 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[102] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007–08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[103] In July 2012, the Board renewed the superintendent's contract for five years with an initial salary of $165,000.[104]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $14,248 which ranked 94th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending had declined to $13,851.36.[105] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008–09.[106] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[107] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000–01.[108]

Reserves In 2010, the district reported a balance of zero in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,455,112. [109] In 2008, Southeast Delco SD Administration reported $7,449,197.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. Pennsylvania school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[110]

The District's budget for 2009–10 was $58,140,596.[111] The District took $748,800 for various facility capital projects from its reserves funds.

In July 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration. The audit found that Social Security and Medicare Reimbursement to the District was overpaid by $480,106. The employee that was responsible for the errors was no longer employed by the district. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reduced its funding to the District to recover the overpayment.[112]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[113] Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the district. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[114]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012–13 school year, Southeast Delco School District will receive $14,360,731.[115] 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. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[116] 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, the district received a $13,964,336, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[117][118] Additionally, the Southeast Delco School District received $395,146 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 was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010–2011.[119] 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.[120] In 2010, the district reported that 2,561 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[121]

In the 2010–2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 10.34% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $15,342,539 . This was the highest increase in state Basic Education Finding among the public school districts in Delaware County. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010–11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[122] 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 where 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 districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.37% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $13,905,210. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Upper Darby School District which got an 11.61%. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008–09 was $13,196,338.74. Ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[123] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[124] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[125][126] In 2009, the District reported having 2457 pupils who receive a federal free or reduced-price lunch.[127]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004–2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010–11, the district applied for and received $1,072,526 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten and to train teachers to provide research based instruction.[128][129]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. Southeast Delco School District applied to participate receiving $161,084 in 2006–07. In 2007–08 the district received $300,000. The district received $69,301 in 2008–09 for a total funding of $530,385.[130] In Delaware County the highest award $1,508,520 was given to Upper Darby 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.

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 School District received $312,042.[131]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $4.5 million in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[132][133] The funding was limited to the 2009–10 and 2010–2011 school years.[134] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Southeast Delco School District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided several million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[135] Due to its poor achievement and high poverty level the District was designated as Turnaround School which would receive an extra $750 per pupil over the base grant amount. 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.[136] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[137][138][139]

21st Century Learning grant[edit]

In July 2012, Southeast Delco School District received a federal grant which is run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. Southeast Delco School District received $377,320. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved, including eight charter schools. Two public school districts in Delaware County received funding, the other being Chester-Upland School District which got $158,309. The funding is for the 2012–13 fiscal year.[140]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012–13 were set by the school board at 37.1496 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.[141] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[142] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[143] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[144] In 2012 the Administration reported there was $2 million in delinquent property taxes owed to the District.[145]

  • 2011–12 - 36.4996 mills
  • 2010–11 - 35.7840 mills[146]
  • 2009–10 - 35.7840 mills.[147]
  • 2008–09 - 30.0840 mills.[148]
  • 2007–08 - 30.0840 mills.[149]
  • 2006–07 - 30.0840 mills.[150]
  • 2005–06 - 29.5860 mills.[151]

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 permitted to raise property taxes above that Index unless they either: 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.[152] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[153] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[154][155]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Southeast Delco School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[156]

  • 2006–07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007–08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008–09 - 6.3%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009–10 - 5.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010–11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011–12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012–13 - 2.5%, Base 1.7%[157]

For the 2012–13 budget year, Southeast Delco School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012–2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[158]

For the 2011–12 school year, Southeast Delco School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. Each year, the Southeast Delco 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.[159]

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.[160]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, Southeast Delco School District approved homestead residents received $335.[161] In 2012, property tax relief for 6,472 approved residents of Southeast Delco School District.[162] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Ambridge Area School District was also $331 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,560 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Westmoreland County, the highest tax relief went to New Kensington-Arnold School District which was set at $302.[163] The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. Chester-Upland School District has consistently been the top recipient since the programs inception.[164] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Beaver County, 62% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[165]

Extracurriculars[edit]

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

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[166]

Controversy[edit]

On March 3, 2013 a pupil died after being punched in the schoolyard on January 10, 2013. As a result of the punch, he began having seizures and had to be put into a medically induced coma.[167]

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External links[edit]