Susquehanna Township School District

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Susquehanna Township School District
Map of Dauphin County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
3550 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County 17110-1131
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent

Dr. Tod F. Kline, hired March 2015, salary $135,000 length four years[1]
Mr. Richard D. Daubert, acting superintendent, hired December 30, 2014) contract $575 per day[2]
Dr Jeffrey Miller, Acting Superintendent May 12, 2014 to December 31, 2014[3]
Dr. Susan M. Kegerise hired 2009 3 year contract [4] salary $134,734 (2012) suspended/resigned April 2014[5]
David W. Volkman until 2009[6]

Thomas W. Holtzman until 2001[7]
Specialist

Dr. Tamara C. Willis, Asst Superintendent
former asst superintendent Valotta-Taschner, Cathy, Asst Super salary $119,480 (2012) resigned 2014

Donahue, Kimberly, Asst Super salary $115,638 (2012)
School number 717.657.5100
Administrator

Oslwen Anderson Jr., Business Manager (2014)
Michael Frentz, former Business Manager salary $92,298 (2012)
Dr Tamara C Willis, Asst Super (2015-June 30, 2018)

Mrs. Paulie K. Zozos, Director of Pupil Services
Director Schaffer Yeager, Luann, Supervisor salary $100,086 (2012)
Principal Keith D. Still, HS (2014); Ralph Lovelidge former HS, salary $104,825 (2012)
Principal Mrs Sabina Grant-Spencer, SLES (2014)
Principal Mr Harold Wilson, STMS
Principal Mr Michael Selvenis, THES
Staff 171 non teaching staff (2013), 186 non teaching staff members
Faculty

206 teachers (2013),[8]
202 teachers (2011)[9]

201 teachers (2012)
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years for special education
Pupils

2,679 students (2015)[10]
2,777 students (2014)[11]
2,824 students (2012-13)[12]
2,966 students (2010-11)[13]
3,091 students (2009–10)[14]

3,170 students (2006-07)
 • Kindergarten 219 (2012),[15] 159 (2010)
 • Grade 1 180 (2012), 188 (2010)
 • Grade 2 186 (2012), 201 (2010)
 • Grade 3 177 (2012), 207 (2010)
 • Grade 4 193 (2012), 234 (2010)
 • Grade 5 213 (2012), 252 (2010)
 • Grade 6 217 (2012), 232 (2010)
 • Grade 7 247 (2012), 218 (2010)
 • Grade 8 253 (2012), 289 (2010)
 • Grade 9 221 (2012), 239 (2010)
 • Grade 10 212 (2012), 275 (2010)
 • Grade 11 240 (2012), 244 (2010)
 • Grade 12 256 (2012), 243 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to 3,231 by 2019.[16]
Medium of language English
Budget

$47,972,923 (2015-16)[17]
$44.8 million (2014-15)[18]
$43 million (2013-14)
$40.8 million (2012-13).[19]
$40 million (2011-12)[20]

$40 million (2010-11)[21]
Per pupil spending

$11,685 (2008)
$12,655.96 (2010)

$13,986.63 (2012)
Website

The Susquehanna Township School District is a midsized, suburban, public school district serving students from Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The school district is located in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna Township School District encompasses approximately 17 square miles (44 km2). According to a June 2008 local census data, it serves a resident population of 22,977 people. In 2010, the District's population had grown to 24,047 people, per the United States Census Bureau.[22] The educational attainment levels for the Susquehanna Township School District population (25 years old and over) were 91.3% high school graduates and 34.6% college graduates.[23]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 35.5% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty level as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[24] In 2009, Susquehanna Township School District residents' per capita income was $26,572 a year, while the median family income was $61,781 a year.[25] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[26] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[27] In Dauphin County, the median household income was $52,371.[28] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[29]

Per Susquehanna Township School District officials, in school year 2007–08, the Susquehanna Township School District provided basic educational services to 3,271 pupils through the employment of 245 teachers, 168 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 5 administrators. The District provided basic educational services to 2,947 pupils in 2011-12. It employed: 208 teachers, 141 full-time and part-time support personnel, and nineteen (19) administrators during the 2011-12 school year. The District received $7,367,070 in state funding in the 2011-12 school year.

Susquehanna Township School District operates:

High school students may choose to attend Dauphin County Technical School for training in the construction and mechanical trades.

Governance[edit]

Susquehanna Township 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.[30] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[31] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[32]

The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[33] These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[34] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[35]

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.[36]

The Susquehanna Township School District is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 which offers a variety of services, including a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, the Susquehanna Township School District was ranked 408th out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[37] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[38] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

  • 2014 - 402nd[39]
  • 2013 - 375th[40]
  • 2012 - 362nd[41]
  • 2011 - 304th[42]
  • 2010 - 298th[43]
  • 2009 - 270th
  • 2008 - 284th
  • 2007 - 282nd out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts according to the Pittsburgh Business Times in May 2007.[44]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that two schools in the District were among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Both Susquehanna Township High School and Holtzman Elementary School were on the list.[45][46] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[47]

Overachievers ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Susquehanna Township ranked 461st.[48] 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." [49]

  • 2012 - 459th[50]
  • 2011 - 437th
  • 2010 - 451st [51]
  • 2009 - 408th

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students in the Susquehanna Township School District was in the 31st percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)[52]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Susquehanna Township School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to lagging student achievement.[53]

  • 2011 - achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[54]
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status [55]
  • 2006-2009 - achieved AYP status each year.[56]
  • 2004 and 2005 - 'School Improvement AYP status due to chronic, low student achievement
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status, due to lagging student achievement.[57]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, the District’s graduation rate was 93%.[58]

  • 2014 - declined to 94.5%.[59]
  • 2013 - declined to 88%.[60]
  • 2012 - increased to 90%.[61]
  • 2011 - 87.73%.[62]
  • 2010 - 87%, Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[63]
Calculated under old formula
  • 2010 – 97% [64]
  • 2009 – 98%[65]
  • 2008 – 94%
  • 2007 – 94% [66]

High school[edit]

Middle school[edit]

Susquehanna Township Middle School is located at 801 Wood Street, Harrisburg. In 2014, Susquehanna Township Middle School reported a decline of enrollment to 675 pupils, with 39.5% coming from low income homes. Additionally, 13.7% of pupils received special education services, while 4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[67]

In 2013, Susquehanna Township Middle School reported an enrollment of 717 pupils, with 34.5% coming from low income homes.[68] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the School reported an enrollment of 717 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 245 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 56 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[69] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[70]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that 50% of 8th grade students at Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 31% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 49% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 45% were on grade level in reading, while 25% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 54% were on grade level in reading and 24% were on grade level in mathematics.[71] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[72]

2014 School Performance Profile

Susquehanna Township Middle School achieved 76.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - only 67% of pupils were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, just 63.7% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, only 52.8% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, just 60.79% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[73]

2013 School Performance Profile

Susquehanna Township Middle School achieved 71.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, only 64% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics, only 68% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 51% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, just 52.5% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[74] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.

AYP History

In 2012, Susquehanna Township Middle School further declined to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging student achievement in both reading and mathematics. In 2011, Susquehanna Township Middle School declined to Warning AYP status.[75] In 2010, Susquehanna Township Middle School achieved AYP status. In 2009, the School was in Warning status due to low student achievement.[76] The attendance rate was 95% in both years.[77]

PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are NCLB related examination given in the Spring of each school year. Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[78] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[79] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[80] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[81]

8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 60% on grade level (24% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 52% (27% below basic). State – 58.3% [91]
  • 2010 - 55%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 54%, State – 54% [92]
  • 2008 - 60%, State – 52% [93]
  • 2007 - students field tested. Results withheld from the public by PDE.
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Susquehanna Township School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the middle school.[94] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[95]

T. W. Holtzman Jr, Elementary School[edit]

T. W. Holtzman Jr, Elementary School is located at 1910 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 550 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 45.8% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 14% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2% are identified as gifted.[96] In 2014, Holtzman Elementary School's enrollment was 567 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 41.4% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 12.5% of the pupils receive special education services, while 2% are identified as gifted.[97] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind.[98] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2010, the school enrolled 693 students in grades 3rd through 5th, with 239 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. T. W. Holtzman Jr, Elementary School employed 50 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[99] Has both a principal and an assistant principal. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[100]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 54% of 5th grade students at Holtzman Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, just 39% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 43% were on grade level in reading, while 36% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 71% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, only 50% were on grade level in reading and 38% were on grade level in mathematics.[101] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[102]

2014 School Performance Profile

T. W. Holtzman Jr, Elementary School achieved a score of 69.9 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 58% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 58.9% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, just 64% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 76% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 58% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[103]

2013 School Performance Profile

T. W. Holtzman Jr, Elementary School achieved 73.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 60.9% of the students were reading on grade level. In 3rd grade, 70% of students were reading on grade level. In math, just 60.6% of the students were on grade level. In 4th grade science, just 79.76% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 60.29% of pupils were on grade level.[104]

AYP History

In 2012, Thomas W Holtzman Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all metrics measured in reading and mathematics. In 2011, Thomas W Holtzman Elementary School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress AYP status.[105] In 2010, the School was in Warning status due to low student achievement. In 2009, the School achieved AYP status.[106]

PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[107] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[108][109][110] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[111] The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.

4th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 87%, (3% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 87%, (2% below basic), State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 89%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 88%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 86%, State - 81%

Sara Lindemuth Elementary School[edit]

Sara Lindemuth Elementary School is located at 1201 North Progress Ave, Harrisburg. In 2014, the Lindemuth Elementary School's enrollment was 633 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 41% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 10% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[121] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten since 2012.[122] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2013, Sara Lindemuth Elementary School had 585 students enrolled in grades kindergarten through second grades, with 38% of its students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 39 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[123] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[124] No AYP testing is conducted in grades K-2.[125] The school provided full day kindergarten in 2013.

2014 School Performance Profile

Sara Lindemuth Elementary School achieved a score of 75.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 58.99% of the students were reading on grade level. In math, 68.5% were on grade level.[126]

2013 School Performance Profile

Sara Lindemuth Elementary School achieved 77.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 70.24% of the students were reading on grade level. In math, 74.25% were on grade level.[127]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, the District administration reported that 406 pupils or 14.1% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 39.7% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[128] In December 2012, Susquehanna Township School District administration reported that 427 pupils or 14.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 41.5% of identified students having a specific learning disability.[129] In December 2011, Susquehanna Township School District administration reported that 425 pupils or 14% of the district's pupils received special education services, with 47% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the District administration reported that 496 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received special education services.[130] In 2008, Susquehanna Township School District reported that 17% of its pupils received special education services.[131]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[132] Capital Area IU conducts the Capital Area Local Task Force. The Right to Education Consent Agreement of 1972 provided for the establishment of a Local Task Force in each of the 29 Intermediate Units. The primary purpose is to ensure that the intent and spirit of the Right to Education Consent Agreement is carried out throughout the Commonwealth.[133]

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.[134] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[135] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[136] 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.[137] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[138]

The Susquehanna Township School District received a $1,327,376 supplement for special education services in 2010.[139] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. 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.[140][141] For the 2014-2015 school year, Susquehanna Township School District will receive an increase to $1,346,761 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[142]

Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The Susquehanna Township School District Administration reported that 61 or 1.91% of its students were gifted in 2009.[143] 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.[144] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Susquehanna Township School District provides a continuum of programs and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.

Bullying policy school safety[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District administration reported there were five incidents of bullying in the District in 2013-2014. Additionally, there were three assaults on students and no sexual incidents involving students. There was one bomb threat. The local law enforcement was involved in twenty-six incidents at the schools, with four arrests.[145] [146] Susquehanna Township School District administration reported there were five incidents of bullying in the District in 2012-2013. Additionally, there were five assaults on students and one sexual incident involving a student. There was one bomb threat. The local law enforcement was involved in sixteen incidents at the schools, with two arrests.[147]

Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.[148]

Susquehanna Township School District administration reported there were 6 incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[149][150]

The Susquehanna Township School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[151] 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.[152] 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.[153]

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.[154]

Susquehanna Township School District did not participate in State Safe School grants nor the 2014 School Resource Officer and Police Officer grant.[155][156]

Wellness policy[edit]

Susquehanna Township School Board established a district-wide Student Wellness Policy in 2006 – Student Wellness Policy 246.[157] 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."

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.[158] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for its approval.[159] This includes classroom party guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[160]

Susquehanna Township School District offers both a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch at school. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[161] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[162]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[163] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of the lunch.[164]

Susquehanna Township School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[165] Nurses also annually monitor each child's weight and report the data to the state.

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.[166]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Susquehanna Township School District was $58,793 a year.[167] The District employed 256 teachers with a top salary of $140,000.[168][169] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[170] Susquehanna Township School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[171] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. 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.[172] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[173] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[174]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Susquehanna Township School District was $57,271 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $17,361 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $74,632.[175] In 2011, the average teacher salary in Susquehanna Township School District was $54,739 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $14,124 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $68,864. The highest salary is $134,734[176] In 2012, the district employed 238 teachers and administrators

In 2009, Susquehanna Township School District reported employing 262 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $54,885 and a top salary of $143,520.[177] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 30 minutes, with a daily preparation period and a 30-minute duty-free lunch. There are 188 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[178]

In 2007, Susquehanna Township School District employed 216 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $51,432 for 180 days worked.[179][180] 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.[181]

Administrative spending Susquehanna Township School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $627.50 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[182] 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.[183] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[184]

Superintendent's contract In April 2013, the school board approved a four-year contract to Superintendent Susan Kegerise with a salary of $138,776 in 2013. Her annual salary is $140,000 from Jan. 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.[185] The contract became a matter of contention with newly elected board members and the community due to terms which tied the boards hands in dealing with the superintendent.[186] The former Superintendent sued the school board for a variety of issues.[187] In 2013, Superintendent Kegerise was the center of controversy over her failure to report the sexual relationship between an assistant principal and a sixteen-year-old student.[188]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Susquehanna Township School District reported spending $11,685 per pupil. This ranked 316th in the commonwealth.[189] In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $12,655.96.[190] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[191] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[192]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[193] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[194] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[195] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[196]

Tuition Students who live in Susquehanna Township School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. Or a student living in a neighboring public school district may seek admission to Susquehanna Township School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates for Susquehanna Township School District are Elementary School - $9,564.34, High School - $8,826.01.[197]

Susquehanna Township School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%, a property tax, per capita tax $5, Resident Tax $5, Occupation Privilege Tax $5, Occupation Tax $270, Amusement Tax 10%, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[198] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[199] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[200]

Reserves[edit]

In 2008, Susquehanna Township School District reported a $2,390,826.00 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $2,500,000.[201] In 2010, Susquehanna Township School Administration reported an increase to $3,100,000 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and $5,321,527 in a designated fund. In 2013, Susquehanna Township School District reported $12,829,781 in reserves, with over $3 million in undesignated reserves.[202] 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.[203]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Susquehanna Township School District receives 17.9% of its annual revenue from the state.[204]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $1,801,461 to Susquehanna Township School District, in January 2016.[205] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[206] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[207][208][209]

For the 2014-15 school year, Susquehanna Township School District received $3,432,598 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $200,667 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[210] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[211]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Susquehanna Township School District received a 3.5% increase or $3,430,116 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $116,457 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Susquehanna Township School District will receive $88,433 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Dauphin County, Derry Township School District received the highest percentage increase at 5.4%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[212] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[213]

For the 2012-13 school year, Susquehanna Township School District received $3,401,999 in state funding.[214] 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. Susquehanna Township School District also received $88,433 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[215] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Susquehanna Township School District received $3,311,788 in state Basic Education Funding which was a 3.55% increase over the previous year's funding. The highest increase awarded among Dauphin County school districts was a 10.48% increase given to Harrisburg City School District[216] Additionally, Susquehanna Township School District received $88,433 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.[217] 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.[218]

For the 2010-11 school year, Susquehanna Township School District received a 15.89% increase in State Basic Education Funding (BEF) for a total of $3,615,584. This was the highest percentage increase awarded to a Dauphin County school district.[219] Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase, in the state, at 23.65% increase in basic education funding for the 2010–11 school year. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount each district received was determined by then Governor Edward G. Rendell and Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state's annual budget process.[220] This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[221]

In the 2009-10 school year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 10.66% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $3,119,891 to the Susquehanna Township School District.[222] This was the highest increase received by any Dauphin County school district. Susquehanna Township School District also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low-income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. Three school districts in Dauphin County received an increase in excess of 5%. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest increase in the commonwealth at 22.31%.[223]

The state Basic Education Funding to Susquehanna Township School District in 2008-09 was $2,819,264.50. In 2009, the Administration reported that 901 students received a free or reduced-price lunch based on the federal poverty levels. 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.[224][225]

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 $240,030 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Susquehanna Township School District uses the funding to provide reduced class size K-3rd and for teacher coaches who train classroom teacher in reading and math instruction for the 4th year. The funding is also used to pay teachers for writing new curriculum at the high school.[226][227][228] In 2009–10, the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block Grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[229]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[230]

Susquehanna Township School District will receive $200,667 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees along with 50% of PSERS pension costs and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Mathematics) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006–2009. Susquehanna Township School District did not apply for funding in 2006–07. In 2007–08, Susquehanna Township School District received $171,104. In 2008–09, the District received $52,046 for a total funding of $223,150.[231] Among the public school districts in Dauphin County, the highest award was given to Harrisburg City School District which received $692,809. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Other grants[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell), Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants[232] Project 720 High School Reform grants (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget); nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal funding[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District received an extra $1,286,188 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[233] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 808 students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income in 2008.[234] The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[235] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, the Governor and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, 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]

Susquehanna Township School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have meant hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars to improve student academic achievement.[236] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[237] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[238] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[239]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is provide each child in public schools with “Highly Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[240] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[241] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Susquehanna Township School District received $67,447 in federal Title II funding.[242] In 2014-15, Susquehanna Township School District applied for and received $60,772.[243]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[244] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[245] In 2012-13, Susquehanna Township School District received $12,765 in Title III funding for English language learners.[246] For 2014-15, Susquehanna Township School District received $19,314 in Title III funding.[247]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Susquehanna Township 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.[248] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Susquehanna Township School Board set property taxes for 2015-16 raised taxes to 17.4455 mills. 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. According to state tax policy, unlike other states, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[249] 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.

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.[250] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[251] 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.[252]

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.[263] 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%).[264]

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.[265] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum unless tha district has amassed sufficient reserves to pay for it.[266]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Susquehanna Township School District 2006–2007 through 2010–2011.[267]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Susquehanna Township School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[273] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[274]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Susquehanna Township School Board applied for one exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit du eto the rapidly increasing teacher pension costs. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[275]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Susquehanna Township 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.[276]

For the 2011–12 school year, the Susquehanna Township School Board also did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Susquehanna Township School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[277]

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.[278]

For the 2010–11 school year budget, Susquehanna Township School Board did not seek an exception under Act 1 or 2006.[279] 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.[280]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Susquehanna Township School District approved 6,763 homestead properties received $68.[281] The decline in amount was related to more residents applying for tax relief and a decline in table games tax revenues. The amount received by Susquehanna Township School District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[282]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Susquehanna Township School District was $70 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,427 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Dauphin County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Harrisburg School District at $446.[283] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[284] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[285]

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 whose income is substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.

Extracurriculars[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies.[286][287] Susquehanna Township does not charge a fee for participation in extracurriculars.[288]

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.[289]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[290][291][292]

Sports[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[293]

The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website. Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[294]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[295][296]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015[297]

Intermediate unit[edit]

Susquehanna Township School District is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 which offers a variety of services, including a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services. The Intermediate Unit is governed by a Board of Directors that are a member of each local school board from the iu's school districts. Board members are elected by school directors of each school district for three-year terms that begin July 1.[298] There are 29 intermediate units in Pennsylvania. They are funded by school districts, state and federal program specific funding and grants. IUs do not have the power to tax.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barbara Miller (March 16, 2015). "Susquehanna Township School District has new Superintendent". 
  2. ^ Julianne Mattera (December 31, 2014). "Susquehanna Twp. School Board appoints second acting superintendent in less than a year". Pennlive.com. 
  3. ^ PDE, ED Names and Addresses 2014, July 2014
  4. ^ McCormick, Diane., Susquehanna Township schools names Kegerise as superintendent, Pennlive, July 10, 2009
  5. ^ Julianne Mattera (December 8, 2014). "Susquehanna Twp. School District's superintendent search is down to 2". Pennlive.com. 
  6. ^ M. Diane McCormick (November 18, 2009). "Teachers, parents, students honor retiring Susquehanna Township School District Superintendent David Volkman". Pennlive.com. 
  7. ^ M. Diane McCormick (January 26, 2009). "Susquehanna Township schools supervisor to retire". Pennlive.com. 
  8. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Susquehanna Township School District, 2015
  9. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Susquehanna Township School District, 2012
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 4, 2015). "Susquehanna Township School District Fast Facts 2015,". 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 6, 2014). "Susquehanna Township School District Fast Facts 2014". 
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment Public Schools by LEA 2012-13, 2013
  13. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data Susquehanna Township School District, 2012
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, July 20, 2010
  15. ^ PDE, Enrollment by LEA 2012-13, 2013
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Susquehanna Township School District Enrollment and Projections, July 2010
  17. ^ Susquehanna Township School District Administration (2015). "Susquehanna Township School District Budget Presentation". 
  18. ^ Diane McCormack (May 20, 2014). "Susquehanna Township School District preliminary budget would raise taxes 1.1 percent". Pennlive.com. 
  19. ^ McCormick, Diane., Susquehanna Township School Board approves budget with no tax hike, June 25, 2012
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°18′00″N 76°50′33″W / 40.29996°N 76.84244°W / 40.29996; -76.84244