Susquenita School District

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Susquenita School District
Map of Perry County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Shows a portion of Susquenita School District in orange
Address
1725 Schoolhouse Road
Duncannon, Pennsylvania, Perry County and Dauphin County 17020
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 regionally elected members
Superintendent Kent R. Smith (July 1, 2012) salary $118,000 (2013),[1] Salary $130,058 )2-15) Contract renewed July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021[2]
former Super - Daniel W. Sheats (salary - $119,201 in 2009)
Administrator

Roger Carl, Business Manager $90,335 (2013)
Mark Maldet, Dir, Curriculum and Instruction salary $103,000 (2013), $104,200 (2015)
Sonja Brunner, Director Special Ed. $75,000
Alison Hall, Psychologist
Amanda Gervais, Psychologist
Mrs. Cree, Food Service Director[3]
Brad Howard, Director of Buildings and Grounds

Christine L Matash Director of Technology, salary $135,028 (2015)[4]
Director Greg Wagner, Athletics $69,937 (2013)
Principal Mr Craig Funk, HS $90,944 (2013)
Mr. John Osuch, HS
Principal

William M. Quigley, MS $83,763 (2013)

Patricia Woods, MS $70,967 (2013)
Principal

Dr. Rebecca L. Lorfink, ES $74,013 (2013)

Marcus A. Bouchillon, ES
Staff 143 (2011)[5]
Faculty 142 teachers (2011), 148 teachers (2010)[6]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,774 pupils (2016-17)[7]
1,756 pupils (2013)[8]

1,961 pupils (2009–10) [9]
 • Kindergarten 148 (2015),[10] 148 (2012),[11] 148 (2010)
 • Grade 1 137 (2015), 147 (2012), 148
 • Grade 2 153 (2015), 128 (2012), 139
 • Grade 3 150 (2015), 118 (2012), 137
 • Grade 4 163 (2015), 127 (2012), 144
 • Grade 5 134 (2015), 138 (2012), 145
 • Grade 6 118 (2015), 126 (2012), 139
 • Grade 7 117 (2015), 132 (2012), 135
 • Grade 8 126 (2015), 147 (2012), 144
 • Grade 9 139 (2015), 153 (2012), 177
 • Grade 10 126 (2015), 122 (2012), 184
 • Grade 11 134 (2015), 123 (2012), 159
 • Grade 12 129 (2015), 147 (2012), 162 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to decline to 1,960 Pupils in 2019[12]
Budget

$32.4 million (2017-18)[13]
$29,460,010 (2014-15)[14]
$29 million (2013-14)[15]

$29.4 million (2012-13)[16]
Per pupil spending

$13,226 (2008)
$13,985.15 (2010)

$15,728.77 (2013)[17]
Website
Susquenita School District region Reed Township Dauphin County

Susquenita School District is a midsized, public school district located in Perry County, Pennsylvania and also includes one township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Susquenita School District encompasses approximately 87 square miles (230 km2). Susquenita School District encompasses the boroughs of Marysville, New Buffalo, and Duncannon. It also serves: Watts Township, Wheatfield Township, Penn Township, and Rye Township, as well as Reed Township in Dauphin County. According to 2010 US Census Bureau data, it serves a resident population of 14,612. Per 2009 local census data, it served a resident population of 13,634. In 2009, the District residents' per capita income was $19,511, while median family income was $50,887.[18] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[19] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[20] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[21] The educational attainment levels for the District population 25 and over were 88.3% high school graduates and 16.1% college graduates.[22]

In 2016, Susquenita School administration reported an enrollment of 1,802 pupils. The District employed: 145 teachers, 130 non teaching staff (full and part-time) and 13 administrators.[23] The District received $14.1 million in state funding in the 2016-17 school year. In 2009, Susquenita School District provided basic educational services to 1,900 pupils through the employment of 150 teachers, 140 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 10 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. The District received $13.3 million in state funding in the 2009-2010 school year. Per school district officials, in school year 2007–08, Susquenita School District provided basic educational services to 1,964 pupils through the employment of 175 teachers, 207 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 15 administrators.

Susquenita School District operates three schools: Susquenita High School, Susquenita Middle School and Susquenita Elementary School.

Susquenita 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. Susquenita High School students may choose to attend the Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School [1] for training in the building trades, mechanical trades, culinary arts, allied health services, Cosmetology and other fields. The District pays for the costs of attendance on the student's behalf. For those students who prefer an online learning experience, Susquenita High School offers cyber school called Susquenita Virtual Academy through a program provided by the Capital Area Online Learning Association.[24][25] Students can still participate in all extracurriculars offered at Susquenita High School.[26]

Governance[edit]

Susquenita 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.[27] The District is divided into three electoral districts. The Board's members are elected three from each region.[28] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. Susquenita 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.[29] The rest of administrators are under an Act 93 contract. 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.[30]

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.[31]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, Susquenita School District was ranked 391st out of 493 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times. [32] 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.[33] Three school districts were excluded from the ranking because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

In 2014, it was reported that Susquenita School District had the worst academic achievement in the county.[34] Superintendent Smith acknowledged the prior reading curriculum had poor results and that he had changed the program. The District is offering remediation to failing students, as well.

  • 2014 - 395th[35]
  • 2013 - 393rd[36]
  • 2012 - 341st [37]
  • 2011 - 322nd[38]
  • 2010 - 312th [39]
  • 2009 - 325th
  • 2008 - 363rd
  • 2007 - 362nd out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[40]
Overachievers Ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Susquenita School District ranked 483rd out of 500 public school districts. The publication describes the ranking as: "the 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."[41]

  • 2012 - 461st
  • 2011 - 441st
  • 2010 - 457th
  • 2009 - 477th

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students attending Susquenita School District was in the bottom 29th percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale – (0–99; 100 is state best).[42]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Susquenita School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status even though none of its schools achieved AYP status under No Child Left Behind.[43] In 2011, Susquenita School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of 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.[44] Susquenita School District achieved AYP status each year from 2007 to 2010.[45]

  • 2006 - Making Progress - School Improvement I
  • 2005 - declined again to School Improvement I
  • 2004 - Making Progress - School Improvement I
  • 2003 - declined to School Improvement I

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2016, the District’s graduation rate improved to 91.67%.[46]

  • 2015 - 87.97%[47]
  • 2014 - 94%.[48]
  • 2013 - 92.3%[49]
  • 2012 - 91%[50]
  • 2011 - 94% [51]
  • 2010 - 91%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[52]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 – 93%
  • 2009 – 86%[53]
  • 2008 – 86%[54]
  • 2007 – 86%[55]
  • 2006 – 75%[56]

In 2007, Johns Hopkins University reported that Susquenita High School was among 47 Pennsylvania schools and 1700 nationwide high schools with high drop out rates.[57]

High school[edit]

Susquenita High School is located at 309 Schoolhouse Road, Duncannon. In 2016, enrollment declined further to 528 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 28% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal federal poverty level. Additionally, 16.6% of pupils received special education services, while 4.9% of pupils were identified as gifted.[58] The school employed 46 teachers.[59] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[60]

In 2013, enrollment was reported as 545 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 27.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.9% of pupils received special education services, while 5.5% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 50 teachers.[61] Per the PA Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 the school had 684 pupils enrolled in grades 9th through 12th grades, with 155 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 55 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[62] In 2009, Susquenita High School ranked 467th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[63]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 87.1 out of 100 points Susquenita High School Keystone Exams mandated testing results were: 83% of students were on grade level in reading.literature and 70.5% of students demonstrated on grade level in Algebra I. In Biology I, 78% of pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the Biology course.[64] The requirement that pupils pass the Keystone Exams in reading, algebra I and bIology I in order to graduate was postponed until 2019 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly because less than 60% of 12 grade pupils statewide would have been eligible for graduation from high school due to failing one or more Keystone Exams.[65] Fifty-four percent of the 2,676 public schools in Pennsylvania achieved a passing score of 70 or better.[66]

2015 School Performance Profile

SPP withheld by PDE. Susquenita High School achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that just 59% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, only 40.8% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 55.8% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[67][68] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[69][70]

2014 School Performance Profile

Susquenita High School achieved 68.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 62% of students were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 56% showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 54.9% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[71] Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.[72]

2013 School Performance Profile

Susquenita High School achieved 73.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 68% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 71% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 35% showed on grade level science understanding.[73] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[74]

AYP History[edit]

In 2012, Susquenita High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status again, due to lagging student achievement in each metric measured.[75] In 2011 and 2010, Susquenita High School achieved AYP status both years.[76]

  • 2007 - 2010 - achieved AYP each school year
  • 2006 - declined to Warning AYP status
  • 2003-2006 - achieved AYP each school year
PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[77]

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[78]

11th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level, (16% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[79]
  • 2011 - 78% (8% below basic). State - 69.1% [80]
  • 2010 - 58%, State - 67%[81]
  • 2009 - 57%, State - 65%[82]
  • 2008 - 67%, State - 65%[83]
  • 2007 - 66%, State - 65%[84]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 67%, (10% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 58%, State - 59%[85]
  • 2009 - 49%, State - 56% [86]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%[87]
  • 2007 - 44%, State - 56%[88]
11th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 37% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[89]
  • 2011 - 42%, (11% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 – 40%, State - 39%
  • 2009 – 49%, State - 40%
  • 2008 – 39%, State - 39%

Science in Motion Susquenita High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[90] Gettysburg College provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the three county region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 35% of Susquenita 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.[91] 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.[92] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Graduation requirements[edit]

To graduate from the Susquenita School District a student is required to earn 27 credits.[93] Beginning with the class of 2012, students are required to earn the following: English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Physical Education 1.5 credits, Health 0.5 credits, and 9 electives.[94]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[95] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[96]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[97] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[98]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[99][100] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[101] 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.[102] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2016, 69 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 511. The Math average score was 485. The Writing average score was 458.[103] The College Board also reported that statewide 92,569 pupils took the exams with average scores declining again in all three measurers to: 494 in reading, 508 in math and 482 in writing.[104]

In 2015, 54 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 509. The Math average score was 491. The Writing average score was 479.[105] The College Board also reported that statewide 96,826 pupils took the exams with average scores declining in all three measurers to: 495 in reading, 511 in math and 484 in writing.[106]

In 2014, 64 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 509. The Math average score was 505. The Writing average score was 483.[107] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[108]

In 2013, 67 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 488. The Math average score was 487. The Writing average score was 478. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[109]

In 2012, 81 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 494. The Math average score was 505. The Writing average score was 484. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 63 Susquenita School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 525. The Math average score was 520. The Writing average score was 504.[110] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[111] 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.[112]

Dual enrollment[edit]

Susquenita 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 offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[113] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[114]

For the 2009-2010 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $3,488 for the program.[115]

Middle school[edit]

Susquenita Middle School is located at 200 Susquenita Drive, Duncannon. In 2016, enrollment declined to 495 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 38.79% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of pupils received special education services, while 2.8% of pupils were identified as gifted.[116] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[117]

In 2013, enrollment was 540 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 35% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 21% of pupils received special education services, while 3.7% of pupils were identified as gifted.[118] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 99% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[119] According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 the school had 572 pupils enrolled in grades 5th through 8th grades, with 178 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 47 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[120] In 2011, the attendance rate was 94%; while in 2010 the attendance rate was 95%.[121]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 61.1 out of 100 points. Susquenita Middle School PSSA mandated testing results were: just 57% of students in 8th grade were on grade level in reading, while only 28% of students demonstrated on grade level in mathematics. In science, 67% of eighth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level science understanding.[122] In 7th grade, 48% of pupils were on grade level in reading, while just 26% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 56% were on grade level in reading and only 30% were on grade level in math. In 2016, 59% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, just 33% of 5th grade students showed on grade level math skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported.

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 52% of 8th grade students at Susquenita Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 21% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 62% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, only 47% were on grade level in reading, while 27% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 51% were on grade level in reading and just 24% were on grade level in mathematics. Among fifth graders, 56% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, 38% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported.[123] 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. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[124]

2014 School Performance Profile

Susquenita Middle School achieved a score of 67 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - just 61% of students were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, only 61% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 63% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, just 49% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[125] This was a significant decline in achievement over the 2013 scores. The school reports that 100% of the pupils were promoted to the next grade.

2013 School Performance Profile

Susquenita Middle School achieved 76.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 62% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 70% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 61% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 55.7% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[126] 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

Susquenita Middle School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status in 2012.[127]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status
  • 2010 - achieved AYP using the Safe Harbor with Confidence Interval.[128]
  • 2009 - Making Progress: in Corrective Action II. The school was especially lagging in reading for economically disadvantaged students and for special education students. The middle school's combined 7th and 8th grades ranked 447th out of 829 Pennsylvania middle schools for student academic achievement in 2008–2009.[129]
PSSA History

The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing during the spring of the 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.[130] 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.[131] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[132] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[133]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 83% on grade level (7% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[134]
  • 2011 - 77%, (12% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 80%, State – 81%[135]
  • 2009 - 80%, State – 80% [136]
  • 2008 - 77%, State – 78%
  • 2007 - 77%, State – 75%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 73%, (13% below basic). State - 76% [137]
  • 2011 - 80%, (7% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 82%, State – 75%
  • 2009 - 72%, State – 71%
  • 2008 - 69%, State – 70%[138]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 59%, (18% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 61%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 58%, State - 54%
  • 2008 - 53%, State – 52%[139]
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Susquenita School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the middle school.[146] 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.[147]

Susquenita Elementary School[edit]

Susquenita Elementary School is located at 101 Susquenita Drive, Duncannon. In 2016, the School's enrollment was 751 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 44% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 13.7% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1.4% are identified as gifted.[148] 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.[149] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2013, the school's enrollment was 671 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 37.7% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15.4% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[150] 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.[151] The school was a federally designated Title I school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 Susquenita Elementary School had 668 pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten through 4th grade, with 236 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 50 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[152] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[153] According to a report by Pennsylvania Department of Education, Susquenita Elementary School began offering all day kindergarten in the 2008-09 school year.[154]

2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 75.6 points out of 100. Susquenita Elementary School PSSA mandated testing results were: 4th grade, 67% were on grade level in reading, while just 45% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 82% of fourth grade pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding of science concepts in the state standards. Among the school's third graders, 68% were on grade level in reading and only49% showed on grade level mathematics skills.[155][156]

2015 School Performance Profile

PDE withheld SPP info. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, among Susquenita 4th graders, 56% were on grade level in reading, while just 43% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 87% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 68% were on grade level in reading and % were on grade level in mathematics.[157] 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.[158]

2014 School Performance Profile

Susquenita Elementary School achieved a score of 80.9 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 66.8% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 72% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 77% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[159]

2013 School Performance Profile

Susquenita Elementary School achieved a score of 78.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 62% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade, 68% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72.7% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, just 75% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[160]

AYP History

In 2012, Susquenita Elementary School declined further to Corrective Action I AYP status under No Child Left Behind due to low reading achievement.[161] In 2011, Susquenita Elementary School was in Making Progress: in School Improvement II level.[162] Susquenita Elementary School declined to School Improvement II status due to low reading skills in 2010. It was cited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a candidate for a School Improvement intervention. The school was eligible for extra funding from the state and federal government.[163] Susquenita Elementary School was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I due to low reading skills for special education students in 2009.

PSSA results

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science.[164] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[165][166][167] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam has been given to 4th graders since 2007. The test covers content in: science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[168]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 83% (3% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 88% (0% below basic), State - 82.9%
  • 2010 – 87%, State - 81.4%
  • 2009 – 91%, State - 83%
  • 2008 – 87%, State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2015, the District administration reported that 276 pupils or 15.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 44.9% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[176]

In December 2012, the District administration reported that 303 pupils or 17.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 48.8% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[177] In 2010, Susquenita School District administration reported that 351 pupils or 18.7% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 56% of those identified as having a specific learning disability. In 2009, the Susquenita School District administration reported that 361 pupils or 18% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[178]

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[179] Susquenita School District has seen a decline in the number of identified students. It has continued to experience higher costs for special education student services.[180]

In compliance with state and federal laws, 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 Department of Special Education.[181]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides public school districts with a statewide total of $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.[182] 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.[183] 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.[184] 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.[185] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[186]

Susquenita School District received a $1,331,925 supplement for special education services in 2010.[187] For the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 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 was provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[188][189] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District administration must apply for this added funding.

  • 2014-15, Susquenita School District received an increase to $1,353,806 in special education funding from the state.[190]
  • 2016-17 school year, Susquenita School District received a 1.2% increase in state special education funding to $1,395,629.[191]

In 2013, the state's Special Education Funding Reform Commission provided a report on the state of funding for special education in the Commonwealth.[192] Funding for special education programs is borne largely on a local basis at 60%, with the state contributing $1 billion or 30% and the federal government providing 10% of the funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The Susquenita School District Administration reported that 81 or 4.19% of its students were gifted in 2009.[193] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[194]

Bullying policy[edit]

While there were 35 school safety incidents in 2011, Susquenita School District Administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the District.[195] Susquenita School District Administration reported there were 3 incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[196]

The Susquenita School Board has provided the district's antibully/cyberbullying policy online.[197] 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.[198] 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.[199]

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.[200]

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.[201]

In 2015, the average teacher salary in Susquenita School District rose to $57,230 a year, while highest paid salary was $135,028.[202] The district was required to pay a sum of 30% of each teacher's salary to the state teacher's pension system (PSERS).

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Susquenita School District was $51,211 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $17,638 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $68,850.[203][204] Susquenita 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.)[205] After 40 years of service, a teacher 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.[206]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Susquenita School District was $49,913 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $15,742 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $66,656.[207] In 2009, Susquenita School District administration reported employing 181 teachers with an average salary of $49,333.[208] The salary range was $39,191 to $87,290.[209]

In 2007, Susquenita School District employed 149 teachers who earned an average teacher salary of $48,089 for 180 days worked.[210] 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.[211] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, a retirement bonus and other benefits.[212] For the 2008–09 and 2009–10 school years, teachers paid a contribution towards their employer based health insurance.[213] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[214] In April 2010 the board and union agreed to a fact finder report which called for: 3.10 percent salary increase inclusive of step retroactive for 2009–10, and a 3 percent step-inclusive increase for 2010–11 and 2011–12, a step for master's degree plus 30 credits be added to the schedule, and a three-year contract.[215][216]

Administration costs Susquenita School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $753.76 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[217]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the district reported spending $13,226 per pupil which ranked 161st in the commonwealth.[218] In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $15,299.29 [219] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[220] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[221] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[222]

Fund Balance Reserves In 2008, Susquenita School District officials reported an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $5,545,468.00.[223] In 2010, Susquenita School District Administration reported $4,794,124 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance and a reserved-undesignated fund balance of $5,000,000 for total reserves of $9,794,124. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the 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.[224] In 2014, Susquenita School Board reported total reserves of over $10.5 million.[225] In 2015, the District's reserves rose to $11,727,361,[226] which was 39.74% of the District's budget of $29,512,126 exceeding state regulation limits of 8%.[227]

State Audit In May 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the school board members and the administration.[228] In 2013, Susquenita School District was audited again. Results were reported to the Board and administration.[229]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Susquenita School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are elementary school - $8,695.88, high school - $10,437.95.[230] The 2015 tuition rates for Susquenita were: elementary school - $9,136.48, high school - $11,251.55.[231]

Susquenita School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.3%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on reserve accounts also provides nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual wealth.[232][233] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $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.[234] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[235][236]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, School District receives 46.6% of its annual revenue from the state.[237]

For the 2016-17 school year, Susquenita School District received $$7,997,649 in Basic Education Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This was a 1% increase over 2015-16 funding to the District. The highest percentage of BEF increase in Perry County was 2.2% awarded to both: Newport School District and Greenwood School District, under the state’s Basic Education Funding formula. For the 2016-17 school year, Pennsylvania increased its public education spending to a record high of $5,895 billion. It was a $200 million increase, 3.51% increase over the 2015-16 appropriation.[238] The state also funded Ready to Learn grants at $250 million and Special Education funding received a $20 million increase.[239] The state also paid $492 million to the school employee social security fund and another $2.064 billion to the teacher’s pension fund.[240] Statewide Conestoga Valley School District received a 13.3% increase in state BEF funding. Five PA public school districts received an increase of 10% or greater in Basic Education funding over their 2015-16 funding.

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,865,607 to Susquenita School District, in January of 2016.[241] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[242] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[243]

In compliance with a legislative mandate that was passed with veto proof majorities in the Pennsylvania House and Senate,[244] the final BEF funding was determined for 2015-16, in April 2016. Susquenita School District received $8,276,363 in Basic Education Funds for the 2015-16 school year. This was a 1.91% increase yielding a $155,161 increase over the previous school year funding. The District also received $300,005 in Ready to Learn funding from the state.[245]

For the 2014-15 school year, Susquenita School District received $7,856,878 in State Basic Education funding. The District also received $254,344 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.[246] 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.[247]

For the 2013-2014 school year, the Susquenita School District received a 1.4% increase or $7,856,060 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding (BEF). This is $110,882 more than its 2012-2013 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Susquenita School District received $160,336 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Perry County, West Perry School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.0%. 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.[248] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state revenues. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[249] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[250]

For the 2012-2013 school year, Susquenita School District received $7,905,514 in state basic education funding.[251] 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 2011-2012 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Susquenita School District received $160,336 for 2012-2013. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[252] 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 2010-2011 school year.

For the 2011-2012 school year, Susquenita School District received $7,745,178 in state Basic Education Funding.[253][254] Additionally, the District received $160,336 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[255] Districts experienced a reduction in funding, due to the loss of federal stimulus funding, which ended in 2011. In 2010, Susquenita School District reported that 558 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010–2011 school year, the state provided Susquenita School District with a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,404,930. Among Perry County school districts, the highest state funding increase went to West Perry School District at 5.14%. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a base 2% increase in state basic education funding. The highest increase of state funding in 2010–11 was 23.65% which went to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County.[256] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each public school district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district receives was determined by then Governor Edward G. Rendell and then Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year. This was the second year of Governor Rendell's plan to have the state fund some school districts at a much higher rate than others.[257]

In the 2009–10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 6.39% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,240,128. This was the highest funding increase in Perry County. The 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. The highest state funding increase was 22.31% to Muhlenberg School District in Berks County.[258]

The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008–09 was $7,745,178.40. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 508 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[259]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[260]

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, and before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, Susquenita School District applied for and received $435,193 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Susquenita School District used the funding to provide reduced class size K-3rd (3rd year) and for full-day kindergarten (1st year – 2009).[261]

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.[262]

Susquenita School District received $254,344 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants, where the district must apply to receive. In 2016, Susquenita received $300,005 in Ready to Learn state grant dollars.

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.[263] The program was funded from 2006 through 2009. Susquenita School District received funding in 2008 of $268,410.[264] In 2009, Susquenita School District received $48,973.[265] Among the public school districts in Perry County, the highest award was given to West Perry School District which received $361,599. 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.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

Susquenita School Administration did not apply for the state's Education Assistance Grant. 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.[266][267]

Environmental Education Grant[edit]

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that 5 percent of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department of Environmental Protection be set aside for environmental education. In 2012, Susquenita School District was awarded $6,418.[268] Grant recipients must use the funding for various initiatives, including environmental field trips for students, implementing environmental education curriculum at schools.

Other grants available[edit]

Susquenita School District did not participate in PreK Counts (taxpayer funded preschool), Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[269] the federal 21st Century Learning grants; the federal Safe Schools Targeted Grant; nor the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant.[270] One other Perry County public school district received the Literacy grant funding and another Perry County District receives PreK Counts funding.[271] Nor did Susquenita School District participate in the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.[272]

Federal grants[edit]

Susquenita School District received an extra $1,598,172 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[273] This was in addition to all regular, annual state and federal funding. The funding was limited to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.[274] 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]

Susquenita School District officials chose to not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[275] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[276] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[277] 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.[278][279]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In the summer of 2011, the Susquenita School District administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). Susquenita Elementary School was eligible for funding, due to low academic achievement. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. Transformation calls for a change in faculty and administration evaluations, mandated training in proven teaching techniques and rigorous curriculum change that focuses on student achievement. The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 Million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools[280]

For 2010-2011, Susquenita School District did not apply for a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the elementary school.[281]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[282] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[283] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[284]

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 to provide each child in public schools with “High Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[285] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[286] 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, Susquenita School District received $64,605 in federal Title II funding.[287] In 2014-15, Susquenita School District applied for and received $61,596.[288]

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.[289] 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.[290][291]

In 2012-13, Susquenita School District received $1,901 in Title III funding for English language learners.[292] For 2014-15, Susquenita School District received $2,281 in Title III funding.[293]

Common Cents initiative[edit]

The school board elected to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[294] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2016-17 were set by the school board at Reed Township in Dauphin County, at 22.8100 mills. Perry County - 12.9570 mills.[295]

Property taxes for district residents, in Perry County, were set at 12.1300 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. 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.[296]

Susquenita School District includes municipalities in two different counties, each county has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[297] 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.[298] In 2014, it was revealed that the District's Business Manager had been manipulating the tax assessment numbers for years in favor of greater revenue for the District.[299]

Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[300] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[301][302] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development.

  • 2015-16 - Reed Township in Dauphin County, at 21.6660 mills. Perry County - 12.1260 mills.
  • 2014-15 - Reed Township in Dauphin County, at 20.3500 mills. Perry County - 12.1340 mills.[303]
  • 2013-14 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 19.5320 mills. Perry County - 12.2000 mills.[304]
  • 2012-13 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 19.5550 mills. Perry County - 12.2000 mills.
  • 2011-12 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 20.7950 mills. Perry County - 12.2000 mills.
  • 2010-11 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 20.3740 mills. Perry County - 17.0000 mills.
  • 2009-10 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 20.7530 mills. Perry County - 16.9900 mills.[305]
  • 2008-09 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 21.0930 mills. Perry County - 17.0000 mills.[306]
  • 2007-08 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 22.0300 mills. Perry County - 17.0000 mills.
  • 2006-07 - Reed Township Dauphin County - 21.9200 mills. Perry County - 17.0000 mills.

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.[307] The average yearly property tax paid by Perry County residents amounts to about 3.11% of their yearly income. Perry County is ranked 538th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income. In Dauphin County, property owners pay 3.48% of their income in property taxes which ranks 382nd in the USA.[308]

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.[309]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Susquenita School District 2006–2007 through 2011-2012.[310]

For the 2016-17 budget year, Susquenita School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the District's Act 1 Index limit: rising special education costs and escalating teacher pension costs.[323] Statewide 299 school districts adopted a resolution to not exceed their Act I index in 2016-17. In 2016-17, all Pennsylvania public school districts were required to make a 30.03% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[324] This was in addition to the 6.02% social security employer match payment.[325]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Susquenita School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[326]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Susquenita 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).[327] 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.[328]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Susquenita School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[329]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Susquenita 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. In Area School District the approved real estate tax rate Increase due to exceptions was 3.7148 mills.[330]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Susquenita School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2011-12, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 8.65% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund. Each year, the 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.

For the 2010-11 school year, Susquenita School Board applied for several exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget, including: special education costs, maintenance of local effort, and pension costs.[331] 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.[332]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2016, Susquenita School District approved 3,986 homestead properties received $190 each.[333] The relief was subtracted from the property tax bill. The increase in relief was due to fewer local property owners participating in the program than in 2010.

For the 2013-14 school year, Susquenita School Board approved 4,237 homesteads to receive $178 each in property tax relief. For the 2012-13 school year, Susquenita School District had 4,249 approved homesteads which received $178 each in property tax relief. For 2010, the residents received $180 in property tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. In the District, 4,184 property owners applied for the tax relief. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a second, farmstead related exemption on buildings 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 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Susquenita School District was $182 per approved permanent primary residence. This was among the lowest amounts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the district, 4143 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for residents in Susquehanna School District including: low income individuals aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate.[334]

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%).[335] In Pennsylvania the 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[336]

Extracurricular[edit]

Susquenita School District offers a variety of: clubs, activities and an extensive sports program.[337] Eligibility to participate is set by the Susquenita School Board, in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website.[338] Susquenita School District is a member of the Mid-Penn Conference for sports and District III of PIAA. Susquenita School Board has ordered random drug testing of all pupils who are participating in student activities as well as those students who drive to school.[339] The policy was a source of controversy when it became public that the School had tested a 5th grader who belonged to the Middle Honor Society 3 times in one school year.[340]

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 home schooled, 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.[341]

The drama department was nominated for two Hershey Apollo awards (best pit band and best play) and won the award for 2011 best pit band.

Sports[edit]

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.[342][343]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[344]

The District funds:

Junior high school sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [345]

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External links[edit]

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