Mechanicsburg Area School District


Mechanicsburg Area School District
Mechanicsburg Area School District
Address
100 E. Elmwood Ave, 2nd floor
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Cumberland, 17013
United States
Information
Superintendent Dr. Mark K. Leidy effective July 1, 2010
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 270
Grade 1 316
Grade 2 268
Grade 3 252
Grade 4 267
Grade 5 305
Grade 6 280
Grade 7 290
Grade 8 299
Grade 9 312
Grade 10 283
Grade 11 310
Grade 12 279
Mascot Wildcats

The Mechanicsburg School District is a midsized, suburban, public school district serving the Harrisburg suburbs of Mechanicsburg and Upper Allen Township in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The Mechanicsburg Area School District encompasses approximately 16 square miles. According to the 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 25,901. The US census Burea reported that district residents' per capita income was $23,507 while the median family income was $60,722 a year. [2]In school year 2007-08 the Mechanicsburg Area School District provided basic educational services to 3,687 pupils through the employment of 297 teachers, 208 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 25 administrators. Mechanicsburg Area School District received more than $9.9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

Schools within the district include: Mechanicsburg Kindergarten Academy, Broad Street Elementary, Elmwood Elementary, Northside Elementary, Shepherdstown Elementary, Upper Allen Elementary, Mechanicsburg Area Middle School and Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School. The district has a Trails & Trees Environmental Center, 30-acre (120,000 m2) education area behind the middle school.

Contents

Governance

The 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.[3] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D-" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[4]

The 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

The Mechanicsburg Area School District was ranked 91st out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and two year of science.[5]

  • 2010 - 90th [6]
  • 2009 - 103rd
  • 2008 - 96th
  • 2007 - 113th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts[7]

Graduation Rate:

In 2011, the graduation rate was 92%. [8] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Mechanicsburg Area School District's rate was 89% for 2010. [9]

Former calculation graduation rate

2010 - 88% [10] 2009 - 89%[11] 2008 - 90% [12] 2007 - 90% [13]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 78% on grade level, (7% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[14]
  • 2010 - 73% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level.[15]
  • 2009 - 76%, State - 65% [16]
  • 2008 - 67%, State - 64%
  • 2007 - 74%, State - 65% [17]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 81%, on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 76%, State - 59% [18]
  • 2009 - 73%, State - 56% [19]
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 65%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 56% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level. [20]
  • 2010 - 53%, State - 39% [21]
  • 2009 - 58%, State - 40% [22]
  • 2008 - 46%, State - 39% [23]

College remediation

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 33% of the Mechanicsburg Area 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.[24] 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.[25] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual Enrollment

The high school does not offer the Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. Over 400 school districts in Pennsylvania offer this state funded program.[26][27]

Graduation requirements

The Mechanicsburg Area School Board has determined that students must earn 22 credits to graduate including: English 4 credits, 3 credits Math, 3 credits Science, 3 credits Social Studies, 2 credits in arts, 1.5 PE/health credits, and 5 electives. One half of one credit is awarded upon completion of the graduation project.[28] Additionally, proficiency on the 11th Grade PSSA in reading and math is a graduation requirement effective with the class of 2012.

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.[29] Students who complete the project in their junior year, may make use of the student commons area.

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade. [30]

Middle school

In 2011 the school declined to Warning status. In 2010 the school achieved AYP status. [31] The attendance rate was 96% in 2011 and 95% in 2010. [32]

PSSA Results:
8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 87% on grade level (3% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 90%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 89%, State - 80% [33]
  • 2008 - 81%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 87% on grade level (4% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2010 - 86%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 84%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 75%, State - 70%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 71% on grade level (15% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 74%, State - 55%
  • 2009 - 70%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 52%
7th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (4% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 86% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 85%, State - 71% [34]
  • 2008 - 82%, State - 70%
7th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 92%, State - 77%
  • 2009 - 91%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 80%, State - 70%
6th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 82% on grade level (3% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 93%, State - 68% [35]
  • 2009 - 77%, State - 67%
  • 2008 - 76%, State - 67%
6th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 97% on grade level (1% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 88%, State - 78%
  • 2009 - 88%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 86%, State - 72% [36]

Elementary Schools

Broad Street Elementary School

In 2011 and 2010 Broad Street Elementary School achieved AYP status. [37] The attendance rate was 95% in both 2010 and 2011.[38] Report Card 2009 [1]

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 61% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 78% on grade level. State - 74%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 76% (12% below basic), State – 73.3%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 91% on grade level. State – 85.3%
4th Grade Science
2011 - 91%, 65% advanced. State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 92% on grade level. State – 77.2%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 92% on grade level. State – 83.5%

Shepherdstown Elementary School

In 2011 the school achieved AYP status. [39] It provides grades under 3rd grade and so does not report test scores under NCLB. Report Card 2009 [2]

Elmwood Elementary School

In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status. [40] The attendance rate was 95% in both 2010 and 2011. [41] Report Card 2009 [3]

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 73% on grade level (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 85% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 74%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 78% (12% below basic), State – 73.3%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 92% on grade level. State – 85.3%
4th Grade Science
2011 - 84%, (3% below basic), State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 72%, (19% below basic), State – 77.2%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 80%, (4% below basic), State – 83.5%


Northside Elementary School

In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status. [42] The attendance rate was 96% in both 2010 and 2011. [43] Report Card 2009 [4]

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 86% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 74%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 75% (7% below basic), State – 73.3%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 95% on grade level. State – 85.3%
4th Grade Science
2011 - 86%, (2% below basic), State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 77%, (16.7% below basic), State – 77.2%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 85%, (3% below basic), State – 83.5%


Upper Allen Elementary School

In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status. [44] The attendance rate was 96% in both 2010 and 2011. [45] Report Card 2009 [5]

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 75% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 88% on grade level, 65% advanced. State - 74%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 82% (7% below basic), State – 73.3%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 92%, 61% advanced. State – 85.3%
4th Grade Science
2011 - 91%, (5% below basic), State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 77%, (10% below basic), State – 77.2%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 78%, (2% below basic), State – 83.5%

Special Education

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 443 pupils or 11.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. [46] [47]

In order to comply with state and federal laws, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. [48] 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 Special Education administration. 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 Coordinator of Special Education.[49]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding. [50]

Mechanicsburg Area School District received a $1,579,920 supplement for special education services in 2010.[51]

For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required. [52]

In 2009, Mechanicsburg Area School District was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Least Restrictive Environment monitoring. One hundred ninety six schools districts were selected in 2008-09. The district received an alert letter from the PDE - Bureau of Special Education. [53] School districts were placed in one of three categories: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. The district was placed in Tier Three with students spending more than 60% of the school day, outside of regular education. The monitoring is a product of the PDE addressing its voluntary settlement in Gaskin V. Pennsylvania which ordered that special education students spend most of their school day (80%) in regular education classrooms with with supplementary aids and services to assist. [54] [55] [56] In 2010, the district was removed from the monitoring list. [57]

Gifted Education

The District Administration reported that 148 or 4% of its students were gifted in 2009. [58] 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 must also be considered for eligibility. [59]

Budget

In 2007, the district employed 250 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $49,809 for 181 days worked.[60] 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. [61] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (teacher contributes $552.87/year) [62], professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, a retirement bonus and other benefits.[63] A year before the current contract expired, the school board and teachers union approved a new four year contract which expires in 2013.[64] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[65] 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. [66] 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. [67]

Reserves - In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,785,378.00 and a unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $6,413,871.00.[68]

In 2008, Mechanisburg Area School District per pupil spending was $13,304. This ranked 150th among 500 Pennsylvania public school districts.[69]

Mechanicsburg Area School District administrative costs in 2008 were $664.36 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398, in 2008.[70] The district provides an extensive benefit package to all administrators. [71] In July 2010, the school board awarded a four year contract to Mark K. Leidy as superintendent, with an initial salary of $136,000 plus an extensive benefits package.[72] In 2008-09, the school board renewed Superintendent Joseph Hood's contract with a salary of $142,405.[73] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators typically receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[74]

In May 2011, the Mechanisburg Area School Board approved a preliminary budget for 2011-12 that had a decrease in spending of $143,073 and a decrease in revenue of $470,785 from the 2010-11 budget. The budget also calls for eliminating 2 administration positions, 2.5 professional positions and five support staff jobs. [75]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax - 1.7%, 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. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless the of income level.[76]

State basic education funding

In 2011-12, the Mechanicsburg Area School District received $5,683,798 in state Basic Education Funding. [77] Additionally, the district received $90,966 in Accountability Block Grant funding. [78] The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that 894 pupils received a federal free and reduced lunch, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

Mechanicsburg ASD's state Basic Education Funding for 2010-11 increased by 8.03% for an additional $464,182 and a total of $9,453,394. The greatest increase, in state Basic education funding, in Cumberland County was a 13.99% increase awarded to Camp Hill School District. [79] Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding, for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[80]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Mechanicsburg Area School District a 6.01% increase, in Basic Education Funding, for a total of $5,782,775. Seven Cumberland County school districts received increases of less than 6.1%, in Basic Education Funding for 2009-10. Shippensburg Area School District received an 8.43% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in basic education funding from the Commonwealth. Ninety school districts received the base 2% increase in 2009. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Mechanisburg Area School District in 2008-09 was $5,454,950.85. [81]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 697 students qualified for free or reduced lunch due to low family income in 2008.[82]

Accountability Block Grants

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 Mechanicsburg Area School District applied for and received $246,904 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide intensive assistance to struggling students, to provide teacher training through teacher coaches and to pay for professional development. [83][84]

Classrooms for the Future grant

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Mechanicsburg Area School District never applied for funding. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future state grant awards.[85]

Environmental Education Grant

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 2010, Mechanicsburg School District was awarded $7,500 for the district's Trails and Trees Environmental Center to develop a small batch biodiesel production operation and coordinate accompanying educational programs.[86]

Common Cents state initiative

The Mechanicsburg Area School Board chose to not permit the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program access to the district records. 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.[87] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal Stimulus Funding

The Mechanicsburg Area School District received an extra $1,410,087 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[88] This funding was for 2009-10 to 2010-2011 school years.

Race to the Top grant

Mechanicsburg Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. [89] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. [90] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state Race to the Top application judging will occur in June 2010. [91]

Real estate taxes

The Mechanicsburg Area School Board set the 2011-12 the property taxes were 12.1680 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. 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[92]

  • 2010-11 - 14.7000 mills. [93]
  • 2009-10 - 14.2900 mills. [94] In 2008-2009 the rate was set by the school board at 13.80000 mills. [95]
  • 2008-09 - 13.7300 mills. [96]
  • 2007-08 - 13.2600 mills. [97]

Property tax relief

In 2011, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Mechanicsburg Area School District was $121 per approved permanent primary residence. Within the district, 7,339 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Cumberland County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2011, went to Shippensburg Area School District at $153. [98] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.

In 2010, approved residents received $126 for 7,199 properties [99]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Mechanicsburg Area School District was $140 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 7,071 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Cumberland County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Mechanicsburg Area School District at $140. The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[100] In Cumberland County, 75.93% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[101]

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, so people who make 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.[102]

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%).[103]

Act 1 Adjusted index

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 2010-2011 school year is 1.4 percent, but it can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increasing rising health care costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or 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.[104]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Mechanicsburg Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[105]

  • 2006-07 - 3.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 3.4%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 4.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 4.1%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 2.9%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.4%, Base 1.4% [106] [107]
  • 2012-13 - 1.7%, Base 1.7%

For the 2011-12 school year, the Mechanicsburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Mechanicsburg Area School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. [108]

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. [109]

Mechanicsburg Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11.[110]

The School Board also did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2009-10. [111] 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.[112]

Wellness policy

Mechanicsburg Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[113] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

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 and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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.[114]

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

Extracurriculars

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility is determined by school board policy.[115]

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.[116] [117]

In April 2010, the school board chose to add 25% funding for water polo and boys lacrosse at the same time they cut five teacher positions.[118]

References

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment Data for Mechanicsburg School District January 2009
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2010
  3. ^ Pennsylvania School Code 2009
  4. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Pennsylvania_school_districts. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 3, 2011). "Pennsylvania School District Rankings information". http://www2.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/events/pennsylvania_schools/statewiderank.html. 
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Pennsylvania School District Rankings". http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/feature/schools/statewide_rankings.html. 
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County". http://pittsburgh.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/stories/2007/05/21/daily24.html. 
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Mechanicsburg Area School District - School AYP Data Table". http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c21/115216503. 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pennsylvania_department_of_education/7237/info/757639. 
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