Millville Area School District

Millville Area School District
Address
330 Main Street
Millville, Pennsylvania, Columbia, 17846
United States
Information
Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Stark
Administrator Dee Davis, Special Ed. Coordinator
Principal Eric Stair, JSHS
Principal John Fetterman, Elementary
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 61
Grade 1 61
Grade 2 52
Grade 3 72
Grade 4 59
Grade 5 59
Grade 6 58
Grade 7 61
Grade 8 51
Grade 9 48
Grade 10 40
Grade 11 49
Grade 12 42
Website

The Millville Area School District is a public school district in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. It is centered in the borough of Millville and also encompasses the townships of Pine, Greenwood, and Madison. Millville Area School District encompasses approximately 91 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 5,500. Per school district officials, in school year 2005-06, the Millville Area School District provided basic educational services to 756 pupils through the employment of 74 teachers, 58 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators.

The district operates one elementary school and one combined jr/sr high school.

Contents

Governance

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[2] 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 "F" 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.[3]

The district is in the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16 region.

Academic achievement

Millville Area School District was ranked 204th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 5 years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, math and three years of science.[4]

  • 2010 - 248th [5]
  • 2009 - 176th
  • 2008 - 200th
  • 2007 - 204th out of 501 school districts.[6]

In 2010, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Millville Area ranked 117th. In 2009 the district was 123rd. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[7]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Millville Area School District, was in the 49th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [8]

Graduation Rate

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. MIllville Area High School's rate was 93% for 2010.[9]

Former AYP graduation rate:

The district's graduation requirements have been defined in the Strategic Plan and school board policy.[14]

High school

In 2009, Millville High School ranked 495th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[15]

PSSAs
11th Grade Mathematics
  • 2010 - 65%, State - 59%, In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders on grade level.[16]
  • 2009 - 45%, State - 56%.[17]
  • 2008 - 56.1%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 56.5%, State - 53%
  • 2006 - 50%, State - 52%

In 2009, Millville 11th graders ranked 17th out of 18 Central Pennsylvania High Schools, in the CSIU 16 region, for math achievement.[18]

11th grade Science
  • 2010 - 59% on grade level, State - 39% [19]
  • 2009 - 51%, State - 40% [20]
  • 2008 - 48.7%, State - 39%
11th grade Reading
  • 2010 - 76% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders were on grade level in Reading.
  • 2009 - 70%, State - 65% [21]
  • 2008 - 75.6%, State - 65% [22]
  • 2007 - 47%, State - 65%[23]
  • 2006 - 88%, State - 65%
  • 2005 - 67%, State - 65%

College remediation:
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 20% of Millville 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 offers a Dual Enrollment program. Students may participate in the ACE program at Bloomsburg University. 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 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.[26] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[27] Juniors and just graduated seniors can attend the summer ACE program at Bloomsburg for discounted credits, as well.[28]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $2,112 for the program.

Graduation requirements

The Millville Area School Board has determine that a student must earn 24 credits to graduate including: English 4 credits, Science 3 credits, Math 3 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Computer Courses 1 credit, Health/Physical Education 1.7 credits, Personal Finance 0.5 credits, Fine Arts 0.5 credits, Fit For Life 0.5 credist and 4.8 credits of electives.[29]

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.[30] At Millville Area School District, the graduation porject focuses on career exploration.[31]

For the graduating class of 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary-level course work in Algebra I, Biology, Literature, and English Composition, in which the Keystone Exam serves as the final course exam. Students’ Keystone Exam scores count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[32]

Junior High School

8th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 85% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 81% [33]
  • 2009 - 75%, (17% below basic), State - 80% [34]
  • 2008 - 82%, (17% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 71%, (12% below basic), State - 75%
8th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 72% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 67% (23% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 77% (12% below basic), State - 70% [35]
  • 2007 - 66% (17% below basic), State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2010 - 69% on grade level (22% below basic). State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 47% (31% below basic), State - 54% [36]
  • 2008 - 68% (14% below basic), State - 52% [37]
7th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 79% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2009 - 75% (10% below basic), State - 71.7%
  • 2008 - 60% (25% below basic), State - 70%
7th Grade Math
  • 2010 - 65% on grade level (23% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 71% (14% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 56% (19% below basic), State - 72%

Wellness policy

Millville Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[38] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts are 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.[39]

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

Special Education

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 153 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[40]

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.[41] 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 building principal. Students in the Millville Area School District receive services through a combination of district operated programs and services contracted through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. Special education is designed to meet the needs of each exceptional student, including specifically designed instruction conducted in the classroom, home, community settings, hospitals, and other appropriate settings.

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.[42]

Millville Area School District received a $465,142 supplement for special education services in 2010.[43]

Gifted Education

The District Administration reported that 16 or 2.15% of its students were gifted in 2009.[44] 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. The principal acts as the case manager for the referral process. A 60 calendar day time-line begins when the signed Permission to Evaluate form is received. 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.[45] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Columbia Boroough School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both. The district's program is based on student needs and provides differentiated curriculum using acceleration, enrichment and pull-out options.[46]

Bullying Policy

The Columbia Borough School District Administration reported that there were no incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[47][48]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. The Board directs that complaints of bullying and harassment shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[49] 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.[50] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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.[51]

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.[52]

Budget

The Final 2009-2010 General Fund Operating Budget was approved by the board at $12,129,078.00. The following taxes were enacted: 1.2% Earned Income Tax; and a 44.9 mil Real Estate Tax.

In 2009, the district reports employing over 80 teachers with a starting salary of $35,000 for 186 days with 182 student instructional days.[53] The median salary was $52,663 and the top salary was $116,400.[54] The teachers work a 7 hour 30 minute days. Teachers earn extra pay for additional duties such as: department head, advising the clubs, writing curriculum or coaching athletics teams. The amount ranges from several hundred dollars a year to thousands. When a team progresses past the regular season the coaches are paid additional dollars for each week the team continues to play. In addition to salary, the teachers receive an extensive benefits package which includes: health insurance, life insurance, a defined benefit pension(teachers invest 7.5% of salary), 10 paid sick, 2 paid personal days, unlimited paid emergency leave, 2 paid professional leave days, reimbursement for college courses and more.[55]

In 2007, the district employed 65 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $47,384 for 180 days worked.[56]

Millville Area School District administrative costs per pupil were $873.09 in 2008. The district ranked 119th of 501 school districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[57] In July 2007, the Millville School Board awarded a five year contract to Dr. Kathleen Stark, as superintendent. In addition to he salary, she receives an extensive benefits package.[58] In 2009, the district reported Stark's salary as $116,400. John Fetterman, elementary principal's salary was $88,624. Brian Seely, high school principal's salary was $83,388.[59]

In 2008, MIllville Area School District reported spending $13,674 per pupil. This ranked 218th in the commonwealth.[60]

Reserves - In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,087,526.00 and a unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,417,396.00.[61]

In April 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the school board and administration.[62]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, and grants coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In Pennsylvania, pension income and social security income is exempt from the personal income tax and the local earned income tax, regardless of income level.[63]

State basic education funding

For the 2010-11 school year, Millville Area received a 2.66% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $4,120,561. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in Columbia County was awarded to Southern Columbia Area School District at 7.38%. Among Pennsylvania school districts, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state basic education funding.[64] 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.[65]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Millville Area School District with a 2.15% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,013,934. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,929,521.72.[66] Among Columbia County school districts, the largest increase a 6.11%, went to Berwick Area School District. In Pennsylvania, fifteen school districts received basic education funding increases over 10% in 2009. The largest increase went to Muhlenberg School District of Berks County which received 22.31% increase in 2009-10.[67] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[68]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Millville Area School District had 259 students receiving free or reduced lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.

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 the 2010-11 school year, the Millville Area School District applied for and received $128,277, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide all day Kindergarten for the seventh year, to revise the science curriculum and to reform the high school instructional program.[69][70][71]

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 state grant requires the district hire a part time technology coach, whose role is to assist the teachers in using the equipment and software effectively to improve their instruction. The salary is covered by the grant.[72] The program was funded from 2006-2009. Millville Area School District was did not apply for funding in 2006-07. The district received $107,274 in 2007-08 and $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $152,687.[73]

Federal Stimulus Grant

The Millville Area School District will receive $762,483 in ARRA (Federal Stimulus) funding. This is in addition to all other state and federal education funding programs.[74] This funding is for 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Race to the Top grant

The school district board and administration chose to not participate in the federal government grant program called Race to the Top. The grant would have meant hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars that would have been focused on improving student academic achievement.[75] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[76] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. 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.[77]

Common Cents state initiative

The Millville Area School Board chose 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.[78] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes

The Millville Area School Board set the 2009 real estate taxes at 44.9000 mills.[79] 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.

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 2.9 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.[80]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Millville Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[81]

  • 2006-07 - 5.4%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.7%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.0%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.0%, Base 2.9%

MIllville Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[82][83] 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.[84]

Property tax relief

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Millville Area School District was $185 per approved permanent primary residence and farmstead.[85] In the district, 1,565 property owners applied for the tax relief. In 2009 the district tax relief was set at $190.[86] In Columbia County, Benton Area School District received the highest relief at $225 for 2010. 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 Columbia County 71% of eligible property owners applied for tax relief in 2009.[87] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[88] This was the second year they were the top recipient.

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

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%).[89]

Extracurriculars

Junior varsity and varsity athletic activities are under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and the regional Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference. The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The Millville Area School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs.[90]

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.[91]

Enrollment

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that there are less than 700 students enrolled in K-12 through 2019.[92] The administrative infrastructure costs per pupil are in the top 20% of Pennsylvania school districts. With limited resources, opportunities for students at the high school are limited. Consolidation of administrations with an adjacent school district like Benton Area School District (which also has fewer than 800 students) would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities. These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improving student academic achievement, enriching the curriculum programs or to reducing local property taxes. Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools.[93]

In 2007, Standard and Poors, at the request of the General Assembly, studied consolidation of small school districts. The study examined consolidation with Benton Area School District and found annual savings of over $1,433,719.[94]

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent.[95] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative costs of the schools will continue to rise.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[96] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[97] Pennsylvania schools added 17,345 professional employees and 15,582 support workers over this time, while enrollment declined by 26,960.

References

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  2. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
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