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Ridley School District is a large, suburban public school district in southeastern Delaware County, Pennsylvania in the United States. It serves the residents of Ridley Township, and the boroughs of Ridley Park and Eddystone. Ridley School District encompasses approximately 8 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, Ridley School District served a resident population of 40,429. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $21,563, while the median family income was $56,201.[3] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[4] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[5] Per Ridley School District officials, in the school year 2007–08, Ridley School District provided basic educational services to 5,775 pupils. The district employed: 443 teachers, 430 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 28 administrators. Ridley School District received more than $18.8 million in state funding in school year 2007–08.

Ridley School District
Address
901 Morton Ave

Folsom
,
Delaware
,
Pennsylvania
,
19033

United States
Information
TypePublic
SuperintendentLee Ann Wentzel
GradesK-12
Enrollment5,788 (2009–10)[1]
 • Kindergarten365
 • Grade 1258
 • Grade 2364
 • Grade 3412
 • Grade 4412
 • Grade 5426
 • Grade 6423
 • Grade 7417
 • Grade 8449
 • Grade 9554
 • Grade 10550
 • Grade 11493
 • Grade 12492
 • OtherEnrollment projected to be 5, 274 in 2019[2]
Website

The district has one high school, one middle school, and seven elementary schools.

Contents

Academic achievementEdit

Ridley School District was ranked 340th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2011, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and two years of science PSSAs.[6]

  • 2010 - 315th[7]
  • 2009 - 278th
  • 2008 - 255th
  • 2007 - 269th out of 501 school districts.[8]

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Ridley School District ranked 484th. In 2010, the district was 454th. The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[9]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Ridley School District was in the 37th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[10]

Graduation rateEdit

In 2011, the graduation rate was 91%.[11] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 78%, for 2010.[12]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High schoolEdit

Ridley High School is located in Folsom, Pennsylvania, and has an average student population of 2,000. The school draws students from many socioeconomic backgrounds, due to Ridley Township's economically diverse population. Before completion of the new Ridley High School the former school was the oldest high school still in use as a high school in Pennsylvania. The new high school was opened in September 2001, replacing the old school. However, the cafeteria and gymnasium (North Gym) from the old Ridley High School are still in use.

In 2011, Ridley High School was in Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status due to continuing low reading achievement among black male students. In 2010, the school was in Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement in reading and math.[17] Under No Child Left Behind the high school was mandated to offer for the students to transfer to a successful high school in the district. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the school administrations to develop and submit for approval a School Improvement plan to address the low achievement. In 2010, the school had 2,067 students with 146 teachers. There were 1,071 male students and 992 females. Low income students - 445.[18]

11th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 72% on grade level, (14% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[19]
  • 2010 - 78% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.[20]
  • 2009 - 64% (14% below basic). State - 65%[21]
  • 2008 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 65%[22]
  • 2007 - 65% (16% below basic). State - 65%[23]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 79% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[24]
  • 2010 - 78%, (10% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 71% (13% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 73% (13% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 70% (15% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 32% on grade level (22% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[25]
  • 2010 - 31% (20% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 25% (19% below basic). State - 40%[26]
  • 2008 - 32% (16% below basic)s. State - 39%

College remediation rateEdit

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 39% of the Ridley 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.[27] 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.[28] 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.

SAT scoresEdit

From January to June 2011, 334 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 475. The Math average score was 497. The Writing average score was 455.[29] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[30] 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.[31]

Dual enrollmentEdit

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books[32] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[33] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $18,736 for the program.[34]

Middle schoolEdit

Ridley Middle School is located at Free & Dupont Streets, Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. The school provides grades 6th through 8th with 1,311 students and 98 teachers.[35] There were 374 students who received a free or reduced-price lunch. In 2011, Ridley Middle School was in Warning AYP status. In 2010 the school achieved AYP.[36] The attendance rate was 93% in 2010 and 2011.[37]

PSSA Results: 8th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 73% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 78% (10% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 81% (9% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 73% (11% below basic), State - 78%[38]
  • 2007 - 77% (6% below basic), State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 68% on grade level (14% below basic). State - 76.9%[39]
  • 2010 - 68% (15% below basic). State - 75%[40]
  • 2009 - 61% (13% below basic). State - 71%[41]
  • 2008 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 70%
  • 2007 - 71% (11% below basic). State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 32% on grade level (37% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 38% (38% below basic). State – 57%[42]
  • 2009 - 38% (31% below basic). State - 55%[43]
  • 2008 - 44% (28% below basic). State - 52%[44]

Elementary schoolsEdit

All elementary schools serve grades 1-5, as well as kindergarten.

  • Amosland Elementary School is located at 549 Amosland Rd, Morton, Pennsylvania. In 2010, it served 517 students with 31 teachers. There were 126 students receiving a free lunch due to family poverty. In 2011, Amosland Elementary School achieved AYP status. In 2010, the school was in Warning AYP status due to low student achievement.[45] The attendance rate was 95% in 2010 and 2011.[46] In 2011, 88% of the pupils (3rd-5th) were on grade level in math, while 78% were on grade level in Reading.[47]
  • Eddystone Elementary School is located at 9th & Simpson Streets, Eddystone, Pennsylvania. The school had 222 students, with 19 teachers. One hundred fifty six pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[48] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[49] In 2011, the attendance rate is 93%, while attendance was 94% in 2010.[50] In 2011, the school had 68% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics. In reading 59% were on grade level in 2011.[51]
  • Edgewood Elementary School is located at 525 8th Ave. Folsom, Pennsylvania. The school had 323 students with 21 teachers in 2010. Fifty pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[52] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[53] In 2011, the attendance rate is 95%.[54] In 2011, the school had 88% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics, while 70% of the students were on grade level in reading.[55]
  • Grace Park Elementary is located at Seventh Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The school had 310 students with 25 teachers in 2010. Forty one pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[56] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[57] In 2011, the attendance rate is 95%.[58] In 2011, the school had 80% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics, while 77% of the students were on grade level in reading.[59]
  • Lakeview Elementary is located at 333 Constitution Ave., Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. The school had 452 students with 31 teachers in 2010. Seventy one pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[60] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[61] In 2011, the attendance rate is 96%.[62] In 2011, the school had 75% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics, while 68% of the students were on grade level in reading.[63]
  • Leedom Elementary is located at 620 East Chester Pike, Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. The school had 238 students with 20 teachers in 2010. Forty six pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[64] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[65] In 2011, the attendance rate is 93%.[66] In 2011, the school had 76% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics, while 64% of the students were on grade level in reading.[67]
  • Woodlyn Elementary is located at 620 School Lane & Colson, Woodlyn, Pennsylvania. The school had 264 students with 24 teachers in 2010. Thirty pupils received a free lunch due to family poverty.[68] In 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[69] In 2011, the attendance rate is 93%.[70] In 2011, the school had 69% students (3rd-5th) on grade level in mathematics, while 69% of the students were on grade level in reading.[71]

AdministrationEdit

In September 1999, due to parental support for school uniforms indicated in surveys, the district began a mandatory school uniform policy for its elementary school students.[72] In December of that year the board voted 7-2, with Rose T. Pinto and Jacqueline Reardon opposing, to establish uniforms in the middle school, effective for the 2000-2001 school year.[73]

In 1999 parents Will and Tina Stanton, along with their son, opposed the mandatory uniform policy on philosophical grounds, trying to have their child opt out of it.[74]

Special educationEdit

In December 2010, the Ridley School District administration reported that 1,232 pupils or 21% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[75]

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, 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 .[76] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, 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, in accordance with state law, Ridley School 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 district's Special Education Department.[77][78]

In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Education notified the District that is would be monitored regarding special education because the students spent more than 60% of their instructional class time outside of the regular classroom in 2008. The notice identified the data that indicated a need for LRE improvement and described resources available to the district to assist in improvement.[79] In 2010, the school received a Warning letter because IEP students spent less than 40% of their time in regular classrooms. Thirty school districts in Pennsylvania were identified received a letter of “Warning” in November, 2009.

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[80] 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.[81] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[82] Overidentification of students in order to increase state funding has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[83]

Ridley School District received a $2,768,955 supplement for special education services in 2010.[84] 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.[85]

Gifted educationEdit

The District Administration reported that 80 pupils or 1.35% of its students were gifted in 2009.[86] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student's building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[87][88]

BudgetEdit

In 2009, the district reported employing 476 teachers and administrators with a salary range of $40,479 to $194,000. The median teacher salary was $78,000[89]

In 2007, the district employed 392 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $68,226 for 180 days worked.[90] 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.[91] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, prescription drug plan, professional development reimbursement, 2-5 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Upon retirement teachers are paid a bonus of $100 a day for each unused sick day up to 210 sick days. Teachers may take sabbatical at 50% pay for up to one year. Benefits continue through the sabbatical period, including accruing seniority.[92][93]

Ridley School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $754.62 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[94] 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 receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[95] In June 2011, Superintendent Lee Ann Wentzel received a new contract through the end of the 2014–15 school year. Her $191,000 salary was reduced to $188,000, including bonuses based on annual goal attainment, and a student achievement bonus.[96]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $13,261 which ranked 154th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $14,073.91[97] Among the states, Pennsylvania's total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008–09.[98] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[99]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported $2,400,000 in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $5,942,804.[100] In 2010, the unreserved-designated fund balance was $4,750,000.00, while the unreserved-undesignated fund balance was $5,073,444.00. PA school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[101]

In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[102]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the personal wealth.[103]

State basic education fundingEdit

In 2011–12, Ridley School District received a $10,826,317 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[104][105] Additionally, Ridley School District received $288,192 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.[106] 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.[107] In 2010, the district reported that 1,605 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[108]

In the 2010–2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $11,195,574.80. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Southeast Delco School District which got a 10.34% increase. In Delaware County nine school districts got the base 2% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010–11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[109]

In the 2009–2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.41% increase in Basic Education Funding for $11,195,574 to Ridley School District. Among the districts in Delaware County, the highest increase went to Upper Darby School District which got an 11.61%. Six Delaware County school district got the base 25 increase. The state Basic Education Funding to Ridley School District in 2008–09 was $9,979,563.91. Ninety school districts in the state received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[110] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G Rendell and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[111] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,260 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[112]

Accountability Block GrantsEdit

Beginning in 2004–2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania's school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010–11, the district applied for and received $$782,226, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide teacher coaches to improve instruction and to reduced class size K-3rd grade.[113][114]

Classrooms for the Future grantEdit

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. Ridley School District did not apply to participate in 2006–07. In 2007–08 the district received $589,355. Finally, the District received $106,189 in 2008–09.[115]

Federal Stimulus grantEdit

The district received an extra $1,700,000 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[116] The funding was limited to the 2009–10 and 2010–2011 school years.[117] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly warned 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 grantEdit

Ridley School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[118] 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.[119] 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.[120][121][122]

Common Cents state initiativeEdit

Ridley 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.[123] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxesEdit

Property tax rates in 2011–12 were set by the school board at 37.0310 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.[124] 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.[125] The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[126]

  • 2010–11 - 35.5580 mills[127]
  • 2009–10 - 33.2490 mills.[128]
  • 2008–09 - 31.7760 mills.[129]
  • 2007–08 - 30.0630 mills.[130]

Act 1 Adjusted IndexEdit

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 approve it by a ballot referendum vote, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2012–2013 school year is 1.7 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.[131] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[132] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school's share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[133][134]

The School District Adjusted Index for Ridley School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[135]

  • 2006–07 - 5.0%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007–08 - 4.4%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008–09 - 5.7%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009–10 - 5.3%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010–11 - 3.8%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011–12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012–13 - 2.2%, Base 1.7%[136]

For the 2011–12 school year, Ridley School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: special education and teacher pension costs. Each year, Ridley School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[137]

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.[138]

The Ridley School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010–2011: Teacher pension costs and special education costs.[139] For 2009–10 school budget, Ridley School board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index.[140] 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.[141]

Property tax reliefEdit

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Ridley School District was $204 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 10,119 property owners applied for the tax relief.[142] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Delaware County, 66% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[143] The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[144] This was the third 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, individual with income much 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.[145]

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%).[146]

ExtracurricularsEdit

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

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students 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.[147]

Ridley School District uses a Green Raider as their mascot. While originally the Raiders referred to Native Americans from the Lenni Lenape Nation, the district has ceased use of most material relating to the tribe. Ridley High School is home to the WRSD radio station.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, 2010
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Enrollment and Projections by school district".
  3. ^ US Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, 2009
  4. ^ US Census Bureau, (2010). "American Fact Finder, State and County quick facts".
  5. ^ US Census Bureau (September 2011). "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010" (PDF).
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 4, 2011). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings information 2011". Archived from the original on January 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2010".
  8. ^ "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  9. ^ "Overachiever statewide ranking". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 6, 2010.
  10. ^ The Morning Call (2009). "2009 PSSA RESULTS School District". Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "School District AYP Data Table". Archived from the original on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented".
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Ridley School District Academic Achievement Report Card Data table". Archived from the original on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  14. ^ The Times-Tribune. "PA School District Statistical Snapshot Database 2008–09". Retrieved February 10, 2012.
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