A study on school funding and spending released in March 2017, Spending Impact on Student Performance: A Rural Perspective, reports that Southern Columbia lacks adequate state funding. The report concludes that Southern Columbia needs to receive a 54.3% increase in state funding in order to receive its fair share of the money being allocated to Pennsylvania's schools. At the local level, this same study reports that Southern Columbia is spending 13.6% below its identified adequacy target.  Despite the aforementioned, Southern Columbia continues to offer quality educational programs as evidenced by student assessment scores which consistently rank above Pennsylvania's proficiency averages and awards bestowed upon our schools such as the High School's National Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary Performance. Unfortunately, costs continue to rise and until the State Legislature finds a solution to reign in pension and health care costs, and equally fund all schools, the fiscal onus of supporting- and maintaining- quality education in the District will fall on local taxpayers.
 
The chart to the left shows the changes in local taxes per student (inflation adjusted) between 2001-2002 and 2014-2015. As you can see, Southern compares favorably to its neighboring districts. When looking at tax changes overall, during this time period, SCA's increased 28%. To see how all Pennsylvania school districts fared, click the following link: All Pennsylvania Schools  
 
 
 
How State Funding Compares to Southern Columbia'a Pension and Health Care Costs
 
Until the 1980's, the burden for public school funding in Pennsylvania was split relatively even between the Commonwealth and local school districts. Since then, districts have shouldered a steadily increasing share of this responsibility. In addition to shifting the burden of funding schools to local taxpayers, Pennsylvania's legislators have also mandated that schools pay an increasing share into the state retirement system. For example, during the 2008-2009, school year, the state-mandated pension contribution rate for Pennsylvania's schools was 4.76%. Today it is 30.03% and next school year it will be 32.57%.
 
Pennsylvania school districts spent $2.3 billion on employee pension contributions in 2014-15, according to the latest annual reports from the Department of Education. This is a 252 percent increase ($1.8 billion) since 2008-09.  Through the 2015-2016, school year, Southern Columbia's pension costs have increased 457.07%. The chart below  demonstrates the negative impact this has had on Southern Columbia's budget.  In 2008-2009, SCA received $4.3 million in state funding and had pension costs of $187,360.93. Seven years later, Southern's state funding increased to $4.4 million, however, its pension costs rose to $1,043,739.64 (this equates to 24% of SCA's state funding allocation compared to 0.04% of its allocaton in 2008-2009).
 
SCA Comparison from 2008-09 to 2015-16
  BEFRetirementHealth Care
2015-16       4,392,301.78      1,043,739.64     1,871,735.43
2008-09       4,282,896.01          187,360.93     1,234,471.03
Increase          109,405.77          856,378.71         637,264.40
%2.55%457.07%51.62%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Special Features

An anonymous way for you to submit a tip to your school is now available. You do not need to share your name, phone number or anything unless you want to.  You can submit a tip three ways: online, by making a phone call, or by using the Safe2Say Something App. What types of things should you report? If it makes you uncomfortable, submit a tip.Learn More

Parents and other school community members are encouraged to share their viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly those concerning digital learning and the use of technology to support future ready schools, by participating in the Speak Up Project for Digital Learning, facilitated by Project Tomorrow.  The annual national research project gives education stakeholders the opportunity to ensure their voice is heard not only at Southern Columbia, but at the state and national level as findings are summarized aLearn More