The Abington School District is a large, suburban, public school district that serves: the Borough of Rockledge and Abington Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The district operates Abington Senior High School (10th-12th), Abington Junior High School (7th-9th), Copper Beech Elementary School, Highland Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Overlook Elementary School, Roslyn Elementary School, Rydal Elementary School and Willow Hill Elementary School. Abington School District encompasses approximately 16 square miles. According to the 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 58,680. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $29,932 a year, while the median family income was $70,226. In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Abington School District provided basic educational services to 7,440 pupils. It employed: 551 teachers, 399 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 62 administrators. Abington School District received more than $16.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.
Six of the district's nine schools have achieved recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.
- Overlook Elementary School National and Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon School
- Rydal Elementary School National and Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon School
- Roslyn Elementary School Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon School
- McKinley Elementary School National and Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon School
- Abington Senior High School National and Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon School
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. 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.
Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association, Abington Parent Council and Abington-Cheltenham-Jenkintown League of Women Voters co-host a School Board Candidates Forum every two years.
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a " C-" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.
Abington School District was ranked 52nd 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.
- 2010 - 41st
- 2009 - 47th
- 2008 - 33rd
- 2007 - 34th out of 501 school districts.
In 2011, the graduation rate was 96%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 93% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
2010 - 95%
2009 - 93%
2008 - 96%
2007 - 96%
In 2011 and 2010, the Abington Senior High School achieved AYP status under No Child Left Behind. In 2009, the senior high school is in Making Progress: in School Improvement I. Students who are English language learners are not making adequate yearly progress.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 79% on grade level, (8% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 86% (4% below basic). State - 67%
- 2009 - 86%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 54%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 34%, State - 65%
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 77%, on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 82% (8% below basic). State - 59%
- 2009 - 79%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 54%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 28%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
- 2011 - 48% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 - 50% (10% below basic). State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 56%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 38%, State - 39%
College Remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Abington School District 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. 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. 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.
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 offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $26,993 for the program.
In 2010-2011, 505 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 504. The Math average score was 526. The Writing average score was 498. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479. 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.
College Board Award
In 2011, the Abington School District achieved the College Board's AP District of the Year Award. This honor roll consists of the 388 U.S. public school districts that simultaneously achieved increases in access to APÂ® courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education institutions give college credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools award credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP classes.
In 2007, the district employed 493 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $69,875 for 180 days worked. 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. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.
Press reports in 2015 indicated the district's superintendent was the highest-paid in the state at $320,000 per year.
Abington School District administrative costs per pupil was $993.92 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, grants, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Pennsylvania exempts pension income and social security income from both state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of income.
State basic education funding
In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.00% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $5,708,777. This was the lowest percentage point increase, in Basic Education Funding, for the school districts in the county. Six school districts in Montgomery County received increases of over 4% in Basic Education Funding in 2009. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,596,840.24. Seventy public school districts received a 2% increase in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in 2009. 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 each February.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district will receive a million dollars of additional federal funding for improving student academic achievement. 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. 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 RTTT application judging occurred in June 2010, which was a complete disaster as well.
Federal Stimulus funding
The district received an extra $1,984,104 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. This funding is for 2009-2011 school years.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 951 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.
The district's students have access to a variety of clubs, activities and sports.
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.
Abington School District vs. Schempp
The school district received some notoriety in the 1960s when it became one of the key parties in the school prayer controversy, with Abington School District v. Schempp. The Supreme Court case resulted in a declaration of the unconstitutionality of school-sanctioned Bible reading. This case is considered a landmark and surprised former President Eisenhower, who appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice.