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Pennsylvania school districts

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K-12 Education in Pennsylvania
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Carolyn Dumaresq
Number of students: 1,771,395[1]
Number of teachers: 124,646
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:14.2
Number of school districts: 784
Number of schools: 3,181
Graduation rate: 84%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $13,467[3]
See also
Pennsylvania Department of EducationList of school districts in PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Pennsylvania
Glossary of education terms

Pennsylvania is home to 784 school districts, 3,181 schools and 1,771,395 K-12 students.[4][5]

Quick facts

State school administrators

Council for Basic Education

Council for Higher Education


The following table details the top 10 school districts in Pennsylvania by student enrollment, per-pupil spending and Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores.

Student enrollment, 2011-2012[7] PSSA scores, 2013-2014[8] Per-pupil spending, 2012-2013[9]
1.) Philadelphia School District 1.) Unionville-Chadds Ford School District 1.) Mastery Charter High School
2.) Pittsburgh School District 2.) Mount Lebanon School District 2.) Duquesne City School District
3.) Central Bucks School District 3.) Radnor Township School District 3.) Spectrum CS
4.) Reading School District 4.) Upper Saint Clair School District 4.) Chester-Upland School District
5.) Allentown City School District 5.) Tredyffrin-Easttown School District 5.) Newport School District
6.) Bethlehem Area School District 6.) Hampton Township School District 6.) Green Woods CS
7.) North Penn School District 7.) South Fayette Township School District 7.) Galeton Area School District
8.) Erie City School District 8.) North Allegheny School District 8.) Hanover Public School District
9.) Upper Darby School District 9.) Lower Merion School District 9.) Greenwood School District
10.) West Chester Area School District 10.) Wallingford-Swarthmore School District 10.) Lower Merion School District


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Pennsylvania as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[10]

Demographic information for Pennsylvania's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 2,832 0.16% 1.10%
Asian 57,681 3.26% 4.68%
African American 271,598 15.33% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 997 0.06% 0.42%
Hispanic 153,519 8.67% 24.37%
White 1,251,083 70.63% 51.21%
Two or more 33,685 1.90% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Pennsylvania State Board of Education adopted the standards on July 2, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.[11][12]

School board composition

School board members in Pennsylvania can either be elected or appointed. School board members are appointed if the school district they govern has 250,000 or more inhabitants. Those school boards have 15 members. School board members that govern school districts with less than 250,000 inhabitants are elected and have nine members serving four-year terms. Elections are staggered so that four members are up for re-election one election year and five are up for re-election the next. Elections for school board members can be at-large, by region or by a combination of the two.[13][14]

School district types

Pennsylvania divides its school districts into five classes: first class, first class A, second class, third class and fourth class. These classes are based off of the number of inhabitants in the school district, with the first class containing 1,000,000 inhabitants or more and the fourth class containing less than 5,000 inhabitants.[14]

Term limits

Pennsylvania does not impose statewide term limits on school boards.[15]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Pennsylvania school board elections, 2015

A total of 18 Pennsylvania school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 84 seats on November 3, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about Pennsylvania's school board elections in 2015:

  • The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Pittsburgh School District with 26,653 K-12 students.
  • The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Parkland School District with 9,285 K-12 students.
  • Thirteen districts are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with five seats up for election in each.
  • Scranton School District has the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with three seats up for election.

The districts listed below served 241,071 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 Pennsylvania School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Allentown City School District 11/3/2015 5 9 17,560
Bethlehem Area School District 11/3/2015 4 9 14,427
Central Bucks School District 11/3/2015 5 9 20,081
Central Dauphin School District 11/3/2015 5 9 10,831
Council Rock School District 11/3/2015 5 9 11,643
Downingtown Area School District 11/3/2015 5 9 11,779
Erie City School District 11/3/2015 4 9 12,324
Hazleton Area School District 11/3/2015 5 9 10,337
Lancaster School District 11/3/2015 5 9 10,851
North Penn School District 11/3/2015 5 9 12,649
Parkland School District 11/3/2015 5 9 9,285
Pennsbury School District 11/3/2015 5 9 10,574
Pittsburgh School District 11/3/2015 4 9 26,653
Pocono Mountain School District 11/3/2015 4 9 10,176
Reading School District 11/3/2015 5 9 18,060
Scranton School District 11/3/2015 3 7 9,798
Upper Darby School District 11/3/2015 5 9 12,216
West Chester Area School District 11/3/2015 5 9 11,827

Path to the ballot

In order to qualify as a school board candidate in Pennsylvania, an individual must:[13]

  • Be a Pennsylvania citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a resident of the school district the candidate seeks to represent for at least one year before the election.
  • Not be employed by the school district the candidate seeks to represent.

To get on the ballot, a school board candidate must file a petition signed by qualified voters of the candidate's political party with the county board of election and school board secretary. If a candidate wishes to appear on more than one party's ballot in the primary election, he or she may have a registered member of that party circulate a second petition to collect the signatures. If a candidate does this and wins both primaries, he or she will appear on both party's ballots at the general election.[13]

Campaign finance

School board candidates in Pennsylvania must submit a statement of financial interest for the previous calendar year to their local school district, the county board of elections and the school board secretary. Incumbent school board members who are not up for election must also file a statement of financial interest with the school district by May 1 each year. Candidates who intend to receive or spend more than $250 for their campaigns must file expense reports by the second Friday before the primary election with the county board of elections. If candidates do not intend to receive or spend more than $250, they must file an affidavit to that effect with their nominating petitions.[13]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 12, 2013
  5. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "EDNA Home," accessed September 9, 2013
  6. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "About the Board," accessed June 13, 2014
  7. American School & University, "Largest school districts in Pennsylvania, 2011-12," accessed July 10, 2014
  8. Community Matters, "2014 Pennsylvania School District Rankings based on PSSA scores are in," April 13, 2014
  9., "Spending per Student - Adjusted for Inflation, 2012-2013," accessed July 10, 2014
  10. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  11. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  12. Pennsylvania Department of Education, "PA Core Standards Implementation," accessed June 17, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Pennsylvania School Boards Association, "How to Run for School Board," accessed July 10, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 United States Census Bureau, "Pennsylvania," accessed July 10, 2014
  15. National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 10, 2014