Case for Support
An excerpt from the draft of our Case Statement…
“There is no better constructive publicity for a city than to be known over the entire country as a city of good schools.” — school board member, Portland, Oregon, 1915
Our communities and our region
The Lewisburg Area School District, Pennsylvania, and its tax-paying public are at a crossroads. Our schools have accomplished much while bearing a significant handicap: our per-student funding is lower than the national average and thousands of dollars below that of other nearby Pennsylvania districts. For the benefit of our children, our community and our region, we must do more.
Members of our community understand the relationship between high quality schools and regional opportunities. Excellent schools create an attractive workforce in a region such as ours, in a stable community where families live for generations. They allow us to attract good employers who need a workforce with advanced skills. Quality schools enable these same employers to attract top-notch workers and specialists in the fields of medicine, higher education, and manufacturing—all of which are so important to our region.
So far, we have succeeded in doing more with less. Despite disparate funding, our nearly 2,000 students enjoy being part of a high-performing educational program that has earned national attention for excellence.
However, in a changing world and dynamic economy, the goal of education in the Lewisburg Area School District is not simply to graduate high school seniors. With a graduation rate that exceeds the state average, we already do that quite well. The goal of education for our district is to prepare our children to be thriving members of the 21st century workforce, to be volunteers and parents—to learn, think, explore and create for the benefit of this and future generations.
The problem of underfunding and tax burdens
The population of the Lewisburg area, including Lewisburg, Winfield, and West Milton, is growing slowly, but the tax base cannot keep pace with the educational needs of a workforce of the future. Underfunding and unequal tax burdens make educational improvements difficult to achieve:
- Compared to residents of surrounding communities, taxpayers in our district already pay 25 percent more to educate our children.
- Our citizens today already pay 70 percent of public school expenses.
- One-fifth of taxable property in Lewisburg Area School District is tax exempt.
- The district ranks 220th of 501 districts in per-student spending. Our students receive thousands of dollars less in state funding per student each year.
- Compared to other area school districts, Lewisburg schools receive millions of dollars less in state funding. Therefore, each of our students receive less funding—over 50 percent less compared to their counterparts in some other areas. [See chart.]
Concurrent to these glaring disparities—disparities that impact every child every day—base costs as well as un-funded and underfunded state and federal mandates grow. By law, those mandates require that our schools reallocate money off the top of each child’s yearly allotment of educational dollars.
Our region’s strong dedication to education will not change, but our opportunities to improve it on behalf of our children and our community increase every year. The Green Dragon Foundation is both a catalyst and means to embrace these opportunities.
From a position of strength
The Lewisburg Area School District is already acclaimed nationally and statewide, consistently earning accolades. The district:
- Earned 2009 U.S. News and World Report Silver Medal for Lewisburg Area High School, placing it among the top 25 high schools in Pennsylvania
- Achieves Adequate Yearly Progress at all schools
- Ranks in the top 10 percent in achieving “proficiency” or higher on statewide assessments.
- Was named one of the top 82 high performing districts (Pennsylvania State Costing Out Study)
- Was named one of only six in the state to meet both the absolute performance standard and growth standard despite being ranked 220th of 501 school districts in per pupil spending. (Pennsylvania State Costing Out Study)
- Earned 2002 U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon for the district’s Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School.
The Green Dragon Foundation is building on this position of strength. In addition to a community that places a high value on education and a successful educational system, generous donors are lending time, talents and financial gifts to create a world-class learning environment. As part of this grassroots effort, we need your help.
Our mission and purpose
By forging relationships regionally and nationally, we can fund major curricular, facility and programming improvements. But only through solid partnerships with alumni, parents, foundations, faculty and staff, business leaders, and other citizens will the Green Dragon Foundation be able to support high quality instruction in a coordinated and longstanding way.
Different from other important organizations that support specific programs within the district, the goals of the Green Dragon Foundation span across all grade levels, all school sites, all levels of faculty and administration. Monies we raise will augment academic curricula; improve or construct facilities, including buildings and venues for athletics and the arts; purchase technology resources; and ensure related activities that make for world-class learning institutions.
- Promote charitable and planned giving to benefit our public schools
- Provide students with expanded learning opportunities, materials and facilities
- Seek scholarship and program funds from public and private sources
- Honor the efforts and achievements of students, staff, and community members
- Build an endowment fund to provide a permanent source of supplemental funding
For the children of our school district, and for their children, and theirs
Opportunities to improve Lewisburg schools perpetually increase. Each and every time any student expresses interest in a new experience or field of study, he or she presents a focus for new resources. As options for new curricula expand, as technology advances, and as faculty members learn of new techniques and resources they could bring into the classroom, our educational opportunities broaden and deepen. Today, however, they remain largely unfulfilled.
In light of significant financial challenges referenced previously, the leadership of the Lewisburg Area School District and the Green Dragon Foundation must rely on our community to create—with no additional taxes—a world-class school system.
The District has identified specific, exciting initiatives, formalized into a document known as VISION 2020, to ready our children and our community for the 21st century. We require commitment and investments at a grassroots level to make them a reality.
Working together, we can prepare our children to meet challenges we can now barely imagine and to solve problems not yet in the public consciousness.