|Halifax Area School District|
|3940 Peters Mountain, Halifax, Pennsylvania 17032
Dauphin County, United States
|Type||Public school district|
|School board||Board of Directors|
|Superintendent||Robert E. Hassinger|
|Faculty||96.0 (on FTE basis)|
|Grades||K to 12|
|Other||Enrollment to decline to 1080|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.3|
|Tuition||for nonresident and charter school students ES - $8,170.23, HS - $10,851.98 |
The Halifax Area School District is a small, suburban, public school district located in Halifax, Pennsylvania in Dauphin County. The district serves about 1200 students in Kindergarten to grade 12. Halifax Area School District encompasses approximately 83 square miles (210 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 7,366 people. Per Halifax Area School District officials, in school year 2005-06, the District provided basic educational services to 1,256 pupils through the employment of 106 teachers, 149 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 13 administrators.
Halifax Area 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.
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D-" 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.
The district is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 which offers a variety of services including: a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.
- Enders-Fisherville Elementary School (grades PreK, kindergarten, first)
- Halifax Area Elementary School (grades 2-5)
- Halifax Area Middle School (grades 6-8)
- Halifax Area High School (grades 9-12)
Academic achievement 
Halifax Area School District was ranked 314th out of 498 Pennsylvania School Districts, in 2013, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic achievement on the last three years of PSSAs on: math, reading, writing and science results. The PSSAs are given to all public school children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.
- 2012 - 303rd
- 2011 - 311th 
- 2010 - 285th 
- 2009 - 285th
- 2008 - 294th
- 2007 - 299th of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.
In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Halifax Area ranked 481st. The paper 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 lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."
- 2011 - 459th
- 2010 - 474th
- 2009 - 408th
In 2009, the student academic achievement of the Halifax Area School District fell in the 40th percentile among PA's 500 school districts.
- District AYP status history
In 2012, Halifax Area School District declined to Warning AYP status. In 2011, Halifax Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance. Halifax Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2003 to 2010.
Graduation rate 
In 2012, the graduation rate at Halifax Area School District was 87%. In 2011, the graduation rate was 91%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Halifax Area School District's rate was 86% for 2010.
- Former calculation graduation rate
High school 
In 2012, Halifax Area High School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all 4 academic metrics measured. In 2011, the high school achieved AYP status. In 2010, Halifax Area High School was in Warning status due to low student achievement.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2012 - 69% on grade level, (16% below basic). 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 75%, (17% below basic). State - 69% 
- 2010 - 78%, State - 67% 
- 2009 - 77%, State - 65% 
- 2008 - 68%, State - 65% 
- 11th Grade Math
- 2012 - 47% on grade level (27% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 64%, (17% below basic). State - 60.3%
- 2010 - 47%, State - 59%
- 2009 - 47%, State - 59%
- 2009 - 51%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 26%, State - 56%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2012 - 32% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2011 - 37%, (13% below basic). State - 40%
- 2010 - 28%, State - 39% 
- 2009 - 41%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 28%, State - 39%
- College Remediation
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 35% of Halifax Area 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.
Dual enrollment 
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. The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $1,921 for the program.
Graduation requirements 
The Halifax Area School Board has determined that a student must earn 26 credits to graduation.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Halifax ASD the project has students explore careers.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
SAT Scores 
From January to June 2011, 47 Halifax Area students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 485. The Math average score was 491. The Writing average score was 500. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states 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.
Middle school 
- 8th Grade Science
- 2012 - 72% on grade level (12% below basic). State – 59%
- 2011 - 61%, (13% below basic). State – 58.3%
- 2010 - 68%, State - 57%
- 2009 - 62%, State - 54%
- 2008 - 56%, State - 52%
Halifax Elementary School 
Halifax Area Elementary School is located at 3940 Peters Mountain Road, Halifax. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 357 pupils in grades second through 5th, with 113 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 25 teachers yielding a student teacher ratio of 14:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
In 2012, Halifax Area Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing 3 of 8 academic metrics. In 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status.
- 4th Grade Science
- 2012 - 81%, (6% below basic), State – 82%
- 2011 - 79%, (1% below basic), State – 82.9%
- 2010 - 83%, State - 81%
- 2009 - 86%, State - 83%
- 2008 - 91%, State - 81%
Enders-Fisherville Elementary School 
Enders-Fisherville Elementary School is located at 791 Enders Road, Halifax. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 164 pupils in taxpayer funded preschool through first grade, with 34 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers yielding a student teacher ratio of 9:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
PreK Counts grant 
Halifax Area School District receives state funding to provide preschool at the elementary schools. For the 2011 school year, Pre-K Counts was funded at the 2010 levels of $83.6 million statewide in Gov. Tom Corbett`s proposed budget,. The state also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional $37.6 million. Pre-K Counts funding was initiated during the Rendell administration. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. School District received funding in 2007-08. In 2009-10 Halifax Area School District received $165,236 to provide preschool to 30 children.
Special Education 
In December 2010, Halifax Area School District administration reported that 182 pupils or 15% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 39% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In 2009, 195 Halifax Area pupils were receiving special education services.
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. 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. The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. 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.
Halifax Area School District received a $713,134 supplement for special education services in 2010. For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, 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.
Gifted Education 
The District Administration reported that 26 or 2.19% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted. 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.
Wellness policy 
Halifax Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246. The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."
The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
In addition to a school lunch program, Halifax Area School District provides a school breakfast program funded in part by federal and state dollars.
In 2011, the average teacher salary in Halifax Area School District was $52,857 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $17,584 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $70,441. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.
In 2009, Halifax Area School District reported employing 113 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $53,830 and a top salary of $109,200. The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 35 minutes with 189 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. The teachers union receives 5 paid days per year to be used to conduct union business.
In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $48,404 for 180 days worked. In 2009 the district reported employing over 100 teachers with a salary range of $38,404 to $105,000. Additionally, the employees receive benefits including: health insurance, life insurance, sick leave, grief leave, reimbursed college credits, and a defined benefits pension.
The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $1191 per pupil. The district is ranked 24th among Pennsylvania's 500 districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. In July 2007, the school board hired Robert E. Hassinger as superintendent for three years, at an initial salary of $100,000 and an extensive benefits package that included: travel to conferences, life insurance of 2 times salary, health insurance and 28 vacation days. In 2009, Hassinger's salary was reported by the district as $105,000. The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that in 2008 the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165.
In October 2009, the school board approved a contract between Halifax School District and Susquenita School District to provide Special Education services for autistic support students attending the program conducted by the Susquenita High School.
In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $456,026.00 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $479,114.00. In 2010, Halifax Area Administration reported an increase to $1,281,546.00 in its unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The unreserved-designated fund balance was $492,804. Pennsylvania public 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.
In 2008 Halifax Area School District per pupil spending was $12,928. This ranked 182nd in 500 Pennsylvania public school districts. In 2010, the District's per pupil spending rose to $16,140.30 which ranked 65th in the Commonwealth.
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 Pennsylvania, pension income and social security income are exempt from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the individual's level of wealth.
State basic education funding 
For the 2012-13 school year, Halifax Area School District will receive $5,420,789. The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education including $5.4 billion in basic education funding which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.  This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
In 2011-12, the district received $5,336,952 in State Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the district received $83,837 in Accountability Block Grant funding and $337,611 reimbursement for social security payments. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. 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.
For the 2010-11 school year, the state gave the Halifax Area School District a 2.45% increase in basic education funding for a total of $5,622,484. Among school districts in Dauphin County, the highest increase went to Susquehanna Township School District which received a 15.89% increase. In Pennsylvania 150 school districts received the base 2% increase. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the largest, a 23.65% increase. The amount of increase each school district received was determined by the Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Halifax Area School District with a 2.83% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,488,033. Halifax Area School District received the lowest increase in funding from the state, among all the public school districts in Dauphin County. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,336,952.10. The district also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. Seven Dauphin County school districts received increases of over 4.5% in Basic Education Funding in 2009-10. In Dauphin County the highest state funding increase, in 2009, was 10.66% for Susquehanna Township School District. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.
Accountability Block Grants 
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 $227,554 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Halifax Area School District uses the funding to provide All Day Kindergarten for the 7th year.
Education Assistance Grant 
The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Halifax Area School District received $25,741.
Classrooms for the Future grant 
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. Halifax Area School District applied to participate in 2008-09, receiving $74,691. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Rendell due to a massive state funding shortfall in 2010.
Other state grants 
Halifax Area School District did not participate in the Science it is Elementary grant, in the annual Environmental Education grants form the DEP, nor in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant of 2012.
Federal Stimulus Grant 
The Halifax Area School District received an extra $1,039,221 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students. The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years. Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised 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. The ARRA funding was terminated by President Obama in 2011.
Race to the Top grant 
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars 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 for a grant in 2010. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative 
The 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. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes 
Property tax rates in 2012-13 were set at 20.4500 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. On the local level, 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.
- 2011-12 - 20.4500 mills.
- 2010-11 - 19.7500 mills.
- 2009-10 - 18.5300 mills.
- 2008-09 - 18.5300 mills.
According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09. The average yearly property tax paid by Dauphin County residents amounts to about 3.48% of their yearly income. Dauphin County is ranked 382nd of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.
Act 1 Adjusted index 
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 vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010-2011 school year is 1.4 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. In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index. Several 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Halifax Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
- 2006-07 - 5.3%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 4.6%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 5.9%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 5.5%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 3.9%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 1.9%, Base 1.4%
- 2012-13 - 2.3%, Base 1.7% 
- 2013-14 - 2.3%, Base 1.7%
For the 2012-13 budget year, Halifax Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.
For the 2011-12 school year, the Halifax Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Halifax Area 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 publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
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. In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed SB330 which amended Act 1 2006 to eliminate many of the exceptions that permitted school districts to exceed the Act 1 limit. School boards will likely need to go to voter referendum for future construction spending, unless they have a sufficient reserves to cover the costs.
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. Halifax Area School Board sought several exceptions including: Pension Obligations, Health care related benefits, Maintenance of Selected Revenue Sources and Special Education Expenditures. It was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for a 5.60% increase in taxes.
Property tax relief 
In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Halifax School District was $206 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,097 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Dauphin County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Harrisburg City School District at $446. The tax 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 Dauphin County, 68.71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. This was the second 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 individuals who have income substantially 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.
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%).
Bullying Policy 
The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. A policy approved in March defines bullying and cyberbullying - Policy 249. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies.
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.
The District funds:
- Junior High School Sports
According to PIAA directory July 2012 
- Our District > Board of Directors. Halifax Area School District. Retrieved on February 13, 2008.
- Our District > Superintendent's Corner. Halifax Area School District. Retrieved on February 13, 2008.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education Halifax Area School District Enrollment and Projections January 2009
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Tuition rates per LEA, 2011
- Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
- The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Pittsburgh Business Times, Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide ranking 2013, April 4, 2013
- Pittsburgh Business Times (April 18, 2011). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings,".
- Pittsburgh Business Times, Statewide Honor Roll Rankings, May 1, 2010
- Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 23, 2007.
- Overachiever statewide ranking, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 6, 2010
- The Morning Call (2009). "2009 PSSA RESULTS Halifax Area School District".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania District AYP History 2012, September 2012
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- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania District AYP History 2003-2010, 2011
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