More than half of Altoona Area School District students come from low income families, according to statistics discussed during the district’s board meeting this week.
Altoona has 7,227 students enrolled with 4,446, or 61.52%, of those being low income. Among Blair County schools, only the much smaller Claysburg-Kimmel School District reported a similar percentage, with 799 students enrolled, and 490 or 61.33% being low income.
“Altoona has the highest low income percentage among the school districts in Blair — substantially so when you compare us to our immediate neighbors,” Susan Franks, assistant business manager for enterprise and fiscal funds, said.
Hollidaysburg Area has an enrollment of 3,203, with 1,150, or 35.9%, low income, while Spring Cove reports enrollment at 1,685 with 788, or 46.77%, low income.
Other Blair County schools include: Bellwood-Antis, 1,212 enrolled, with 462, or 38.12%, low income; Williamsburg Community, 469 enrolled with 182, or 38.81%, low income; Tyrone Area, 1,829 enrolled with 881, or 48.17%, low income, and Central PA Digital Learning Foundation, 182 enrolled with 82, or 45.05%, low income.
Despite its ranking as having the highest percentage of low income families in Blair County, AASD is near the bottom in spending per student, with total expenditures of $115,331,991 or $15,958 per student.
Only one other school district spends less than Altoona per student. Tyrone Area had total expenditures of $26,445,403 or $14,459 per student.
Those figures compare to Claysburg-Kimmel, $13,665,953 total expenditures or $17,104 per student; Spring Cove, $29,312,863 total or $17,396 per student; Williamsburg Community, $8,530,556 or $18,189 per student; Bellwood-Antis, $25,631,048 or $21,148 per student; Hollidaysburg Area, $71,441,502 or $22,305 per student; and Central PA Digital, $4,265,697 or $23,438 per student.
The poverty level is a component used in both federal and state funding.
In Pennsylvania, Pine-Richland School District, serving northern Pittsburgh, and Peters Township School District, in Washington County, reported the lowest state poverty rating at 6%. Peters Township has an enrollment of 3,933 students, with 237 of 6% low income, while Pine-Richland has 4,474 students, with 269 or 6% low income.
The highest poverty level is seen at Farrell Area School District in Mercer County, which reports an enrollment of 635 students, with 632 or 99.5% low income. With total expenditures of $29,751,535, Farrell spends $46,852.81 per student.
Peters Township has total expenditures of $70,842,939 with $18,007.87 spent per student, while Pine-Richland has total expenditures of $133,592,441 or $29,859.73 spent per student.
Mirror Staff Writer Cati Keith is at 814-946-7535.