archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

AMISH SCHOOLS

Now and Then in Providence Township, 1976 , Paul Hollinger

Over 500 Solanco students attend private and parochial schools at a sub-stantial saving to area taxpayers. The school tax is based on the 1960 tax assess-ment level or about 13% of the 1973 market value. In other words, a $25,000 homeowner would pay about a $270 school tax, whereas the state average is $412. Farmland is assessed at 8% of real value. In recent years, the Pennsylvania law re-quires the bus trans-portation of all stu-dents, for their safety. This is the Deer Hollow "Amish School, built in 1966 on Rawlinsville Avenue. Miss Hannah Stoltzfus teaches about 35 students at this school from August to May. Their schools begin and finish earlier and they have no national political holidays. This allows the older children to help with the Spring planting

The Refton Amish School was built in 1975 about 16. mile west of the Beaver Creek on Smithville Road. (The trees on the right of this picture are in the Bow-man Reformed Men-nonite Cemetery.) The white fence around the school is to protect the children while at recess, and to keep a cow or mule enclosed during the summer. A grazing animal is an efficient way to keep the grass mowed. It feeds the animal and provides handy bases for softball in the fall. Let it up to Germanic ingenuity to conserve everything. The Ref ton school has about 30 pupils taught by Miss Fannie Beiler. The Buck Amish School is just south of the border on Rt. 372, but it serves a few families living in Providence. These school buildings were constructed as recently as a year ago on donated land, with volunteer labor. Amish and com-munity businessmen contribute or sell at cost the paint, block, wood and nails needed to put up a one-room school, built on the pattern of those the com-munity used 100 years ago. The basic cost runs about $5000 for windows, desks and other supplies. That initial cost is shared by the entire Lancaster County Amish Church. The continuing cost for the teacher's salary, books and heat is met by the Providence Township Church district, under the direction of five board members. Moses Glick lives near the Ref ton School and Elam Allgyer lives within sight of the Deer Hollow School. The board raises operating funds in three ways: 1) by a voluntary tax on the value of an Amish member's farm or property, 2) by contributions and 3) by dividing the balance equally by the number of children in the school as a tuition charge. The last few years, tuition has averaged about $25 per child each year. If illness Or tragedy strike an Amish family, they are excused from the voluntary tax which is based somewhat on the deductible allowance for each child from income tax. The Amish do not pay F .I.C.A. (social security) tax because they do not collect its benefits; however they do pay large amounts of Solanco school tax on their farms even though their children do not collect its benefits. The same is true of other families who send their children to other parochial schools out of the township.

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