Lancaster: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The School District of Lancaster, established in 1836, is the second oldest school district in the state, and enrolls approximately 1,400 staff members. The district services a diverse student population which is approximately 50 percent Hispanic, 23 percent African American, and 22 percent Caucasian. Thirteen percent of the district's students are enrolled in its English as a second language program. The average school district attendance rate in 2003 was 92 percent, and high school students had a graduation rate of 71.1 percent in 2003. Over 67 percent of high school graduates intended to go on for post-secondary education.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Lancaster public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year.

Total enrollment: 11,300

Number of facilities elementary schools: 13

junior high/middle schools: 4

high schools: 1

other: 1 alternative school

Student/teacher ratio: 14.4:1 (2002)

Teacher salaries average: $50,599 (2001-02 statewide average)

Funding per pupil: $9,653 (2002-2003)

Lancaster offers a diverse selection of private, parochial, and specialized schools, including Dayspring Christian Academy, Lancaster Catholic High School, Lancaster Christian School, Lancaster Country Day School, Linden Hall School for Girls, Lancaster Mennonite School, Montessori Academy of Lancaster, New School of Lancaster, and Pennsylvania Academy of Music, which offers instruction in orchestral instruments, voice, and piano.

Public Schools Information: School District of Lancaster, 251 S. Prince St., 3rd Fl., Lancaster, PA 17603; telephone (717)291-6148; email

Colleges and Universities

Franklin and Marshall College, founded in 1787, is a selective liberal arts institution that grants degrees in more than 30 disciplines. The school has a student/teacher ratio of 11 to 1, and was cited as offering one of the 100 best values in private college education in the U.S. by Kiplinger's magazine in 2004. The Pennsylvania College of Art and Design offers bachelor of fine art programs in graphic design, fine art, illustration, and photography; they also offer professional programs in digital design, mural painting, and folk art studies. Institutions with a religious focus are the Lancaster Theological Seminary and the Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School.

The Penn State Lancaster Campus, with more than 2,000 students, offers continuing education programs for adults, business, and industry. Graduate courses in education and business management are also available. Spread out amongst four campuses, Lancaster's Harrisburg Area Community College offers a number degree, certificate, and diploma programs in liberal arts and business concentrations. Among the three vocational-technical schools in the region is Thad-deus Stevens College of Technology, which offers two-year associates degrees in 17 programs. Enrollment averages 500 students per year.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Lancaster County Library, headquarters for the Library System of Lancaster County, opened in 1759. The County Library maintains 17 public libraries in the area, including the Duke Street main facility and the libraries in Leola, Mountville, and Manheim Township. Its collection numbers about 300,000 fiction and nonfiction books, more than 300 periodicals and newspapers, and hundreds of videocassettes, films, and records. Special facilities and programs at the main library include a summer reading program, a Spanish language section, the Cooperating Collections program, family activities, literacy programs, and a Library Center for Youth. Special collections include books on the preservation of historic architecture, local and regional history resources in the Gerald S. Lestz Reading Room, and a Business Information Center.

The Lancaster County Historical Society is an internationally recognized historical and genealogical research facility; its library contains more than 15,000 volumes, including maps, family files, microfilm, and CDs. The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society also maintains a genealogical research library. Among the several libraries at Franklin and Marshall College is the Shadek-Fackenthal Library, containing 450,000 volumes and 400,000 government documents, with special emphasis on topics such as the theater, Lincoln, and Napoleon.

Public Library Information: Lancaster County Library, 125 N. Duke St., Lancaster, PA 17602; telephone (717)394-2651