Albert Gallatin Area School District

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Albert Gallatin Area School District
AGHS
Map of Fayette County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
2625 Morgantown Road
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Fayette County, 15401
United States
Information
Religious affiliation(s) Nondenominational
Superintendent Mr. Carl Bezjak
Faculty 259 teachers
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special education students
Pupils 3,596 pupils in 2011
Kindergarten 277
Grade 1 272
Grade 2 266
Grade 3 283
Grade 4 265
Grade 5 283
Grade 6 282
Grade 7 285
Grade 8 309
Grade 9 311
Grade 10 282
Grade 11 298
Grade 12 266
Slogan We Are AG!
Song Alma Mater
Fight song Washington Lee Swing
Mascot Colonials
Budget $47,810,510 (2010-11) [1]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $6,994.08, HS - $9,163.25 [2]
Per pupil Spending $12,139 (2008)
Per pupil spending $12,757.54 (2010)
Website

The Albert Gallatin Area School District is a large, rural, public school district located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It is named after Albert Gallatin former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, planner of the Lewis and Clark expedition, engineer of the financial details of the Louisiana Purchase, and founder of New York University. It serves the Boroughs of Masontown, Fairchance, Point Marion, and Smithfield. It also serves German, Springhill, Georges, and Nicholson Townships. It encompasses approximately 142 square miles (370 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, Albert Gallatin Area School District serves a resident population of 25,282. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $14,454, while the median family income was $31,607.[3] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [4] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[5] The district operates six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one senior high school.

Albert Gallatin Area High School is part of the Albert Gallatin Area School District is located 7 miles (11 km) south of Uniontown, PA in the village of York Run, Georges Township. The southern end of the Albert Gallatin School District borders West Virginia. Pittsburgh is approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of AG High School and Morgantown, West Virginia is 20 miles (32 km) to the south. The student population at Albert Gallatin School District is 3,659 with 1158 students attending Albert Gallatin High School.

Recent building improvements include a state-of-the-art stadium grass playing field, a resurfaced competition track, and a new field house. Technology in the building has been recently upgraded with the installation of 16 "Classrooms for the Future" that include mobile laptop carts/digital whiteboards/printers/digital cameras, and a distance learning lab that enables teaching to various buildings at once.

The school mascot is the Colonial. The school is locally known by its initials, AG.

History[edit]

The school district itself[6] was formed in 1951, with one high school near Point Marion. The former high schools were turned into elementary and Jr. High Schools. In 1965, Fairchance-Georges and German Township School Districts joined AG. There were three High Schools: Fairchance-Georges, German Township, and Albert Gallatin. In 1987, the district merged the three high schools into one at the Fairchance-Georges site and renamed it Tri-Valley Senior High School. Also, this year, they closed the Point Marion Elementary/Jr. High Building, keeping the present number of elementary schools to six. The Tri-Valley Name did not last long, as the school board in 1993, changed the name of the high school back to Albert Gallatin.

Demographics[edit]

In 2012, enrollment has declined to 3,596 pupils in grades K-12.[7] In 2010, the School District had 3960 students. 95% of the student body is Caucasian, nearly 5% is African-American. The teacher-student ratio is 16:1. Fifty-seven percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch prices.

Schools[edit]

Albert Gallatin High School

Albert Gallatin South Middle School
Address: 224 New Geneva Rd., Point Marion, PA 15474
Principal: Joetta L. Britvich; 474 students

Albert Gallatin North Middle School
Address: 113 College Ave., McClellandtown, PA 15458
Principal: Randy Wilson; 524 students

A.L. Wilson Elementary School
Address: 100 A.L. Wilson Dr., Fairchance, PA 15436
Principal: Candy Jordan
184 students | Achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2010 Report Card 2011 [1]

D. Ferd Swaney Elementary School
Address: 1152 Township Dr., Uniontown, PA 15401
Principal: Stacey Peton
371 students | Achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2010 Report Card 2011 [2]

Friendship Hill Elementary School
Address: 218 New Geneva Rd., Point Marion, PA 15474
Overseeing Principal: Joetta Britvich Head Teacher: Jenifer Vail
249 students | Achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2010 Report Card 2011 [3]

George J. Plava Elementary School
Address: 120 Puritan Rd., McClellandtown, PA 15458
Principal: Jamie Kamp
368 students | declined to School Improvement I in 2011, Warning in 2010 Report Card 2011 [4]

Masontown Elementary School
Address: 201 Spring St., Masontown, PA 15461
Principal: Joyce Simmons
220 students | Achieved AYP status in 2011 and Warning in 2010 Report Card 2011 [5]

Smithfield Elementary School
Address: 23 Liberty St., Smithfield, PA 15479
Principal: Candace Jordan
319 students | Achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2010 Report Card 2011 [6]

Academic achievement[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area School District was ranked 464th out of 495 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and science.[8]

  • 2011 - 454th
  • 2010 - 466th [9]
  • 2009 - 443rd out of 497 Pennsylvania school districts
  • 2008 - 449th
  • 2007 - 425th out of 501 districts.[10]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the Albert Gallatin Area School District students was in the 12th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best).[11]

Albert Gallatin Area School District was ranked 92nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, in 2010, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and two years of science.[12] This covers public schools, including charter schools in: Fayette County, Westmoreland County, Allegheny County, Washington County, Beaver County, Armstrong County and Butler County.

  • 2009 - 93rd [13]
  • 2008 - 93rd in western Pennsylvania school districts.
District AYP status history

In 2012, Albert Gallatin Area School District declined to Warning AYP status due to low student academic achievement. In 2011, Al;bert Gallatin 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.[14] From 2006 to 2010, Alberta Gallatin Area School District, as a whole, achieved AYP status each year. In 2005- Warning; 2004 - AYP and 2003 Warning status.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Albert Gallatin Area School District's graduation rate was 80%.[15] In 2011, the graduation rate was 86%.[16] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Albert Gallatin Area school District's graduation rate was 79% for 2010.[17]

Former AYP graduation rate

High school[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area High School is located at 1119 Twp Drive, Uniontown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 1,111 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 549 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 72 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[22] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.[23]

In 2012, Albert Gallatin Area High School declined to Corrective Action level I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. The school achieved 1 out of 12 metrics measured.[24] In 2011, the High School was in School Improvement level II status.[25] The Albert Gallatin Area High School declined to School Improvement II status in 2010 due to continuing low student academic achievement. The school achieved one of 8 academic achievement assessment criteria.[25] The high school was in School Improvement I in 2009. The school was mandated under No Child Left Behind to notify parents of the low student achievement and to offer a transfer to a better performing school, in the District. Additionally the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration to write a School Improvement plan that focuses on the ongoing poor academic issues.

In 2011, the high school's 11th grade ranked 105th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools based on five years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and three years of science.[26]

  • 2010 - 97th [27]
  • 2009 - 104th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools [28]
PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 57% on grade level, (24% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[29]
  • 2011 - 59% (19% below basic). State - 69.1% [30]
  • 2010 - 54%, (28% below basic). State - 67% [31]
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 59%, State - 65% [32]
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 65% [33]
  • 2006 - 58%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 46% on grade level (33% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[34]
  • 2011 - 53%, (18% below basic). State - 60.3%[35]
  • 2010 - 40%, (37% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 56% [36]
  • 2008 - 38%, State - 56% [37]
  • 2007 - 39%, State - 53%
  • 2006 - 44%, State - 52% [38]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 26% on grade level (27% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[39]
  • 2011 - 24%, (31% below basic). State - 40% [40]
  • 2010 - 25% (29% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 27%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 15%, State - 39% [41]

College remediation - According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 23% of the school district's 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 schools or community colleges.[42] 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.[43] 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[edit]

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.[44] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[45] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $16,103 for the program.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board requires students earn 24 credits to graduation, including: English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Arts or Humanities 2 credits, Health .5 credit, Physical Education 1 credits, Introduction to Computers .5 credit, and Electives 3 credits.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48][49][50]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 107 Albert Gallatin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 474. The Math average score was 479. The Writing average score was 474. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 134 Albert Gallatin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 454. The Math average score was 471. The Writing average score was 442.[51] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[52] 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.[53]

Albert Gallatin North Middle School[edit]

In 2012, Albert Gallatin North Middle School declined to School Improvement I AYP Level due to achieving 9 out of 17 metrics. The school administration was required to notify parents of the low achievement and to offer students an opportunity to transfer to a better performing school. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration to develop a School Improvement plan to address the low academic achievement. In 2011, the Albert Gallatin North Middle School declined to Warning status due to lagging student academic achievement. In 2010, the School achieved AYP status.[54] Sixty percent of the students are on grade level in reading, math and science in 2011.[54]

Eighth Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2011 - 71% (17% below basic). State - 81.8% [55]
  • 2010 - 77%, (16% below basic). State - 81% [56]
  • 2009 - 73%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 78%
Eighth Grade Math
  • 2012 - 55% on grade level (25% below basic). State - 76% [57]
  • 2011 - 62% (20% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 62% (21% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 67%, State - 71% [58]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 70%
Eighth Grade Science
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level (38% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 25%, (50% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 45%, (40% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 40%, State - 55%.[59]
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 52% [60]

Albert Gallatin South Middle School[edit]

In 2012, the school declined to School Improvement II status due to persisting low student academic achievement.[61] In 2011, the School declined to School Improvement I status due to lagging student academic achievement. In 2010, the school achieved Warning status.[62] Less than fifty percent of the students are on grade level in reading, math and science in 2011.[63] The attendance rate was 92% in 2011 and 2010 in 91% in 2010.[64]

Eighth Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2011 - 62%, (22% below basic). State - 81.8% .[65]
  • 2010 - 74%, (18% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 78%
Eighth Grade Math
  • 2012 - 53% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 56%, (26% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 70%, (16% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 63%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 70%
Eighth Grade Science
  • 2012 - 42% on grade level (40% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 41%, (43% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 55%, (33% below basic). State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 47%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 52%

Elementary schools[edit]

A.L Wilson Elementary School had an enrollment of 251 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 123 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 21 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[66] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[67] In 2011 and 2012, A.L Wilson Elementary School achieved AYP status.[68] In 2012, only 73% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 81% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 52% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 89% of the pupils were on grade level, with 61% achieving advanced.[69]

D Ferd Swaney Elementary School had an enrollment of 233 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 151 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 17 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[70] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[71] In 2011 and 2012, D Ferd Swaney Elementary School achieved AYP status.[72] In 2012, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 84% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 51% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 92% of the pupils were on grade level.[73]

Friendship Hill Elementary School had an enrollment of 239 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 166 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 19 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[74] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[75] In 2012, Friendship Hill Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2011, Friendship Hill School achieved AYP status.[76] In 2012, only 63% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 75% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 40% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 97% of the pupils were on grade level.[77]

George J Plava Elementary School had an enrollment of 342 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 226 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 23 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[78] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[79] In 2012, George J Plava Elementary School declined to Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status. In 2011, George J Plava School declined to School Improvement I AYP status.[80] In 2012, only 62% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 72% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 37% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils were on grade level.[81]

Masontown Elementary School had an enrollment of 238 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 190 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 21 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[82] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[83] In 2012, Masontown Elementary School declined to Warning status due to lagging academic achievement. In 2011 the School achieved AYP status.[84] In 2012, only 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, just 52% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 78% of the pupils were on grade level.[85]

Smithfield Elementary School had an enrollment of 302 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 169 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 22 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[86] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[87] In 2012, Smithfield Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2011, Smithfield had achieved AYP status.[88] In 2012, only 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, just 69% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level.[89]

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, the Albert Gallatin Area School District administration reported that 734 pupils or 20.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 48% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 724 pupils or 19.6% of the District's pupils received Special Education services.[90]

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs.[91] At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Director of Special Education.

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.[92] 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.[93] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[94] 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.[95]

Albert Gallatin Area School District received a $2,824,452 supplement for special education services in 2010.[96] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. 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.[97]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 62 or 1.57% of its students were gifted in 2009.[98] 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.[99]

Bullying policy and school safety[edit]

In 2009, the administrative reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the district.[100][101]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. 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.[102] The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms 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.[103] 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.[104]

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.[105]

Budget[edit]

The district's administrative costs per pupil, in 2008, were $730 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 in 2008.[106]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Albert Gallatin Area School District was $49,012 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $21,563 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $70,576.[107]

In 2009, Albert Gallatin Area School District reported employing over 300 teachers with a salary range of $31,400 to $100,000 for 184 days.[108] Teachers receive a benefits package that includes: health insurance, life insurance, reimbursement for college courses, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, paid bereavement leave, and a defined benefits pension.[109] Additional compensation is paid for after school activities, training time, and required meetings.

In 2007, the district employed 252 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,979 for 180 student days worked and 184 total days.[110] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[111] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits. Teacher receive 45 minutes each school day for class preparation. The length of the school day is 7 hours and 20 minutes. Teachers are paid an extra $10 per hour to cover a class other than their own. The district offers a lucrative retirement program.[112]

In 2008, the district reported spending $12,139 per pupil which ranked 257th in the state.[113]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a $9,831,154 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[114]

In July 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted performance audit of the school district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[115]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless the of income level.[116]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $22,458,486 an increase of $339,542.[117]

In 2011-12, the District received $22,118,944 in state Basic Education Funding.[118][119] Additionally, the district will receive $339,542 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is 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.[120]

For the 2010-11 budget year, the Albert Gallatin Area School District was allotted a 2.69% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $23,515,550. The highest increase in Fayette County was provided to Laurel Highlands School District through a 6.29% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[121] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it had received the prior school year, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.52% increase in Basic Education Funding, to Albert Gallatin Area School District, for a total of $22,897,997. The top BEF increase recipient, among Fayette County public school districts, was Laurel Highlands School District which got a 4.23%. The state Basic Education Funding to Albert Gallatin Area School District, for 2008-09, was $22,118,943. In 2009, ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received a minimum 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[122] The amount of increase each Pennsylvania public school district received was set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given in February 2009.[123]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

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 $921,602 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide all-day kindergarten (6th year) and to increase instructional time through tutoring of struggling students.[124][125]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

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 Albert Gallatin Area School District received $265,493.[126]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

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 to 2009. Albert Gallatin Area School District was denied funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District received $412,696 and in 2008-09 Albert Gallatin Area School District was awarded $75,216 for a total grant of $487,912.[127]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant 2012; Science Its Elementary grants; or DEP Environmental Education and Stewardship Grants.

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board decided 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.[128] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal grants[edit]

The District received an extra $5,075,950 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[129][130][131] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[132] 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.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials attempted to apply for the Race to the Top federal grant, but were unable to secure the support of the teachers' union. When approved for the grant, the district would have received millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[133] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[134] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[135] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[136]

Enhancing Education Through Technology grant[edit]

The District was awarded $50,000.00.

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In the summer of 2011, the District administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). The high school was eligible for funding due to chronic low achievement. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 Million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools in August 2011. The funding is for three years.[137]

For the 2010-11 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District administration did not apply for a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the senior high school.[138]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal department of education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[139] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[140] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[141]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012-13 were set by the school board at 12.4871 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.[142] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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.[143]

  • 2011-12 - 12.4871 mills
  • 2010-11 - 11.1900 mills [144]
  • 2009-10 - 11.1190 mills.[145]
  • 2008-09 - 11.1190 mills.[146]
  • 2007-08 - 11.1190 mills.[147]

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.[148] The average yearly property tax paid by Fayette County residents amounts to about 2.49% of their yearly income. Fayette County is ranked 973rd of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[149]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

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 2011-2012 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.[150] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[151] The following 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 taking into account on the PSERS contribution rate.[152]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Albert Gallatin Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[153]

  • 2006-07 - 6.0%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 5.2%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.8%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 6.3%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.4%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.1%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.6%, Base 1.7% [154]
  • 2013-14 - 2.6%, Base 1.7% [155]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Albert Gallatin Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: special education and teacher pension costs. 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.[156]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Albert Gallatin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Albert Gallatin 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.[157]

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.[158] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly repealed most of the Act 1 tax increase exceptions leaving only special education costs, pension costs and prior voter approved (ballot referendum) debt for construction. The cost of construction projects in the future will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum. Districts can no longer raise property taxes to cover increasing health insurance costs for employees.[159]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2009-10 or 2010-2011 [160] 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.[161]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Albert Gallatin Area School District was $129 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,380 property owners applied for the tax relief.[162] The 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 Fayette County, 71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[163] In Fayette County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to Uniontown Area School District at $200. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[164] This was the third 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, individual with income much 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.[165]

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%).[166]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility to participate is determined through school board policy and the rules of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[167]

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.[168][169]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [170]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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  128. ^ Common Cents program - Making Every Dollar Count
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  151. ^ Kaitlynn Riely (August 4, 2011). "Law could restrict school construction projects". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  152. ^ Pennsylvania General Assembly, (June 2011). "SB330 of 2011". 
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  155. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2013-2014 School District Adjusted Index, May 2012
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  164. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Education Report May 1, 2010
  165. ^ Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
  166. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  167. ^ Albert Gallatin Area School Board (August 18, 2009). "Albert Gallatin Area School District Policy Manual Extracurriculars Policy 122 and Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123". 
  168. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  169. ^ AGASD Policy 137.1 Extracurricular Participation by Home Education Students
  170. ^ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (2012). "PIAA School Directory Albert Gallatin Area School District". 

Coordinates: 39°49′47″N 79°46′14″W / 39.82976°N 79.77054°W / 39.82976; -79.77054