Carlynton School District

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Carlynton School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Carlynton School District, light blue, is shown at the left of center, just west of Pittsburgh, green.
Address
435 King's Highway
Carnegie, Pennsylvania, Allegheny, 15106
United States
Information
Type Public
Established 1969
Superintendent Gary Peiffer, M.Ed.
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1435 pupils (2009-10)
 • Kindergarten 91
 • Grade 1 119
 • Grade 2 111
 • Grade 3 120
 • Grade 4 119
 • Grade 5 114
 • Grade 6 118
 • Grade 7 112
 • Grade 8 115
 • Grade 9 103
 • Grade 10 110
 • Grade 11 100
 • Grade 12 103
 • Other Enrollment is projected to decrease to 1374 by 2019[1]
Color(s) Green and Gold
Athletics conference WPIAL Class = A
Mascot The Mighty Golden Cougars
Budget $23.8 million 2012-13 [2]
Communities served Carnegie, Pa, Crafton, Pa, and Rosslyn Farms, Pa
Website

The Carlynton School District is a small, suburban, public school district located approximately six miles west of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The district covers five square miles, including the Boroughs of Carnegie, Crafton and Rosslyn Farms. From these communities comes the name Carlynton (Carnegie, Rosslyn Farms and Crafton). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 15,559. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $22,323, while the median family income was $46,345.[3] Per District officials, in school year 2005-06 the Carlynton School District provided basic educational services to 1,550 pupils through the employment of 111 teachers, 78 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. Carlynton School District received more than $6.2 million in state funding in school year 2005-06. The district operates three schools: two elementary schools K-6th and one junior senior high school grades 7th-12th.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2011, Carlynton School District ranked 255th out of 498 Pennsylvania districts. The ranking is based on five years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in reading, writing, math and three years of science.[4]

  • 2010 - 277th [5]
  • 2009 - 274th
  • 2008 - 292nd
  • 2007 - 208th of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[6]

The Carlynton School District was ranked 63rd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs on: math, reading, writing and 1 year of science.[7] In 2008, the school district ranked 69th out of 105 western Pennsylvania districts.

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Carlynton School District, was in the 34th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [8]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the district's graduation rate is 100%.[9] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Carlynton School District's rate was 92% for 2010.[10]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

  • 2010 - 95% [11]
  • 2009 - 94% [12]
  • 2008 - 94%
  • 2007 - 94% [13]

Senior high school[edit]

In 2011, the school declined to Warning status due to lagging math and reading achievement.[14]

School AYP Overview In 2010 and 2009, the high school achieved AYP status.[15] In 2009, the high school ranked 48th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Although it is actually located in Robinson Township, the high school's mailing address is in Carnegie. The school consists of approximately 650 students from all three communities. The building houses grades seven through twelve. In 1996, the Carlynton Junior-Senior High School completed a comprehensive renovation project. The high school facilities includes three computer laboratories and a swimming pool.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 55% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69% of 11th graders on grade level.[16]
  • 2010 - 69% (21% below basic). State - 66% [17]
  • 2009 - 67% (14% below basic). State - 65%
  • 2008 - 80%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 50%, State - 65% [18]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 44%, on grade level (29% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level. .[19]
  • 2010 - 57% (33% below basic). State - 59% [20]
  • 2009 - 55% (28% below basic). State - 56% [21]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 56% [22]
  • 2007 - 22%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 28% on grade level (28% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level. .[23]
  • 2010 - 36% (21% below basic), State - 40% [24]
  • 2009 - 39%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 37%, State - 39% [25]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 33% of the Carlynton 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.[26] 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.[27] 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 does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts with the assistance of a state grant.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Carlynton School Board requires that a student earn 24 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Mathematics 3 credits, Science 3 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Public Speaking 0.50 credits, Health/Phys. Ed. 1.50 credits, and Electives 9 credits. The Carlynton Board of Education has established a requirement that students must take a minimum subject load of six credits per year, excluding Health & Physical Education.

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.[28] At Carlynton School District, students are required to make an in depth exploration of a career of their choice and make a 15 minute presentation about the career, to a panel of teachers.

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes 2016, 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.[29]

Eighth Grade[edit]

The eighth grade ranked 81st out of 141 western Pennsylvania eighth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[30]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 76% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 81% (9% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 75% (9% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 76%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 83%, State - 75%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 65% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2010 - 62% (18% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 63% (13% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 68%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 40% on grade level (32% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 55% (32% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 52%

Seventh grade[edit]

7th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 69% on grade level, Boys 57% /Girls 81%, (15% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 69%, Boys 65% /Girls 73%, (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 68%, Boys 58% /Girls 77% (9% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2008 - 67%, (12% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 59%, (20% below basic), State - 66%
7th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 63% on grade level, Boys 57% /Girls 68% (18% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 66%, Boys 69% /Girls 63% (16% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 62%, Boys 57% /Girls 68% (19% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2008 - 52%, (25% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 58%, (22% below basic), State - 67%

Elementary schools[edit]

Carnegie Elementary School is located on Franklin Avenue in Carnegie, (K-6th) serves 444 pupils in 2010. In 2011 and 2010 the school achieved AYP status. In 2009 the school was in Warning status due to chronic low student achievement.[31] The attendance rate in 2010 was 95%. In 2011 the attendance rate improved to 95%.[32]

6th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 64% on grade level, Boys 56%/Girls 72% (13% below basic). State - 69.9%.[33]
  • 2010 - 56%, Boys 54%/Girls 59% (14% below basic). State - 68% [34]
  • 2009 - 56% Boys 55%/Girls 58% (20% below basic), State - 67%
6th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 79% on grade level, Boys 85%/Girls 73% (6% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 69%, Boys 70%/Girls 67% (15% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 64%, Boys 70%/Girls 58% (14% below basic). State - 75%

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 57% on grade level, Boys 44%/Girls 66% (21% below basic). State - 67.3%
  • 2010 - 68%, Boys 64%/Girls 73% (15% below basic). State - 64%
  • 2009 - 46% Boys 50%/Girls 41% (35% below basic), State - 64%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 84% on grade level Boys 84%/Girls 85% (3% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 80%, Boys 79%/Girls 82% (6% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2009 - 58%, Boys 63%/Girls 52% (23% below basic). State - 73%
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 66%, Boys 68%/Girls 64%, (14% below basic), State – 73.3%
  • 2010 - 67%, Boys 48%/Girls 78% (22% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 68%, Boys 64%/Girls 72% (16% below basic), State - 72%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 84%, Boys 84%/Girls 84%, (9% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 89%, Boys 73%/Girls 98%, (5% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 78%, Boys 82%/Girls 75%, (12% below basic), State - 81%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 73%, Boys 73%/Girls 73% (4% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 74%, Boys 52%/Girls 88% (17% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 82%, Boys 84%/Girls 81% (4% below basic), State - 83%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 67%, Boys 68%/Girls 65%, (24% below basic), State – 77.2%
  • 2010 - 74% Boys 63%/Girls 83%, (14% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 76% Boys 56%/Girls 90%, (18% below basic), State - 77%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 88%, Boys 90%/Girls 85%, (2% below basic), State – 83.5%
  • 2010 - 90%, Boys 95%/Girls 87%, (2% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 91%, (0% below basic), State - 81%

Crafton Elementary School[edit]

Located on Crafton Boulevard in Crafton, the building houses students in kindergarten through sixth grade from Crafton and Rosslyn Farms. The building housed Crafton High School until the formation of the district. Crafton was rated as being the best place to raise children in Pennsylvania according to Bloomberg Businessweek's 'Best Places to Raise Your Kids 2011'.[35] The academic performance of Crafton Elementary was one of the top criteria for this distinction.[36]

In 2011, 2010 and 2009, the Crafton Elementary School achieved AYP status.[37] In 2010 the attendance rate was 96% and in 2009 it was 95%.[38]

6th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 75% on grade level, Boys 78%/Girls 72% (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.[39]
  • 2010 - 90% Boys 83%/Girls 96% (2% below basic). State - 68% [40]
  • 2009 - 79%, Boys 83%/Girls 76% (4% below basic), State - 67%

6th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 91% on grade level (2% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 98%, Boys 96%/Girls 100% (2% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 90%, Boys 100%/Girls 80% (0% below basic), State - 75%

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 76% on grade level, Boys 77%/Girls 74% (4% below basic). State - 67.3%
  • 2010 - 60%, Boys 58%/Girls 63% (13% below basic). State - 64%.
  • 2009 - 84%, Boys 75%/Girls 93% (10% below basic), State - 64%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 93% on grade level (2% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 79%, Boys 79%/Girls 78% (4% below basic). State - 74%.
  • 2009 - 88%, Boys 79%/Girls 96% (4% below basic), State - 73%
4th Grade Reading;
  • 2011 - 80% (9% below basic), State – 73.3%
  • 2010 - 83% on grade level, Boys 76%/Girls 90% (4% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 87%, Boys 87%/Girls 86% (2% below basic), State - 72%
4th Grade Math;
  • 2011 - 94% (0% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 93%, Boys 88%/Girls 100% (0% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 98%, Boys 100%/Girls 95% (2% below basic), State - 81%
4th Grade Science;
  • 2011 - 89%, (2% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 96% on grade level, Boys 96%/Girls 95% (0% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 95%, Boys 95%/Girls 95% (2% below basic), State - 83%
3rd Grade Reading;
  • 2011 - 96%, (2% below basic), State – 77.2%
  • 2010 - 82% on grade level, Boys 78%/Girls 86% (8% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 92%, Boys 86%/Girls 100% (2% below basic), State - 77%
3rd Grade Math;
  • 2011 - 98%, (0% below basic), State – 83.5%
  • 2010 - 93%, Boys 89%/Girls 97% (0% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 96%, Boys 96%/Girls 95% (0% below basic), State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 246 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[41]

In order to assure compliance with state and federal laws, 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. 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; and review by the administrative team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District obtains parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents or guardians, who believe their child is eligible, may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Carlynton School District Pupil Services Coordinator.[42][43]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving 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.[44]

Carlynton School District received a $830,449 supplemental funding to pay for special education services for its students, in 2010.[45] 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.[46]

In 2009, Carlynton School District was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Least Restrictive Environment monitoring. One hundred ninety six schools districts were selected in 2008-09. The district received an alert letter from the PDE - Bureau of Special Education.[47] School districts were placed in one of three categories: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. The district was placed in Tier One with students spending more than 80% of the school day, inside of regular education. Tier 1 districts received on-site LRE monitoring in spring 2010. The monitoring is a product of the PDE addressing its voluntary settlement in Gaskin V. Pennsylvania which ordered that special education students spend most of their school day (80%) in regular education classrooms with supplementary aids and services to assist.[48][49][50][51]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 56 or 3.55% of its students were gifted in 2009.[52] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. Services designed to meet the needs of gifted students include the annual development of a Gifted Individual Education Plan, support services and specially-designed instruction designed to challenge the student. Students in the gifted education program are encouraged to compete in area intellectual competitions.[53] The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal, requesting an evaluation. All requests should be made in writing which commences a 60 day evaluation deadline. 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.[54]

Bullying and safety[edit]

In 2009, the administrative reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district. There were 20 incidents of fighting and 15 incidents of Harassment/ Threats. Four students were placed in alternative education.[55][56]

Carlynton School district has not posted its anti bullying policy online.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59]

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.[60]

Budget[edit]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $58,120 for 180 days worked. The district ranked fourth in Allegheny County for average teacher salary in 2007.[61] The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977. The average salary in Allegheny County was $57,755. 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.[62]

In 2009, the district employed over 118 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $59,402 for 180 days instructing students. The beginning salary was $37,728, while the highest salary was $114,737.[63] The beginning salary was whole the highest salary was $147,000. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[64] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[65]

The district reported that its per pupil spending was $13,577. This ranked 131st among 501 Pennsylvania public school districts.[66]

Carlynton School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $924 per pupil. The district ranked 88th of 500 school districts for per pupil administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[67] In September 2008, the school board gave Superintendent Michael Panza a five-year extension of his contract after awarding him a 3% raise.[68] He will continue to receive the same health insurance benefits the teachers and a $50,000 life insurance policy.[69] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association reports statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165.[70]

In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $8,457,208.00.[71] In 2010, the reserves had increased to an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $12,189,295.00.[72]

In August 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several findings were reported to the school board and administration.[73]

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. 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 of the income level.[74]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district will receive $3,917,702 in state Basic Education Funding.[75] Additionally, the district will receive $64,922 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.[76]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 618 students in the Carlynton School District received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2009-2010 school year.[77]

For the 2010-11 budget year, the Carlynton School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $4,119,374. In Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which received an 11.32% increase in state funding. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was given a 23.65% increase in state funding.[78] The amount of increase each school district receives was determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[79]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.09% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $4,038,738. This was the base percentage increase, in Basic Education Funding, in the Commonwealth. Four school districts in Allegheny County received an increase of over 6 percent. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,917,701.59. In Pennsylvania, a 2% increase in funding was the lowest. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received an increase of over 22%. Fifteen school districts received Basic Education increases in excess of 10%[80]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 528 students in the District received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[81]

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides supplemental funding in the form of accountability block grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved programs and processes. Carlynton School District uses its $176,216 to fund all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd and to provide extra instruction for struggling students. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding.[82] Schools Districts must apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[83] In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[84]

Classrooms for the Future Grants[edit]

Carlynton School Board received a grant from the PA Department of Education to purchase equipment to help reform the high school's core subjects instruction and to prepare students for future employment by using cutting-edge equipment and software. The district used the funds to purchase laptops for students, laptops for teachers, laptop carts and other digital equipment. The grant provided additional funding for a technology coach to instruct teachers in using the equipment to improve instruction. In 2006-07 and 2007-08 the district did not apply for funding. In 2008-09, the district received $110,540.[85] Since 2006, Pennsylvania's Classrooms for the Future program has distributed more than $150 million for laptops, interactive boards and other high-tech tools in 543 high schools. In 2009, the Classrooms For the Future funding program was terminated due to a deep state revenue shortfall.[86]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received $1,031,022 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[87]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Carlynton School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[88] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[89] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[90] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[91]

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Carlynton School Board set property tax rates in 2009-10 at 23.1500 mills.[92] 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. 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.[93]

  • 2010 - 24.1500 mills.[94]
  • 2009 - 24.1500 mills.[95]
  • 2008 - 24.1500 mills [96]
  • 2007 - 24.1500 mills [97]

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 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 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.[98]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Carlynton School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[99]

  • 2006-07 - 4.6%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.2%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 5.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.2%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 3.6%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.7%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.1%, Base 1.7% [100]

For the 2011-12 school year the Carlynton School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Carlynton 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.[101]

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.[102]

For 2009 and 2010, the Carlynton School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Index limit.[103][104]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for Carlynton School District was set at $166 for 3,366 approved homesteads.[105] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Carlynton School District was $168 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,318 property owners applied for the tax relief. 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 Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[106]

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, so people who make 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%).[107]

Enrollment and consolidation[edit]

In 2011, the community of Rosslyn Farms initiated a process to secede from the Carlynton School District and join Chartiers Valley School District, a neighboring district. The reason cited is the chronically poor academic program outcomes at Carlynton School District. The community submitted a petition, signed by three fourths of the taxable residents in Rosslyn Farms, to the civil division of Common Pleas Court.[108] According to district data, Rosslyn Farms sends 36 children to the district's schools and the remaining 34 children attend private schools.[109]

The state Department of Education projects a steady decline in enrollment in the district to 1374 pupils in 2020.[110]

A proposal has been put forward to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars and improve student services. The plan calls for a proposed district that includes Carlynton School District, Montour School District and Sto-Rox School District.[111]

In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any school buildings.[112] The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration.[113]

In February 2009, Governor Edward Rendell proposed reducing the number of school districts in Pennsylvania from 500 to 100. He asserted that consolidation of adjacent school district administrations, in each county, would achieve substantial administrative cost savings. The proposal claimed that the savings could be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes.[114][115]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[116] This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[115] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[117]

Wellness policy[edit]

Carlynton School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[118] 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 Richard B. Russell 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 and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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.[119] The policy requires that the Superintendent or designee shall report to the Board on the district’s compliance with law and policies related to student wellness.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is set by school board policy and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[120]

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.[121]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°24′49″N 80°05′02″W / 40.41362°N 80.08398°W / 40.41362; -80.08398