Franklin Regional School District

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Franklin Regional School District
Map of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Panthers
Address
3210 School Rd
Murrysville, Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, 15668-1553
United States
Information
Type Public
Established 1962[1]
Superintendent Gennaro Piraino[2]
Grades K–12
Number of students 3,690 pupils [3]
Kindergarten 253
Grade 1 227
Grade 2 249
Grade 3 269
Grade 4 273
Grade 5 313
Grade 6 296
Grade 7 298
Grade 8 308
Grade 9 307
Grade 10 311
Grade 11 315
Grade 12 330
Other Enrollment projected to be 3200 in 2019[4]
Color(s) Blue and Gold
Athletics conference Keystone
Budget 2011-12: $46,091,449
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $8,558.37, HS - $8,433.17 [5]
Mascot Panther
per pupil spending $12,044.68 (2010)
per pupil spending $11,680 (2008)
Website

Franklin Regional School District is a midsized, suburban public school district located in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, serving Murrysville and the neighboring communities of Delmont and Export. Franklin Regional School District encompasses approximately 38 square miles (98 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 22,264 people. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08, Franklin Regional School District provided basic educational services to 3,784 pupils through the employment of 265 teachers, 132 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 18 administrators. Franklin Regional School District received more than $12.3 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

On April 9, 2014, a mass stabbing incident occurred at the Franklin Regional High School in which at least 20 people were injured, some of them seriously.[6]

School campus[edit]

The school district consists of five buildings: Franklin Regional High School (grades 9–12), Franklin Regional Middle School (grades 6–8), Heritage Elementary School, Newlonsburg Elementary School, and Sloan Elementary School (each grades K–5). All buildings except for Sloan Elementary are situated on the school's main campus at the intersection of School Road and Old William Penn Highway in Murrysville.

The school's campus at one time extended to additional schools: Sardis Elementary School in Sardis, Delmont Elementary School in Delmont, White Valley Elementary School in White Valley, and Duff Elementary in Export. The Delmont and Duff school buildings are still standing and have been repurposed for other uses (the Delmont building houses the town library). White Valley Elementary was torn down in the late 1980s and the site is now a playground.

The school district is bordered by six other school districts: Burrell S.D., Kiski Area S.D., Greensburg-Salem S.D., Penn-Trafford S.D., as well as Gateway S.D. and Plum S.D.(in Allegheny County).[7]

The school district is a "AAA" (Triple-A) sized school district for football classification (with "AAAA" (Quad-A) being the largest classification).

At 7:15a EDT, on April 9, 2014, a stabbing incident occurred at Franklin Regional High School.

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[8] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Franklin Regional School Board and district administration a "D" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[9]

Academic achievement[edit]

For the 2011-2102 academic year, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment ranked Franklin Regional High School 49th of the 676 Pennsylvania public high schools. This ranking was based upon that school year's combined math and reading PSSA test scores.[10]

Franklin Regional School District was ranked 29th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[11] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[12] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2011 - 20th [13]
  • 2010 - 21st [14]
  • 2009 - 25th
  • 2008 - 19th
  • 2007 - 17th out of 501 school districts.[15]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. School District ranked 188. In 2011, the district was 121st. [16] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[17]

Western Pennsylvania local ranking Franklin Regional School District was ranked 9th out of 105 western 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 on: math, reading, writing and science.[18] (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County excludes Duquesne City SD & Midland Borough SD due to no high schools)

  • 2011 - 8th
  • 2010 - 9th [19]
  • 2009 - 8th

In 2010 and 2011, Franklin Regional School District achieved AYP status. 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.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Franklin Regional School District was in the 96th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [20]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 98%.[21] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Franklin Regional High School's rate was 97% for 2010.[22]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Franklin Regional High School is located at 3200 School Road, Murrysville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,269 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 108 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 82 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[27] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[28]

Academic status[edit]

In 2012, Franklin Regional's eleventh grade ranked 10th out of 104 western Pennsylvania high schools based on the last three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in: reading, math, writing and three years of science.[29] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County) In 2010, the eleventh grade ranked 7th. In 2009, the 11th grade was ranked 8th out of 141 western Pennsylvania high schools based on three years of student academic achievement in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and one year of science.[30]

In 2011 the school declined to "Warning" status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics for special education students.[31] In 2010 the school achieved AYP status.

Year 11th Grade Reading 11th Grade Math 11th Grade Science
2011 81% on grade level, (8% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32] 72% on grade level (14% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[33] 67% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[34]
2010 84% (7% below basic). State - 66% [35] 78% (12% below basic). State - 59% 68% (5% below basic). State - 39%
2009 86% (7% below basic). State - 65% [36] 74% (11% below basic). State - 56%. 71% (7% below basic). State - 40% [37]
2008 81% (3% below basic). State - 65% [38] 67% (9% below basic). State - 56% 57% (5% below basic). State - 39% [39]
2007 88% (6% below basic). State - 65% [40] 75% (11% below basic). State - 53% N/A

2014 mass stabbing incident[edit]

On April 9, 2014, a mass stabbing and slashing incident occurred at the High School.[41] The incident took place before classes started, and more than 20 students were injured, some of them seriously; a security guard was also injured. A 16-year-old sophomore male with two knives was arrested at the scene, and was charged as an adult.[41] An assistant principal, as well as a security guard, tackled the suspect.[42] The suspected perpetrator was later identified by police as Alex Hribal.

Seven students between the ages of 15 and 17 and one adult were admitted to Forbes Regional Hospital.[43] The injuries ranged from critical to superficial.[41]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 25% of Franklin Regional High School 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.[44] 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.[45] 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.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Franklin Regional School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 24 credits to graduate, including: Math 3 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, science 3 credits, Humanities 3 credits, Physical Education 1.5 credits, Wellness 0.5 credits and electives 5 credits, including 1 computer course.[46] Students are required to take at least 6 credits each year.

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 class of 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.[48][49][50] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[51] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 285 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 543. The Math average score was 566. The Writing average score was 541.[52] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[53] 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.[54]

Online education[edit]

FReAcademy is an online school program available to students through a cooperative agreement with the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit eAcademy. There are 93 courses offered to students in grades 5th through 12th via the WIU eAcademy. Students also have access to summer courses.

Middle school[edit]

Franklin Regional Middle School is located at 4660 Old William Penn Highway, Murrysville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 883 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 86 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 62 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[55] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[56]

In 2012, Franklin Regional's eighth grade ranked 18h out of 105 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on the last three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in: reading, math, writing and three years of science.[57] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County) In 2010, the eighth grade ranked 18th. In 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 22nd out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on three years of student academic achievement in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and one year of science.[30]

In 2010 and 2011, Franklin Regional Middle School achieved AYP status.[58]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 78% on grade level (8% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 84% (6% below basic). State – 57% [63]
  • 2009 - 75% (6% below basic). State - 55% [64]
  • 2008 - 70% (5% below basic). State - 52% [65]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
Seventh grade

In 2012, Franklin Regional's seventh grade ranked 14th out of 105 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on the last three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in: reading, math, writing and science.[66] In 2010, the seventh grade ranked 15th. In 2009, the 7th grade was ranked 12th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools.[30]

Elementary schools[edit]

Heritage Elementary School is located at 3240 School Road, Murrysville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 619 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 114 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 41 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[67] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[68] In 2010 and 2011, Heritage Elementary School achieved AYP status.[69] In 2011, 83% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 56% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 94% of the pupils were on grade level with 66% advanced.[70]

Newlonsburg Elementary School is located at 3170 School Road, Murrysville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 244 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 28 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 23 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.[71] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[72] In 2010 and 2011, Newlonsburg Elementary School achieved AYP status.[73] In 2011, 92% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 95% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 68% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 94% of the pupils were on grade level with 62% achieving advanced.[74]

Sloan Elementary School is located at 4121 Sardis Road, Murrysville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 675 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 60 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 41 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[75] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[76] In 2010 and 2011, Sloan Elementary School achieved AYP status.[77] In 2011, 93% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 95% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 72% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level with 71% advanced.[78]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 530 pupils or 14% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 56% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[79] In 2019, the District reported that 13.6% or 505 students received special education services.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, Franklin Regional School 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 .[80] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, 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 Special Education administration. 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 district's Special Education Department.[81][82]

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.[83] 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.[84] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[85] 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.[86]

Franklin Regional School District received a $1,720,811 supplement for special education services in 2010.[87] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. 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.[88][89]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 296 or 7.84% of its students were gifted in 2009.[90] 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.[91][92]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reported employing 314 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $56,220 and a top salary of $125,843.[93] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[94] Beginning with the 2009-10 school year the teachers work a 191 day school year with 183 days of instruction. The length of the work day is 8 hours, with a thirty-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period.[95] In 2011, the average teacher salary in Franklin Regional School District was $61,942 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $22,057 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $83,999.[96] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers' total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[97]

In 2007, Franklin Regional School District employed 266 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $55,847 for 180 days worked.[98] 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.[99]

Franklin Regional School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $598.97 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[100] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[101]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $11,680 which ranked 319th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $$12,044.68 which ranked 364th state wide.[102] Among the states, Pennsylvania's total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[103] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[104]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a balance of $3,660,707 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $4,136,639. [105] In 2010, Area Administration reported an increase to $$4,868,673 in its unreserved-undesignated fund balance and a balance of $3,825,302 in the district's unreserved-undesignated fund. Pennsylvania school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[106]

In November 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District's administration.[107]

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.[108] 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 level of the individual's personal wealth.[109]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $6,497,323, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[110][111] Additionally, the School District received $105,339in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $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.[112] 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.[113] In 2010, the district reported that 363 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[114]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.48% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,037,835. Among the districts in Westmoreland County, the highest increase went to Yough School District which got a 7.40% 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.[115] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, 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 proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell's policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.67% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,735,796. Among the districts in Westmoreland County, the highest increase went to Southmoreland School District which got a 6.44%. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $6,269,051.89. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[116] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[117] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 325 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[118]

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 $285,917 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten and increased instructional time.[119][120]

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 2006-2009. The School District applied to participate in 2006-07 receiving $123,141. In 2007-08 it received $300,000. The district received $25,932 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $449,073.[121] In County the highest award was given to area School District. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $2,068,777 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[122] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[123] 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]

District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[124] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[125] 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.[126][127][128]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the school board at 86.6800 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.[129] 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.[130] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[131] In 2010, miscalculations by the board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[132]

  • 2010-11 - 84.6800 mills [133]
  • 2009-10 - 82.8800 mills.[134]
  • 2008-09 - 81.8800 mills.[135]
  • 2007-08 - 81.3800 mills.[136]
  • 2006-07 - 80.3800 mills.[137]

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.[138] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[139] Several 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 (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[140][141]

The School District Adjusted Index for the School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[142]

  • 2006-07 - 3.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 3.4%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 4.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 4.1%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 2.9%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.4%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.0%, Base 1.7% [143]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Franklin Regional School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs an special education 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.[144]

For the 2011-12 school year, Franklin Regional School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and Maintenance of Selected Revenue sources. Each year, the Franklin Regional 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 published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[145]

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.[146]

Franklin Regional School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[147] For 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[148] 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.[149]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for 7,001 approved property owners of Franklin Regional School District was set at $119.[150] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Franklin Regional School District was also $120 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,972 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Westmoreland County, the highest tax relief went to New Kensington-Arnold School District which was set at $350.[151] The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. This was the second year they received this amount.[152] 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 Westmoreland County, 62% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[153]

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 people who have an income of 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%).[154]

Extracurricular activities and achievements[edit]

Franklin Regional School District offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities, clubs, and athletic programs that are available to all students in Grade 7 through 12. The district charges a $50 one time annual student participation activity fee. The Student Activity Fee is waived for students who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch. Franklin Regional School Board has set eligibility requirements: attendance, academics and code of conduct for access to all extracurricular activities.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[155]

Athletics[edit]

  • In 1979, the Franklin Regional girls' basketball team won the state championship over J. P. McCaskey High School 68–42. The 1997 boys' basketball team was the runner-up for the state championship, losing the championship game 50-45 to Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.[156]
  • In wrestling, Franklin Regional was the WPIAL Runner-Up in 2013 and placed 3rd place in the State Championship. In 2014, Franklin Regional won the WPIAL championship and PIAA championship.
  • In baseball, Franklin Regional won the WPIAL championship in 2001 at PNC Park, defeating Mt. Lebanon High School 11-9.[citation needed]
  • In baseball, Franklin Regional won the WPIAL championship in 1997.
  • In girls lacrosse, Franklin Regional won the WPIAL championship in 2010.
  • In football, Franklin Regional won the AAA Pennsylvania state championship and WPIAL championship in 2005, defeating Pottsville Area High School 23-13.[157] They also won the WPIAL title in 2005.
  • In softball, Franklin Regional won WPIAL titles in 1972 and 2009
  • In boys lacrosse, Franklin Regional won WPSLA titles in 1995, 1996, 1999
  • In girls basketball, Franklin Regional won WPIAL titles in 1977 and 1979.
  • In girls golf, Franklin Regional won the WPIAL title in 1976.
  • Football Section Champions - 1995, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • Softball Section Champions - 1973, 1974, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Boys Swimming Section Champions - 1972, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Girls Swimming Sections Champions - 1971, 1973, 1975, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
  • Boys Tennis Section Champions - 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1998, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014
  • Girls Tennis Section Champions - 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2007, 2012
  • Boys Golf Section Champions - 1962, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Girls Golf Section Champions - 1975, 1976, 1977, 2003
  • Boys Basketball Section Champions - 1997, 2008
  • Girls Basketball Section Champions - 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
  • Baseball Section Champions - 1962, 1982, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006
  • Cross Country Section Champions - 1975, 1977, 1989, 1996, 2003, 2012, 2013
  • Boys Lacrosse Section Champions - 2009
  • Girls Lacrosse Section Champions - 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
  • Boys Soccer Section Champions - 1983, 1984, 1985, 2007, 2008
  • Girls Soccer Section Champions - 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011
  • Wrestling Section Champions - 2013, 2014
  • High School Hockey - Pennsylvania High School Hockey Championships - Penguins Cup Finalists Class AA - 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2008 and Class AAA - 2003

Arts[edit]

  • The marching band has participated in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2003 and 2009, and was also in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade.[158][159]

Movie set[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]