Gateway School District

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Gateway School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Location
9000 Gateway Campus Blvd
Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, 15146-3378
United States
Information
Type Public
Established 1958
Superintendent Dr. Giannina Zetty
Administrator Dr. Theresa A Piatek, Assistant Superintendent

Paul A Schott, Business Manager
Robert Reger, Assistant to the Superintendent
Dr. Nancy Hines, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
Heather Bungard, Director of Special Education
Bonnie Easha, Transportation Director/Board Secretary
Cara A. Zanella, Director of Communications/Safety
Ken Stancliffe, Director of Facilities
Robert Brown, Assistant Director of Facilities
Dennis Houlihan, Technology Manager
Rica Cleary, Administrative Coordinator
Kurtis Martin, Student Assistance Program Coordinator
Randy Rovesti, Acting Athletic Director
Mrs. Fran Stewart, Data Processing Supervisor
Martin Lorenzo, Director of Food Service
Monica Griffith, School Psychologist

Staff 330.50 non teaching staff (2011)
Grades K-12
Number of students 3410 pupils (2013), 3,966 pupil (2009-10), 4304 pupils (2005-06) [1]
Kindergarten 238
Grade 1 297
Grade 2 235
Grade 3 270
Grade 4 277
Grade 5 289
Grade 6 292
Grade 7 331
Grade 8 337
Grade 9 378
Grade 10 372
Grade 11 362
Grade 12 372
Color(s) Black & Vegas Gold
Budget $67,413,000 2013-14[2]

$70,985,874 (2012-13)[3][4]

Per pupil spending $14,468 (2008)
Per pupil spending $16,432.87 (2010) 70th in state for spending
Website

The Gateway School District is a large, suburban, public school district located in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. It also serves residents of Pitcairn.[5] Gateway School District encompasses approximately 19 square miles (49 km2). Per the 2000 federal census data, the Gateway School District serves a resident population of 33,038. By 2010, the district's population was 31,686 people.[6] In 2009, the District residents' per capita income was $22,998, while the median family income was $51,250.[7] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [8] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[9] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[10]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Gateway School District provided basic educational services to 4,101 pupils. It employed 341 teachers, 390 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 40 administrators, in 2009. The Gateway School District received more than $13.7 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. In 2009-10, Gateway School District provided basic educational services to 3,936 pupils. The District employed: 323 teachers, 281 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 42 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. Gateway School District received $13.9 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.

Gateway School District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania. Gateway School District is bordered by five other public school districts: Woodland Hills School District, Penn Hills School District, Plum Borough School District, East Allegheny School District, and Franklin Regional School District (Westmoreland County).

Schools in the district[edit]

All students in the district attend Gateway High School for 9th grade to 12th grade. Depending on the location of their home, students in kindergarten through grade four attend either: Evergreen Elementary School, Dr. Cleveland Steward, Jr. Elementary School, Ramsey Elementary School, or University Park Elementary School.

  • Evergreen Elementary School - 3831 Evergreen Drive, Monroeville, PA 15146. Report Card 2010 [1]
  • Dr. Cleveland Steward, Jr. Elementary School- 5000 Gateway Campus Boulevard, Monroeville, PA 15146. Report Card 2010 [2]
  • Ramsey Elementary School - 2200 Ramsey Road, Monroeville, PA 15146. Report Card 2010 [3]
  • University Park Elementary School - 320 Noel Drive, Monroeville, PA 15146. Report Card 2010 [4]
  • Moss Side Middle School - Grades 5 & 6, 9000 Gateway Campus Boulevard, Monroeville, PA 15146. Report Card 2010 [5]
  • Gateway Middle School - Grades 7 & 8, 4450 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville, PA 15146 Report Card 2010 [6]
  • Gateway High School - 3000 Gateway Campus Boulevard, Monroeville, PA 15146[11][12]

Governance[edit]

Gateway School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[13] 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 Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C" 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.[14]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2013, Gateway School District ranked 148th out of 498 Pennsylvania districts. The ranking is based on the last three years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in reading, writing, math and science.[15] The PSSAs were 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.

  • 2012 - 123rd
  • 2011 - 130th[16]
  • 2010 - 189th[17]
  • 2009 - 212th
  • 2008 - 190th
  • 2007 - 173rd of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[18]
Western Pennsylvania ranking

Gateway School District was ranked 34th out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and 1 year of science.[19]

  • 2012 - 31st
  • 2009 - 54th
  • 2008 - 50th

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Gateway School District declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics. The High School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year and 2 other schools missed AYP.[20] In 2011, Gateway 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 Pennsylvania public 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.[21] Gateway School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010.

  • 2005 - Making Progress - School Improvement level I
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement level I due to low student achievement
  • 2003 - Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[22]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Gateway School District’s graduation rate was 92%.[23] In 2011, the graduation rate was 93.5%.[24] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Gateway School District's rate was 82% for 2010.[25]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school[edit]

Gateway High School is located at 3000 Gateway Campus Blvd, Monroeville. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 1,419 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 319 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school is not a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 105 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[29] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 4 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[30]

AYP History

In 2012, Gateway High School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to chronic low student achievement in both reading and mathematics. In 2011, Gateway High School declined to Corrective Action Level I due to continuing low academic achievement.

  • 2010 - Making Progress: in School Improvement II due to low student academic achievement.
  • 2009 - declined to School Improvement II AYP level.[31] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes. Additionally the school administration was required, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[32] For several years, the High School has been eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[33]

In the 2011-12 school year, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) ranked Gateway High School 151st out of the 676 public high schools in Pennsylvania. This ranking was based on the combined math and reading PSSA test scores.[34]

Western Pennsylvania ranking

In 2013, Gateway High School was ranked 35th out of 122 western Pennsylvania high schools for student academic achievement by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[35]

  • 2012 - 30th
  • 2011 - 33rd[36]
  • 2010 - 41st [37]
  • 2009 - 38th
PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 80% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 79% (6% below basic). State - 69.1%[39]
  • 2010 - 76%, Boys 65%/Girls 87% (13% below basic). State - 66%[40]
  • 2009 - 71%, Boys 68%/Girls 74% (15% below basic). State - 65% [41]
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 65%[42]
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 65% [43]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (17% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[44]
  • 2011 - 66% (18% below basic). State - 60.3%[45]
  • 2010 - 73%, State - 59%[46]
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 56% [47]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 45% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[48]
  • 2011 - 47% (10% below basic). State - 40%[49]
  • 2010 - 49%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 37%, State - 40% [50]
  • 2008 - 34%, State - 39% [51]

Science in Motion Gateway High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[52] Westminster College provides the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 28% of Gateway School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[53] 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.[54] 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]

Gateway 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.[55] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[56] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[57] Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[58] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $33,833 for the program.[59] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Gateway School District School Board has determined that a student must earn 23 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Science 3 credits, Mathematics 3 credits, Information Technology 0.5 credit, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Health 0.5 credit, Physical Education 1 credit and Electives 6 credits.[60]

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.[61] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[62]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[63] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade. Students have several opportunities to pass the exam, with those who do not able to perform a project in order to graduate.[64][65] For the class of 2019, a Composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[66] 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.[67] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 252 Gateway School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 501. The Math average score was 518. The Writing average score was 490. 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, 245 Gateway School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 519. The Math average score was 536. The Writing average score was 510.[68] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[69] 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.[70]

Voluntary Community Service[edit]

The Social Studies Department manages a community service program. Active student volunteers earn extra credit points in their Social Studies class and end of year awards. The program operates throughout the school year and over the summer months. It offers a concentrated leadership-training program during four weeks in the summer and volunteering efforts are conducted year round.[71]

Gateway Middle School[edit]

In 2010 and 2009, the school achieved AYP.[72] In both 2010 and 2009, the school's attendance rate was 94%.[73]

In 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 69th 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.[74] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County. The school provides Grades 7 & 8.

8th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 90% on grade level, Boys 89% /Girls 92% (3% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.[75]
  • 2009 - 84%, Boys 84% /Girls 85% (7% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 77%, (8% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 76%, (10% below basic), State - 75% [76]

8th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 81% on grade level, Boys 86% /Girls 76% (8% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.[77]
  • 2009 - 74%, Boys 77% /Girls 71% (13% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2008 - 67%, (15% below basic), State - 70% [78]
  • 2007 - 68%, (13% below basic), State - 67%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 66% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 60% (21% below basic), State - 55% [79]
  • 2008 - 58% (18% below basic), State - 52%

7th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 79% on grade level, Boys 72% /Girls 86%, (7% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 76%, Boys 71% /Girls 80% (6% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2008 - 68%, (16% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 66%, (15% below basic), State - 66%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 77% on grade level, Boys 75% /Girls 78% (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 78% of 7th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 75%, Boys 78% /Girls 73% (12% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2008 - 66%, (18% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 63%, (18% below basic), State - 67%

Moss Side Middle School[edit]

In 2009 and 2010 the school achieved AYP status.[80] The attendance rate was 94% in 2009 and increased to 95% in 2010.[81] Both the 5th grade and 6th grade at school were noted as having irregularities in a study of the school's 2008-09 PSSA results. The statewide study noted highly improbable data for 50 schools in the state, including Moss Side Middle School.[82][83] The District was audited by the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability on March 15, 2011. The process the school used to conduct the PSSAs was reviewed. According to district officials, the review found the district was compliant with state mandated procedures and protocols for the PSSAs.[84]

6th Grade Reading:

  • 2010 - 71% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 68% of 6th graders are on grade level.[85]
  • 2009 - 69% (13% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2008 - 63% (14% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 60% (18% below basic), State - 63%

6th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 88% on grade level (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 78% of 6th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 85% (7% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 71% (12% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 70% (11% below basic), State - 69%

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2010 - 70% on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 64% of 5th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 72% (13% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2008 - 61% (21% below basic), State - 62%
  • 2007 - 61% (21% below basic), State - 60%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 90% on grade level (1% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 74% of 5th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 87% (4% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2008 - 71% (11% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2007 - 65% (10% below basic), State - 71%

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 669 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[86]

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 Student Support Team/Child Study 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 Gateway School District Director of Special Education.[87]

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.[88]

Gateway School District received a $1,951,528 supplemental funding to pay for special education services for its students, in 2010.[89]

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.[90]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 207 or 5.24% of its students were gifted in 2009.[91] 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.[92] Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[93]

Bullying and safety[edit]

In 2009, the administrative reported there were 23 incidents of bullying in the district. There were 114 incidents of fighting and 15 incidents of Terroristic Threats.[94][95]

Gateway School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying be investigated promptly, and corrective action taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation may occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[96] 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.[97] 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.[98]

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.[99]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district employed over 340 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $69,609 for 180 days instructing students and 191 total days. The beginning salary was $42,804, while the highest salary was $113,568.[100] The beginning salary was whole the highest salary was $147,000. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, 5 paid bereavement days and other benefits. Teachers receive a payment of $100.00 for each unused day of sick leave at retirement, death or severance. The District grants the union thirty-five (35) teacher days of release time for attendance at State and National Conventions of PSEA and NEA respectively and additional conferences designated by the Association. The union may carry over ten (10) such days to a maximum of forty-five (45) days in any one year. Teachers work an 7 hour 30 minute day, which includes at least one planning period and a paid 30 minute lunch. Many teachers are required to teach only 6 periods a day.[101] 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.[102]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $65,775 for 180 days worked. The district ranked second in Allegheny County for average teacher salary in 2007. The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977.[103] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[104]

Gateway School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $840 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[105] In May 2010, the school board awarded a four-year contract to Joseph A. Petrella as superintendent, at a starting salary of $140,000. The contract includes annual 3 percent salary increases and an extensive benefits package including a defined benefit pension, life insurance, health insurance and more.[106]

The district reported that its per pupil spending was $14,468. This ranked 81st among 501 Pennsylvania public school districts.[107]

In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $3,546,754.00 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $6,995,966.00.[108] In 2010, the reserves were an unreserved designated fund balance of $3,679,754 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $4,773,348.[109]

In December 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several findings were reported to the school board and administration.[110]

For the 2011-12 school year the district laid off 12 teachers and eliminated 30 full-time and part-time aides, three custodians and two administrative positions. The teacher layoffs were due to declining enrollment and program changes. Eleven teacher positions were also eliminated through attrition.[111][112]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local 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 and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the income level.[113]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district will receive $6,840,471 in state Basic Education Funding.[114] Additionally, the district will receive $130,950 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.[115]

For the 2010-11 budget year, the Gateway School District received a 2.39% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $7,143,698. 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.[116] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[117]

For the 2009-2010 school year budget, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding to Gateway School District for a total of $6,977,280. This was the lowest percentage point increase, in Basic Education Funding, for the school districts in Allegheny County and the state. Four county school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding. Ninety school districts in Pennsylvania received the minimum 2% increase in 2009. Additionally, Governor Edward Rendell gave 15 Pennsylvania school districts education funding increases of over 10% in 2009. The highest funding increase went to Muhlenberg School District in Berks County which received a 22.31% increase in 2009-10.[118] The state Basic Education Funding to the Gateway School District in 2008-09 was $6,840,471.05. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[119]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1148 students in the Gateway School District received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[120]

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 uses. Gateway School District uses its $355,431 to fund extensive teacher training to improve their teaching and to provide extra instruction for struggling students. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding.[121] Schools Districts must apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[122] In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[123]

Classrooms for the Future Grants[edit]

Gateway School Board received multiple grants from the PA Department of Education for three years, 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 district also received substantial funds to upgrade our existing network infrastructure. The grant provided additional funding for a technology coach to instruct teachers in using the equipment to improve instruction. In 2006-07 the district received $407,573. In 2007-08, the district received $300,000. In 2008, the district received $45,4130 for a total of $752,986.[124] 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 CFF funding program was terminated due to a deep state revenue - budget shortfall.[125]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $2,147,273 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[126] The funding is for 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Race to the Top[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[127] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[128] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[129] 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.[130]

Real estate taxes[edit]

In June 2011, The Gateway School Board set the property tax rates in 21.02 mills for the 2011-12 school year.[131] 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.

  • 2010 - 21.0200 mills [132]
  • 2009 - 19.4100 mills.[133]
  • 2008 - 19.4100 mills [134]
  • 2007 - 19.4100 mills [135]

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.[136]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Gateway School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[137]

  • 2006-07 - 3.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 3.4%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 4.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 4.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 3.4%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.7%, Base 1.4%

For the 2011-12 school year the Gateway School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index, for special education costs and pension payment costs. Each year, the Gateway 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.[138]

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.[139]

For the 2010-11 school year budget, the Gateway School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index, including special education costs, maintenance of revenue sources and maintenance of local tax revenues.[140] 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.[141]

In 2009, the Gateway School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Index limit.[142]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2011, property tax relief was set at $171 for the 8,532 approved homesteads.[143] In Allegheny County, the highest tax relief went to Duquesne City School District which was set at $351.

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Gateway School District was $173 per approved permanent primary residence.[144] In the district, 8,413 property owners applied for the tax relief.

In 2009 the school property tax relief was set at $176 for 8,609 approved properties.[145] 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.[146]

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%).[147]

Enrollment and Consolidation[edit]

Many Allegheny County school districts are facing significantly declining enrollment and sharply rising costs. A proposal has been made by David Wassell, a prominent resident and leader in Allegheny County, to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars, focus dollars on student achievement, and improve student services. The plan calls for a proposed district that includes: East Allegheny School District, Penn-Trafford School District and Gateway School District.[148]

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.[149] The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration.[150]

Governor Edward Rendell proposed that consolidation with adjacent school districts, in each county, would achieve substantial cost savings. The savings could be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes.[151][152] Consolidation of the central administrations into one would not require the closing of any local schools.

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.[153] This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[154] 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.[155]

Propel Charter School[edit]

In 2011, Propel Charter Schools applied to the Gateway School Board for an approval of their charter to open a kindergarten through 8th grade charter school within the district's borders. In February 2012, the Board approved the charter proposal.[156] As per state law, the District must pay for each student and transport the child to any charter school within 10 miles of the District's attendance borders. For the 2011-12 school year, Gateway paid approximately $13,00 for each regular education student who attended a charter school and $27,000 for each special education student. Propel operates 9 schools in Allegheny County. Student academic achievement at the Propel schools has grown, exceeding their peers in the local district's schools. The Propel charter school opened the former Pitcairn Elementary Building on Agatha Street in Pitcairn, PA, which the Gateway board had closed in 2011. The school opened with little controversy to approximately 300 kindergarten through 6th grade student in August, 2012, with a planned expansion to 8th grade over the next two years.[157]

Administration[edit]

  • Dr. Nina Zetty - Superintendent
  • Dr. Theresa Piatek - Assistant Superintendent
  • Mrs. Heather Bungard - Director of Special Education
  • Mr. Robert Reger - Assistant to the Superintendent
  • Mr. Paul Schott - Business Manager
  • Ms. Cara Zanella - Director of Communications

The principal of Gateway High School is Mr. William Short. Assistant Principal (Grades 9 & 11) is Dr. John Fournier and Assistant Principal (Grades 10 & 12) is Peter Murphy. The principal of Gateway Middle School is Mr. Anthony Aquilio and the assistant principal is Mr. Rocco Telli. The school employs several guidance counselors who work under Dr. David Heavner.

Wellness policy[edit]

Gateway School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[158] 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.[159]

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.

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.[160]

Athletics[edit]

Gateway School District's football size classification is "AAA" (Triple-A), which is the second largest of the four classifications (A, AA, AAA, and AAAA). The interim high school athletic director is Mr. Randy Rovesti. Other athletics activities include lacrosse, basketball, soccer, track, cross country, volleyball, tennis, swimming, wrestling, and golf. The mascot of the school district is the Gateway Gator, a stylized alligator.

Clubs[edit]

Gateway High School offers many clubs for its students to join.

Gateway's Student Councils and Student Governments play a large role in student life. They are in charge of all school dances, fund-raisers, school spirit activities, and also attend and host various leadership workshops and conferences through the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils.

Gateway also competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition, an annual event for high-school aged participants. Gateway's team, Quasics, is FRC Team #2656. They have competed annually at the Pittsburgh Regional since 2008.

Robotics[edit]

Mr. Chalus and Mr. Reese are the founding teachers of the Gateway Middle School Robotics club. Lego Mindstorms are used for robotic competitions by the robotics club at Gateway Middle School. Leading members of the team include Stephen Dalo, Kubilay Ceylan, Michael Kim, and Justin Smith.

History[edit]

Before 1948, Monroeville students could choose to attend nearby schools on a tuition basis. In the mid-1950s, the districts joined and began making plans for a new senior high school. Official action began February 1956, breaking ground in January 1957.

The joint School Board selected the name of Gateway Senior High School. By September 1958, 900 students from Monroeville and Pitcairn were occupying the new high school. The first graduating class of 196 students received their diplomas in June 1959. For the next 25 years, grades 10-11-12 would attend school in the high school. 1983 marked the beginning of a new era at Gateway. Ninth grade was moved to the high school, South Junior High School became the Gateway Upper Elementary (5-6), and Monroeville Junior High School became Gateway Junior High School (7-8). Eleven years later, in 1994, Gateway Upper Elementary became the Moss Side Middle School (5-6), and Gateway Junior High School became Gateway Middle School (7-8).

In 2007, the district completed its reconstruction and expansion of the high school complex. This complex includes the Monroeville Public Library, Pete Antimarino Football Stadium, the high school, Moss Side Middle School, administration offices, and various other multi-use sports fields.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Gateway School District Administration, Gateway School District Final Budget Document, 2012
  4. ^ Chute, Eleanor and Niederberger, Mary., 16 of 43 school districts in Allegheny County hike taxes, July 15, 2012
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  84. ^ Statement From Gateway School District regarding test irregularities study, 2011
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  86. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education Services (2010). "Gateway School District Special Education Data Report LEA Performance on State Performance Plan (SPP) Targets". 
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  91. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 1, 2009). "Gifted Students as Percentage of Total Enrollment by School District/Charter School". 
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  93. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania School Board. "CHAPTER 16. Special Education For Gifted Students". Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
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  97. ^ Pennsylvania GEneral Assembly (2007). "Regular Session 2007-2008 House Bill 1067, Act 61 Section 6 page 8". 
  98. ^ Center for Safe Schools of Pennsylvania, (2008). "Bullying Prevention advisory". 
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  100. ^ Openpagov.com (2009). "Gateway School District Payroll report". 
  101. ^ Gateway School District Board of Directors (2008–2013). "Gateway Teachers Union Employment Contract 2009". 
  102. ^ Legislature must act on educators' pension hole. The Patriot News. February 21, 2010
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  104. ^ Teachers need to know enough is enough, PaDelcoTimes, April 20, 2010.
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  106. ^ Todd, Deborah, (May 27, 2010). "Gateway school board appoints superintendent,". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 
  107. ^ "Per Pupil Spending in Pennsylvania Public Schools in 2008 Sort Spending". 2009. 
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  109. ^ General Reserved Fund Balance by School District 1996-2010, Pennsylvania Department of Education Report, 2011
  110. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 2010). "Gateway School District ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA PERFORMANCE AUDIT REPORT". 
  111. ^ Superintendent Joseph Petrella (June 6, 2011). "Gateway School District - Budget Committee Presentation". 
  112. ^ Pittsburgh PostGazette (June 2011). "The East at a glance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
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  114. ^ PA Senate Appropriations Committee (June 28, 2011). "School District 2011-12 funding Report". 
  115. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (June 30, 2011). "Basic Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year". 
  116. ^ Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee (June 2010). "PA Basic Education Funding-Printout2 2010-2011". 
  117. ^ "Governor's Budget Proposal for 2009-2010". Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  118. ^ "Pennsylvania Department of Education Basic Education Funding by School District". October 2009. 
  119. ^ Pennsylvania Budget Proposal 2010, Office of Budget. February 2010
  120. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Funding Report by Local Education Agency. October 2009.
  121. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "ACCOUNTABILITY BLOCK GRANT Awards". 
  122. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "PA-PACT Information". 
  123. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009–2010 Accountability block Grant Mid-year report". 
  124. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 22, 2008). "Classrooms For the Future grants audit". 
  125. ^ Governor's Press Office release, (October 9, 2009). "Governor Rendell Signs Education Budget Preserving Pennsylvania's Academic Progress, Keeping Property Taxes Down,". Reuters. 
  126. ^ "Allegheny County ARRA FUNDING". Retrieved May 2010. 
  127. ^ Governor Edward Rendell press office (2010). "Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support". 
  128. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchek (December 2009). "Pennsylvania Race to the Top Letter to Superintendents". 
  129. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support
  130. ^ U.S. Department of Education, (March 29, 2010). "Race to the Top Fund,". 
  131. ^ Annie Tubbs (June 30, 2011). "12 Gateway teachers furloughed; budget holds taxes steady". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  132. ^ Allegheny County Treasurer's Office (May 5, 2010). "School District Tax Millages 2010 in Allegheny County". 
  133. ^ Allegheny County Treasurer's Office (June 2009). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  134. ^ Allegheny County Treasurer's Office (June 2008). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  135. ^ Allegheny County Treasurer's Office (June 2007). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  136. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010-11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines.
  137. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2011). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2010-2012". 
  138. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 the Taxpayer Relief Act information". 
  139. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2011). "Report on Exceptions". 
  140. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2010). "SSAct1_Act1 Referendum Exceptions Report 2010-2011". 
  141. ^ Scarcella, Frank and Pursell, Tricia, (May 25, 2010). "Local school tax assessments exceed state averages.". The Daily Item. 
  142. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2009). "Pennsylvania Special Session Act1 property tax relief Report 2009-2010". 
  143. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, (May 1, 2011). "Tax Relief per Homestead,". 
  144. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 1, 2010). "Tax Relief per Homestead Report.". 
  145. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 1, 2009). "Tax Relief per Homestead Report 2008-2009.". 
  146. ^ Auditor General Office, (February 23, 2010). "Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief,". 
  147. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  148. ^ Wassel, David, The Next Page: For a New Allegheny County -- 26 school districts, 26 municipalities., The PostGazette.com. June 21, 2009
  149. ^ "Report of the Fiscal Responsibility Task Force". Retrieved April 2011. 
  150. ^ Jeff Blumenthal (March 7, 2011). "Pennsylvania accountants share budget-cutting ideas". Pennsylvania Business Journal. 
  151. ^ Pennsylvania Department Of Education (2011). "Pennsylvania Public School Enrollment Reports". 
  152. ^ Edward Rendell, Governor and Mary Soderberg, Secretary of the Budget. (February 2009). "2009-10 Executive Budget Facts Pennsylvania School District Consolidation,". 
  153. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Study of the Cost Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts, 2007.
  154. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  155. ^ New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services (2007). "Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts.". 
  156. ^ Kyle Lawson (March 1, 2012). "Charter school OK'd for former Pitcairn Elementary". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
  157. ^ Annie Siebert (August 9, 2012). "Newest Propel charter school set to open this month in Pitcairn". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 
  158. ^ Gateway School Board Policy Manual
  159. ^ Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools for the School Nutrition Incentive, Pennsylvania Department of Education — Division of Food and Nutrition. July 2008
  160. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005

External links[edit]