Greater Latrobe School District

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For the school district in California, see Latrobe School District.
Greater Latrobe School District
Map of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
410 Main Street
Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, 15650
United States
Information
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Mrs. Judith Swigart ($140,400 salary 2009)
Faculty 252
Grades K-12
Pupils 4,220 in 2010; declined to 4100 in 2012[1]
Kindergarten 318
Grade 1 279
Grade 2 269
Grade 3 307
Grade 4 349
Grade 5 290
Grade 6 295
Grade 7 342
Grade 8 356
Grade 9 333
Grade 10 323
Grade 11 311
Grade 12 309
Other Enrollment projected to be 4000 in 2018[2]
Color(s) Orange and Black
Fight song 'Dear Old Latrobe High'
Mascot Wildcats
Rival Hempfield
Publication Serendipity
Newspaper High Post
Yearbook The Latrobean
Budget $48,959,697 (2012-13
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $7,315.49, HS - $7,887.11[3]
Per pupil spending $10,481 in 2008
Per pupil spending $11,013.86
Website

Greater Latrobe School District is a midsized, public school district in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The city of Latrobe and the borough of Youngstown as well Unity Township are within district boundaries. Greater Latrobe School District encompasses approximately approximately 72 square miles (190 km2). According to 2005 local census data, it served a resident population of 29,134 people. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $20,168, while the median family income was $47,069.[4] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the median family income was $49,501[5] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[6]

According to District officials, in the 2007-08 school year, Greater Latrobe School District provided basic educational services to 4,184 pupils. At that time it employed: 270 teachers, 108 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 20 administrators. Greater Latrobe School District received more than $15.7 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The district operates three elementary schools one junior high school and one senior 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.[7] 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 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.[8]

Teacher evaluation study[edit]

In 2011, the Greater Latrobe School District agreed to participate in a pilot program to develop a new way to evaluate teachers that, in part, takes into account student achievement. Several Westmoreland County school districts are participating, including Belle Vernon Area School District and Derry Area School District.[9] The pilot program had 104 K-12 entities, including: nine career and technical centers, nine charter schools and nine intermediate units. Beginning in January 2012, Westmoreland County schools will use the new evaluation method and provide feedback to the Department of Education. This new evaluation will not be used to determine an educator’s official 2011-12 assessment. Under the new evaluation system, 50% of the evaluation of a teacher will be based on an observation divided into four categories: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. The other half will be based on student achievement (15 percent will be building-level data, 15 percent will be teacher-specific data, and 20 percent will be elective). The new evaluation system has both announced and unannounced observations. There are meetings between the teacher and evaluator before and after the direct observation of a lesson.[10]

Academic achievement[edit]

Greater Latrobe School District was ranked 48th 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 - 43rd[13]
  • 2010 - 33rd[14]
  • 2009 - 32nd
  • 2008 - 37th
  • 2007 - 44th out of 501 school districts.[15]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Greater Latrobe School District ranked 96th. In 2011, the district was 50th.[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 Greater Latrobe School District was ranked 16th 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, but excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District due to no high school.)

  • 2011 - 14th
  • 2010 - 12th
  • 2009 - 11th[19]

Greater Latrobe School District achieved AYP status in 2010 and 2011.[20] 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 Greater Latrobe School District was in the 88th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[21]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate at Greater Latrobe School District was 94%.[22] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 89% for 2010.[23]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Greater Latrobe Senior High School is located at 131 High School Road, Latrobe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,102 pupils in grades 10th through 12th, with 210 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 61 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 18:1.[28] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[29] Principal: Mr. Steven LoCascio; Assistant Principals: Mr. Chad Krehlik, Mr. Matthew Smith

Senior High School Auditorium

The Junior-Senior High School Complex is located in a commercial area of Unity Township. The complex was built in 1967 and went under a $35 Million Dollar renovation, which was completed in 2004.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 85% on grade level, (4% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[30]
  • 2010 - 78% (9% below basic). State - 66%[31]
  • 2009 - 79% (11% below basic). State - 65%[32]
  • 2008 - 79% (10% below basic). State - 65%[33]
  • 2007 - 81% (6% below basic). State - 65%[34]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 74% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[35]
  • 2010 - 67% (16% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 67% (15% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 74% (10% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 66% (12% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 62% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[36]
  • 2010 - 55% (10% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 57% (6% below basic). State - 40%[37]
  • 2008 - 52% (5% below basic). State - 39%[38]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 23% of the Greater Latrobe Senior 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.[39] 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.[40] 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]

Greater Latrobe Senior 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. Juniors and seniors with a GPA higher than 2.5 for Westmoreland County Community College and 2.75 for St. Vincent College are eligible for the school's dual enrollment program. State regulation calls for the courses to count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. At Greater Latrobe School District, the dual enrollment courses do not count towards the total graduation credit requirements and course grades are not factored into GPA and class rank calculations.[41] 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 offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[42] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[43] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $49,088 for the program.[44]

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 226 Greater Latrobe School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 511. The Math average score was 527. The Writing average score was 495.[45] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[46] 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.[47]

Junior high school[edit]

Greater Latrobe Junior High School is located at 130 High School Road, Latrobe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 994 pupils in grades 7th through 9th, with 235 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 62 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[48] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[49] Principal: Mr. Jeff Ingel; Assistant Principal: Miss Kim Hrezo.

In 2012, Greater Latrobe's eighth grade ranked 25th 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.[50] In 2011, the eighth grade ranked 22nd. In 2010 and 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 18th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on last three years of student academic achievement in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and science.[51]

In 2010 and 2011, Greater Latrobe Junior High School achieved AYP status.[52]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 67% on grade level (12% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 69% (14% below basic). State – 57%[57]
  • 2009 - 76% (8% below basic). State - 55%[58]
  • 2008 - 74% (6% below basic), State - 52%[59]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Elementary schools (grades K-6)[edit]

Latrobe Elementary School
Former high school
Mountain View Elementary School

Baggaley Elementary School is located at 4080 Route 982, Latrobe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 642 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 197 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 40 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[60] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[61] In 2010 and 2011, Baggaley Elementary School achieved AYP status.[62] In 2011, 83% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 58% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level.[63] Principal - Mr. Michael Porembka.

Latrobe Elementary School is located at 1501 Ligonier Street, Latrobe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 791 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 332 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 48 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[64] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[65] In 2010 and 2011, Latrobe Elementary School achieved AYP status.[66] In 2011, only 76% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 89% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 56% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 96% of the pupils were on grade level.[67] Principal - Mrs. Sherri Holler.

Mountain View Elementary School is located at 1010 Mountain View Drive, Greensburg. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 691 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 75 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 40 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[68] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[69] In 2010 and 2011, Mountain View Elementary School achieved AYP status.[70] In 2011, 87% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 92% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 72% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 98% of the pupils were on grade level.[71] Principal - Ms. Katie Little.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 475 pupils or 11.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 36.8% having a specific learning disability.[72] In 2009, the district reported that 471 pupils or 11% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 35.2% having a specific learning disability.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the 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 .[73] 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.[74][75] Greater Latrobe works with Westmoreland Intermediate Unit to provide special services for students of diverse needs.

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.[76] 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.[77] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[78] 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.[79]

Greater Latrobe School District received a $2,003,076 supplement for special education services in 2010.[80] 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.[81][82]

Gifted education[edit]

Greater Latrobe School District Administration reported that 172 or 4% of its students were gifted in 2009.[83] 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.[84][85]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, Greater Latrobe School District reported employing 310 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $56,252 and a top salary of $140,400.[86] The teacher’s work day is seven hours thirty five minutes with 185 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, 3 paid bereavement leave days and other benefits. The teachers's union representatives receive paid days off to conduct union business. Teachers receive a free pass for all school activities which also applies to the employee's spouse.[87][88] In 2011, the average teacher salary in Greater Latrobe School District was $56,514.01 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $17,607.95 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $73,121.96.[89] 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.[90]

In 2007, the district employed 237 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $51,201 for 180 days worked.[91] 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.[92]

Greater Latrobe School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $585.47 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[93] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains 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.[94]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $10,481 which ranked 442nd among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $11,013.86.[95] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[96] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[97]

Reserves In 2010, the district reported a balance of $851,500.00 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $2,133,848.00. In 2008, the school's Administration reported $3,550,761.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance.[98] 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.[99]

In October 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District’s administration.[100]

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.[101] 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.[102]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $9,867,977 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[103][104] Additionally, the School District received $170,188 in 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.[105] 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.[106]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a  % increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $10,868,251. Among the districts in County, the highest increase went to School District which got a 5.94% 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.[107] 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 6.15% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $10,258,855. 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 $4,787,151.79. 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.[108] 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.[109]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 905 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[110]

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 $461,933 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide: full-day kindergarten, Tutoring before/after school, weekends, Extension of the school day/year and Intensive instruction for struggling students during the school day.[111][112]

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. Greater Latrobe School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07 or in 2007-08. The district received $50,425 in 2008-09.[113] 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 $3,504,167 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[114] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[115] 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]

Greater Latrobe School District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided nearly one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[116] 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.[117] 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.[118][119][120]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the school board at 74.5000 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.[121] 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.[122] 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.[123] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[124]

  • 2010-11 - 73.5000 mills[125]
  • 2009-10 - 69.0000 mills.[126]
  • 2008-09 - 69.0000 mills.[127]
  • 2007-08 - 69.0000 mills.[128]
  • 2006-07 - 67.5000 mills.[129]

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.[130] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[131] 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.[132][133]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Greater Latrobe School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[134]

  • 2006-07 - 4.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.3%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 5.5%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.1%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 3.6%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.2%, Base 1.7%[135]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Greater Latrobe School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 Pennsylvania 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.[136]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Greater Latrobe School Board applied for four exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: Special Education costs, teacher pension costs, Maintenance of Selected Revenue, and Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue or AIE/ADM. Each year, the Greater Latrobe 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.[137]

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.[138]

Greater Latrobe School Board applied for three exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11, including special education costs, teacher pension costs and Maintenance of Selected Revenue Sources.[139] For 2009-10 school year budget, the board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Index.[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]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for 8,495 approved residents of Greater Latrobe School District was set at $89.[142] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Greater Latrobe School District was also $89 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 8,435 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 $302.[143] 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.[144] 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 Beaver County, 62% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[145]

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%).[146]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.

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.[147]

Athletics[edit]

Sport Boys Girls
Basketball Class AAAA Class AAAA
Baseball Class AAAA
Softball Class AAAA
Cross Country Class AAA Class AAA
Football Class AAAA
Golf Class AAAA Class AAAA
Lacrosse Class AAAA Class AAAA
Ice Hockey Class AA
Soccer Class AAA Class AAA
Tennis Class AAA Class AAA
Swimming and Diving Class AAA Class AAA
Tennis Class AAA Class AAA
Track and Field Class AAA Class AAA
Volleyball Class AAA Class AAA
Wrestling Class AAA

Vocational-Technical School[edit]

Students at the Senior High have the opportunity to attend the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in Derry Township.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]