Kennett Consolidated School District

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Kennett Consolidated School District
Map of Chester County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
300 East South Street
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Chester County, 19348
United States
Information
School board 9 members elected at large
Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti [1]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old Special Education
Pupils 4217 students (2009-10) [2]
Kindergarten 300
Grade 1 347
Grade 2 320
Grade 3 305
Grade 4 326
Grade 5 352
Grade 6 314
Grade 7 302
Grade 8 328
Grade 9 327
Grade 10 336
Grade 11 305
Grade 12 325
Other Enrollment projected to be 4013 pupils in 2019[3]
USNWR ranking 284 teachers (2010)
Budget $72,317,866 (2012)
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $10,378.47, HS - $10,661.83 [4]
Per pupil Spending $14,392 (2008)
Per pupil Spending $15,097.97 (2010) ranked 111th in PA
Website

The Kennett Consolidated School District (abbreviated as KCSD) is a large, suburban, public school district serving portions of Chester County, Pennsylvania. It is centered on the borough of Kennett Square and also incorporates Kennett Township, New Garden Township, and the southern portion of East Marlborough Twp. The district encompasses approximately 35 square miles (91 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 27,124. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the KCSD provided basic educational services to 4,128 pupils. It employed: 320 teachers, 207 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 16 administrators. Kennett Consolidated School District received more than $10.1 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The district operates five schools: Greenwood Elementary, Mary D. Lang Elementary, New Garden Elementary, Kennett Middle School, and Kennett 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.[5] 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 "B-" 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.[6]

Academic achievement[edit]

Kennett Consolidated School District was ranked 108th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.[7] 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 - 121st
  • 2010 - 144th [8]
  • 2009 - 158th
  • 2008 - 197th
  • 2007 - 194th out of 501 school districts [9]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Kennett Consolidated School District ranked 44th. In 2011, the District was ranked 103rd. [10] 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."[11]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Kennett Consolidated School District was in the 45th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [12]

District AYP status history

In 2011, Kennett Consolidated School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[13] In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[14] Kennett Consolidated School District achieved AYP status each year from 2006 to 2010, while in 2004 the District was in School Improvement status and in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[15]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 93%.[16] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Kennett High School's rate was 86% for 2010.[17]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Kennett High school[edit]

Kennett High School is located at 100 East South Street, Kennett Square. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,278 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 381 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 86 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[22] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[23]

In 2011, Kennett High School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to persistent, low academic achievement of the students.[24] In 2010, Kennett High School was in Corrective Action I due to the chronic low academic achievement of the students. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. 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 must pay fro additional tutoring for struggling students.[25]

In 2006, 33% of the graduates from the district high school did not achieve proficient or better on the PSSA's for Mathematics and Reading.[26]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 72% on grade level, (14% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[27]
  • 2010 - 68% (17% below basic). State - 67% [28]
  • 2009 - 69%, State - 65% [29]
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 65% [30]
  • 2007 - 67%, State - 65% [31]
11th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 64% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32]
  • 2010 - 57% (25% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 62%, State - 55% [33]
  • 2008 - 56%, State - 56% [34]
  • 2007 - 58%, State - 53% [35]
11th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 58% on grade level (12% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[36]
  • 2010 - 53% (17% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 56%, State - 40% [37]
  • 2008 - 38%, State - 39%[38]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 37% of the Kennett 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]

Kennett High School offers a dual enrollment program.[41] 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.[42] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[43]

Partnerships have been developed with West Chester University, Widener University, and Seton Hill University. The following courses will be offered during the spring semester 2011 for those students who qualify: Writing about Popular Culture, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Sociology of the Family, Criminal Justice, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Chinese. These courses were chosen from a menu of 13 possibilities by a survey conducted with the 10th and 11th graders – those eligible to take the courses as 11th and 12th graders next year. The Board approved the Concurrent Enrollment Agreements with Seton Hill, West Chester, and Widener Universities for a dual enrollment Grant.

For the 2010-11 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $8,648 for the program.[44]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Kennett Consolidated School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25.2 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Physical Education 1 credit, health 0.2 credits, Humanities 2 credits and electives 6 credits.[45]

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.[46] At Kennett High School community service is a required part of the project.[47]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[48][49][50] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[51] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 234 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 534. The Math average score was 534. The Writing average score was 519.[52] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[53] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[54]

Kennett Middle School[edit]

Kennett Middle School is located at 195 Sunny Dell Road, Landenberg. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 984 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 326 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a Title I school. Kennett Middle School employed 67 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[55] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 17 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[56]

In 2010 and 2011, Kennett Middle School achieved AYP status.[57]

Eighth grade[edit]

Reading
  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.[58]
  • 2010 - 86% (6% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 82%, State - 80% [59]
  • 2008 - 90%, State - 78%
Math
  • 2011 - 82% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 81% (12% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 76%, State - 71%[60]
  • 2008 - 72%, State - 70%
Science
  • 2011 - 68% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 58%
  • 2010 - 70% (19% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 61%, State - 55%.[61]

2008 - 59%, State - 52% [62]

Seventh grade[edit]

Reading
  • 2011 - 80% on grade level (6% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 71% (15% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 70%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 70%, State - 67%
Math
  • 2011 - 81% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 78% (15% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 67%, State - 67%

Sixth grade[edit]

Reading
  • 2011 - 68% (14% below basic). State - 69.9%
  • 2010 - 71%, (15% below basic). State - 68%
  • 2009 - 65%, State - 67%
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 67%
  • 2007 - 63%, State - 63%
Math
  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 86% (8% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 74%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 77%, State - 72%
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 69%

Elementary schools[edit]

Greenwood Elementary School is located at 420 Greenwood Road, Kennett Square. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 681 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 117 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 43 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[63] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[64] In 2011, Greenwood Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2010, Greenwood ES achieved AYP status.[65] In 2011, 85% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 88% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 64% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 92% of the pupils were on grade level.[66]

Mary D Lang Elementary School is located at 409 Center Street, Kennett Square. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 470 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 318 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[67] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[68] In 2010 and 2011, Mary D Lang Elementary School achieved AYP status.[69] In 2011, only 61% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 81% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 41% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils were on grade level.[70]

New Garden Elementary School is located at 265 New Garden Road, Toughkenamon. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 783 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 304 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 53 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[71] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[72] In 2010 and 2011, New Garden Elementary School achieved AYP status.[73] In 2011, only 72% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 84% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 63% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 86% of the pupils were on grade level.[74]

Bullying policy[edit]

In 2009, the administrative reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the district.[75][76]

The Kennett Consolidated School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79]

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.[80]

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 643 pupils or 15.1% of the district's pupils received special education services, with 46% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 567 pupils or 13.9% of the district's pupils received special education services.[81]

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. 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 Supervisor of Special Education.[82]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Kennett Consolidated School District was $62,188.52 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $18,986 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $81,174.[83] 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.[84]

In 2010, Kennett Consolidated School District reported employing over 337 teachers with a salary range of $40,000 to $180,000 for 190 days.[85] The average teacher salary in the district was $63,791 in 2009.[86] Teachers receive a benefits package that includes: paid sick days, paid personal days, reimbursement for college courses, a health insurance and a defined benefit pension. Additionally, the district pays a retirement bonus of $200 for every year of service.[87] Forty one employees earn over $90,000 a year.[88]

In 2007, the district employed 257 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $56,705 for 190 days worked.[89] 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.[90]

Kennett Consolidated School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $694.93 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[91] In December 2009, the school board hired Barry Tomasetti as the superintendent with a salary of $180,000.[92] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.[93]

In 2008, the district administration reported spending $14,392 per pupil which ranked 84th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[94]

In August 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the administration and the school board.[95]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a $5,242,094 balance in unreserved-undesignated funds. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[96] In 2010, Kennett Consolidated Administration reported an increase to $5,732,721 in its unreserved-undesignated fund balance. 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.[97]

The District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. 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 a person's wealth.[98]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2010-11 budget year, Kennett Consolidated School District was allotted a 23.65% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,412,355. This was the highest increase in basic education funding given to any district in the state. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase.[99]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided the district a 10.53% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,377,208. The highest increase in Chester County went to Oxford Area School District with a 16.13% increase. Ninety Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. Fifteen school districts received an increase of greater than 10%. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[100] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[101]

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 $333,260 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide all-day kindergarten to 67 pupils and to pay for math and reading coaches to instruct teachers in the classrooms.[102][103]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Kennett Consolidated School District received $115,728.[104]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $1,376,433 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[105] The funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars to improve student academic achievement. 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.[106] 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.[107][108][109]

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. Kennett Consolidated School District applied, but did not receive funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the high school received $189,929. In 2008-09 the district received $45,413.[110]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Kennett Consolidated School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[111] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Kennett Consolidated School Board set property tax rates in 2012-13 at 26.73030 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.[112] 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.[113] 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.[114] 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.[115]

  • 2011-12 - 25.7293 mills.[116]
  • 2010-11 - 24.7781 mills [117]
  • 2009-10 - 23.9597 mills.[118]
  • 2008-09 - 23.1400 mills.[119]
  • 2007-08 - 21.9500 mills.[120]
  • 2006-07 - 21.5700 mills.[121]
  • 2005-06 - 20.8730 mills.[122]

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 US 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.[123] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[124] 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.[125][126]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Kennett Consolidated School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[127]

  • 2006-07 - 3.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 3.4%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 4.4%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 4.1%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 2.9%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.4%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 1.7%, Base 1.7% [128]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Kennett Consolidated School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: special education and teacher pension costs. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[129]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Kennett Consolidated School Board applied for three exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: School Construction Grandfathered Debt, teacher pension costs and special education costs. Each year, the Kennett Consolidated 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.[130]

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.[131]

The Kennett Consolidated School Board applied for several exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-2011, including Pension obligations, School Construction Debt, and Special Education expenses.[132] The district was approved to exceed the index.

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.[133]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Kennett Consolidated School District was $235 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,156 property owners applied for the tax relief.[134] 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. Among public school districts in Chester County, Avon Grove School District received the largest tax relief at $345 per property owner. In Chester County, 72% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[135] The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[136] This was the third year they were the top recipient in the state.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently, individual with income much more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[137]

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%).[138]

Senior citizen tax relief program[edit]

Established in 2010 the program provides for senior citizens an opportunity to serve their time in different capacities within the schools. Participants are required to attend a group orientation/training session. The maximum relief is $500 per person and $1,000 per household. Each hour of service is credited at the rate of $10.00 up to a maximum of 50 hours. The maximum relief cannot exceed the actual amount of the participant's residential real estate tax liability.[139]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports to pupils in the high school and middle school. Eligibility to participate is set through school board policy. The district has a weekly eligibility policy that exceeds the PIAA's rules.[140]

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.[141]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports
  • According to PIAA directory July 2012 [142]

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