Oswayo Valley School District

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Oswayo Valley School District
Map of Potter County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
PO Box 610
Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania, Potter County and McKean County, 16748
United States
Information
School board 9 elected members regions - 3
Superintendent Dr. Frank McClard (2012-2015)
Faculty 38.5 teachers 2011 [1]
Grades K-12
Age 4 years old to 21 years old for special education
Pupils 516 pupils 2010 [2]
Kindergarten 51
Grade 1 19
Grade 2 29
Grade 3 37
Grade 4 38
Grade 5 31
Grade 6 47
Grade 7 47
Grade 8 40
Grade 9 48
Grade 10 40
Grade 11 56
Grade 12 33
Other Enrollment is projected to decline to 445 in 2019 [3]
Budget $7,778,447 (2011) [4]
Per pupil spending $22,315 (2008) ranks 5th in PA
Per pupil spending $14,406.00 (2010) rank 172nd
Website
Map of McKean County, Pennsylvania School Districts

The Oswayo Valley School District is a small, rural public school district serving portions of Potter County and McKean County. Oswayo Valley School District encompasses approximately 125 square miles (320 km2). The school serves the boroughs of Oswayo and Shinglehouse, as well as Clara Township, Sharon Township, and Oswayo Township. McKean County's Ceres Township is also within district boundaries. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 3,738. In 2010 the population had declined to 3,305. In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $13,984, while the median family income was $37,340.[5] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [6] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[7] According to Oswayo Valley School District officials, in school year 2009-10 the Oswayo Valley School District provided basic educational services to 535 pupils. Oswayo Valley School District employed: 42 teachers, 28 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 3 administrators. Oswayo Valley School District received more than $4.7 million in state funding in school year 2009-10.

Oswayo Valley School District operates: an elementary school (PreK - 5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12).

According to School Matters, Oswayo Valley School District had a 13.7 to 1 student - teacher ratio. It spent $11,275 per pupil in 2006.[8]

Governance[edit]

The district is governed by a 9-member school board that is elected to serve four-year terms, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[9] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates that the district focus its federal funding resources on student reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave Oswayo Valley School Board and the district's administration a "F" 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.[10]

Academic achievement[edit]

Oswayo Valley School District was ranked 300th 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 - 283rd
  • 2010 - 391st
  • 2009 - 430th
  • 2008 - 421st
  • 2007 - 458th out of 501 school districts
District AYP status history

In 2012, Oswayo Valley School District achieved AYP status.[13] In 2011, Oswayo Valley 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.[14] Oswayo Valley School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2009, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[15]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Oswayo Valley School District’s graduation rate was 91%.[16] In 2011, the graduation rate was 86%.[17] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Oswayo Valley High School's rate was 83.78% for 2010.[18]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Oswayo Valley High School is located at 318 Oswayo Street, Shinglehouse. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Oswayo Valley High School reported an enrollment of 195 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 83 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school is designated as a Title I school. The school employed 12 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[23] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of Oswayo Valley High School teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[24]

In 2012 and 2011, Oswayo Valley High School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).[25] In grades 9-12, tutoring is built into the school day schedule where students are at risk of failing or not attaining proficiency receive mandatory small group tutoring from highly qualified teachers.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 79% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[26]
  • 2011 - 52% (9% below basic). State - 69.1% [27]
  • 2010 - 79%, State - 67%
  • 2009 - 60%, State - 65%[28]
  • 2008 - 56%, State - 65% [29]
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 65% [30]
  • 2006 - 58%, State - 65%
  • 2005 - 67%, State - 65% [31]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 72% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[32]
  • 2011 - 58% (12% below basic). State - 60.3% [33]
  • 2010 - 81%, State - 59%[34]
  • 2009 - 65%, State - 56%[35]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 72%, State - 53%[36]
  • 2006 - 47%, State - 52%[37]
  • 2005 - 57%, State - 51%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 80% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 33% (3% below basic). State - 40%[39]
  • 2010 - 66%, State - 39%[40]
  • 2009 - 31%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 31%, State - 39%

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of the Pennsylvania 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.[41] In Potter County, 20% of high school graduates required remediation in college. 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.[42] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment The high school does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts with the assistance of a state grant.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Oswayo Valley School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 27 credits (or met the conditions and requirements of their Individual Education Plan IEP) to graduate, including: a required classed in math, English, social studies, science, Physical Education and electives.

Eligible veterans who left high school prior to graduation to serve in World War II or the Korean War, may be granted a high school diploma if the veteran meets the applicable requirements of law and completes the required application to the school board.

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.[43] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[44]

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.[45][46][47] 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.[48] 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.[49] 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, 15 Oswayo Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 444. The Math average score was 481. The Writing average score was 418. 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, 29 Oswayo Valley School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 486. The Math average score was 493. The Writing average score was 461.[50] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[51] 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.[52]

Middle school[edit]

Oswayo Valley Middle School is located at 318 South Oswayo Street, Shinglehouse. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 119 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 57 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 9 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1. The school is a federally designated Title I school.[53] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of Oswayo Valley Middle School's teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[54] The district reports a 95% attendance rate for the 2008-09 school year at the middle school.

In 2011 and 2012, Oswayo Valley Middle School achieved AYP status.[55]

PSSA Results
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 73% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 73% (2% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 73%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 70%. State - 54%
  • 2008 - 63%, State - 52%

Elementary School[edit]

Oswayo Valley Elementary School is located at 277 Oswayo Street, Shinglehouse. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Oswayo Valley Elementary School reported an enrollment of 223 pupils in preschool and full-day kindergarten through 5th grade, with 125 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[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 2012, Oswayo Valley Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in critical reading skills. In 2011, Oswayo Valley Elementary School achieved AYP status.[65]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 84%, (3% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 97% (3% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 87%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 84%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 83%, State - 81%
PreK Counts Preschool

Oswayo Valley School District offers a preschool program with the intent to have every 4 year old attend at the taxpayer's expense regardless of their ability to pay.[70][71][72] The program has been in place 1988.[73]

Special education[edit]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the Oswayo Valley School District administration reported that 87 pupils or 16.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 47% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[74] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 85 pupils or 16% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with % of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[75] The largest group of stduents are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

Oswayo Valley School District provides a wide variety of services to children with special needs. 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 .[76] Some of the services are provided through the region's Intermediate Unit. Children age three through the age of admission to first grade are also eligible if they have developmental delays and, as a result, need Special Education and related services.[77]

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.[78] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. 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.[79] Over identification 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.[80] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[81] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[82]

Oswayo Valley School District received a $338,650 supplement for special education services in 2010.[83] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, 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.[84][85]

Gifted education[edit]

Oswayo Valley School District Administration reported that 9 or 1.71% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[86] 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.[87][88]

Wellness policy[edit]

Oswayo Valley School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[89] 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." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[90] e

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, physical activity, 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.[91] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval. The District offers a free oral screening, sealants and dental education program for children ages 7–15.

The District provides a free school breakfast to low-income children each school day, as well as the National School Lunch Program which provides a free and reduced price school lunch. Both programs are funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[92] Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals, for which students. The District receives a per meal served reimbursement from the USDA: $2.86 for each free lunch and $2.46 for each reduced-price lunch. When the District's meals comply with the nutrition mandates from the Healthy, Hunger‐Free Kids Act of 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the District is given an additional 6 cents for meal served.[93]

Budget[edit]

In 2011, Oswayo Valley School District employed 45 teachers and administrators. The average teacher salary was $50,440.40 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $12,866.86 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $63,307.26. The highest salary was $100,026.[94]

In 2009, Oswayo Valley School District reported employing 50 teachers and administrators with an average salary of $50,841 and a top salary of $95,206.[95] The teacher’s work day is 7 hours 30 minutes with a 30-minute duty-free lunch included and a daily preparation period. There are 185 days in the contract year with 180 student days. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits. Teachers receive additional compensation for duties outside of the classroom and all extracurriculars. The district pays a $25,000 cash bonus, early retirement benefit to employees with 25 to 30 years of service. Plus, retiring teachers are paid for each unused sick day.[96]

In 2007, Oswayo Valley School District employed 38 teachers who earned an average salary of $42,929 for 180 days worked.[97] In 2010 the median teacher salary in Pennsylvania is $60,000.[98]

Oswayo Valley School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were very high at $1,153 per pupil. The district is ranked 28th among Pennsylvania's 500 districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[99] In 2012, Oswayo Valley School District awarded a three year contract to Dr. Frank McClard as superintendent, despite the controversy in his former position at Lakeview School District.[100]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Oswayo Valley School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $22,315 which ranked 5th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending declined to $14,406, which ranked 172nd in the Commonwealth.[101] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[102] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[103] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[104]

Reserves' In 2008, Oswayo Valley School District reported a balance of $457.00 in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,822,974.[105] In 2010, Oswayo Valley School District Administration reported to the PDE, an increase to $1,896,712 in its unreserved-undesignated fund balance. Oswayo Valley School District also reported $384,789 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[106]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Oswayo Valley School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the Oswayo Valley School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $9,532.65, High School - $10,297.46.[107]

In January 2009 the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of Oswayo Valley School District. Multiple findings were cited, including a board member violating the state ethics act.[108]

Oswayo Valley School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless the of individual's wealth.[109]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, the District received $3,508,970.[110] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Oswayo Valley School District received $52,008. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[111]

In 2011-12, Oswayo Valley School District received a $3,456,962 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[112][113] Additionally, Oswayo Valley School District received $52,008 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 was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[114] 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.[115] In 2010, the district reported that 253 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[116]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.47% increase in Basic Education Funding to Oswayo Valley School District, for a total of $3,649,138 . Among the districts in Potter County, the highest increase went to Coudersport Area School District which got a 5.50% 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.[117] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when 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.[118]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $4,203,758 to Oswayo Valley School District. Among the public school districts in Potter County, the highest increase went to Coudersport Area School District which got a 2.60%. Ninety school Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[119] 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.[120] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[121][122] The state Basic Education Funding to the Oswayo Valley School District, for 2008-09, was $4,121,331.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 245 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[123]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-05, 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, Oswayo Valley School District applied for and received $141,164 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for 31 students, for the fifth year.[124][125]

Environmental Education Grant[edit]

Oswayo Valley School District is participating in a collaborative environmental education program called "Project Wet". Funding is from a federal grant. It will fund teacher preparation and be used to purchase water montoring equipment for the students to use in a hands on science curriculum[126]

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. Oswayo Valley School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. The district received $41,311 in 2007-08 and $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total of $86,724 in state funding.[127] Among Potter County public school districts, the highest funding award was given to Coudersport 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, by Governor Edward G. Rendell, due to a massive state financial crisis.

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Oswayo Valley Elementary School and Oswayo Valley Middle School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[128] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[129] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[130] Oswayo Valley School District was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated. The 2006-07 State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006-07 school year. This marks an 8-percent increase over 2005-06 public school funding.[131] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in 2010 by Governor Rendell due to a massive state budget.

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 Oswayo Valley School District received $39,113.[132]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in the 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the 21st Century learning grants.

Federal Stimulus[edit]

Oswayo Valley School District received grants totaling $647,934 of ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[133][134] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[135] 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.

Oswayo Valley School District reported that 38% of students are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch which is provided to children of families living in poverty.[136]

Race to the Top Grant[edit]

Oswayo Valley 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.[137] 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.[138] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of the majority of public school districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[139][140][141]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

Oswayo Valley School Board elected 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.[142] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Oswayo Valley School Board set property taxes at 12.8920 mills in McKean County and 43.4278 mills in Potter County. 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.[143] 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.[144] The Oswayo Valley 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.[145] 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.[146]

  • 2011-12 - 13.6073 mills in McKean County and 42.3397 mills in Potter County [147]
  • 2010-11 - 13.5211 mills in McKean County and 41.3675 mills in Potter County[148]
  • 2009-10 - 14.0500 mills in McKean County and 39.5100 mills in Potter County [149]
  • 2008-09 - 15.1800 mills in McKean County and 41.9200 mills in Potter County [150]
  • 2007-08 - 15.3200 mills in McKean County and 39.5200 mills in Potter County [151]
  • 2006-07 - 15.3300 mills in McKean County and 39.6000 mills in Potter County [152]
  • 2005-06 - 14.8000 mills in McKean County and 37.4700 mills in Potter County [153]

According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[154] The average yearly property tax paid by Potter County residents amounts to about 2.95% of their yearly income. Potter County is ranked 624th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[155]

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.[156] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[157] 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.[158][159]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Oswayo Valley School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[160]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Oswayo Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. 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.[163]

For the 2011-12 school year, Oswayo Valley School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Oswayo Valley 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.[164]

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.[165]

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.[166] For the 2010-11 school year, the Oswayo Valley School Board did not apply for exceptions to the Act 1 index.[167]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Oswayo Valley School District was $170 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 790 property owners applied for the tax relief.[168] 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 buildings used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must include the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In 2009, 68% of McKean County property owners applied for the property tax relief. In Potter County 79% applied for relief.[169]

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.[170]

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%).[171]

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. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[172] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[173]

Enrollment[edit]

Pupil enrollment in the district has been sharply declining. Pennsylvania Department of Education projects it will to continue to decline for the next decade to 445 students total enrollment Pre K to 12th grade.[174]

With limited resources, opportunities for students are limited. In a Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study on school consolidation, 63% of the superintendents that responded expressed agreement that consolidation with another district could help them provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for their students.[175] Consolidation with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial cost savings for people in all the impacted communities. The savings could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent.[176] 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. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[177] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[178]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board Extracurricular 122 Policy and interscholastic Athletics 123 Policy.[179]

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.[180][181]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [182]

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External links[edit]