Penn Hills School District

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Penn Hills School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
"Improved Opportunities For All"
260 Aster Street
Penn Hills, PA 15235
United States
Type Public
Superintendent Thomas Washington
Staff 822
Grades K-12
Enrollment 4740
Kindergarten 255
Grade 1 332
Grade 2 343
Grade 3 347
Grade 4 346
Grade 5 389
Grade 6 381
Grade 7 359
Grade 8 357
Grade 9 390
Grade 10 432
Grade 11 393
Grade 12 416
Color(s) Red and gold
Athletics conference AAAA
Mascot Indian

The Penn Hills School District (PHSD) is a public school district located in suburban Pittsburgh, serving the community of Penn Hills, which is about 10 miles (16 km) east of Downtown Pittsburgh. The District encourages a culture that values academic performance, diversity, extensive parental involvement, personalized education for all students, and demonstrated school board commitment, as well as a strong commitment to family and community. Serving 4740 students in six buildings, the district is one of the largest suburban school districts around Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects a 500 student decline in enrollment by school year 2014 to an enrollment of 4200 students.[1]

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit provides the district with a variety of services supporting schools, families, and communities.

Among the programs that were offered in the past in Penn Hills are Schools of Focus, which includes a specific theme interwoven into the curriculum of each elementary school and allows parents to choose the school their child will attend; 21st Century Community Learning Centers; on-site, comprehensive vocational education; and strong professional development.

Penn Hills School District is bordered by seven school districts: Pittsburgh S.D., Woodland Hills S.D., Gateway S.D., Plum S.D., Wilkinsburg S.D., Riverview S.D., and Fox Chapel S.D. (across the Allegheny River). Penn Hills School District's football size classification is "AAAA" (Quad-A), which is the largest of the four classifications (A, AA, AAA, and AAAA).


  • Penn Hills Senior High School (grades 9–12)
  • John H. Linton Middle School (grades 5–8)
  • Penn Hebron Elementary (grade K-4)
  • Washington Elementary (grades prek-3)
  • Forbes Elementary (grades K-3)
  • New Penn Hills Senior High School(finished in January of 2013) [2]

Academic achievement[edit]

For the 2011-2012 school year, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) ranked Penn Hills High School 546th out of the 676 public high schools in Pennsylvania. This ranking was based solely on combined math and reading PSSA test scores from the high school.[3]

In 2009, the high school is in Corrective Action II 3rd year due to the persistent low academic achievement of students as demonstrated by PSSA results and the graduation rate. Linton Middle School is in Corrective Action II 3rd year for continuing poor academic achievement especially in reading. Both Forbes Elementary School and Penn Hebron Elementary Academy are in warning status for lagging student reading scores.

Penn Hills School District was ranked 474th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania School Districts in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 3 years of PSSAs on: reading, writing, math, and one year in science. In 2007, the district ranked 464th of 501 school districts for student academic achievement.[4]

Penn Hills School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 [1]

High school[edit]

The senior high school ranked 105th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of 11th grade results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[5]

Graduation Rate:
2009 – 88%[6]
2008 – 93%
2007 – 93%[7]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 – 55% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 – 59%, State – 65%
2007 – 58%, State – 65%[8]

11th Grade Math:
2009 – 41% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[9]
2008 – 43%, State – 56%
2007 – 38%, State – 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 – 24% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 – 27%[10]

College Remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Penn Hills School District 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.[11]

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities 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.[12] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[13]

For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $22,798 for the program.[14]

Linton Middle School[edit]

The eighth grade ranked 106th out of 141 western Pennsylvania eighth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[15]

8th Grade Reading:
2009 – 72% on grade level. State: 80.9% of 8th graders were on grade level.[16]
2008 – 65%, State – 78% on grade level
2007 – 58%, State – 75%[17]

8th Grade Math:
2009 – 54% on grade level. State: 71% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 – 54%, State – 70% on grade level
2007 – 51%, State – 67%

8th Grade Science:
2009 – 33% on grade level. State: 55% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 – 27%, State – 50% on grade level


In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $50,105 for 180 days worked.[18] in 2009 the district employed 417 teachers. A five-year employment contract was reached after a four-day strike. The teachers will receive raises of 1%, 2% and 3% in the last three years of the contract.[19] 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.[20] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, a retirement bonus and other benefits.[21] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[22]

The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $769.82 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[23] Superintendent Joseph Carroll retired in 2010. His final salary was $130,000. He received an early retirement package, which included a $30,000 lump sum payment.[24] He is retiring mid contract at the age of 60. Carroll will receive a defined benefit pension in excess of $100,000 a year that is exempted from local income tax and state income tax.

The district has a master plan to consolidate all students into three buildings by fall 2012. A new high school and single elementary center will be built to replace the current high school and four elementary schools. Funds for these capital projects come from a $130 million bond issue.[25]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, grants, 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 income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the income level.[26]

State basic education funding[edit]

In the 2009–2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.47% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $15,539,804. Four Allegheny County school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009–10. Chartiers Valley School District received the highest in Allegheny County an 8.19% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in state Basic Education Funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Penn Hills School District in 2008–09 was $15,165,328.48.[27] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation made in the budget proposal made in February each year.[28]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. The district is identified as a turnaround district due to chronically poor academic achievement of its students. When approved for the grant, the district will receive millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Turnaround status also brings an extra $700 per student, in supplemental funding above the basic grant amount.[29]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $3,966,699 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[30] This funding is for the 2009-2001 school years.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2009–10 were 24.8100 mills.[31] In 2008–2009 the rate was set by the Penn Hills School Board at 24.8100 mills.[32] In 2007, the rate was 23.3900 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.

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Penn Hills School District was $185 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 12,715 property owners applied for the tax relief. 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 and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Cumberland County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[33]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This rebate 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%).[34]


The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports.

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.[35]

21st Century Community Learning Center[edit]

Penn Hills School District has been designated as a CCLC before and after school program provider. It received state funding through a grant. CCLCs provide academic, artistic and cultural enhancement activities to students and their families when school is not in session. The 2010 grant is $360,000.[36]

Other Facilities[edit]

  • PHSD Roberts Administration Building
  • PHSD Transportation Dept./Bus Garage
  • Fralic Sports/Athletic Center

Students enjoy easy access to Downtown Pittsburgh, with the city's business, cultural, shopping, sports, and entertainment facilities only 20 minutes away.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment and enrollment projections for School Districts P-Y 2009
  2. ^
  3. ^ "PSSA Scores". Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Rankings, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007.
  5. ^ The Rankings: 11th Grades, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15, 2009
  6. ^ Penn Hills School District Report Card 2009
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children – High School Graduation Rate 2007
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Math and Reading Results by School 2007
  9. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Science PSSA Results by School 2008
  11. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education – Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. Site accessed March 2010.
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009–10. August 2009
  15. ^ The Rankings: 8th Grades, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15, 2009
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Reading, Math, Science and Writing PSSA Results 2009 as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, August 2009.
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Math and Reading PSSA Results by School 2007
  18. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Average classroom teacher salary in Allegheny County, 2006–07. The Morning Call. Accessed March 2009.
  19. ^ Calabro, Tina. Carroll to retire as superintendent in Penn Hills. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 8, 2010.
  20. ^ Teachers need to know enough is enough, PaDelcoTimes, April 20, 2010.
  21. ^ Greenwood Professional Education Association Employment Contract 2009
  22. ^ Legislature must act on educators' pension hole. The Patriot News. February 21, 2010
  23. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, Feb 2009.
  24. ^ Calabro, Tina, Penn Hills superintendent to retire, Pittsburgh Post Gazette. May 11, 2010.
  25. ^ Calabro, Tina. Carroll to retire as superintendent in Penn Hills. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 8, 2010.
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Finance Income Taxation Guidelines. Accessed April 2010
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report on Funding by School District October 2009
  28. ^ Governor's Budget Proposal February 2009
  29. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support
  30. ^ Allegheny County ARRA FUNDING
  31. ^ Allegheny County Treasurer's Office. "School District Tax Millages 2009 in Allegheny County". Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  32. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. 2009
  33. ^ Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief, Auditor General Office, 2-23-2010.
  34. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  35. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  36. ^ Pennsylvania Awards $29.9 Million to Support 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Pennsylvania Department of Education Press Release, April 7, 2010

Coordinates: 40°28′43″N 79°49′04″W / 40.47855°N 79.81773°W / 40.47855; -79.81773