Riverside Beaver County School District

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Riverside Beaver County School District
Map of Beaver County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
300 Country Club Drive
Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, Beaver County, 16117-4910
United States
Information
Superintendent Mr David G. Anney
Specialist Mr. Bret M Trotta - Assistant Superintendent
School number (724) 758-7512
Head teacher Mrs Mary S Hoffman - Business Manager
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old
Pupils 1574 (2010-11)[1]
Kindergarten 112
Grade 1 107
Grade 2 101
Grade 3 106
Grade 4 117
Grade 5 127
Grade 6 120
Grade 7 122
Grade 8 103
Grade 9 120
Grade 10 139
Grade 11 156
Grade 12 144
Other Enrollment projected to be 1500 in 2019[2]
Budget $22,126,547 (2009-10); $20,926,958 (2011-12)[3]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $8,772.34, HS - $9,591.62[4]
Website

Riverside Beaver County School District is a small public school district located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It serves the residents of the townships of North Sewickley, Marion, and Franklin Townships. The Riverside Beaver County School District encompasses approximately 49 square miles (130 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 11,367. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $19,408, while the median family income was $45.382.[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 District officials, in school year 2007-08, the Riverside Beaver County School District provided basic educational services to 1,840 pupils through the employment of 125 teachers, 77 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 11 administrators. Riverside Beaver County School District received more than $11.1 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The district features a progression of four schools: Riverside Beaver Primary School (K-3), Riverside Beaver Intermediary School (4-5), Riverside Beaver Middle School (6-8), and Riverside Beaver High School (9-12).

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.[8] 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 Riverside Beaver County School Board and District administration a "D-" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[9]

Academic achievement[edit]

Riverside Beaver County School District was ranked 164th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[10] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[11]

  • 2011 - 176th[12]
  • 2010 - 169th[13]
  • 2009 - 201st
  • 2008 - 235th
  • 2007 - 223rd out of 501 school districts.[14]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Riverside Beaver County School District ranked 118th. In 2011, the district was 177th.[15] 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."[16]

Western Pennsylvania region ranking by PBT

(includes 104 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County excludes Duquesne City SD & Midland Borough SD due to no high schools)

  • 2012 - 39th
  • 2011 - 46th
  • 2010 - 43rd
  • 2009 - 50th

In 2010 and 2011, Riverside Beaver County School District achieved AYP status.[17] In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania Public School Districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Riverside Beaver County School District was in the 63rd percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[18]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate at Riverside Beaver County School District was 98%.[19] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Riverside High School's rate was 93% for 2010.[20]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Riverside High School is located at 300 Country Club Drive, Ellwood City. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 588 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 160 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 41.5 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[25] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[26]

In 2012, Riverside High School's 11th grade ranked 40th out of 105 high schools in the western Pennsylvania region. In 2010, Riverside High School's 11th grade ranked 43rd. In 2009, the High School ranked 50th out of 105 western Pennsylvania high schools based on the last three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and science.[27]

In 2011, Riverside High School declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading. In 2010, the high school achieved AYP status under the regulations in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

PSSA Results

11th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 76% on grade level, (8% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[28]
  • 2010 - 74% (16% below basic). State - 66%[29]
  • 2009 - 73% (13% below basic). State - 65%[30]
  • 2008 - 65% (18% below basic). State - 65%[31]
  • 2007 - 64% (13% below basic). State - 65%[32]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 75% on grade level (14% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[33]
  • 2010 - 69% (16% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 66% (16% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 71% (19% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 54% (16% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 48% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[34]
  • 2010 - 34% (19% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 36% (21% below basic). State - 40%[35]
  • 2008 - 28% (27% below basic). State - 39%[36]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 27% of Riverside 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.[37] 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.[38] 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]

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 and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[39] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[40] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of 28,004 for the program.[41]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Riverside Beaver County School District School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: math 3 years, English4 years, social studies 4 years, science 3 years, Physical Education 4 years, a health course, a computer course and electives 8 credits. To be promoted from 9th grade to 10th grade students must earn a minimum of 6 credits. To become a junior a student must have earned 12 credits (earned in grades 9 &10).[42]

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]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2016, 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.[44][45][46] 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.[47] 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, 75 Riverside students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 470. The Math average score was 479. The Writing average score was 458.[48] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[49] 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.[50]

Middle school[edit]

Riverside Middle School is located at 302 Country Club Drive, Ellwood City. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 255 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 75 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[51] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[52]

In 2010 and 2011, Riverside Middle School achieved AYP status.[53]

Local ranking

In 2012, Riverside Middle School's 8th grade ranked 40th out of 105 8th grades in the western Pennsylvania region. In 2011, the 8th grade ranked 50th out of 149 local 8th grades in the ranking. In 2010, Riverside Middle School 8th grade ranked 33rd out of 106 western PA 8th grades. In 2009, the eighth grade ranked 55th out of 106 western Pennsylvania 8th grades based on the last three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and science.[54]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 86% on grade level, 58% advanced (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.[55]
  • 2010 - 88%, 52% advanced (4% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 83%, 54% advanced (7% below basic). State - 80%
  • 2008 - 78%, 57% advanced (11% below basic). State - 78%[56]
  • 2007 - 76%, 44% advanced (17% below basic). State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 82% on grade level 57% advanced (% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 83%, 58% advanced (6% below basic). State - 75%[57]
  • 2009 - 78%, 62% advanced (8% below basic). State - 71%[58]
  • 2008 - 75%, 54% advanced (12% below basic). State - 70%
  • 2007 - 67%, 35% advanced (16% below basic). State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 68% on grade level (13% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 56% (16% below basic). State – 57%[59]
  • 2009 - 66% (18% below basic). State - 55%[60]
  • 2008 - 63%, (13% below basic). State - 52%[61]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.
Local ranking 7th grade

In 2012, Riverside Middle School's 7th grade ranked 43rd out of 105 7th grades in the western Pennsylvania region. In 2010, Riverside Middle School's 7th grade ranked 48th out of 106 western PA 7th grades. In 2009, the seventh grade ranked 55th out of 106 western Pennsylvania 7th grades based on the last three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and science.[62]

Intermediate School[edit]

Riverside Intermediate School is located at 302 Country Club Drive, Ellwood City. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the intermediate school reported an enrollment of 321 pupils in grades 4th through 6th, with 91 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 20.68 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[63] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[64]

In 2010 and 2011, Riverside Intermediate School achieved AYP status.[65]

Sixth grade[edit]

In 2012, the Riverside Intermediate School 6th grade ranked 65th out of 197 local sixth grades. In 2011, the sixth grade ranked 54th among Western Pennsylvania 6th grades.

Fifth Grade[edit]

In 2012, the Riverside Intermediate School 5th grade ranked 95th out of 279 local fifth grades.[69] In 2011 the 5th grade at Riverside intermediate School ranked 89th in the local area.

Fourth grade[edit]

In 2012, the Riverside Intermediate School 4th grade ranked 210th out of 307 local fourth grades. In 2011, the 4th grade ranked 189th.

4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 82%, (2% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 84%, (6% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 84%, (4% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 91%, (1% below basic), State - 81%

Primary School[edit]

Riverside Primary School is located at 318 Country Club Drive, Ellwood City. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 424 pupils in grades kindergarten through 3rd, with 170 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 32 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[70] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the school's teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[71]

In 2012, Riverside Primary School third grade ranked 151st among 321 local region elementary schools. In 2011, the 3rd grade ranked 183rd.[72]

In 2010 and 2011, Riverside Primary School achieved AYP status.[73] The attendance rate was 94% in 2011 and 2010.

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 203 pupils or 12.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 63% having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, the district administration reported that 218 pupils or 13.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services[78]

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.[79] 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.[80] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[81] Overidentification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[82]

The School District received a $1,061,127 supplement for special education services in 2010.[83] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[84][85]

Gifted education[edit]

The Riverside Beaver County School District Administration reported that less than 10 students were identified as gifted in 2009.[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]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reported employing 229 teachers and administrators with an average teacher salary of $57,898 and a top salary of $112,815.[89] The work year is 186 days with 180 student instruction days. Teachers work 7 hours 45 minutes with a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. Teachers receive extra pay for extra required work like updating curriculum. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days (which accumulate) vision insurance, dental insurance and many other benefits. Guidance counselors receive extra $400 pay plus extra summer pay.[90][91] In 2011, the average teacher salary in Riverside Beaver County School District was $59,869.59 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $19,376.60 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $79,248.19.[92] 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.[93]

In 2007, the district employed 125 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $53,156 for 180 days worked.[94] 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.[95]

Riverside Beaver County School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $839.39 per pupil. This ranked 151st among the Commonwealth's 501 public school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[96] 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.[97]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,473 which ranked 223rd among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $12,528.08[98] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[99] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[100]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a balance of $1,289,232 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as zero.[101] In 2010, Riverside Beaver County Administration reported a $1,293,039 balance in its unreserved-undesignated fund. 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.[102]

In October 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the School Board and the District's administration.[103]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[104] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[105]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, Riverside BEaver County School District received a $7,575,323 allocation of state Basic Education Funding.[106][107] Additionally, the Riverside Beaver County School District received $125,391 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[108] 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.[109] In 2010, the district reported that 532 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[110]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.79% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $8,027,454. Among the districts in Beaver County, the highest increase went to Midland Borough School District which got a 7.57% 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.[111] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Riverside Beaver County School District a 2.10% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,734,116. Among the districts in Beaver County, the highest increase went to Big Beaver Falls Area School District which got a 5.26%. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $4,787,151.79. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[112] 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.[113]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 499 Riverside Beaver County School District students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[114]

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 $340,343 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the past seven years.[115][116]

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. Riverside BEaver County School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the school district received $213,301. The district received another $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $258,714.[117] In Beaver County the highest award was given to Freedom Area School District. The highest funding state wide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $2,491,915 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[118] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[119] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Riverside Big Beaver School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[120] 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.[121] 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.[122][123][124]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the school board at 60.5000 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.[125] 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.[126] 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.[127] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[128]

  • 2010-11 - 60.5000 mills[129]
  • 2009-10 - 60.5000 mills.[130]
  • 2008-09 - 60.5000 mills.[131]
  • 2007-08 - 60.5000 mills.[132]
  • 2006-07 - 60.5000 mills.[133]

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.[134] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[135] The following 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.[136][137]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Riverside Beaver County School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[138]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.1%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.8%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.4%, Base 1.7%[139]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Riverside Beaver County 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. 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.[140]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Riverside Beaver County School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Riverside Beaver County 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.[141]

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.[142]

The School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[143] For 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[144] 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.[145]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Riverside Beaver County School District was $266 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,012 property owners applied for the tax relief.[146] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Beaver County, 64% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[147] Among Beaver County public school districts, the highest amount of property tax relief goes to property owners in Big Beaver Falls Area School District who received $352 in 2010. 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.[148] Residents of Chester Upland School District have been the top recipients each year, since the program began.

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.[149]

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%).[150]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy. Riverside Big Beaver School District offers 14 varsity sports, 4 junior varsity / 9th grade sports and 4 junior high sports.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs, including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.[151]

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