South Allegheny School District
|South Allegheny School District|
|2743 Washington Blvd.
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Allegheny, 15133
|School board||9 elected members|
|Superintendent||Wayne P. Gdovic|
South Allegheny School District is a suburban, public school district located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It serves the Pittsburgh suburbs of Port Vue, Liberty, Glassport, and Lincoln. South Allegheny School District encompasses approximately 9 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 13,109. In 2009 the district residents' Per capita income was $16,590, while the median family income was $38,949. Per School District officials, in school year 2007-08 the South Allegheny School District provided basic educational services to 1,608 pupils through the employment of 133 teachers, 22 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 12 administrators. South Allegheny School District received more than $12.5 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.
- 1 Schools in the District
- 2 Governance
- 3 Academic achievement
- 4 Special education
- 5 Bullying and safety
- 6 Budget
- 7 Wellness policy
- 8 Extracurriculars
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Schools in the District
- South Allegheny Middle/Senior High School
- South Allegheny Elementary School - School Report Card 2010 
- South Allegheny Early Childhood Center Report Card 2010 
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. The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C-" 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.
South Allegheny School District was ranked 416th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and three years of science. 
Western Pennsylvania School District Ranking - out of 105 western PA school districts
2010 - 82nd
2009 - 84th
In 2009, the academic achievement of students in the South Allegheny School District was in the 19th percentile of 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. South Allegheny School District's rate was 84% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
In 2010, the High school/Junior High School is in Making Progress: in Corrective Action I due to chronic low student achievement.  In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action I due to chronically low student achievement.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 49% on grade level, Boys - 40%/Girls- 58%, (29% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level. 
- 2009 - 56%, Boys 49%/Girls - 65% (31% below basic), State - 65%.
- 2008 - 67%, Boys 63%/Girls - 72%, State - 65% 
- 2007 - 63%, State - 65% 
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 28% on grade level. Boys - 30%/Girls- 27%, (51% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 32%, Boys - 34%/Girls- 30%, (39% below basic). State - 56% 
- 2008 - 48%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 36%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 20% on grade level. State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 34%, State - 40% 
- 2008 - 27%, State - 39%
College Remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 54% of South Allegheny 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.  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. 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.
The South Allegheny School Board requires a minimum of 22.75 credits for a student to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Students 3 credits, Science 3.5 credits, Mathematics 3 credits (must take Algebra and Geometry), Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Health and PE. 1.25 and Electives 6 credits.  
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.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 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.
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 offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.  Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.  The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.
For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $7,085 for the program. In 2010-11 the district received $7,586.
In 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 106th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on three years of student academic achievement in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and one year of science. (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County
In 2009, South Allegheny Middle School was named a School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The recognition goes to schools that are: academically excellent by challenging all students, are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence and are democratic and fair, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports. Schools must apply for this recognition.
8th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 80% on grade level, Boys - 70%/Girls- 90%, (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 67%, Boys - 57%/Girls- 78%, (17% below basic), State - 80%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 78% 
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 75%
8th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 68% on grade level, Boys - 64%/Girls- 75%, (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 58%, Boys - 52%/Girls- 65%, (20% below basic), State - 71% 
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 68%
8th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 52% on grade level Boys - 50%/Girls- 54%, (26% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 38%, Boys - 31%/Girls- 47%, (31% below basic), State - 55% 
- 2008 - %, State - 52% 
7th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 75% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 55% (20% below basic), State - 71%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 70%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 67%
7th Grade Math:
- 2010 - 80% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 69% (15% below basic), State - 75%
- 2008 - % (% below basic), State - 71%
- 2007 - % (% below basic), State - 67%
In order to comply with state and federal laws, the District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving 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.
South Allegheny School District received a $1,056,378 supplement for special education services in 2010.
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. 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. 
The District Administration reported that 100 or 06.27% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.
Bullying and safety
The South Allegheny School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying. The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of bullying. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In 2007, the district employed 117 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $44,371 for 180 days worked.
The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $792.50 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, 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.
Reserves In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $1,865,000.00 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $1,501,451.00.
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. In Pennsylvania, pension income and social security income are exempt from Pennsylvania personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of income.
State basic education funding
In 2011-12, the district will receive $9,198,036 in state Basic Education Funding.  Additionally, the district will receive $132,847 in Accountability Block Grant funding for all-day kindergarten.
For the 2010-11 budget year the South Allegheny School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $9,820,184. In Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which received an 11.32% increase in state funding. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was given a 23.65% increase in state funding.
In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.67% increase in Basic Education Funding to South Allegheny, for a total of $9,627,631. Ninety school districts in Pennsylvania received the minimum 2% increase in 2009. Four county school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding. Additionally, Governor Edward Rendell gave 15 Pennsylvania school districts education funding increases of over 10% in 2009. The highest funding increase went to Muhlenberg School District in Berks County which received a 22.31% increase in 2009-10. The state Basic Education Funding to South Allegheny School District in 2008-09 was $9,198,036.25. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 680 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.
Accountability Block Grant
The state provides supplemental funding in the form of accountability block grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses. South Allegheny School District uses its $360,579 to fund all-day kindergarten. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding. The 2008-09 school year was the fifth year the district offered all-day kindergarten to its pupils. Schools Districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants. In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.
Classrooms for the Future Grants
In 2007, South Allegheny, applied for and received a grant from the PA Department of Education for over $180,000 to purchase equipment to help reform the high school's core subjects instruction and to prepare students for future employment by using cutting-edge equipment and software. The district used the funds to purchase 196 laptops for students, 8 laptops for teachers, laptop carts and other digital equipment. The district also received $6000 in funds to upgrade our existing network infrastructure. The grant provided additional funding for a technology coach to instruct teachers in using the equipment to improve instruction. In 2008, the district received an additional $43,413 for computers and related equipment.  Since 2006, Pennsylvania's Classrooms for the Future program has distributed more than $150 million for laptops, interactive boards and other high-tech tools in 543 high schools. In 2009 the state funding program was terminated due to a deep state budget shortfall.
Education Assistance grant
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 South Allegheny School District received $43,377.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $1,727,534 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.  The funding is for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant. When approved for the grant, the district would have received over one million in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.  Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.  In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010. 
Enrollment and Consolidation
In 2009, a proposal was made by David Wassell, a prominent resident and leader in Allegheny County, to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars and improve student services. The proposal is that South Allegheny School District join with Elizabeth Forward School District. 
A Standard and Poors study found that an optimal school district size, to conserve administrative costs, was 3000 pupils.  Consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.  Governor Edward Rendell proposed that consolidation with adjacent school districts, in each county, would achieve substantial cost savings. The savings could be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes. Consolidation of two central administrations into one administration would not require the closing of any local schools.
In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any school buildings.  The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration. 
On June 29, 2011, Rep Marc J. Gergely predicted the district will be forced to consolidate with its neighboring district, in the next few years, based in the current state funding of the district. 
More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater). 
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. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.  In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.
Real estate taxes
For the 2011-12 school year, the South Allegheny School Board set the real estate tax rate at 18.4900 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. The most recent assessed values for all properties in Allegheny County are available at the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments.  On the local level, Pennsylvania 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.
- 2009-10 - 18.110 mills 
- 2008-09 - 18.1100 mills. 
- 2007-08 - 18.11 mills 
- 2006-07 - 18.11 mills 
On June 20, 2007, the Board of Directors of the South Allegheny School District adopted a plan for providing an option for installment payments of real estate taxes on approved Homestead and Farmstead Property pursuant to the Taxpayer Relief Act (Act 1 of 2006).
Act 1 Adjusted index
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 2010–11 school year is 2.9 percent, but it 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the South Allegheny School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012. 
- 2006-07 - 5.8%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 5.1%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 6.6%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 6.2%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 4.4%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 2.1%, Base 1.4%
For the 2011–12 school year the South Allegheny School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the South Allegheny 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 publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 
According to a state report, for the 2011–12 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. 
For 2009 and 2010, the School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Index limit.   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. 
Property tax relief
In 2010, property tax relief was set at $207 for the 3,667 approved homesteads.  In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the South Allegheny School District was $209 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,641 property owners applied for the property tax relief. In 2010 and 2009, the highest property tax relief in Allegheny County goes to Duquesne City School District at $348. The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. This was the second year they received this amount.  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 Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. 
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 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%). 
South Allegheny School Board adopted a district wide Student Wellness Policy 246 in 2006. 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."
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 and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.
By Pennsylvania law, all K–12 students 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.
Beginning with the 2011–12 school year the board has determined that students will pay a fee to participate in extracurriculars. For interscholastic athletics the fee was set at $75 per season, per athlete, with a student and/or family cap of $225. The band fee was set at $50 per year per participant, with a family cap of $150. Clubs, competitive groups and ensembles cost $25 per student. 
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