South Park School District
|South Park School District|
|South Park, PA 15129, United States Coordinates:
|Type||Public School District|
|Other||Enrollment projected to decline to 1900 by 2020|
|Color(s)||Royal Blue and White, Black Accent
South Park School District is a small, suburban, public school district located in southern in Allegheny County. It serves the residents of South Park, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. South Park School District encompasses approximately 9 square miles (23 km2) square miles. Per 2001 local census data, it serves a resident population of 14,340. In 2009 the districts residents' per capita income was $21,538, while the median family income was $57,290. According to District officials, in school year 2007/08 the South Park School District provided basic educational services to 2,216 pupils through the employment of 153 teachers, 78 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 14 administrators. South Park School District received more than $9.9 million in state funding in school year 2007/08.
- 1 Mission statement
- 2 Schools
- 3 Governance
- 4 Academic achievement
- 5 Special education
- 6 Bullying and safety
- 7 Budget
- 8 Extracurricular activities
- 9 Alumni
- 10 References
|“||To provide an educational atmosphere where all students have opportunities to discover their talents, develop their abilities, and achieve the highest expectations embedded in our educational program to become responsible and productive members of society.||”|
- South Park High School (9th–12th)
- South Park Middle School (5th–8th) Report Card 2010
- South Park Elementary Center (K–4th) 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 South Park School Board and the district 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.
In 2011, the South Park School District ranked 195th out of 498 Pennsylvania districts. The ranking is based on five years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in reading, writing, math and three years of science.
- Local ranking
South Park School District was ranked 31st out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the PSSAs on: math, reading, writing and two years of science.
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of the South Park School District was in the 53rd percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 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 Park School District's rate was 94% for 2010.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
The South Park School Board requires a minimum of 25 credits for a student to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Social Students 4 credits (includes Civics, West. Civ. & U.S. History), Science 3 credits (includes Biology), Mathematics 3 credits (must take Algebra and Geometry), Computer Information Technology I & II 1 credit, Health and PE. 2 credits (swimming required), Independent Living 0.5 credits and Electives 7.5 credits. Students must earn a minimum of 7.0 credits per year to progress to the next grade.
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.
A new South Park High School building opened in 2005. As of the 2005/2006 school year, the school had 752 students enrolled and 44.5 teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 16.9 students/teacher. The campus includes: six full computers labs, an Indoor swimming pool, a full cafeteria services, a lighted stadium with 8 lane track, central administration offices, two multi-purpose athletic fields, two maintenance buildings, upper and lower field houses, full sized and auxiliary gyms, and an auditorium. The average indoor area to be maintained is app. 208,000 sq ft.
In both 2010 and 2009, the South Park Senior High School achieved AYP status.
- PSSA Results:
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 84% on grade level, In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 76%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 81%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 79%, State - 65%
- 11th Grade Math
- 2010 - 72%, State - 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 - 62%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 67%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 71%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science:
- 2010 - 55% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 48%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 54%, State - 39%
College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 31% of South Park 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 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. Many Allegheny County high schools are participating in the program. 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. Parents are responsible for costs. 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.
In the early 20th century, three elementary schools were built. Library and Broughton Schools, accepted students from their respective districts. A third, Stewart School, educated kindergarten and first grade students from both districts. In 1998, the township announced that a new elementary school would be built. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on February 12, 2000, with school superintendent Dr. Lawrence L. Muir and school board members digging the first dirt. In 2001, the South Park Elementary Center opened.
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 237 pupils or 11% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
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 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. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 take the 4 Sight three times a year. The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment is administered three times during the school year to all students in grades K-2.
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 Park School District received a $1,128,859 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 78 or 3.66% 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. Students have access to High School Summer Internship Program in Research offered by the Magee-Women's Research Institute. 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
It is the policy of the South Park School Board to prohibit bullying by district students and faculty. The board's 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 establishes that staff members are 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 2009, the district employed over 160 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $62,812 for 189 days worked with 180 pupil instruction days. The beginning salary was $41,200, while the highest salary was $120,000. Teachers work a 7 hour 30 minute day, with one planning period and a paid 30-minute lunch included. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, 75% professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, 3 paid death days, a 1-year sabbatical leave, at 1/2 salary, after 10 years of service and other benefits. Members of the South Park Assistance Network receive 3 additional personal days. Teachers who serve on the Induction Team receive 2 extra personal days. The district offers a retirement stipend that includes payment for unused sick days. The union officers receive 15 paid days per year to conduct union business, including travel outside of the district. According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.
In 2007, the district employed 138 teachers, and the average teacher salary in the district was $59,581 for 186 days worked. The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977. 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.
In 2008, per-pupil spending at South park School District was $19,149 for each child, which ranked 14th in the state.
In 2008, the district reported that the per-pupil administration costs were $921.09, which ranked 93rd among the Commonwealth's 500 school districts. The lowest per-pupil administrative costs were $398 per pupil at Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
Reserves - In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $997,888 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of zero.
In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the school board and administration.
In response to constraints in the budget, the district eliminated its non state mandated elementary and middle school foreign language program and cut 2 administrator and 11 teacher positions. The teacher cuts were due to the elimination of programs.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local 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 provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Pension income and Social Security income are both exempted from state income tax and local income tax regardless of the level of income.
State basic education funding
In 2011/12, the district will receive $6,014,484 in state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the district will receive $102,902 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $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.
For the 2010/11 budget year, the South Park School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $6,245,107. 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. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the governor and the secretary of education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.
In the 2009/2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.84% increase in Basic Education funding for South Park School District a total of $6,245,372. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008/09 was $6,014,463.81. The highest increase in Allegheny County went to Chartiers Valley School District which received 8.19% increase in 2009/10. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received an increase of 22.31 percent which was the highest in the commonwealth. Sixteen school districts received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009. Ninety school districts received the base 2% increase.
In 2009, the district reported having 379 students participating in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.
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 Park School District uses its $279,302 to fund all-day kindergarten and to develop better curriculum. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding. The 2008/09 school year was the seventh 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. In 2001, the district ended its in-house full-day kindergarten program in favor of hiring a private provider to serve a limited number of qualifying students.
Classrooms for the Future Grants
In 2007 08, South Park School Board, applied for and received a grant from the PA Department of Education for over 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 laptops for students, laptops for teachers, laptop carts and other digital equipment. The district also received substantial 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 2006/07 the district received $486,781 in funding. In 2007/08, the district received $300,000. In 2008, the district did not apply for funding. In total the district received $786,781. 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.
Federal Stimulus ARRA
The district received an extra $1,589,268 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 was for 2009/10 and 2010/11 school years.
Race to the Top
South Park School District officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over one million 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 for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Real estate taxes
For 2010/11, the school board set real estate taxes at 25.9900 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. 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.
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 2010/2011 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 Park School District 2006/2007 through 2011/2012.
- 2006/07 - 5.2%, Base 3.9%
- 2007/08 - 4.6%, Base 3.4%
- 2008/09 - 6.0%, Base 4.4%
- 2009/10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
- 2010/11 - 4.0%, Base 2.9%
- 2011/12 - 1.9%, Base 1.4%
For the 2011/12 school year the South Park School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the South Park 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 2011/2012 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. In June 2011, The Pennsylvania General Assembly reduced the number of exceptions that a district can apply for to 3: increasing pension costs, increasing special education costs and electoral construction debt.
For the 2010/11 school year budget, the South Park School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In the spring of 2010, 135 Pennsylvania school boards asked to exceed their adjusted index. Approval was granted to 133 of them and 128 sought an exception for pension costs increases.
Property tax relief
In 2011, property tax relief for South Park School District was set at $213 for the 4,076 approved homesteads. In Allegheny County, the highest tax relief went to Duquesne City School District which was set at $351.
In 2010, property tax relief was set at $216 for the 4,029 approved homesteads. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the South Park School District was $220 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,954 property owners applied for the property tax relief. In Allegheny County, the highest tax relief went to Duquesne City School District which was set at $348. The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. This was the second year they received this amount. The tax 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 whose income is far 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%).
The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policy. At South Park Senior High School a student on academic probation will not be permitted to participate in any extra curricular or inter-scholastic activities or programs. A student that is not passing at least 3 core subjects and 1 other one-credit course or 2 one-semester courses during a grading period does not have acceptable academic standing and is placed on academic probation for the next nine week grading period.
Athletic facilities at SPHS include two gyms, an indoor swimming pool, a football stadium, a baseball field, and a track.
PIAA Team Championships
WPIAL Team Championships
|Boys||Football||1955, 1997, 2005|
|Girls||Soccer||2001, 2006, 2007, 2008|
- Reggie Wells, Jr. - Guard for the Arizona Cardinals; 6th-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
- Bob Jury - Safety for the University of Pittsburgh and San Francisco 49ers; Pitt records for all-time interceptions (21) & interceptions in a season (10). 3rd-round pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.
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