Tussey Mountain School District
|Tussey Mountain School District|
|Bedford and Huntingdon Counties, Pennsylvania
Broad Top area
Pennsylvania, Bedford & Huntingdon, 16678 (Main Office)
|Superintendent||Mr. Mark Bollman|
|Principal||Mr. Jerry Shoemake (Sr. High School)|
|Principal||Ms. Melinda Damiano (Jr. High School)|
|Principal||Mr. Wayland Heath (Elementary)|
|Grades||Pre-K through 12|
|Language||English; offers French and Spanish|
|Hours in school day||7|
|Song||Tussey Mountain Alma Mater|
|Fight song||On Wisconsin!|
|Athletics conference||PIAA District V|
|Mascot||The Tussey Mountain Titan|
|Rival||Northern Bedford County School District|
The Tussey Mountain School District is a public school district serving parts of Bedford County, Pennsylvania and Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The rural district serves a large number of communities. In Huntingdon County, it encompasses the boroughs of Broad Top City, Dudley, and Coalmont as well as the townships of Carbon, Hopewell, Todd, and Wood. In Bedford County, it serves Coaldale and Saxton Boroughs, as well as Broad Top and Liberty Townships. The district encompasses approximately 173 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 7,689. According to District officials, in school year 2007–08 the TMSD provided basic educational services to 1,277 pupils through the employment of 99 teachers, 61 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 6 administrators. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects the district's enrollment K-12 to decline to 900 pupils by 2019.
The district is named after a mountain of the same name just to the northeast of the area.
- 1 Schools
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 Special education
- 4 Bullying
- 5 Budget
- 5.1 State basic education funding
- 5.2 Federal Stimulus grant
- 5.3 Common Cents state initiative
- 5.4 Real estate taxes
- 6 Extracurriculars
- 7 External links
- 8 References
The district operates three elementary schools (All K-6), and a Junior/Senior High School (7–12).
- Defiance Elementary School
- 124 Hitchens Rd.
Defiance, Pennsylvania 16633
- 124 Hitchens Rd.
- Robertsdale Elementary School
- 722 Main St.
Robertsdale, Pennsylvania 16674
- 722 Main St.
- Saxton-Liberty Elementary School
- 1110 Mifflin St.
Saxton, Pennsylvania 16678
- 1110 Mifflin St.
- Tussey Mountain Junior/Senior High School
- 199 Front St.
Saxton, Pennsylvania 16678
- 199 Front St.
The Tussey Mountain School District was ranked 469th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2010, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance on four years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, mathematics and two years of science.
- 2009 – 469th
- 2008 – 457th
- 2007 – 421st of 501 school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times.
In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Tussey Mountain School District, was in the 8th percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)
Junior Senior High School
In 2010 the school is in School Improvement II level AYP status.
- PSSA results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 – 61% on grade level. (22% Below Basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 – 47%, (26% Below Basic). State – 65%
- 2008 – 51%, (26% Below Basic). State – 65%
- 2007 – 56%, (21% Below Basic). State – 65%
- 11th Grade Math
- 2010 – 53% on grade level. (37% Below Basic). State – 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2009 – 53%, (26% Below Basic). State – 56%
- 2008 – 34%, (37% Below Basic). State – 56%
- 2007 – 41%, (35% Below Basic). State – 53%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2010 – 35% on grade level. State – 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 – 27%, State – 40%
- 2008 – 13%, State – 39%
- College remediation
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 9% of Tussey Mountain Senior 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. 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 Tussey Mountain School Board has determined that students must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: 4 credits of English, 3 credits of Social Studies, 3 credits of Mathematics, 3 credits of Science, 1.5 credits of Physical Education, 0.5 credits of Health, 2 credits of Arts and Humanities and 8 credits in electives.
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.
Tussey Mountain School District offers a dual enrollment program. Dual Enrollment is a state education program which allows high school students to attend Pennsylvania colleges and universities while remaining enrolled at their high school. The program is open to juniors and seniors. The credits they earn count towards high school gradation and earn college credits. Colleges offer the credits at a deeply discounted rate. Students have full access to their high school's extracurricular programs and participate in the high school's graduation event. Using Pennsylvania's PATRAC system, students identify PA colleges and universities that have agreed to accept these credits.
Tussey Mountain SD received a state grant of $4,584 to assist students with the cost of books, tuition and fees.
- 8th Grade Reading
- 2010 – 79% on grade level. State – 81%
- 2009 – 68%, State – 80%
- 2008 – 67%, State – 78%
- 2007 – 61%, State – 75%
- 8th Grade Math
- 2010 – 78% on grade level. State – 75%
- 2009 – 66%, State – 71%
- 2008 – 48%, State – 70%
- 2007 – 51%, (34% Below Basic). State – 67%
- 8th Grade Science
- 7th Grade Reading
- 2010 – 74% on grade level. State – 73%
- 2009 – 53%, State – 71.7%
- 2008 – 44%, State – 70%
- 2007 – 52%, State – 66%
- 7th Grade Math
- 2010 – 83% on grade level. State – 77%
- 2009 – 67%, State – 75%
- 2008 – 51%, State – 72%
- 2007 – 44%, State – 67%
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 169 pupils or 14.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
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.
Tussey Mountain School District received a $714,276 supplement for special education services in 2010.
The District Administration reported that 17 or 1.51% of its students were gifted in 2009. 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.
In 2009, the district reports employing over 100 teachers with a starting salary of $32,857 for 180 days work. Teachers are paid at an hourly rate for work that is required after regular school hours. Additionally, Tussey Mountain School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid family sick leave days, 3 paid personal days, and 10 sick days, life insurance and other benefits. According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.
The average teacher salary at the district was $47,063 while the maximum salary is $97,154. In Pennsylvania, the average teacher salary for Pennsylvania's 124,100 public school teachers was $54,977 in 2008.
In 2007, the Tussey Mountain School District employed 88 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $45,081 for 180 school days worked. 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 United States for average teacher compensation.
Tussey Mountain School District administration costs per pupil in 2008 was $1,076.71 per pupil. The district was ranked 46th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administration spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In 2008, Tussey Mountain School District administration reported spending $12,513 per pupil. This spending ranked 219th in the commonwealth.
In 2009, the district reported a $1,637,512 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.
In November 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.
State basic education funding
For 2010–11 the Tussey Mountain School District received a 2.20% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $7,584,663 payment. Bedford Area School District received 6.29% increase which was the highest increase in BEF in Bedford County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010–11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010–11. 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.
In the 2009–2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.57% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $7,421,504. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008–09 was $7,235,500.72. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more. Everett Area School District received the highest increase in Bedford County a 6.17% increase, for the 2009–10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.
Accountability Block Grants
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 Tussey Mountain School District applied for and received $271,812 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide prekindergarten, full-day kindergarten and reduced class size for grades K-3rd for the seventh year.
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 Tussey Mountain School District received $51,871.
Classrooms for the Future grant
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. Tussey Mountain School District was denied for funding in 2006–07. In 2007–08 the district received $162,577. For the 2008–09 school year, the district received $45,413 for a total funding of $207,990. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $1,915,104 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 the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.
Race to the Top grant
School district officials applied to participate in 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 for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Tussey Mountain School Board did not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
The school board set property tax rates in 2010–2011 at 11.3800 mills in Bedford County. In Huntingdon County the tax was set at 84.5900 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 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts. The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.
- 2009–10 – 60.5600 mills Bedford County. Huntingdon County 80.9000 mills.
- 2008–09 – 54.4000 mills Bedford County. Huntingdon County 86.5900 mills.
- 2007–08 – 51.5800 mills Bedford County. Huntingdon County 80.5400 mills.
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 authorized 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Tussey Mountain School District 2006–2007 through 2010–2011.
- 2006–07 – 5.8%, Base 3.9%
- 2007–08 – 5.1%, Base 3.4%
- 2008–09 – 6.5%, Base 4.4%
- 2009–10 – 6.1%, Base 4.1%
- 2010–11 – 4.3%, Base 2.9%
- 2011–12 – 2.1%, Base 1.4%
The Tussey Mountain School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010–11. 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 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Tussey Mountain School District was $168 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,019 property owners applied for the tax relief. The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's 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. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010. This was the second year they were the top recipient.
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 individuals who have income 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%).
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set by school board policies. 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.
It was reported in the fall of 2010 that the Tussey Mountain School District will consolidate with neighboring district Northern Bedford County School District to form the new Pinchot Road School District by 2014. Due to the expected decline in enrollment and tax revenue of both districts, consolidation was deem necessary for academic improvement and financial security. The new Pinchot Road High School will likely compete in the PIAA Class AA in all sports for both male and female students.
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