Warrior Run School District

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Warrior Run School District
Map of Union County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Fragment of WRSD in northern part of County
Address
4800 Susquehanna Trail
Turbotville, Pennsylvania, Union County, Northumberland County, Montour County, 17772
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 members locally elected at large
Superintendent Dr. John Kurelja, salary $118,450 (2012) $122,004 (2013), contract Jan 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015}[1]
Administrator Mrs. Bernadette Boerckel, Dir. Curriculum salary $79,077 (2013)

Karen Frantz-Fry, Supervisor, $82,020 (2012), $84,480 (2013) Karen Stauffer, Title 1 Coordinator
Mrs Heather M Burke, Business Manager
Georganna F Kresl, Supervisor wellness, salary $68,365
Renee Frederick, food service, $48,101 (2009)
Leon Hagenbuch, buildings and grounds, $52,161 (2009)
Daniel Lapetina, district systems manager, $55,147

Principal Patti Cross, HS salary $76,131 (2009), $82,057 (2013)
Principal Jay Gordon, TES salary $80,216 (2013)
Principal Susan Welteroth, WES salary $73,384 (2009)
Principal William Simpson, WRMS
Vice principal Doug Bertanzetti, HS salary $67,135
Vice principal Susan Mabus, MS salary $79,000 (2013)
Staff 133 non teaching staff members
Faculty 135 teachers (2013);[2] 130 teachers (2010)[3]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 1,653 pupils (2013),[4] 1,600 pupils (2012), 1,780 pupils (2007)
Kindergarten 124 (2012), 111 (2011)
Grade 1 126 (2012), 119
Grade 2 117 (2012), 116
Grade 3 120 (2012), 134
Grade 4 136 (2012), 129
Grade 5 128 (2012), 115
Grade 6 125 (2012), 117
Grade 7 133 (2012), 141
Grade 8 114 (2012), 144
Grade 9 123 (2012), 152
Grade 10 135 (2012), 151
Grade 11 129 (2012), 116
Grade 12 143 (2012), 136 (2011)
Other Enrollment projected to decline to 1,400 pupils by 2020[5]
Medium of language English
Color(s) blue and gray
Mascot eagle
Budget $20.5 million (2014-15)[6]

$19,781,469 (2013-14)[7]
$20 million 2012

School fees $40.00 activity fee
Per pupil spending $10,234 (2008)
Per pupil spending $11,341.73 (2010)
Website
Warrior Run School District region in Northumberland County
Warrior Run School District region in Montour County

Warrior Run School District is a small, rural, public school district that covers 113 square miles (290 km2). It spans townships in three different counties: Gregg Township in Union County, Delaware Township and Lewis Township in Northumberland County, and Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County in central Pennsylvania, USA. It also serves the residents of the boroughs of Turbotville, McEwensville and Watsontown. In 2010, the US Census Bureau reported the District's population increased to 17,278 people.[8] According to 2000 federal census data, Warrior Run School District served a resident population of 16,542. In 2009, the residents' per capita income was $15,727, while the median family income was $43,010.[9] Per district officials, in school year 2005–06, the Warrior Run School District provided basic educational services to 1,802 pupils through the employment of 144 teachers, 111 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 14 administrators.

Warrior Run School District operates: Turbotville Elementary School, Watsontown Elementary School, Warrior Run Middle School, and Warrior Run High School. The school district was formed from the combination of the former Turbotville-Lewis Township School District and Watsontown School District.

High school students may choose to attend Lycoming County Career and Technoloy Center for training in the trades. The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit IU16 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Warrior Run 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.[10] The federal US Department of Education 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 essential reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Warrior Run 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.[11]

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2014, Warrior Run School District ranked 209th out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[12] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[13] Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.

  • 2013 - 221st[14]
  • 2012 - 218th[15]
  • 2011 - 216th[16]
  • 2010 - 219th[17]
  • 2009 - 220th[18]
  • 2008 - 226th[19]
  • 2007 - 274th of 500 school districts.[20]

Warrior Run School District students academic achievement was in the 55th percentile in Pennsylvania public school districts in 2009. Scale – (0–99; 100 is state best)[21]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Warrior Run School District's graduation rate declined to 83.94%. In 2012, Warrior Run School District's graduation rate was 90%.[22] In 2011, the graduation rate was 88%.[23] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Warrior Run School District's graduation rate was 85.80% for 2010.[24]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

Warrior Run High School[edit]

Warrior Run High School is located at 4800 Susquehanna Trail, Turbotville, Pennsylvania. In 2013, the Principal of Warrior Run High School reported an enrollment of 529 pupils, with 23% of pupils coming from low income homes.[30] Additionally, 12% of pupils received special education services, while 1.5% were identified as being gifted. The school employed teachers.[31] Per the PA Department of Education 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 542 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 120 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 43 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[32] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 6 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[33]

2013 School Performance Profile

Warrior Run High School achieved 76.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 75% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 71.6% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Biology, 28.57% showed on grade level science understanding.[34]

AYP History

In 2012, Warrior Run School declined to Warning AYP status due to missing all measured academic metrics.[35] In 2011, the Warrior Run High School achieved AYP status. In 2009, Warrior Run High School ranked 344th out of 666 Pennsylvania high schools for the reading and mathematics achievement of its students.[36]

PSSAs

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[37]

11th Grade Mathematics:
  • 2012 – 65% on grade level, (18% below basic). State – 59% [38]
  • 2011 – 67.8% (12% below basic). State – 60.3% [39] Ranked 7th out of 18 11th grades in CSIU 16 region.
  • 2010 – 61.8%, State – 59%. Ranked 13th out of 18 11th grades in CSIU 16 region.[40]
  • 2009 – 49%, State – 56%[41]
  • 2008 – 48.9%, State – 56%
  • 2007 – 60%, State – 53%
  • 2006 – 47%, State – 52% [42]
  • 2005 – 47%, State – 51%[43]
11th grade Reading:
  • 2012 – 60% on grade level. Males - 57% Females - 63% (13% below basic). State – 67% [44]
  • 2011 – 76.1% (7% below basic). State – 69.1%[45] Ranked 5th out of 18 11th grades in the CSIU 16 region.
  • 2010 – 72%, State – 66% (110 pupils) Ranked 11th of 18 schools in the region.[46] Ranked 9th out of 18 11th grades in the CSIU 16 region.
  • 2009 – 71%, State – 65% [47]
  • 2008 – 63%, State – 65%[48]
  • 2007 – 79.4%, State – 65.4%[49]
  • 2006 – 68%, State – 65%
  • 2005 – 72%, State – 65%
11th grade Science:
  • 2012 – 36% on grade level, (10% below basic). State – 42%. Males – 40%, Females – 32%.
  • 2011 – 36.4% (8% below basic). State – 40%. Males – 41%, Females – 33%. Ranks 12th in CSIU16 high schools.
  • 2010 – 46.9%, State – 39%. Ranked 10th in the CSIU16 region.[50]
  • 2009 – 47.7%, State 40%[51]
  • 2008 – 44.3%, State −39%

Science in Motion Warrior Run High School failed to take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[52] Susquehanna University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College Remediation[edit]

In January 2009, research was presented to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. The research examined course enrollment trends at the state’s 14 community colleges and the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The data, provided by PASSHE and the community colleges, showed that during the 2007–08 school year 20% of Warrior Run High School graduates required costly remediation in math and/or reading before they could take regular college courses. This was the average remediation rate among the IU16 region's high schools.[53][54] 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.[55] 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 – Warrior Run High School does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. Over 400 school districts in Pennsylvania offer this state-funded program.[56]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Warrior Run School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 476. The Math average score was 500. The Writing average score was 463. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[57]

In 2012, 80 Warrior Run School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 487. The Math average score was 496. The Writing average score was 464. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 69 Warrior Run School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 485. The Math average score was 487. The Writing average score was 450.[58] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[59] 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.[60]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Warrior Run High School offered 6 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Warrior Run High School, 37.8% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[61]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Warrior Run School Board has determined that students must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: 4 credits in English, 4 credits in social studies, 4 credits in math, 3 credits in science, 2 credits or 4 courses in physical education, 1⁄2 credit in health, 1 course in driver education, and enough electives to complete the total requirements.[62]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to 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.[63] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[64]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[65][66][67] For the class of 2019, a composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[68] 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.[69] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Middle school[edit]

Warrior Run Middle School is located at 4860 Susquehanna Trail, Turbotville. In 2010, the school had 490 pupils in grades 5th through 8th with 131 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 39 teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[70] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[71] In 2013, 12% of pupils received special education services.

2013 School Performance Profile

Warrior Run Middle School achieved 90.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 74.5% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 5th through 8th through 5th. In math, 85% were on grade level. In 8th grade science, just 76.8% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing 81% of pupils were on grade level.[72]

AYP History

In 2012, Warrior Run Middle School achieved AYP status even though it missed all metrics measured in reading and mathematics.[73] In 2011, the Middle School declined to Warning Status.[74] In 2010, the School achieved AYP status. In 2010 and 2009, the middle school's attendance rate was 95%.[75]

PSSAs

Fifth grade is tested in reading, math and writing. Sixth and seventh grades are tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999. Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[37]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 – 93%, (1% below basic). State – 79% on grade level.
  • 2011 – 87%, (5% below basic). State – 81.8%
  • 2010 – 85%, State – 81% (136 pupils)[76]
  • 2009 – 89%, State – 80%[77]
  • 2008 – 78%, State – 78%[78]
  • 2007 – 78%, State – 67%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2012 – 90%, 68% advanced. State – 76% [79]
  • 2011 – 80.9%, 61% advanced. State – 76.9%
  • 2010 – 83%, State – 75% [80]
  • 2009 – 75%, State – 71% [81]
  • 2008 – 75%, State – 70%[82]
  • 2007 – 56%, State – 74%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 – 76.3% on grade level. (5% below basic). State – 59%
  • 2011 – 76.3% (12% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 73%, State – 57%. Ranked 4th among 19 – 8th grades in the CSIU16 region.[83]
  • 2009 – 65%, State – 54%
  • 2008 – 59%, State – 52% [84]

Turbotville Elementary School[edit]

Turbotville Elementary School is located at 301 Pine Street, Turbotville. In 2010, there were 295 pupils grades kindergarten through 4th, with 111 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 22 teachers.[93] In 2012-13, enrollment was 286 pupils, with 37% of students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school provides full day kindergarten in 2013.

2013 School Performance Profile

Turbotville Elementary School achieved 86.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, 85% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd and 4th. In 3rd grade 90% of pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 87.7% showed on grade level skills. In 4th grade science, 88.71% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[94]

AYP History

From 2008 through 2012, Turbotville Elementary School achieved AYP status each year.

In 2012, 89% of Turbotville Elementary School students (in 3rd and 4th grades) had math skills on grade level, with 65% achieving advanced. In Reading, 79% of the students in grades 3rd and 4th were on grade level. In 4th grade science, 98% of the students were on grade level with 75% advanced.[95]

In 2011, 88% of the 3rd and 4th grade pupils were on grade level in Mathematics and 70% of 3rd and 4th grade were on grade level Reading. In 4th grade science 85% were on grade level.[96]

In 2010, the 4th grade was the top scoring in science among CSIU16 region school 4th grades, with 98% of the pupils on grade level in science.[97] In 2010, 79% of Turbotville Elementary School's 4th grade were on grade level in reading. The School was ranked 12th in reading among CSIU16 region school 4th grades.[98][99]

Watsontown Elementary School[edit]

Watsontown Elementary School is located at 1100 Main Street, Watsontown. In 2010, there were 336 pupils grades kindergarten through 4th, with 132 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 26.5 teachers.[100] In 2013, the school had 336 pupils, with 38% receiving a free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school provides full-day kindergarten.

2013 School Performance Profile

Watsontown Elementary School achieved 82.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 76% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 4th. In 3rd grade, 83% were on grade level reading. In math, 85.9% were on grade level. In 4th grade science, just 86.5% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[101]

AYP status History

In 2012, Watsontown Elementary School improved to achieving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In Reading, just 72% of the 3rd and 4th grade pupils were on grade level. In Mathematics, 86% of 3rd and 4th graders were on grade level. In 4th grade science, 85% were on grade level.[102]

In 2011, Watsontown Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status due to low student achievement in reading. Just 68% of the 3rd and 4th grade pupils were on grade level in Reading and 89% of 3rd and 4th graders were on grade level Mathematics. In 4th grade science, 88% were on grade level.[103]

In 2010, the 4th grade was ranked 26th in reading among CSIU16 region school 4th grades.[98] In 2009, the 4th grade was ranked 28th in math among CSIU16 region school 4th grades.[104][105]

Bullying Policy and school safety[edit]

In 2013, the Warrior Run School District administrative reported there were two incidents of bullying in the district and three incidents of sexual harassment.[106] There were 6 law enforcement incidents including 5 episodes of Terroristic Threats, with 3 students assigned to alternative education.

In 2009, the Warrior Run School District administrative reported there was one incident of bullying in the district.[107][108]

In January 2010, the administration reported implementing an antibully program which includes teacher trainings, web based information for parents and student interventions.[109]

In September 2011, each of the schools within the district instituted an anti-bullying campaign with positive schoolwide behavior plans. At the high school level, the program was called Defender P.R.I.D.E., with each letter representing a positive quality expected from students: Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence. The middle school's program, entitled R.E.S.P.E.C.T. focused on Responsibility, Empathy, Self-control, Perseverance, Excellence, Cooperation, Teamwork. The two elementary schools together used the program CARES, for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-control.

The school board prohibits bullying by district students. A policy approved in December 2008 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.[110] 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.[111] 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.[112]

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.[113]

Safe School grant[edit]

In 2013, Warrior Run School District was awarded $13,190 in a state Safe Schools Targeted Grant. The maximum of $25,000 grants were awarded through a competitive application process.[114] The funds must be used for research based interventions, like: peer mediation, staff training in managing behavioral issues and creating a positive school climate. The District did not participate in the state's School Resource Officer and Police Officer grant.

Special education[edit]

In June 2014, a second lawsuit was filed by a parent against the District due to denial of special education services to a student.[115]

In December 2011, Warriror Run School District administration reported that 217 pupils or 13% of the district's pupils received Special education services, with 30% having a specific learning disability.[116] In December 2010, the District administration reported that 218 pupils or 13% of the District's pupils received Special education services, with 31% having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the District administration reported that 238 pupils or 13.7% of the district's pupils received Special education services.[117]

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. When a child experiences difficulty within the classroom, screening information will be gathered by the team located within the child’s school to determine his or her specific needs. 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 make a written request for a multidisciplinary evaluation to the building principal or the Director of Special Education.[118]

Once permission is given for the evaluation, the District has 60 calendar days to complete the report. The parent will be sent a copy 10 days before the team IEP meeting called an Educational Review. Following the ER, the district has 30 days to develop an IEP (individual Education Plan) with parent/guardian participation. The time from IEP written plan to implementation may be no more than 10 days.[119][120] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.

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.[121] 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.[122] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[123] 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.[124] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[125] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[126]

Warrior Run School District received a $1,011,053 supplement for special education services in 2010.[127] The school district was level funded for 2011. For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, 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.[128] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 19 pupils or 1.14% of its students were gifted in 2009.[129] 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. 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.[130][131]

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[132]

In 2013, Warrior Run School Board and the Warrior Run Teacher's Union were in negotiations over a new contract. The teacher's union has engaged in a labor action called "working to rule" to pressure the Board for concessions.[133] A fact finding report by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board was provided to the District in May 2013.[134] Teachers had been working since the previous contract expired in June 2011. In June 2013, they agreed to a new contract which spans July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2015.[135]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Warrior Run School District was $48,431 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $14,599.33 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $63,030.81.[136] The top salary was $118,450.

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Warrior Run School District was $49,601 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $11,933 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $61,535.[137] 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.[138]

In 2009, the Warrior Run School District reported employing 189 teacher and administrators with an average salary of $50,980 and a top salary of $115,824.[139][140] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid 2 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, a retirement bonus paid in a lump sum plus an early retirement inducement and other benefits. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year teachers contribute ten percent of the premium cost attributed to the employee’s health insurance. A sabbatical leave is offered at one half salary and full benefits for one year. Time on sabbatical leave is counted toward seniority where applicable in the District, retirement fund payments, and the accumulation of sick leave.[141]

In 2007, the District employed 124 teachers and the average teacher salary in the district was $47,049 for 180 days worked.[142] > 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.[143]

Per pupil spending Warrior Run School District administrative costs in 2008 were $631.78 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[144] In November 2010, the board hired Dr. John Kurelja as superintendent with a contract awarding a $115,000 initial salary for a 4.5 year term.[145] In April 2008, the school board approved a three year for Daniel B. Sheaffer as Superintendent, with an initial salary of $112,450 beginning July 1, 2008. The contract included an extensive benefits package including life insurance, health insurance, defined benefit pension, paid sick and vacation days, dues paid and more.[146] In June 2010, the superintendent announced his intention to retire in December 2010.[147] In June 2014, the Warrior Run School Board approved salary and pay increases totaling $880,757 for 12 administrative and supervisory positions in a 7-2 vote.[148] Warrior Run School Board has raised salaries in excess of the rate of inflation, exacerbating the District's challenges paying PSERS costs.[149]

Warrior Run School District administration reported that per pupil spending in 2008 was $10,234 which ranked 460th in the state' 501 school districts.[150] According to an administrative report to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in 2010 the per pupil spending had risen to $10,870.94.[151] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[152] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[153]

Reserves In 2008, the Warrior Run School District reported a balance of zero, in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,710,751. [154] In 2010, Warrior Run School District Administration reported an increase to $1,499,702 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported $228,000 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. Pennsylvania public 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.[155] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[156]

Audit In January 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and the school board, including possible conflicts of interests in the actions of board members.[157] In January 2013, the District was audited again by the Pennsylvania Auditor General. The findings were reported to the Board.

Tuition Students who live in the Warrior Run School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the Warrior Run School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,310, High School - $8,898 .[158]

KOZ zone In June 2009, the Warrior Run School Board voted to approve two resolutions requested by the Union County Industrial Development Corporation to extend tax benefits of the Keystone Opportunity Zone and Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone in Great Stream Commons in Gregg Township, Union County, by seven years. The owners of these properties will be not be required to pay income taxes related to the property nor any local property taxes or school property taxes.[159]

In 2011, the Warrior Run School Board passed a $18,800,000 budget that included raises for administration and support staff which averaged three percent. Classified staff received a 35 cent per hour increase. The district is in negotiations with the teachers' union for a new contract.[160] In January 2013, the Board and teachers' union continue to negotiate. The teachers staged a work action to bring pressure on the Board. In June 2013, the parties agreed to a contract covering July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015. Much of the agreement follows a fact finders report.[161]

Warrior Run School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax at 1.3%, a property tax, a $5 per capita tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[162] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. 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.[163] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[164]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Warrior Run School District receives 48.6% of its annual revenue from the state.[165]

For the 2014-15 school year, Warrior Run School District will receive $6,119,902 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $105,050 in Accountability Block Grant funding and $100,018 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[166] The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[167]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Warrior Run School District received a 1.8% increase or $6,120,395 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $106,932 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Warrior Run School District received $105,050 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Northumberland County, Shikellamy School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 1.9%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[168] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[169]

For the 2012-13 school year, Warrior Run School District received $6,013,463 in state Basic Education Funding. Total state funding to the District was $8,722,873.[170] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. Warrior Run School District received $105,050 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement. The state also provided statewide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS. [171] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011–12, Warrior Run School District received $6,013,463 in state Basic Education Funding.[172] Additionally, the District received $105,050 in Accountability Block Grant funding for full day kindergarten. 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.[173] 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.[174] In 2010, the District reported that 459 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[175]

In the 2010–11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.01% increase in Basic Education funding to Warrior Run School District for a total of $6,408,536. Milton Area School District received the highest increase in Northumberland County a 6.46% in Basic Education Funding from the state. Among the 500 school districts in the commonwealth, 150 Pennsylvania School districts received the base 2% increase while Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received a 23.65% increase for 2010. Fifteen school districts received an increase greater of than 10%.[176] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each public school district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when 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 public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[177]

In the 2009–10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.46% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,221,470 to Warrior Run School District. The Pennsylvania Department of Education gave 15 school districts an increase of Basic Education Funding of over 10% in the 2009 – 10 budget.[178] Mount Carmel Area School District received 6.23% which was the highest increase in Northumberland County in 2009. In Pennsylvania, ninety school districts were allotted the base increase of 2%. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received an increase of 22.31%.[179] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation made in the budget proposal released in February each year.[180]

In 2008-2009, the state Basic Education Funding to the District was $6,013,462.59. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reported that, in the 2007–08 school year, 403 students received a free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.

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 the 2010–11 school year, the Warrior Run School District applied for and received $285,131, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide additional training to teachers to improve instruction (1st year) and to improve science instruction (4th year).[181][182][183]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the numer of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of english language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[184]

Warrior Run School District will receive $100,018 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant funding, PreK Counts funding, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided Pennsylvania school districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Mathematics) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The state grant requires the district hire a part-time technology coach, whose role is to assist the teachers in using the equipment and software effectively to improve their instruction. The salary is covered by the grant.[185] The program was funded from 2006–2009. Warrior Run School District did not seek funding in 2006–07 nor in 2007–08. The District received $102,676 in 2008–09.[186] Among the public school districts in Northumberland County the highest award was given to Shikellamy School District which received $373,690. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Other grants[edit]

Warrior Run School District did not participate in: the state's Science Its Elementary grant (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell) [187] the Education Assistance Grant for tutoring for struggling students; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[188] the state's Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy RTTT federal grant;[189] 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants,[190] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

Warrior Run School District received $1,297,635 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[191] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[192] 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]

Warrior Run School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[193] 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.[194] 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.[195]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Warrior Run School Board elected to 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.[196] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Warrior Run School Board set property tax rates in 2014-2015 at 11.09 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 59.9600 mills for property in Northumberland County and 10.7100 mills for Gregg Township, Union County properties.[197] 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.[198] 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.[199] Property taxes are complicated in the district because it includes eight municipalities in three counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.

  • 2013-2014 - 9.8900 mills for districts residents whose property is in Montour County, 57.2800 mills for properties in Northumberland County and 10.0500 mills for Gregg Township, Union County.
  • 2012-2013 - 9.5600 mills for districts residents whose property is in Montour County, 54.3100 mills for properties in Northumberland County and 9.5400 mills for Gregg Township, Union County.
  • 2011-2012 - 8.9900 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township, Montour County, at 52.1800 mills for property in Northumberland County and 8.63 mills for Gregg Township, Union County properties.[200][201]
  • 2010-11 – 8.0600 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 48.5000 mills for property in Northumberland County and 8.0600 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.[202]
  • 2009-10 – 7.6500 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 47.3500 mills for property in Northumberland County and 7.33 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.[203]
  • 2008-09 – 7.6300 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 47.5600 mills for property in Northumberland County and 7.53 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.[204]
  • 2007-08 – 7.2100 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 45.4400 mills for property in Northumberland County and 8.33 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.
  • 2006-07 – 7.0300 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 44.9600 mills for property in Northumberland County and 8.13 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.
  • 2005-06 – 75.3000 mills for districts residents whose property is in Anthony Township and Limestone Township in Montour County, at 43.7000 mills for property in Northumberland County and 57.7000 mills for properties in Gregg Township in Union County.

Property tax rates in 2009–10 were complicated by an error of the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board. The Board establishes the market aid ratio for each community which is used in the calculation. The board produced erroneous numbers for 2010, which lead to a community protest. The numbers were eventually corrected.[205] An audit of the agency, called for by local legislators, revealed that the STEB's documentation of municipalities showed 65 percent of the sample contained one or more deficiencies.[206] The problem continued in the 2010-11 budget year.

The average yearly property tax paid by Northumberland County residents amounts to about 2.23% of their yearly income. Northumberland County ranked 1219th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[207] 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%).[208] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09.[209]

Act 1 Index[edit]

The Special Session Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted 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 it can be adjusted higher on a per district basis by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, depending on a number of factors, such as local property values (Market Aid Ratio) 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, increasing health care 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.[210] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[211] Several 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.[212][213]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Warrior Run School District 2006–2007 through 2012–2013.[214]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Warrior Run School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit, due to rapidly escalating teacher pension costs. The District's cost for the teacher's pensions payment to PSERS will be over $2 million in 2014-15.[216] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[217]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Warrior Run School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to rapidly increasing teacher pension costs. The pension payment cost for 2013-14 was $1.58 million.[218] For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[219]

For the 2012-13 school budget year, Warrior Run School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index for teacher pension costs. 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.[220]

For the 2011–12 school year, the Warrior Run School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. They were for special education costs and for increasing employee pension costs. Each year the Warrior Run 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.[221]

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.[222] For the 2010 budget the Warrior Run School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index limit.[223] 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.[224]

In January 2010, the Warrior Run School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the 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.[225] In 2009, the Warrior Run School Board did not apply for any Act 1 Exceptions.[226]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013-14, Warrior Run School District's homestead exemption applicants received $105 in tax relief. In 2013, 3,798 homesteads and farmers applied for relief.[227] The District receives a fixed amount from the State's Gaming fund, which must be divided equally among the applicants, with farm owners receiving a double payment. 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 Northumberland County the highest amount of relief in 2009 went to Shikellamy School District. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $631 per approved homestead.[228]

  • 2012 - $106
  • 2011 - $107 to 3,719 properties.[229]
  • 2010 – $110[230]
  • 2009 – $120 per approved permanent primary residence.[231] In the district, 3,314 property owners applied for the tax relief. In 2009, 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.[232]

According to a Pennsylvania Auditor General report, only 55.32% of Northumberland County residents applied for property tax relief from gaming in 2009.[233]

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.

Enrollment[edit]

In April 2011, Superintendent John Kurelja, reported that the district has been experiencing a significant decline in enrollment over the past five years. The state permits furloughs of staff when enrollment declines 1.4% annually. Warrior Run has declined 1.9% per year.[234] The district is examining the realignment of staffing to reduce expenses. On a local radio program, Superintendent John Kurelja reported that the district has experienced a 9% decline in enrollment from 2006 to 2011, which indicates a realignment of programs and staffing is necessary.[235] He anticipates decreasing the staffing per state guidelines through staff retirements and furloughs to address a $450,000 budget deficit.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are 1681 students enrolled in K-12 for the 2009 school year. There were 146 students in the Class of 2009. The class of 2010 had 136 students. Enrollment in Warrior Run School District is projected to continue to decline by another 150 students by 2017.[236] Warrior Run School District administrative costs in 2008 were $631.78 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[237] In 2009, Governor Edward Rendell proposed consolidation of school district administrations with adjacent school districts in the respective county to reduce the total number of school districts from 500 to 100. The proposal called for excessive administrative overhead dollars to be redirected to: improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce local property taxes.[238] According to Governor Rendell, the consolidation of central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools.[239]

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent.[240] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative costs of the schools will continue to rise.

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.[241] This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[242] 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.[243]

Wellness policy[edit]

Warrior Run School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 – Policy 246.[244] 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, physical activity hat 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.[245] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for its approval.

The Warrior Run School District provides both a free breakfast and a free lunch to children whose families meet federal poverty levels. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[246] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[247]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[248] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of the lunch.[249]

Warrior Run School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[250] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Warrior Run School District offers a variety of extracurriculars, including clubs, activities and an extensive and costly sports.[251][252] Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policy.[253] A student must be passing four full-credit courses on a weekly basis to participate in interscholastic competition. The sports programs are through the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[254] The Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference is a voluntary association of 25 PIAA High Schools within the central Pennsylvania region. All students who participate in sports and cheerleading are charged a $40.00 activity fee at the beginning of the season. This is a one-time fee for the year, not by the activity.[255]

In December 2011, the District's athletic trainer was charged with sexually assaulting a student.[256] The trainer operates a training room with equipment for the athletes.

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[257][258]

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 aged students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, public cyber charter school, public 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.[259]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports
  • According to PIAA directory July 2012 [260]

References[edit]

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  234. ^ Wayne Laepple (April 26, 2011). "Warrior Run ponders layoffs". 
  235. ^ WKOK 1070AM – Roundtable radio program (May 1, 2011). "Dr. John Kurelja, superintendent Warrior Run Area School District, on school vouchers, teacher furloughs and more". 
  236. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Warrior Run School District Enrollment and Projections January 2009.
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  243. ^ [Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  244. ^ Warrior Run School Board Policy Manual
  245. ^ Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools for the School Nutrition Incentive, Pennsylvania Department of Education – Division of Food and Nutrition. July 2008
  246. ^ USDA, Child Nutrition Programs - Eligibility Manual for School Meals, 2012
  247. ^ Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center, The Pennsylvania School Breakfast Report Card, 2009
  248. ^ USDA, Child Nutrition Programs, June 27, 2013
  249. ^ United States Department of Agriculture (2011). "Food and Nutrition Service Equity in School Lunch Pricing Fact Sheet". 
  250. ^ Pennsylvania State Department of Health (2010). "Pennsylvania Bulletin Doc. No. 10-984 School Immunizations; Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases". 
  251. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "Disclosure of Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities". 
  252. ^ Warrior Run School Board, General Fund Annual Budget 2013, 2013
  253. ^ Warriror Run School Board. "Warrior Run School Board Policy Manual Extracurriculars Policy 122, Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123 and Extracurricular Participation by Home Education Students Policy 137.1". 
  254. ^ "Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference School list". 2012. 
  255. ^ Warrior Run School District, Student Handbook, 2013
  256. ^ Socha, Evamarie. Warrior Run athletic trainer charged with sexually assaulting, The Daily Item", December 30, 2011
  257. ^ PA General Assembly, (July 1, 2012). "Senate Bill 200 of Session 2011 Safety in Youth Sports Act". 
  258. ^ UMPC Sports Medicine (2014). "Managing Concussions in Student Athletes: The Safety in Youth Sports Act". 
  259. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005
  260. ^ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (2012). "PIAA School Directory".