Albert Gallatin Area School District

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Albert Gallatin Area School District
AGHS
Map of Fayette County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
2625 Morgantown Road
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Fayette County 15401
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected school board members
Superintendent

Mr. Carl Bezjak, Acting Superintendent [1]
former superintendent Walter G. Vicinelly (2006)[2]

Michael E. Tippett (1984)[3]
Administrator

Mrs Eileen Navish, Business Manager
Dr. Beth Hutson, Asst Superintendent
Mr. Chris Pegg, Special Ed, transportation
Mrs. Candice Jordon, Federal Programs, Elementary Ed.
Mrs. Denise Sheetz, Controller
Mr. Chris Bolin, Director Technology
Mr. Bill Chesslo, Director Facilities

Chief Jim Bielecki, School police
Staff 182 non teaching staff members
Faculty 235 teachers (2013)[4]
259 teachers
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old for special education students
Pupils

3,435 pupils (2015)[5]
3,435 pupils (2014)
3,277 pupils (2013)
3,596 pupils (2011)
3,786 pupils (2008)
3,826 pupils (2007)

3,886 pupils (2005)
 • Kindergarten 282 (2014),[6] 277 (2010)
 • Grade 1 244 (2014), 272
 • Grade 2 221 (2014), 266
 • Grade 3 257 (2014), 283
 • Grade 4 263 (2014), 265
 • Grade 5 248 (2014), 283
 • Grade 6 274 (2014), 282
 • Grade 7 267 (2014), 285
 • Grade 8 282 (2014), 309
 • Grade 9 284 (2014), 311
 • Grade 10 280 (2014), 282
 • Grade 11 268 (2014), 298
 • Grade 12 265 (2014), 266 (2010)
Language English
Slogan We Are AG!
Song Alma Mater
Fight song Washington Lee Swing
Mascot Colonials
Budget

$51,975,426 (2015-16)[7]

$38.6 million in 2003 [8]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $6,994.08, HS - $9,163.25 [9]
Per pupil Spending

$12,139 (2008)[10]
$12,757.54 (2010)[11]

$12,581.51 (2012)[12]
Website

The Albert Gallatin Area School District is a large, rural, public school district located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It is named after Albert Gallatin former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, planner of the Lewis and Clark expedition, engineer of the financial details of the Louisiana Purchase, and founder of New York University. It serves the Boroughs of Masontown, Fairchance, Point Marion, and Smithfield. It also serves German, Springhill, Georges, and Nicholson Townships. It encompasses approximately 142 square miles (370 km2). According to 2000 US federal census data, Albert Gallatin Area School District serves a resident population of 25,282. By 2010, the District's population declined to 23,852 people.[13] The educational attainment levels for the Albert Gallatin Area School District population (25 years old and over) were 82.4% high school graduates and 11.9% college graduates.[14] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 61.4% of Albert Gallatin Area School District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[15] In 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that 24 students in the Albert Gallatin Area School District were homeless.[16]

In 2009, Albert Gallatin Area School District residents’ per capita income was $14,454, while the median family income was $31,607.[17] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [18] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[19] In Fayette County, the median household income was $39,115.[20] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[21] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[22]

Albert Gallatin Area High School is part of the Albert Gallatin Area School District is located 7 miles (11 km) south of Uniontown, PA in the village of York Run, Georges Township. The southern end of the Albert Gallatin School District borders West Virginia. Pittsburgh is approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of AG High School and Morgantown, West Virginia is 20 miles (32 km) to the south. The student population at Albert Gallatin School District is 3,659 with 1158 students attending Albert Gallatin High School.

Recent building improvements include a state-of-the-art stadium grass playing field, a resurfaced competition track, and a new field house. Technology in the building has been recently upgraded with the installation of 16 "Classrooms for the Future" that include mobile laptop carts/digital whiteboards/printers/digital cameras, and a distance learning lab that enables teaching to various buildings at once. The school mascot is the Colonial. The school is locally known by its initials, AG.

History[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area School District [23] was formed in 1951, with one high school near Point Marion. The former high schools were turned into elementary and Jr. High Schools. In 1965, Fairchance-Georges and German Township School Districts joined AG. There were three high schools: Fairchance-Georges, German Township, and Albert Gallatin. In 1987, the District merged the three high schools into one at the Fairchance-Georges site and renamed it Tri-Valley Senior High School. Also, this year, they closed the Point Marion Elementary/Jr. High Building, keeping the present number of elementary schools to six. The Tri-Valley Name did not last long, as the school board in 1993, changed the name of the high school back to Albert Gallatin.

Schools[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area School District operates: six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one senior high school.

  • Albert Gallatin High School
  • Albert Gallatin South Middle School
  • Albert Gallatin North Middle School
  • A.L. Wilson Elementary School
  • D. Ferd Swaney Elementary School
  • Friendship Hill Elementary School
  • George J. Plava Elementary School
  • Masontown Elementary School
  • Smithfield Elementary School

Governance[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[24] The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act(renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[25] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[26] Albert Gallatin Area School Board has not complied as of March 2016.

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. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[27] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[28] Albert Gallatin Area School Superintendent has not complied with the mandate as of March 2016.[29]

Academic achievement[edit]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that two schools in the Albert Gallatin Area School District are among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. They were George J Plava Elementary School and Masontown Elementary School.[30][31] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[32]

Lowest achieving schools list

In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying five Albert Gallatin Area School District schools as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state. They were: Albert Gallatin Area High School, Albert Gallatin North Middle School, Albert Gallatin South Middle School, Masontown Elementary School and George J Plava Elementary School.[33] Albert Gallatin North Middle School and Albert Gallatin South Middle School have been on the list each school year, since the annual report's inception in 2011. Albert Gallatin Area High School has been on the list each year since 2013-14. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[34] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[35] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County were among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships.

Statewide academic ranking

In 2015, Albert Gallatin Area School District ranked 450th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the Albert Gallatin Area School District students was in the 12th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best).[44]

Albert Gallatin Area School District was ranked 92nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, in 2010, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and two years of science.[45] This covers public schools, including charter schools in: Fayette County, Westmoreland County, Allegheny County, Washington County, Beaver County, Armstrong County and Butler County.

  • 2009 - 93rd [46]
  • 2008 - 93rd in western Pennsylvania school districts.

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Albert Gallatin Area School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to low student academic achievement.[47] In 2011, Albert Gallatin Area School District achieved AYP status. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[48] From 2006 to 2010, Alberta Gallatin Area School District, as a whole, achieved AYP status each year. In 2005- Warning AYP status; 2004 - achieved AYP status and 2003 - Warning status, due to lagging student achievement.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Albert Gallatin Area School District's graduation rate was 86%.[49]

  • 2014 - 84.5%[50]
  • 2013 - 81.94%[51]
  • 2012 - 80%.[52]
  • 2011 - 86%.[53]
  • 2010 - 79%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[54]
Former AYP graduation rate

High school[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area High School is located at 1119 Twp Drive, Uniontown. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 1,097 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 56% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal federal poverty level. Additionally, 17% of pupils received special education services, while 2% of pupils were identified as gifted.[59] The school employed 64 teachers.[60] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[61]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Albert Gallatin Area High School reported an enrollment of 1,111 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 549 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 72 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[62] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.[63]

2015 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin Area High School achieved 71.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 69.5% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 48% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 47.5% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[64] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[65][66]

2014 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin Area High School achieved 73.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 67% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 49% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 38% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[67] Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.[68]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[69] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[70][71]

2013 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin Area High School achieved 75.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 68% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 52% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 34.8% showed on grade level science understanding.[72] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[73]

AYP history

In 2012, Albert Gallatin Area High School declined further to Corrective Action level I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. The school achieved just 1 out of 12 metrics measured.[74]

  • 2011 - in School Improvement level II AYP status, due to chronic, low student achievement in reading and mathematics.[75]

2010 - declined again to School Improvement II AYP status, due to chronic, low student academic achievement. The school achieved just one of 8 academic achievement assessment criteria.[75]

  • 2009 - in School Improvement I AYP status.
  • 2008 - declined to School Improvement I AYP status. The school administration was mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act to notify parents of the low student achievement and to offer a transfer to a better performing school, in the District. Additionally the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration to write a School Improvement plan that focused on the ongoing poor academic issues.
  • 2007 - declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging student achievement[76]
  • 2006 - achieved AYP status[77]
  • 2005 - remained in School Improvement Level 1 AYP status[78]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level 1 AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student academic achievement
Western PA academic ranking

In 2011, the high school's 11th grade ranked 105th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools based on five years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and three years of science.[79]

  • 2010 - 97th [80]
  • 2009 - 104th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools [81]
PSSA Results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. 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.[82] In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[83]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 57% on grade level, (24% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[84]
  • 2011 - 59% (19% below basic). State - 69.1% [85]
  • 2010 - 54%, (28% below basic). State - 67%[86]
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 59%, State - 65% [87]
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 65% [88]
  • 2006 - 58%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 46% on grade level (33% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[89]
  • 2011 - 53%, (18% below basic). State - 60.3%[90]
  • 2010 - 40%, (37% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 56% [91]
  • 2008 - 38%, State - 56% [92]
  • 2007 - 39%, State - 53%
  • 2006 - 44%, State - 52% [93]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 26% on grade level (27% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[94]
  • 2011 - 24%, (31% below basic). State - 40% [95]
  • 2010 - 25% (29% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 27%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 15%, State - 39% [96]
  • 2007 - tested, results withheld by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 23% of the Albert Gallatin Area School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education schools or community colleges.[97] 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.[98] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Albert Gallatin Area High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[99] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[100] The program is offered through over 400 school districts with the assistance of a state grant. For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $16,103 for the program. The grants were discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell in his 2010-11 budget.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board requires students earn 24 credits to graduation, including: English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Arts or Humanities 2 credits, Health .5 credit, Physical Education 1 credits, Introduction to Computers .5 credit, and Electives 3 credits.[101]

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.[102] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[103]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2019,[104] 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.[105][106][107][108] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[109]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[106][107] 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.[110] 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.[111] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 134 Albert Gallatin School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 473. The Math average score was 474. The Writing average score was 443.[112][113] Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing.[114] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 05 Albert Gallatin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 471. The Math average score was 463. The Writing average score was 443. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[115]

In 2012, 107 Albert Gallatin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 474. The Math average score was 479. The Writing average score was 474. 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, 134 Albert Gallatin Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 454. The Math average score was 471. The Writing average score was 442.[116] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[117] 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.[118]

Albert Gallatin North Middle School[edit]

Albert Gallatin North Middle School is located at 113 College Avenue, McClellandtown. In 2015, enrollment was 417 pupils, in grades 6 through 8th, with 60.7% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 21% of pupils received special education services, while % of pupils were identified as gifted.[119] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[120] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the Albert Gallatin North Middle School reported an enrollment of 412 pupils, in grades t6h through 8th, with 250 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 28 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[121]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 61% of 8th grade students at Albert Gallatin North Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 23% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 60% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 36% were on grade level in reading, while 21% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 53% were on grade level in reading and 41% were on grade level in mathematics.[122] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[123] Albert Gallatin North Middle School has been listed on the state's lowest 15% achievement schools every year, since 2011.

2014 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin North Middle School achieved 67 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 59% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 63% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 46% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 70.97% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[124]

2013 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin North Middle School achieved 69.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 59% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 67% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 44% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 52% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[125]

AYP history

In 2012, Albert Gallatin North Middle School declined to School Improvement I AYP Level due to achieving 9 out of 17 metrics.[126] The school administration was required to notify parents of the low achievement and to offer students an opportunity to transfer to a better performing school. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration to develop a School Improvement plan to address the low academic achievement.

  • 2011 - declined to Warning status due to lagging student academic achievement.
  • 2010 - achieved AYP status.[127] Sixty percent of the students are on grade level in reading, math and science in 2011.[127]
PSSA history

Sixth and seventh grades have been 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, as a state initiative.[128] 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.[129] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[82] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[130]

Eighth Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2011 - 71% (17% below basic). State - 81.8% [131]
  • 2010 - 77%, (16% below basic). State - 81% [132]
  • 2009 - 73%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 78%
Eighth Grade Math
  • 2012 - 55% on grade level (25% below basic). State - 76% [133]
  • 2011 - 62% (20% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 62% (21% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 67%, State - 71% [134]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 70%
Eighth Grade Science
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level (38% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 25%, (50% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 45%, (40% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 40%, State - 55%.[135]
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 52% [136]

Albert Gallatin South Middle School[edit]

Albert Gallatin South Middle School is located at 224 New Geneva Road, Point Marion. In 2015, enrollment was 406 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 67% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 19.9% of pupils received special education services, while 1.5% of pupils were identified as gifted.[137] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 96% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[138]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, Albert Gallatin South Middle School reported an enrollment of 415 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 277 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 29 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[139] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[140]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that just 34% of 8th grade students at Albert Gallatin South Middle School (AGSMS) students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 11% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 49% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 46% were on grade level in reading, while 19% showed on grade level math skills. Among AGSMS 6th graders, 40% were on grade level in reading and 18% were on grade level in mathematics.[141]

2014 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin South Middle School achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, 61% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 63.6% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 53% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 62% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[142]

2013 School Performance Profile

Albert Gallatin South Middle School achieved 74 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 60.8% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 61.9% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 41.8% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 72% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[143]

AYP history

In 2012, the school declined to School Improvement II status due to persisting low student academic achievement in reading and mathematics.[144]

  • 2011 - declined to School Improvement I status due to lagging student academic achievement. Less than fifty percent of the students are on grade level in reading, math and science in 2011.[145]
  • 2010 - declined to Warning status.[146] The attendance rate was 92% in 2011 and 2010 in 91% in 2010.[147]
Eighth Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2011 - 62%, (22% below basic). State - 81.8% .[148]
  • 2010 - 74%, (18% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 78%, State - 80%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 78%
Eighth Grade Math
  • 2012 - 53% on grade level (26% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 56%, (26% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 70%, (16% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 63%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 68%, State - 70%
Eighth Grade Science
  • 2012 - 42% on grade level (40% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 41%, (43% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 55%, (33% below basic). State - 57%.
  • 2009 - 47%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 52%

A.L Wilson Elementary School[edit]

A.L Wilson Elementary School is located at 100 A.L. Wilson Dr., Fairchance. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 226 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 54% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[149] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[150] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

A.L Wilson Elementary School had an enrollment of 251 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 123 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 21 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[151] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[152]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 62% of 5th grade students at AI Wilson Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 43% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 53% were on grade level in reading, while 60% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 97% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 53% were on grade level in reading and 36% were on grade level in mathematics.[153] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[154]

In 2011 and 2012, A.L Wilson Elementary School achieved AYP status.[155] In 2012, only 73% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 81% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 52% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 89% of the pupils were on grade level, with 61% achieving advanced.[156]

D Ferd Swaney Elementary School[edit]

D Ferd Swaney Elementary School is located at 1152 Township Dr., Uniontown. In 2015, enrollment was 243 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th grades, with 57% of the pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 18% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[157] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[158] The School is a federally designated Title I school.

In 2011, D Ferd Swaney Elementary School had an enrollment of 233 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 151 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[159] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[160]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 46% of 5th grade students at Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, only 8% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 58% were on grade level in reading, while 44.8% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 79% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, only 34% were on grade level in reading and 39% were on grade level in mathematics.

AYP history

In 2011 and 2012, D. Ferd Swaney Elementary School achieved AYP status.[161] In 2012, 80% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 84% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 51% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 92% of the pupils were on grade level.[162]

Friendship Hill Elementary School[edit]

Friendship Hill Elementary School had an enrollment of 239 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 166 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 19 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[163] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[164]

AYP history

In 2012, Friendship Hill Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2011, Friendship Hill School achieved AYP status.[165] In 2012, only 63% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 75% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 40% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 97% of the pupils were on grade level.[166]

George J Plava Elementary School[edit]

George J Plava Elementary School is located at 120 Puritan Road, McClellandtown. In 2015, the School's enrollment was pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 66% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[167] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten.[168] The school is a federally designated Title I school. George J Plava ES is on the state's lowest 15% achieving schools list.

In 2011, George J Plava Elementary School had an enrollment of 342 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 226 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 23 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[169] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[170]

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 53% of 5th grade students at George J Plava Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 24% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 44% were on grade level in reading, while 16% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 80% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 48% were on grade level in reading and 27% were on grade level in mathematics.

AYP history

In 2012, George J Plava Elementary School declined to Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status. In 2011, George J Plava School declined to School Improvement I AYP status.[171] In 2012, only 62% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 72% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 37% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils were on grade level.[172]

Masontown Elementary School[edit]

Masontown Elementary School had an enrollment of 238 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 190 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 21 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[173] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[174]

AYP history

In 2012, Masontown Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging academic achievement. In 2011, the School achieved AYP status.[175] In 2012, only 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, just 52% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 78% of the pupils were on grade level.[176]

Smithfield Elementary School[edit]

Smithfield Elementary School had an enrollment of 302 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 169 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty in 2011. The school employed 22 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[177] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[178]

AYP history

In 2012, Smithfield Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2011, Smithfield Elementary School achieved AYP status.[179] In 2012, only 52% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, just 69% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 95% of the pupils were on grade level.[180]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Albert Gallatin Area School District administration reported that 700 pupils or 19.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with % of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[181] In December 2011, the Albert Gallatin Area School District administration reported that 734 pupils or 20.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 48% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 724 pupils or 19.6% of the District's pupils received Special Education services.[182]

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[183] School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2003. The District has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no financial savings.

Albert Gallatin Area School 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.[184] At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Director of Special Education.[185][186] 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.

Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[187] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[188] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[189]

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.[190] 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.[191] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[192] 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.[193] 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.[194] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[195]

Albert Gallatin Area School District received a $2,824,452 supplement for special education services in 2010.[196] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[197] For the 2014-2015 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received an increase to $2,868,375 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[198]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 62 or 1.57% of its students were gifted in 2009.[199] 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.[200]

Bullying policy and school safety[edit]

In 2009, the administrative reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the district.[201][202]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[203] The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of bullying. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[204] 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.[205]

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.[206]

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.[207]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Albert Gallatin Area School District was $54,038 a year.[208] The District employed 340 teachers with a top salary of $112,524.[209][210] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[211] Albert Gallatin Area School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[212] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. 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.[213] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[214] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[215]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Albert Gallatin Area School District was $49,012 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $21,563 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $70,576.[216]

In 2009, Albert Gallatin Area School District reported employing over 300 teachers with a salary range of $31,400 to $100,000 for 184 days.[217] Teachers receive a benefits package that includes: health insurance, life insurance, reimbursement for college courses, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, paid bereavement leave, and a defined benefits pension.[218] Additional compensation is paid for after school activities, training time, and required meetings.

In 2007, the district employed 252 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,979 for 180 student days worked and 184 total days.[219] 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.[220] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits. Teacher receive 45 minutes each school day for class preparation. The length of the school day is 7 hours and 20 minutes. Teachers are paid an extra $10 per hour to cover a class other than their own. The district offers a lucrative retirement program.[221]

Administrative costs Albert Gallatin Area School District's administrative costs per pupil, in 2008, were $730 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 in 2008.[222]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the district reported spending $12,139 per pupil which ranked 257th in the state.[223] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $12,581.[224] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[225] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[226]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a $9,831,154 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[227] In 2010, Albert Gallatin Area School District Administration reported an increase to $7,199,306 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. 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.[228] In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion.[229] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[230][231][232]

Audits In July 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted performance audit of the Albert Gallatin Area School District. The findings were reported to the school board and administration.[233]

Interest swap deal In November 2009, Auditor General Jack Wagner reported that Albert Gallatin Area School District entered into high risk Interest swap deals under Act 23 of 2003. By 2009, 107 Districts out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts entered into these transactions. Seven Berks County public school districts also entered into swap deals with investment banks. It was found that fees that were characterized as being paid by the investment banks were actually ultimately charged to the District.[234][235]

Albert Gallatin Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%, per capita taxes, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, 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. 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 income level.[236] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits. Both retirement benefits are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[237] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[238][239]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Albert Gallatin Area School District receives 70.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[240] This exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[241]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $10,954,424 to Albert Gallatin Area School District, in January 2016.[242] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[243] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[244] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in funding.[245][246] The district also received $684,288 in Ready to Learn grant funds.

For the 2014-15 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $22,822,525 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $651,895 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[247] The Education budget also included 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 paid $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 was $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.[248]

In the 2013-2014 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received a 1.4% increase or $22,435,219 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $316,275 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $339,542 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Fayette County, Laurel Highlands School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 1.9%. Districts had 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.[249] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[250] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[251]

For the 2012-13 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $22,118,944 in state Basic Education funding.[252] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[253] This amount was 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.

For the 2011-12 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $22,118,944 in state Basic Education Funding.[254][255] Additionally, the District received $339,542 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. 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.[256]

For the 2010-11 budget year, Albert Gallatin Area School District was allotted a 2.69% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $23,515,550. The highest increase in Fayette County was provided to Laurel Highlands School District through a 6.29% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[257] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it had received the prior school year, even where enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.52% increase in Basic Education Funding, to Albert Gallatin Area School District, for a total of $22,897,997. The top BEF increase recipient, among Fayette County public school districts, was Laurel Highlands School District which got a 4.23%. In 2009, ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received a minimum 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[258] The amount of increase each Pennsylvania public school district received was set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given in February 2009.[259]

The state Basic Education Funding to Albert Gallatin Area School District, for 2008-09, was $22,118,943. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,233 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[260] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[261][262]

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several funding allocations, including: Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[263] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[264]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010-11, the District applied for and received $921,602 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide all-day kindergarten (6th year) and to increase instructional time through tutoring of struggling students.[265]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

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 Albert Gallatin Area School District received $265,493.[266]

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 number 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.[267]

Albert Gallatin Area School District received $312,353 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, 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 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 to 2009. Albert Gallatin Area School District was denied funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District received $412,696 and in 2008-09 Albert Gallatin Area School District was awarded $75,216 for a total grant of $487,912.[268]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in the state's: Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant 2012 and 2013;[269] Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[270] or DEP Environmental Education and Stewardship Grants;[271][272] 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[273] nor the Project 720 High School Reform grants[274] (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget).

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board decided 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.[275] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal grants[edit]

The District received an extra $5,075,950 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[276][277][278] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[279] 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]

School district officials attempted to apply for the Race to the Top federal grant, but were unable to secure the support of the teachers' union. When approved for the grant, the district would have received millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[280] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[281] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[282] 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.[283]

Enhancing Education Through Technology grant[edit]

The District was awarded $50,000.00.

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with “Highly Quality” teachers and principals as defined by the state.[284] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[285] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $311,886 in federal Title II funding.[286] In 2014-15, Albert Gallatin Area School District applied for and received $296,348.[287]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[288] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[289]

In 2012-13, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $543 in Title III funding for English language learners.[290] For 2014-15, Albert Gallatin Area School District received $570 in Title III funding.[291]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In the summer of 2011, Albert Gallatin Area School District administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). The high school was eligible for funding due to chronic low achievement. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 Million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools in August 2011. The funding is for three years.[292]

For the 2010-11 school year, Albert Gallatin Area School District administration did not apply for a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the senior high school.[293]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal department of education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[294] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[295] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[296]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2015-16 were set by the Albert Gallatin Area School Board at 13.0088 mills.[297] 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. 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. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[298] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[299] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, Albert Gallatin Area School District is adversely impacted in this way.[300]

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.[301] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[302] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[303]

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.[311] The average yearly property tax paid by Fayette County residents amounts to about 2.49% of their yearly income. Fayette County is ranked 973rd of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[312]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[313] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[314] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS taking into account on the PSERS contribution rate.[315]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Albert Gallatin Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[316]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Albert Gallatin Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for special education cost and for its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. The PDE denied added increase due to teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[324]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Albert Gallatin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[325] 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.[326]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Albert Gallatin Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: special education and 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.[327]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Albert Gallatin Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Albert Gallatin Area 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.[328]

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.[329] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly repealed most of the Act 1 tax increase exceptions leaving only special education costs, pension costs and prior voter approved (ballot referendum) debt for construction. The cost of construction projects in the future will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum. Districts can no longer raise property taxes to cover increasing health insurance costs for employees.[330]

The Albert Gallatin Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2009-10 or 2010-2011 [331] 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.[332]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Albert Gallatin Area School District was $129 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 6,380 property owners applied for the tax relief.[333] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Fayette County, 71% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[334] In Fayette County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to Uniontown Area School District at $200. 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.[335] This was the third 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, individual with income much more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[336]

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%).[337]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program. Eligibility to participate is determined through school board policy and the rules of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.[338]

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.[339][340]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [341]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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