Beaver Area School District

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Beaver Area School District
Map of Beaver County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
855 Second Street
Beaver, Pennsylvania, 15009
United States
Coordinates 40°41′30″N 80°18′25″W / 40.69162°N 80.30681°W / 40.69162; -80.30681 (District office)Coordinates: 40°41′30″N 80°18′25″W / 40.69162°N 80.30681°W / 40.69162; -80.30681 (District office)
District information
Type Public
Grades K-12
Superintendent John C. Hansen
Asst. Superintendent(s) Dr. Carrie Rowe
School board Terri Williams (President), Frank Bovalino, Deborah Hogue, Robert L. Bickerton, Mark Deitrick, Tracy Longo, Keith Neeley, Bruce Woodske, Denise Yates
Schools

4 total:

  • Beaver Area Middle School
  • Beaver Area Senior High School
  • College Square Elementary School
  • Dutch Ridge Elementary School
District ID 4203120[1][2]
Students and staff
Students 1,986[2]
Teachers 120[2]
Staff 238[2]
Student-teacher ratio 17:1[2]
District mascot Bobcats
Colors      Maroon
     Gray
Other information
Website www.basd.k12.pa.us

Beaver Area School District is a small, neat, suburban, public school district in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The district encompasses approximately 21 square miles (54 km2) serving the Boroughs of Beaver and Bridgewater and Brighton Township and Vanport Township in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 14,989 people. According to District officials, in school year 2009-10 the Beaver Area School District provided basic educational services to 2,087 pupils through the employment of 135 teachers, 80 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 18 administrators. Beaver Area School District received more than $8.5 million in state funding in school year 2009-10.

The district operates one High School, one Middle School and two Elementary Schools.

  • Elementary - College Square grades (grades K-2)
  • Elementary/Intermediate - Dutch Ridge (grades 3-6)
  • Beaver Area Middle School (BAMS) (grades 7-8)[3]
  • Beaver Area High School (BHS) (grades 9-12)[4]

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[5] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[6]

Academics[edit]

Beaver Area School District was ranked 52nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[7] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing, mathematics and science.[8] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs. The achievement in Beaver Area School District was ranked the highest among the 14 public schools districts in Beaver County .

  • 2011 - 39th [9]
  • 2010 - 55th [10]
  • 2009 - 81st
  • 2008 - 65th
  • 2007 - 56th out of 501 school districts.[11]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Beaver Area School District ranked 202nd. In 2011, the district was 166th. [12] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[13]

Beaver Area School District was ranked 18th out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts, in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessments for math, reading, writing and science.[14]

  • 2011 - 13th
  • 2010 - 18th
  • 2009 - 21st [15] In 2008 the school district also ranked 21st.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Beaver Area School District was in the 94th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [16]

In 2010 and 2011, Beaver Area School District achieved AYP status.[17] 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.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 99%.[18] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Beaver Area High School's rate was 92.99% for 2010.[19]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Beaver Area High School is located at Gypsy Glen, Beaver. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 665 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 85 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 33 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 20.5:1.[24] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 5 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[25]

The school's eleventh grade ranked 21st out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools for student academic achievement in 2009. The ranking was reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times. It was based on the last three years of PSSA results on: reading, writing, math and science.[26]

In 2010 and 2011 Beaver Area High School achieved AYP status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[27]

PSSA Results:
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 77% on grade level, (13% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[28]
  • 2010 - 84% (5% below basic). State - 66% [29]
  • 2009 - 82% (3% below basic). State - 65% [30]
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 68% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2010 - 76% (12% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 78% (7% below basic). State - 56% [32]
  • 2008 - 76%, State - 56%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 58% on grade level (7% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[33]
  • 2010 - 64% (4% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 61% (6% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 39% [34]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 43% of Beaver 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 or community colleges.[35] 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.[36] 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]

The 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. The program is offered through over 400 school districts, including all the high schools in Beaver County except Beaver Area High School.

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 118 Beaver Area School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 521. The Math average score was 518. The Writing average score was 491.[37] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[38] 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.[39]

Middle school[edit]

Beaver Area Middle School is located at Gypsy Glen, Beaver. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 303 pupils in grades 7th and 8th, with 59 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 28.7 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10.53:1.[40] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[41] The attendance rate was 95.9% in 2011 and 99% in 2010.[42]

In 2010 and 2011, Beaver Area Middle School achieved AYP status.[43]

Eighth grade local ranking

In 2012, the 8th grade was ranked 27th out of 141 western Pennsylvania high schools based on three years of results in Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSAs) in: reading, mathematics, writing and science.[44] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County

  • 2011 - 27th
  • 2010 - 45th
  • 2009 - 49th
8th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 88% on grade level (4% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.[45]
  • 2010 - 92% (3% below basic). State - 81% [46]
  • 2009 - 87% (3% below basic). State - 80.9% [47]
  • 2008 - 83% (5% below basic). State - 78%
8th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 91% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 76.9% (126 pupils)
  • 2010 - 91% (6% below basic). State - 75% (150 pupils) [48]
  • 2009 - 82%, State - 71% (171 pupils) [49]
  • 2008 - 72% (12% below basic). State - 70% (163 pupils) [50]
  • 2007 - 68% (3% below basic). State - 68% (156 pupils)

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 70% on grade level (14% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 84% (8% below basic). State – 57% [51]
  • 2009 - 66%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 63% (10% below basic), State - 50%
Seventh Grade

In 2012, Beaver Area Middle School's Seventh Grade ranked 23rd out of 105 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on the last three years of student academic achievement in Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) in: reading, math, writing and three years of science.[52] In 2011, the seventh grade ranked 24th. In 2010 - ranked 26th out of 153 western Pennsylvania public school seventh grades. In 2009, the 7th grade ranked 21st.[53]

7th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 85% on grade level (4% below basic). State – 76% (153 pupils)
  • 2010 - 85% (4% below basic). State - 73% (139 pupils)
  • 2009 - 91% (3% below basic). State - 71% (171 pupils)
  • 2008 - 71% (8% below basic). State - 70% (180 pupils)
  • 2007 - 73% (14% below basic). State - 67% (164 pupils)
7th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 89% on grade level 69% advanced (6% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 93%, 64% advanced (4% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 90%, 77% advanced (4% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 79%, 56% advanced (7% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 68%, 39% advanced (13% below basic), State - 67%

Elementary schools[edit]

College Square Elementary School is located at 375 College Avenue, Beaver. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 409 pupils in grades kindergarten through 2nd, with 66 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 24 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[54] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[55] In 2009 enrollment was 3rd grade - 59 pupils, 4th - 51 pupils and 63 pupils in 5th grade.

In June 2010, the school board realigned the elementary schools to College Square Elementary School providing K-2nd and Dutch Ridge Elementary School offering 3rd through 6th grades. The District has contracted with a private business to provide extended-day kindergarten (called K-Plus), before and after school care and summer camp at Dutch Ridge Elementary School. Children are charged a fee for the programs. The District provides bussing for children from College Square Elementary School to Dutch Ridge Elementary School and reverse to participate in the before and after school program.

Dutch Ridge Elementary School is located at 2220 Dutch Ridge Road, Beaver. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 614 pupils in grades 3rd through 6th, with 125 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 38 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 16:1.[56] 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.[57] In 2010 and 2011, Elementary School achieved AYP status.[58]

PSSA Results
6th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 90%, 67% advanced (3% below basic). State - 69.9% [59]
  • 2010 - 83%, 55% advanced (4% below basic). State - 68% [60]
  • 2009 - 85%, 51% advanced (2% below basic), State - 67% [61]
  • 2008 - 90%, 65% advanced (4% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 84%, 61% advanced (7% below basic), State - 63% [62]

6th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 95% on grade level 83% advanced (1% below basic). State - 78.8% (145 pupils)
  • 2010 - 88%, 70% advanced (4% below basic). State - 78% (155 pupils)
  • 2009 - 90%, 60% advanced (3% below basic), State - 75% (140 pupils)
  • 2008 - 92%, 80% advanced (4% below basic), State - 72% (141 pupils) [63]
  • 2007 - 83% (6% below basic), State - 69% (174 pupils)

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 81% on grade level (3% below basic). State - 67%
  • 2010 - 90% (4% below basic). State – 64%
  • 2009 - 80% (4% below basic). State - 64%
  • 2008 - 79% (5% below basic), State - 62%
  • 2007 - 83% (3% below basic), State - 60%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 88%, 68% advanced (2% below basic). State - 74% (153 pupils)
  • 2010 - 94%, 73% advanced (0% below basic). State - 76.3% (132 pupils)
  • 2009 - 84%, 58% advanced (6% below basic), State - 73% (87 pupils)
  • 2008 - 94% (4% below basic). State - 73% (73 pupils)
  • 2007 - 91%, 74% advanced (2% below basic), State - 71% (79 pupils)
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 80% (9% below basic), State – 73% (148 pupils)
  • 2010 - 85% (4% below basic), State - 73% (156 pupils)
  • 2009 - 88% (4% below basic), State - 72% (87 pupils)
  • 2008 - 82% (8% below basic), State - 70% (92 pupils)
  • 2007 - 84% (4% below basic), State - 60% (75 pupils)
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 87%, 61% advanced (3% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 95%, 70% advanced (2% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 97%, 78% advanced (1% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2008 - 90%, 67% advanced (5% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2007 - 94%, 70% advanced (1% below basic), State - 78%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 93%, 59% advanced (3% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 92%, 64% advanced (3% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 96%, 65% advanced (0% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 96%, (1% below basic), State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 251 pupils or 12% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 40% of identified students having a specific learning disability.[64]

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.[65] 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.[66] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[67] 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.[68]

Beaver Area School District received a $986,255 supplement for special education services in 2010.[69] For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. 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.[70][71]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 43 or 2.09% of its students were gifted in 2009.[72] 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.[73][74]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reported employing 216 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $58,394 and a top salary of $120,745.[75] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (taxpayers pay 98%), professional development reimbursement up to 75% of cost, $65,000 life insurance, 2 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days (which accumulate), up to 5 paid days of bereavement leave, $4000 retirement bonus plus pay for unused sick days and other benefits.[76][77] The teachers work 188 days with (181 pupils instruction days). In 2011, the average teacher salary in BASD was $56,695 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $16,215 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $72,910.[78] 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.[79]

In 2007, the district employed 124 teachers with the average teacher salary in the district at $51,804 for 180 days worked.[80] 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.[81] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[82] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[83]

The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $810.41 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[84]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a balance of zero in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,014,508.00. [85] In 2010, Beaver Area Administration reported an increase to $1,161,621.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund. Pennsylvania 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.[86]

In 2008 the district administration reported that per pupil spending was $10,851 which ranked 407th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $11,364.73.[87] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[88] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[89]

In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the Beaver Area School Board and the District’s administration.[90]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the income level.[91]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $5,104,421 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[92][93] Additionally, the School District received $71,204 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $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.[94] 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.[95] In 2010, the district reported that 294 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[96]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.91% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,309,798. Among the districts in Beaver County, the highest increase went to Midland Borough School District which got a 7.57% 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.[97] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, 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 proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.68% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $5,309,798. Four county school districts received increases of over 4% in Basic Education Funding in 2008-10. Big Beaver Falls Area School District received an 5.26% increase. The majority of Beaver County districts received a 2% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Beaver Area School District in 2008-09 was $5,072,237.46 [98] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[99]

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, Beaver Area School District applied for and received $193,265 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide teacher training to improve instruction and to increase instructional time for students.[100][101]

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 2006-2009. Beaver Area School District was denied funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district did not apply for funding. The district received $81,353 in 2008-09.[102] Among Beaver County school districts, the highest award was given to Freedom Area School District - $476,723. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide due to a massive state financial crisis.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Beaver Area School District received an extra $1,030,779 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used only in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[103]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Beaver Area School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided nearly one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[104] 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.[105] 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.[106][107][108]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the school board at 65.0000 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region.[109] 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.[110] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalization adjusts the tax rates between the counties.[111] In 2010, miscalculations by the board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[112]

  • 2010-11 - 63.9000 mills [113]
  • 2009-10 - 61.7000 mills.[114]
  • 2008-09 - 61.7000 mills.[115]
  • 2007-08 - 59.4000 mills.[116]
  • 2006-07 - 57.0000 mills.[117]

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.[118] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[119] 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.[120][121]

The School District Adjusted Index for Beaver Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[122]

  • 2006-07 - 4.9%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.3%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 5.5%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.2%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 3.7%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 1.8%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.2%, Base 1.7% [123]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Beaver Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index for 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.[124]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Beaver Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: pension costs and special education costs. Each year the Beaver 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 published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[125]

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.[126]

Beaver Area School Board applied for five exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011: pension costs, special education costs, health insurance costs, Maintenance of Local Tax and Maintenance of Selected Revenue.[127] For 2009-10 school budget, the Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[128] 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.[129]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Beaver Area School District was $115 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 3,727 property owners applied for the tax relief.[130] 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 Beaver County, 64% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[131] Among Beaver County public school districts, the highest amount of property tax relief goes to property owners in Big Beaver Falls Area School District who received $352 in 2010. 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.[132] Residents of Chester Upland School District have been the top recipients each year, since the program began.

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.[133]

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%).[134]

Enrollment[edit]

According to Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment reports, there are less than 1900 students enrolled in K-12 in 2009–10 school year at Beaver Area School District. There were 179 students in the Class of 2009. The district's class of 2010 had 149 students. Enrollment is projected to decline to 1700 students by 2020<[135] In 2008, the district administrative costs were $810.41 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[136] A study of Pennsylvania public school spending, conducted by Standard and Poor's, examined the consolidation of low enrollment public schools in Beaver County and western Pennsylvania. The study found that consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings which varied by district.[137] Two Beaver County school districts voluntarily consolidated to better serve their student: Monaca School District and Center Area School District became Central Valley School District in 2009. School districts in Beaver County are struggling to address the growing imbalance caused by a precipitous decline in enrollment coupled with no significant reduction of staff or number of facilities. All of the 15 school districts in Beaver County have less than 3,000 students.[138]

According to a 2009 school district administration consolidation proposal by then Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to reduce property taxes.[139] Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. The Governor's proposal called for the savings to be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes.[140]

Since 2000, rural Pennsylvania public school enrollment has decreased by over 10 percent.[141] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative costs of the schools continue to rise. In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants released a report finding that the state would save hundreds of millions of tax dollars, by cutting the number of school administrations in half through consolidation, with no impact on programs offered to students.[142]

The Commonwealth of 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. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[143] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[144]

Teacher Evaluation Pilot program[edit]

Beaver Area School District has volunteered to participate in a pilot project with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop statewide policy, tools and processes to evaluate teachers and principals in which student achievement is a significant factor affecting performance ratings. Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis, announced that 104 kindergarten-12 entities, including nine career and technical centers, nine charter schools and nine intermediate units, signed-up to participate in the new teacher and principal evaluation pilot program.[145] The initiative is funded by a Gates Momentum grant.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The Beaver Area School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs.[146] They also offer classes to choose from, such as JROTC, band, orchestra, and extra math classes.

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.[147]

Athletics[edit]

Beaver's athletic teams all fall under the name Beaver Bobcats. Beaver's current Athletic Director is Ray Hoppa. Beaver is in the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) and the WPIAL (Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League). Varsity Sports:

Varsity Boys
  • Baseball Coach Bruce Herstine
  • Basketball - Coach Andy Podbielski
  • Football - Head Coach Jeff Beltz
  • Golf - Coach Michael Ludwig
  • Soccer - Coach Scott Hazuda
  • Tennis - Coach Riley Baker
  • Cross Country - Coach Steve Goldcamp
  • Track and Field - Coach Jason Gallagher
  • Swimming - N/A
Varsity Girls
  • Softball - Butch Rousseau
  • Basketbal - Greg Huston
  • Volleyball - Coach Charlene Horwatt
  • Soccer - Coach Rachel Schmitz
  • Tennis - Coach Janet DiTullio
  • Cross Country - Coach Steve Goldcamp
  • Track and Field - Coach Jason Gallagher
  • Swimming - N/A

Middle School and Junior High[edit]

Middle School and Junior High Sports – A middle school team is open only to students in 7th and 8th grade, and a junior high team includes 7th through 9th graders.

Fall
  • Middle School Boys Soccer
  • Middle School Girls Soccer
  • Middle School Boys Cross Country
  • Middle School Girls Cross Country
  • Middle School Girls Basketball
  • Junior High Football
  • Junior High Football Cheerleading (grade 9 only)
Winter
  • Middle School Boys Basketball
  • Junior High Boys Basketball (grade 9 only)
  • Hockey (club sport)
Spring
  • Middle School Girls Volleyball
  • Middle School Boys Track and Field
  • Middle School Girls Track and Field

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]