Bradford Area School District

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Bradford Area School District
Map of McKean County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
150 Lorana Avenue
Bradford, Pennsylvania, McKean County 16701
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Mrs Katharine Pude
School number (814) 362.3841
Administrator . Assistant Superintendent Samuel Johnson
Principal Kelly Compton, Principal for Curriculum/Assessment
Head teacher Jennifer Morgan, Special Education Supervisor
Faculty 204 teachers (2010)
Grades PreK-12th 2011
Age 4 years Preschool to 21 years for Special Education
Pupils 2633 (2009–10) [1]
 • Kindergarten 210
 • Grade 1 167
 • Grade 2 165
 • Grade 3 198
 • Grade 4 172
 • Grade 5 198
 • Grade 6 192
 • Grade 7 181
 • Grade 8 190
 • Grade 9 228
 • Grade 10 255
 • Grade 11 236
 • Grade 12 241
Mascot Owl
$11,531 (2008) Per pupil spending
Website

The Bradford Area School District is a mid-sized, rural and suburban, public school district in north central Pennsylvania.

The district encompasses approximately 250 square miles (650 km2). It serves the City of Bradford, Borough of Lewis Run and Bradford Township, Corydon Township, Foster Township and Lafayette Township in McKean County, Pennsylvania. According to 2000 federal census data it served a resident population of 21,772. By 2010, the district's population declined to 21,088 people.[2] In 2009, the residents' per capita income was $17,538 a year, while the median family income was $41,646.[3]

According to Bradford Area School District officials, in school year 2007–08, the District provided basic educational services to 2,932 pupils through the employment of 220 teachers, 144 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 20 administrators. Bradford Area School District received more than $18.9 million in state funding in school year 2007–08.

Schools[edit]

The District operates four buildings:

Elementary Schools (K-5)[edit]


School Name Address Administrators
George G. Blaisdell K-2 ES 265 Constitution Av.
Bradford, PA 16701
Principal: Mrs. Erin Waugaman
Assistant Principal: Mrs. Kimberly Swanson
School Street Elementary 3-5 ES 76 School Street
Bradford, PA 16701
Principal: Mrs. Sarah Tingley
Assistant Principal: Mrs. Heidi Blatchley

Middle School (6-8)[edit]

  • Floyd C. Fretz Middle School

140 Lorana Av., Bradford, PA 16701

  • Principal:Mrs. Tina Slaven
  • Assistant Principal:Mrs. Dara Signor

High School (9-12)[edit]

81 Interstate Parkway, Bradford, PA 16701

  • Principal: Mr. David Ray
  • Dean of Students: Mr. Kenneth Coffman
  • Assistant Principals:

Enrollment[edit]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 2700 students enrolled in K-12. There were 253 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 241 students.

Enrollment in Bradford Area School District is projected to continue to decline by 250 students by 2015. With limited local taxation resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in each community. These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging mathematics and science achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. Consolidation of the central administrations would not require the closing of schools.[4]

Academic achievement[edit]

The Bradford Area School District was ranked 242nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school district based, in 2012, on the last three years of student achievement on PSSAs in reading, writing, mathematics and science.[5] 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.

  • 2011 - 260th [6]
  • 2010 - 325th
  • 2009 - 345th [7]
  • 2008 - 403rd out of 500
  • 2007 - 403rd out of 501[8]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Bradford Area School District ranked 98th. In 2011, the district was 112th. [9] 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."[10]

In 2010 and 2011, Bradford Area School District achieved AYP status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act even though several of its schools have not achieved AYP for several years.[11] 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 2012, Bradford Area School District's graduation rate was 92%.[12] In 2011, Bradford Area School District's graduation rate was 96%.[13] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Bradford Area School District's rate was 93% for 2010.[14]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school[edit]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Bradford Area High School reported an enrollment of 941 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 288 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 65 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[19] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 of its teachers were rated "Non-Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[20] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act in 2011.[21]

In 2012, Bradford Area High School was in "Making Progress - School Improvement II" AYP status.[22] In 2011, Bradford Area High School declined to "School Improvement II" AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[23] In 2010, Bradford Area High School continued in Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status. In 2009, the school was in School Improvement I due to low student achievement.[24] Due to the low achievement the school administration was required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act to notify parents of their right to transfer students to a higher achieving school within the District. Additionally, the school administration was mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to write a School Improvement Plan to address students achievement and to submit the plan for approval.

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 79% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[25]
  • 2011 - 73% (9% below basic). State - 69.1%[26]
  • 2010 - 72% (11% below basic). State - 66% [27]
  • 2009 - 64%, State - 65% [28]
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 65% [29]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 77% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[30]
  • 2011 - 69% (11% below basic). State - 60.3%[31]
  • 2010 - 82% (7% below basic). State - 59%[32]
  • 2009 - 45%, State - 56%
  • 2008 - 51%, State - 56%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 49% on grade level (14% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[33]
  • 2011 - 43% (10% below basic). State - 40%[34]
  • 2010 - 33% (15% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 29%, State - 40%[35]
  • 2008 - 47%, State - 39%

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 19% of the Bradford 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. .[36] 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.[37] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 121 Bradford Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 477. The Math average score was 482. The Writing average score was 456. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the US, 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.

From January to June 2011, 151 Bradford Area High School students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 478. The Math average score was 496. The Writing average score was 452.[38] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[39] 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.[40]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Bradford Area School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25.8 credits to graduate, including: mathematics 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 4 credits, science 3 credits, Physical Education 1.4 credits, Health 0.6 credits, Freshman Seminar 0.6 credits and electives 8 credits. Juniors and seniors can take 2 English courses in the same year in order to make up a failed course. The fourth year of high school is not required for graduation if a student has completed all requirements for graduation and attends a postsecondary institution as a full-time student.[41]

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.[42] At Bradford Area High School a students is required to do a written portion and an oral presentation.

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 2017, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature by passing the state's Keystone Exams.[43][44][45] 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.[46] 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.[47] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Floyd C. Fretz Middle School[edit]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Floyd C. Fretz Middle School reported an enrollment of 556 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 263 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 45 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[48] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[49]

In 2012, Floyd C. Fretz Middle School declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement in reading and math. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the school administration to develop a school improvement plan that addresses the poor student achievement and to submit the plan for approval. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. No other middle school is available. In 2011, Floyd C. Fretz Middle School declined to Warning status.[50] The school achieved AYP status in 2009 and 2010.[51] In both 2009 and 2010 the attendance rate was 94%.[52]

PSSA Results

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 61% on grade level (22% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 68% (16% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 62% (23% below basic). State - 57% [58]
  • 2009 - 60% (18% below basic), State - 55% [59]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 52% [60]

Elementary schools[edit]

School Street Elementary School is located at 76 School Street, Bradford. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 553 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 268 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. In 2011, School Street Elementary School employed 40 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[61] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act.[62] In 2010 through 2012, School Street Elementary School achieved AYP status.[63][64]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 91%, (1% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 84%, (5% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 81%, (9% below basic), State - 81%

George Blaisdell Elementary School According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 631 pupils in grades preschool through 2nd, with 340 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The taxpayer funded preschool had 107 pupils in 2010. the school is a federally designated Title I school. George Blaisdell Elementary School employed 48 teachers in 2011, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[67] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[68]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, Bradford Area School district administration reported that 328 pupils or 12.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services with 33% having a Specific Learning Disability. In December 2009, Bradford Area School district administration reported that 347 pupils or 12.9% of the district's pupils received special education services.[69][70]

In order to comply with state and federal laws, the 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. 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.[71] To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. 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 Coordinator of Special Education.[72]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[73]

Bradford Area School District received a $1,726,630 supplement for special education services in 2010.[74]

For the 2011–12 and 2012–13 school years, 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.[75][76]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 66 or 2.27% of its students were gifted in 2009.[77] 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.[78]

Bullying policy[edit]

In 2010, the administration reported there were 16 reported episodes of bullying in the district. There were 19 incidents of fighting, 27 episodes of harassment or Intimidation. Two students were placed in Alternative Education.[79][80]

The Bradford 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 on students may occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[81] 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.[82] 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.[83]

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.[84]

Wellness policy[edit]

School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[85] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[86] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Included in the annual school health screenings, Bradford Area School District conducts dental health screening each year, in Kindergarten through 8th grade, and 10th grade by a school hygienist. Fluoride treatments are administered in second grade. Hearings screenings are done on all children in kindergarten through 3rd grade, 7th and 11th grades and for children in special education classes.[87]

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, two schools in Bradford Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Bradford Area High School received $9,530 which was used to support of the physical education program and School Street Elementary School received $8,856.[88] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

Budget[edit]

In 2011–12, Bradford Area School District employed 222 teachers and administrators. The average teacher salary was $53,332 and the top salary was $123,196.[89]

In 2011–12, the average teacher salary in Bradford Area School District was $49,710.99 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $17,047.84 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $66,758.83.[90] 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.[91]

In 2009, the district employed 236 teachers. The average teacher salary in the Bradford Area School District was $51,711 for 188 days worked. The beginning salary was $35,800, while the highest salary was $114,390.[92] Teachers work a 7-hour 45 minutes day, with one planning period and a paid 30 minute lunch included. Additionally, the teachers receive: a defined benefit pension, health insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, 5 days paid leave in the event of death in the family and many other benefits. The district offers an extensive retirement/longevity package which includes payment for unused sick days accumulated in Bradford Area School District. Teachers who act as mentors for new employees receive additional pay.[93] 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.[94][95] In January 2009, the board and teachers' union agreed to an early bird contract that extended to 2013. Under Act 88, the Local and District are required to begin negotiations by Jan. 10 the year the contract expires.[96] The new contract provides a 4% raise each year. Teachers' contribution for health insurance changed to a percentage of income, rather than a set monthly amount. With the new contract the district could no longer apply for an Act 1 exception to raise property taxes due to the costs of employee health insurance.

In 2007, Bradford Area School District employed 191 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $47,968 for 180 days worked.[97]

The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $639 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[98]

Per pupil spending In 2008, per pupil spending at Bradford Area School District was $11,531 for each child. This ranked 336th among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.[99] In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $13,440.91.[100] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008–09.[101] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[102] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000–01.[103]

Reserves In 2008, the Bradford Area School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $5,527,359.[104] In 2010, Bradford Area Administration reported $5,345,982.00 in the unreserved-undesignated fund and a balance of $1,516,754 in its Unreserved - Designated 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.[105]

Audit In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. The auditors noted that errors in reporting nonpublic pupils transported resulted in overpayments of $72,765.[106]

Tuition Students who live in the District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Area School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,248.47, High School - $8,709.26.[107]

Bradford Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising taxes. Interest earnings on reserve accounts also provide nontax income to the district. In Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of wealth.[108]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012–13 school year, Bradford Area School District received $12,463,344 in state basic education funding.[109] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012–2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011–12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[110] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011–2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010–11 school year.

In 2011–12, Bradford Area School District received $12,246,829 in state Basic Education Funding.[111][112] Additionally, the district received $216,633 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.[113] In 2010, the district reported that 1,165 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to their family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010–11 budget year, the Bradford Area School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $13,423,888. The highest increase in state funding among McKean County school districts was awarded to Kane Area School District at 4.28% increase. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received the 2% base increase for budget year 2010–11. The highest increase in the state was awarded to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was given a 23.65% increase in state basic education funding.[114] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it 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 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 7.46% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $13,160,674 to Bradford Area School District. This was 2 percentage points higher increase than any other McKean County school district received in 2009. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008–09 was $12,246,828.70.[115] The amount of increase each school district received was determined by the Governor Edward G Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[116]

In 2008, the district reported that 1,155 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to their family meeting the federal poverty level.

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides additional education funding to schools in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses designed to improve student academic achievement. Bradford Area School District uses its $587,996 to fund all day kindergarten and for a taxpayer funded preschool, new curriculum development, and teacher training. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding and other federal funding sources.[117] School districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[118] Bradford Area School District received $587,996 which it used to fund:preschool for 90 children, all-day kindergarten for 193 children, teacher trainings, social and health services and to pay teachers to develop new curriculum and course offerings. In 2009–10, the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[119]

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, Mathematics) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. Bradford Area School District did not apply in 2006–07. In 2007–08, Bradford Area School District received $308,966 in funding. For the 2008–09, school year, the district received a final $56,210 for a total funding of $365,176. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[120]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

School Street Elementary School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008–09. For the 2008–09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[121][122] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[123] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[124] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006–07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated. The 2006–07 State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006–07 school year. This marks an 8-percent increase over 2005–06 public school funding.[125] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008–09 budget. In 2011, the grant was discontinued by Governor Rendell due to the state suffering a massive revenue shortfall.

Federal Stimulus[edit]

In 2009–2011, the district received $2,595,644 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[126]

Race to the Top Grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[127] The administration, school board and teachers' union prioritized local control over free resources to improve student success.[128] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[129] 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.[130]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Bradford Area School District School Board chose 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.[131] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. The report found multiple opportunities for savings.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Bradford Area School Board set property tax rates in 2012–13 for district residents were set at 21.5200 mills.[132] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. 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. 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. 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.[133]

  • 2011–12 - 21.5200 mills.
  • 2010–11 - 21.5200 mills.[134]
  • 2009–10 - 21.5200 mills.[135]
  • 2008–09 - 21.5200 mills.[136]
  • 2007–08 - 21.5200 mills.[137]
  • 2006–07 - 21.5200 mills.[138]
  • 2005–06 - 21.5200 mills.[139]

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 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[140] The average yearly property tax paid by McKean County residents amounts to about 2.6% of their yearly income. McKean County is ranked 874th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[141]

Tax exemption ordinance[edit]

Bradford Area School Board approve the LERTA Ordinance in accordance with the rules and regulations put forth by the Township of Foster. Foster Township passed a LERTA Ordinance on November 7, 2011, for a five-year period. On December 1, 1977, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed Act 76 authorizing local taxing authorities to provide for exemption from taxes for certain deteriorated commercial, industrial, or business property. The program provides for partial abatement of city, county, and school real estate taxes in order to encourage the rehabilitation, expansion, and construction of buildings used for industrial and commercial purposes. The exemption rate is: 100% in year one, 80% in year two, 60% in year three, 40% in year four, and 20% in year five.

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 permitted to raise taxes above that index, unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the Pennsylvania 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.[142] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum.[143]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Bradford Area School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.[144]

For the 2012–13 budget year, Bradford Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. 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.[147]

For the 2011–12 school year, the Bradford Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year the Bradford 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.[148]

According to a state report, for the 2011–12 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.[149] In 2011, the state passed an Education Omnibus Bill which amended Act 1 of 2006 to further limit when school boards can raise taxes above the Act 1 index.[150]

Bradford Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009–10 or in 2010–11.[151][152] 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.[153]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, Bradford Area School District approved homestead residents received $297.[154] In 2010, property tax relief for 5,120 approved residents of Bradford Area School District was set at $297.[155] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Bradford Area School District was $305 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 4991 property owners applied for the tax relief. 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 buildings used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must include the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.

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%).[156]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policy.[157] Additionally, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules must be followed in all cases of eligibility, transfer, physical examinations, insurance coverage, starting dates, and use of school equipment.[158] All student-athletes are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of seventy percent or better.[159]

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.[160]

Athletics[edit]

The district offers:

Fall sports: • Boys Golf • Boys Soccer • Cross Country • Football - Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshmen • Girls Golf • Girls Soccer • Girls Tennis • Girls Volleyball

Winter sports: • Boys Basketball - Varsity and Freshmen • Girls Basketball - Varsity and Freshmen • Swimming • Wrestling

Spring sports: • Baseball • Softball • Boys Tennis • Track

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