Burgettstown Area School District

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Burgettstown Area School District
Map of Washington County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
100 Bavington Road
Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, Washington 15021
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent Deborah M. Jackson
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1415 (2010)
 • Other Enrollement projeted tp decline to 1203 by 2020 [1]
Mascot Blue Devils
Website

The Burgettstown Area School District is a small, rural public school district located in Washington County, in southwestern Pennsylvania. It services the Borough of Burgettstown and Hanover Township, Jefferson Township, and Smith Township in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The Burgettstown Area School District encompasses approximately 106 square miles. Per the 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 10,156. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $17,861, while the median family income was $47,473.[2] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08, the Burgettstown Area School District provided basic educational services to 1,517 pupils. In 2009, the student population was 97% white and 3% Black.[3] The district employed 120 teachers, 75 full-time and part-time support personnel and five administrators. The Burgettstown Area School District received more than $9 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The district operates just two schools: Burgettstown Middle/High School (6th-12th) and Burgettstown Area Elementary Center (K-5th).

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2011, the Burgettstown Area School District ranked 310th of 498 Pennsylvania school districts. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and three years of science.[4]

  • 2010 - 354th
  • 2009 - 368th [5]
  • 2008 - 357th out of 498 ranked Pennsylvania school districts.
  • 2007 - 326th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[6]

The Burgettstown Area School District was ranked 78th out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 2009, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and one year of science.[7] In 2008, the district ranked 76th out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts.

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of the Burgettstown Area School District was in the 39th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [8]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 89%.[9] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Burgettstown Area School District's rate was 90% for 2010.[10]

Former graduation calculation rate:

  • 2010 - 93% [11]
  • 2009 - 9%
  • 2008 - 24%
  • 2007 - 14%[12]

Graduation requirements[edit]

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.[13] At Burgettstown Area students complete 30 hours of community service or creative work, students are required to write a Community Service Project Report.[14]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the graduating class in 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[15]

Middle/High School[edit]

In 2011 the school improved to achieving AYP status.[16] In 2010, the school improved to Making Progress: in Corrective Action I AYP status. In 2009, the school was in Corrective Action I for chronically low academic achievement.[17]

In 2009, Burgettstown Area Middle/High School's 11th grade ranked 72nd out of 123 western Pennsylvania 11th grades for academic achievement on three years of PSSAs in: reading, writing, math and one year of science.[18]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 -  % on grade level, (% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[19]
  • 2010 - 78%, State - 66% [20]
  • 2009 - 58%, State - 65% [21]
  • 2008 - 70%, State - 65% [22]
  • 2007 - 75%, State - 65% [23]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - %, on grade level (% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 53%, State - 59% [24]
  • 2009 - 44%, State - 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[25]
  • 2008 - 52%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 53%, State - 53%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - % on grade level (% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level. .[26]
  • 2010 - 32%, State - 40%
  • 2009 - 16%, State - 40% [27]
  • 2008 - 36%, State - 39% [28]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 34% of the Burgettstown Area High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[29] 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.[30] 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.

AP courses[edit]

Burgettstown High School offers four College Board Advanced Placement courses: English Literature, United States History, Biology, Psychology, and German IV. Successful completion of AP classes gives the student weighted points toward grade point average and class rank. The student is responsible for the cost of the final exam that is conducted by the College Board. Students can earn a score of 1 to 5. Higher education institutions award a different amount of course credits based on the student's success on the AP exam.[31]

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program.[32] 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.[33] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[34] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[35]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $6,374 for the program.[36]

Middle school[edit]

In 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 98th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on three years of results in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and one year of science.[37] (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 76% on grade level, Boys 67%/Girls 88%, (7% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 72%, Boys 61%/Girls 88%, 47% Advanced, (14% below basic). State - 82% [38]
  • 2009 - 84%, Boys 76%/Girls 92%, 51% Advanced (10% below basic). State - 80.9%
  • 2008 - 73% (14% below basic), State - 78%
  • 2007 - 75%, State - 75%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 64% on grade level, Boys 60%/Girls 70%, (14% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2010 - 84%, Boys 75%/Girls 95%, 63% Advanced (9% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2009 - 66%, Boys 68%/Girls 64%, 33% Advanced, (7% below basic). State - 71% [39]
  • 2008 - 64% (16% below basic), State -70%
  • 2007 - 62%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 53% on grade level (24% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 60%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 61%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 50%

7th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 77% on grade level (7% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 69%, 32% Advanced (14% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2009 - 57%, 28% Advanced (21% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2008 - 66% (19% below basic). State - 70%
  • 2007 - 61% (14% below basic). State - 67%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 82% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 77%, 44% Advanced (9% below basic). State - 77%.
  • 2009 - 75%, 35% Advanced (14% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2008 - 59% (20% below basic). State - 71%
  • 2007 - 50% (27% below basic). State - 67%

6th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 76% on grade level (4% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 80%, 45% Advanced (8% below basic). State - 68%
  • 2009 - 78%, 44% Advanced (5% below basic). State - 67%
  • 2008 - 65%, 31% Advanced (15% below basic). State - 67%
  • 2007 - 66% (11% below basic). State - 63%

6th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 81% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 85%, 56% Advanced (3% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 87%, 53% Advanced (2% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2008 - 77%, 51% Advanced (10% below basic). State - 72%
  • 2007 - 67% (6% below basic), State - 69%

In 2009, the sixth grade was moved from the Burgettstown Area Elementary Center to the Middle/High School building. The 6th grade teachers are dual certified in elementary education and middle school subject specialty.[40]

Elementary Center[edit]

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the school achieved AYP status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[41] The attendance rate in 2009 and 2010 was 94%.[42] The attendance rate declined to 93% in 2011.[43]

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 70% on grade level (9% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.[44]
  • 2010 - 62% (11% below basic). State - 64% [45]
  • 2009 - 57% (17% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2008 - 59% (18% below basic), State - 62%
  • 2007 - 79% (11% below basic), State - 60%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 76% on grade level (4% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 76% (6% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2009 - 75% (5% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2008 - 57% (13% below basic). State - 73%
  • 2007 - 65% (12% below basic). State - 71%

4th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 83% on grade level (2% below basic), State – 73.3%
  • 2010 - 63% (16% below basic). State - 73%.
  • 2009 - 69% (14% below basic). State - 72%
  • 2008 - 63% (11% below basic). State - 70%
  • 2007 - 64% (17% below basic). State - 60%

4th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 96% on grade level (3% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 87% (1% below basic). State - 84%
  • 2009 - 88% (3% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2008 - 76% (2% below basic). State - 80%
  • 2007 - 76% (14% below basic). State - 78%

4th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 97% on grade level, (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 88% (3% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 88% (2% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 91% (0% below basic). State - 81%

3rd Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 81% on grade level, (8% below basic), State – 77.2%
  • 2010 - 84%, (10% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 85%, (7% below basic), State - 77%
  • 2008 - 86%, (3% below basic), State - 70%

3rd Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 94% on grade level, (1% below basic), State – 83.5%
  • 2010 - 94% (1% below basic). State - 84%
  • 2009 - 91% (2% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2008 - 85% (0% below basic), State - 80%

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 248 pupils or 17.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[46]

In compliance with state and federal regulations, the District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Special Education Department.[47]

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.[48]

Burgettstown Area School District received a $821,921 supplement for special education services in 2010.[49] 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.[50]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 42 or 2.97% of its students were gifted in 2009.[51] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[52]

Bullying and School safety[edit]

The Burgettstown Area School District administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009.[53][54]

The Burgettstown Area School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[55] 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.[56] 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.[57]

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.[58]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reports employing over 120 teachers with a starting salary of $32,000 for 180 days for pupil instruction.[59] The average teacher salary was $46,157 while the maximum salary is $92,401.[60] 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.[61] The teachers work 7 hours and 30 minutes, including a paid lunch period. Additionally, Burgettstown Area School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 1 paid emergency day, 10-12 paid sick days and other benefits. Teachers are paid extra if they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The district provides an extensive retirement package. Employees receive a one-time payment of one hundred and ten ($110.00) dollars for each year of service to the Burgettstown Area School District. Professional employees also receive an additional payment of thirty-five dollars per day for each day of accumulated sick leave. The District also pays the cost of participation in a health insurance plan for retirees.[62] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[63]

In 2007, the district employed 105 teachers and the average teacher salary in the district was $42,825 for 180 days worked.[64] As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation.[65] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[66] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[67]

The district administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $743.77 per pupil. This ranked 265th In Pennsylvania for administration focused spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[68] In July 2004, the school board provided a five-year superintendent contract to Deborah M. Jackson with a salary of $81,700.00. Additionally an extensive benefits package was provided. In March 2010 renewed the contract of Jamie O'Donnell as business manager from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015. Her salary will be $68,000.[69] In 2009, the school board implemented a four-day work week for year-round personnel during six weeks in the summer. While employees would four 10-hour days, no employees would receive overtime unless they work more than 40 hours in a week. The intent was to save on the costs of utilities.[70]

In 2011, the board approved a $16,923,472 budget and reached an agreement with employees that froze pay for one school year.[71]

In 2008, Burgettstown Area School District reported spending $17,771 per pupil. This ranked 25th in the Commonwealth's 500 school districts.[72]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported $2,065,926 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[73]

In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[74]

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.[75] 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.[76]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011–12, the district will receive $6,026,200 in state Basic Education Funding.[77] Additionally, the district will receive $102,805 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.[78] In 2010 the district reported that 502 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty levels.

For 2010-11 the Burgettstown Area School District received a 4.36% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $6,676,710 payment.[79] Charleroi School District received a 9.90% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Washington County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[80]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 6.45% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,397,957. The state Basic Education funding to the Burgettstown Area School District in 2008-09 was $6,010,025.24. The highest increase in Washington County went to Burgettstown Area School District. Eleven Washington County school districts received an increase of less than 5% in 2009-10. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received an increase of 22.31 percent. Sixteen school districts in Pennsylvania received an increase in funding of over 10 percent in 2009.[81] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the budget proposal made in February each year.[82]

In 2009, the district reported that 503 students participated in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program due to low family income.[83]

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 Burgettstown Area School District applied for and received $279,039 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding: to provide professional development to teachers, to pay teacher coaches who help teachers improve instruction and to pay teachers to develop new classes.[84][85]

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. Burgettstown Area School District received $175,588 funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $250,000. For the 2008-09, school year the district did not participate for a total of $425,588. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[86]

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received an extra $1,258,555 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[87]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Burgettstown Area School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[88] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[89] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[90] Pennsylvania was not approved for the federal grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[91]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Burgettstown Area 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.[92] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. It was required to make the report public.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Burgettstown Area School Board set property tax rates in 2011-12 at 117.0000 mills.[93][94] 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. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[95]

  • 2010-11 - 117.00 mills.[96]
  • 2009-10 - 114.00 mills.[97]
  • 2008-09 - 110.00 mills [98]
  • 2007-08 - 105.00 mills.[99]

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 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 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.[100]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Burgettstown Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[101]

  • 2006-07 - 5.6%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.9%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.3%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.9%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.2%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.4%, Base 1.7% [102]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Burgettstown Area School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating pension costs. Each year, the Burgettstown 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.[103]

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.[104]

Burgettstown Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[105][106] 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.[107]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, property tax relief for 2,962 approved residents of Burgettstown Area School District was set at $180.[108] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the school district was $184 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2889 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 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 Washington County, 73% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[109] Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[110]

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 people who have an income of substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[111]

Enrollment and Consolidation[edit]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that the enrollment in Burgettstown Area School District will continue to decline through 2020.[112] A Standard and Poors study found that an optimal school district size, to conserve administrative costs, was 3000 pupils. Consolidation of administrations with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.[113] According to a 2009 proposal by Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improving high school student academic achievement, enriching the curriculum programs or to reducing local property taxes.[114]

In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any school buildings.[115] The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration.[116]

More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[117]

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.[118] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[119]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The school board sets policies regarding eligibility to participate in these activities.[120]

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.[121]

References:

  1. ^ Enrollment and projections by LEA, Pennsylvania Department of Education, July 2010
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2009
  3. ^ New York Times (2007). "Burgettstown Area School District Diversity index". 
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 11, 2011). "Statewide Ranking Information Pennsylvania Schools,". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. 
  5. ^ "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2009". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 15, 2009. 
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County,". 
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 15, 2009). "Western Pennsylvania School District Rankings". 
  8. ^ The Morning Call (2009). "2009 PSSA RESULTS Burgettstown Area School District". 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "BURGETTSTOWN MIDDLE and HIGH School AYP Data Table". 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (200). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA SD - District AYP Data Table". 
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Partnership for Children - High School Graduation Rates 2007
  13. ^ "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
  14. ^ Burgettstown High School Administration (2010). "Graduation Project - Burgettstown High School Class of 2011 & 2012" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". 
  16. ^ "BURGETTSTOWN MIDDLE/HIGH School AYP Overview". Pennsylvania Department of Education. September 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "BURGETTSTOWN MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL - School AYP Overview". 
  18. ^ The Rankings: 11th grades, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15th, 2009
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (October 19, 2010). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  21. ^ The Times-Tribune. (September 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results,". 
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "2007-2008 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2007). "PSSA Math and Reading results". 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  25. ^ The Times-Tribune. (September 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results,". 
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA results in Science". 
  27. ^ The Times-Tribune (September 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 Science PSSA results". 
  28. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "Report on Science PSSA Results report by School 2008.". 
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report". 
  30. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  31. ^ Advanced Placement (AP), Burgettstown High School Guidance Department, 2010
  32. ^ Burgettstown Area High School Guidance Department (2011). "Dual Enrollment Program". 
  33. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  34. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement.". 
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 29, 2010). "Report: PA College Credit Transfer System Makes Higher Education More Affordable, Accessible". 
  36. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10., August 2009
  37. ^ The Rankings: Eighth grade, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 15th, 2009.
  38. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "BURGETTSTOWN Area Middle/High School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  39. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Burgettstown Middle/High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009". 
  40. ^ Burgettstown Area School District Strategic Plan - Academic Standards and Assessment Report, Burgettstown Area School District Administration, 2007
  41. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA Elementary Center - School AYP Overview". 
  42. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA Elementary Center School AYP Data Table". 
  43. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA Elementary Center School AYP Data Table". 
  44. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA Elementary Center Academic Achievement Report Card 2011" (PDF). 
  45. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "BURGETTSTOWN AREA Elementary Center Academic Achievement Report Card 2010" (PDF). 
  46. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education (January 31, 2011). "Burgettstown Area School District Special Education Data Report LEA Performance on State Performance Plan (SPP) Targets School Year 2008-2009". Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. 
  47. ^ Burgettstown Area Special Education Department (2010). "Burgettstown Area Special Education Child Find Annual Public Notice". 
  48. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania Special Education Funding". 
  49. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (July 2010). "Special Education Funding from Pennsylvania State_2010-2011". 
  50. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year". 
  51. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (Revised December 1, 2009 Child Count (Collected July 2010)). "Gifted Students as Percentage of Total Enrollment by School District/Charter School" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  52. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania School Board. "CHAPTER 16. Special Education For Gifted Students". Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  53. ^ Pennsylvania Office of Safe Schools. "Burgettstown Area School District School Safety Annual Report 2008 - 2009" (PDF). Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  54. ^ "Pennsylvania Safe Schools Online Reports". February 2011. 
  55. ^ Burgettstown Area School District Administration (September 18, 2008). "Burgettstown Area School District Anti-Bullying Policy 249". 
  56. ^ "Regular Session 2007-2008 House Bill 1067, Act 61 Section 6 page 8". 
  57. ^ "Center for Safe Schools of Pennsylvania, Bullying Prevention advisory". Retrieved January 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  58. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania Academic Standards". 
  59. ^ "Pa. Public School Salaries, 2009". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved February 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  60. ^ "Burgettstown Area School Payroll report". openpagov. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  61. ^ Teachers need to know enough is enough, PaDelcoTimes, April 20, 2010.
  62. ^ "Burgettstown Area School District Teachers Union Employment Contract" (PDF). 
  63. ^ "Legislature must act on educators' pension hole.". The Patriot News. February 21, 2010. 
  64. ^ Fenton, Jacob (March 2009). "Average classroom teacher salary in Washington County, 2006-07.". The Morning Call. 
  65. ^ Teachers need to know enough is enough, PaDelcoTimes, April 20, 2010.
  66. ^ Burgettstown Area Professional Education Association Employment Contract 2009
  67. ^ Legislature must act on educators' pension hole. The Patriot News. February 21, 2010
  68. ^ Fenton, Jacob (Feb 2009). "Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?,". The Morning Call,. Archived from the original on 2012-04-22. 
  69. ^ Burgettstown School Board Round Up March 2010.
  70. ^ MMER WALLACE-MINGER (May 19, 2009). "Burgettstown School Board agrees to 4-mill increase". 
  71. ^ Karen Mansfield (June 28, 2011). "No tax increase with Burgettstown final budget; pay freeze included". Observer-reporter. 
  72. ^ "Per Pupil Spending in Pennsylvania Public Schools in 2008 Sort by Administrative Spending". 
  73. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Fund Balances by Local Education Agency 1997 to 2008". 
  74. ^ "BURGETTSTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA PERFORMANCE AUDIT REPORT". August 2010. 
  75. ^ Burgettstown Area School District Budget 2009-10
  76. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (October 2010). "Personal Income Tax Information". 
  77. ^ PA Senate Appropriations Committee (June 28, 2011). "School District 2011–12 funding Report". 
  78. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (June 30, 2011). "Basic Education Funding". 
  79. ^ Pennsylvania house Appropriations Committee (August 2010). "PA House Appropriations Committee Basic Education Funding-Printout2 2010-2011". 
  80. ^ Office of Budget (February 2010). "Pennsylvania Budget Proposal,". 
  81. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Basic Education Funding Report by School District. October 2009
  82. ^ Pennsylvania Budget Proposal 2010, Office of Budget. February 2010
  83. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Basic Education Funding Report by School District. October 2009
  84. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Accountability Block Grant report 2010, Grantee list 2010". 
  85. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Accountability Block Grant Mid Year report". 
  86. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (2008-12-22). "Special Performance Audit Classrooms For the Future grants" (PDF). 
  87. ^ Washington County ARRA FUNDING Report website April 2010
  88. ^ Governor's Press Office. (January 20, 2010). "Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support,". 
  89. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchek (December 2009). "Pennsylvania Race to the Top Letter to Superintendents". 
  90. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support. Governor's Press Office. January 20, 2010.
  91. ^ Race to the Top Fund, U.S. Department of Education, March 29, 2010.
  92. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Common Cents program - Making Every Dollar Count". Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  93. ^ Karen Mansfield (June 28, 2011). "No tax increase with Burgettstown final budget; pay freeze included". 
  94. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Finance. (2010). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  95. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Act 511 Tax Report, 2004". 
  96. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Finance. (2010). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  97. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2009). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  98. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Pennsylvania School District Real Estate Tax Rates 2008–09". 
  99. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2007). "Pennsylvania School District Real Estate Tax Rates 2007–08". 
  100. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010-11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines.
  101. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2011-2012,". 
  102. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2011). "The Index Special Session Act 1 of 2006". 
  103. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 the Taxpayer Relief Act information". 
  104. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2011). "Report on Exceptions". 
  105. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2010). "Pennsylvania SSAct1_Act1 Exceptions Report 2010-2011". 
  106. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2009). "Pennsylvania SSAct1 Exception requests Report_2009-2010_May 2009". 
  107. ^ Scarcella, Frank & Pursell, Tricia (May 25, 2010). "Local school tax assessments exceed state averages". The Daily Item. 
  108. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 1, 2009). "Estimated Tax Relief Per Homestead and Farmstead" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-18. 
  109. ^ Auditor General Office (May 23, 2010). "Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief". 
  110. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead 5-1-10. Report Pennsylvania Department of Education, May 2010.
  111. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  112. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections for Burgettstown Area School District, July 2010
  113. ^ Standard and Poor's School Evaluation Services (2007). "Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts,". 
  114. ^ Edward Rendell; Governor and Mary Soderberg; Secretary of the Budget. (February 2009). "2009-10 Executive Budget Facts Pennsylvania School District Consolidation,". 
  115. ^ "Report of the Fiscal Responsibility Task Force" (PDF). Retrieved April 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  116. ^ Jeff Blumenthal (March 7, 2011). "Pennsylvania accountants share budget-cutting ideas". Pennsylvania Business Journal. 
  117. ^ "Research Analyzes Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity", The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. October 2009
  118. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  119. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  120. ^ Burgettstown Area School District Extracurriculars Policy 122 and Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123
  121. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005

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