Clairton City School District

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Clairton City School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Clairton City School District located in southern Allegheny County
Address
501 Waddell Avenue
Clairton, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County 15025-1559
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr Wayde Killmeyer Ed.D. salary $120,000 (2012)
Administrator Mr Charles Lanna, CPA, Business Manager $83,200 (2012)
Principal Berger, Magi, ES, $86,000
Staff 43 non teaching staff members
Faculty 69 teachers (2011)[1]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils 793 pupils (2012-13), 782 pupils in 2010 [2]
 • Kindergarten 82
 • Grade 1 67
 • Grade 2 74
 • Grade 3 71
 • Grade 4 52
 • Grade 5 53
 • Grade 6 60
 • Grade 7 57
 • Grade 8 53
 • Grade 9 38
 • Grade 10 56
 • Grade 11 59
 • Grade 12 71
 • Other Enrollment is projected to decline to 650 pupils in 2016
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Bears
Yearbook The Clairtonian
Budget

$14,490,407 (2013-14)[3]
$14.1 million 2012-13[4]
$12,943,201 (2011-12)[5] $12,634,000 (2009-10)[6]
$13,223,000 (2008-09)
$12,607,000 (2007-08)

$12,158,000 (2006-07)
Per pupil spending $15,652 (2008)
Per pupil spending $15,621.04 (2010)
Website

The Clairton City School District is a diminutive, suburban, public school district. The Clairton City School District encompasses approximately 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) serving the City of Clairton in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 8,491. By 2010, the district's population declined to 6,797 people.[7] In 2009, Clairton City School District residents' per capita income was $14,608, while the median family income was $31,539.[8] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [9] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[10]

Clairton CIty School District officials reported that, in school year 2007-08, the District provided basic educational services to 808 pupils through the employment of 78 teachers, 40 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators. Clairton CIty School District received more than $9.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. According to school district administrative officials, during the 2005-06 school year, the District provided basic educational services to 860 pupils. The District employed: 7 administrators, 99 teachers, and 31 full-time and part-time support personnel. Special education services were provided by both the District and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit #3. Occupational training and adult education in various vocational and technical fields were provided by the district and the Steel Center Area Vocational-Technical School.

Clairton CIty School District operates Clairton Middle School High School (7th-12th) and Clairton Elementary School (K-6th) both housed in a single building.

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying Clairton City School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Clairton City Elementary School and Clairton City Middle High School are both among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[11] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[12] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[13] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a partial state business tax credit for donating.

Statewide Academic Ranking[edit]

Clairton City School District was ranked 492nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts for student academic achievement by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.[14] 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.

  • 2012 - 493rd
  • 2011 - 491st
  • 2010 - 492nd [15]
  • 2009 - 491st out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts
  • 2008 - 495th[16]
  • 2007 - 495th out of 501 school districts.[17]

In January 2012, testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on Fiscally Distressed School Districts revealed that only 42.8% of the district's students were on grade level in both reading and mathematics as measured on the 2010-11 PSSAs. Statewide 75.3% of Pennsylvania's public schools (including charter schools) students were on grade level in both reading and math. Additionally, one of the districts two schools had achieved adequate yearly progress as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education under No Child Left Behind. In 2004, 27.1% of the students were achieving on grade level in reading and mathematics. At that time 60% of students statewide were on grade level in reading and math.[18]

Overachiever ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Clairton City School District ranked 326th. [19] 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."[20]

  • 2012 - 326th[21]
  • 2011 - 207th
Western Regional ranking

In 2013, the Clairton City School District remained ranked 102nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.[22] (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District which do not operate high schools.)

  • 2012 - 102nd
  • 2011 - 101st
  • 2010 - 103rd[23]
  • 2009 - the school district ranked 103rd out of 105 districts.[24]
  • 2008 - 103rd out of 105 districts.

In 2009, the academic achievement of students in the Clairton City School District was in the bottom 1 percentile of 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[25]

District Adequate Yearly Progress History[edit]

In 2013, Clairton City School District declined to Warning status achieving 4 of 10 measures for AYP.[26] In 2012, the District achieved AYP. In 2011, Clairton City School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) through Safe Harbour. 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.

  • 2010 - achieved AYP
  • 2009 - achieved AYP
  • 2008 - achieved AYP
  • 2007 - Making Progress District Improvement level II
  • 2006 - District Improvement level II
  • 2005 - Making Progress District Improvement level I
  • 2004 - District Improvement level I
  • 2002 - Warning status

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Clairton City School District's graduation rate was 76%. In 2011, Clairton City School District's graduation rate was 80.65%.[27] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Clairton City School District's rate was 80% for 2010.[28]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

Middle High School[edit]

Clairton Middle High School is located at 501 Waddell Avenue, Clairton. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 360 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 313 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 9:1.[32] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 6 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[33]

In 2012, Clairton City Middle High School declined to Warning AYP status.[34] In 2011, Clairton Middle High School achieved AYP status through Safe Harbor, even though it missed all but one academic metric measured. In 2010, Clairton High School and Middle School are in Warning Status due to chronically low student achievement.[35]

The Clairton City High School ranked 114th of 123 high schools in western Pennsylvania for academic achievement based on the last three years of PSSA results on: math, reading, writing and science, by Pittsburgh Business Times on April 4, 2012.

  • 2011 - 115th
  • 2010 - 116th of 123 high schools [36]
  • 2009 - 118th out of 123 high schools[37]
PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 74% on grade level, (43% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2011 - 36% (45% below basic). State - 69.1%[39]
  • 2010 - 38% (44% below basic) State - 67% [40]
  • 2009 - 39%, State - 65%[41]
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 65%[42]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 21% on grade level (53% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[43]
  • 2011 - 17% (70% below basic). State - 60.3%[44]
  • 2010 - 18% (57% below basic). State - 59%[45]
  • 2009 - 31%, State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 21%, State - 56%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 5% on grade level (62% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[46]
  • 2011 - 4% (69% below basic). State - 40% [47]
  • 2010 - 5% (64% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 3.6%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 3%, State - 39%

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 60% of the Clairton City 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.[48] 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.[49] 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, 28 Clairton City School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 381. The Math average score was 380. The Writing average score was 347. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

From January to June 2011, 42 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 389. The Math average score was 392. The Writing average score was 356.[50] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[51] 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.[52]

Dual enrollment[edit]

Clairton City Midldle High school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities 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.[53] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[54] 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.[55] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $8,108 for the program.[56] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Clairton City School Board has determined that a student must earn 26.5 credits, including English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Humanities 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Electives 2 credits, Independent and Family Living 1 credits and Computer Application Courses 2 credits.[57]

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.[58] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[59]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[60] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade. Students have several opportunities to pass the exam, with those who do not able to perform a project in order to graduate.[61][62] 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.[63] 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.[64] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Clairton Middle School[edit]

Clairton Middle School 8th grade was ranked 138th out of 155 western Pennsylvania middle school 8th grades in 2011, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and three years of science.[65]

  • 2010 - 139th out of 155 western Pennsylvania middle school 8th grades
  • 2009 - 131st of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools[66]
PSSA Results
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 18% on grade level (57% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 17% (67% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 16% (75% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 16%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 17%, State - 50%
Seventh Grade academics

The seventh grade ranked 138 out of 153 western Pennsylvania seventh grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading and writing. PSSAs.[71]

PSSA Results:

Clairton Elementary School[edit]

Clairton Elementary School is located at 501 Waddell Avenue, Clairton. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 377 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 346 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.[72] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[73] Clairton Elementary School provides full day kindergarten for 100% of its pupils.

In 2012, Clairton Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to low student achievement in reading and mathematics. In 2011, Clariton Elementary School declined to Warning status due to not achieving AYP.[74] In 2010, the school achieved AYP status.

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade ranked 192nd out of 207 western Pennsylvania sixth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, and writing. PSSAs.[75]

Fifth Grade[edit]

The fifth grade ranked 275th out of 287 western Pennsylvania fifth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, and writing. PSSAs.[79]

Fourth Grade[edit]

The fourth grade ranked 300th out of 313 western Pennsylvania fourth grades, by the "Pittsburgh Business Times" in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, writing and two years of science PSSAs.[80]

4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 52% (20% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 46% (34% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 31% (45% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 54%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 81%

Third Grade[edit]

The third grade ranked 102nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania third grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012 for academic achievement as reflected by the last three years of results on: math, reading, science and writing on the PSSAs.[81] In 2010, the 3rd grade ranked 316th out of 327 3rd grades.[82]

Special education[edit]

In December 2012, the Clairton City School District administration reported that 166 pupils or 21.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 33% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[84] In December 2010, the District Administration reported that 171 pupils or 21.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 26% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009 the district administration reported that 174 pupils or 22.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. This was the highest percentage of students receiving special education services in Allegheny County school districts.[85][86]

In compliance with state and federal laws, 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 Supervisor of Special Education.[87]

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.[88] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[89] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[90] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[91] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[92]

Clairton City School District received a $1,000,850 supplement for special education services in 2010.[93] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. 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.[94][95] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

Clairton City School District Administration reported that 3 pupils or 0.54% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[96] 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.[97][98]

Bullying policy and school safety[edit]

In 2012 the Administration reported there were 8 incidents of bullying in the District. Additionally, there were 5 incidents that involved law enforcement where weapons were brought to school.[99] In 2009, the Administrative reported there were 4 incidents of bullying in the Clairton City School District.[100][101]

The Clairton City School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[102] 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.[103] 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.[104]

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.[105]

Wellness policy[edit]

The Clairton City School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006 - Policy 246.[106] 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.[107] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Clairton City School District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[108] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[109]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[110] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of the lunch.[111]

Clairton City School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[112] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Enrollment and Consolidation[edit]

In 2011, Clairton City School District officials sent letters to four neighboring school districts: West Jefferson Hills School District, Elizabeth Forward School District, South Allegheny School District and West Mifflin Area School District seeking voluntary merger talks. The proposal was rebuffed by all four school districts.[113]

In 2009, a proposal was made by a local advocate, David Wassel, to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars and improve student services. The proposal was that Clairton City and South Park School District join with West Jefferson Hills School District.[114]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 780 students enrolled in K-12 in 2009. There were 59 students in the Class of 2009. The district's class of 2010 has 50 students. Enrollment in the Clairton City School District is projected to continue to decline to 710 in 2015.[115] Clairton City School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1643 per pupil. This is the second highest among in the 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[116]

A Standard and Poors study found that an optimal school district size, to conserve administrative costs, was 3000 pupils.[117] Consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.[118] According to a proposal made in 2009 by Governor Edward G Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.[119] Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools.

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.[120] The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration.[121]

On June 29, 2011, Rep Marc J. Gergely predicted the district will be forced to consolidate with its neighboring district, in the next few years, based in the current state funding of the district.[122]

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).[123]

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.[124] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[125]

Budget[edit]

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

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[126]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Clairton City School District was $59,966.01 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $20,638.68 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $80,594.70.[127] 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.[128]

In 2009, the district employed 94 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $60,601. The beginning salary was $38,000, while the highest salary was $123,600.[129] Teachers work an 8-hour day with one planning period included. The district provides 4 IEP days for working on plans for special education and gifted students. Additionally, the teachers received a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, 3 paid bereavement leave days and many other benefits. The district offers an extensive retirement/longevity package which includes 10 years of district paid health insurance or $40,000. Additionally, each employee receives $50 per day for all unused sick and personal days.[130] 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.[131][132]

In 2007, the Clairton City School District employed 80 teachers working 190 days with 183 student days. The average teacher salary in the district was $55,836 for 180 days worked. The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977.[133] 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.[134]

Administrative costs Clairton City School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1,643 per pupil. This is the second highest per pupil administration spending among the 500 public school districts operating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[135] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165.[136] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.

Per pupil spending In 2008, per pupil spending at Clairton City School District was ranked 49th in the state at $15,652 for each child.[137] In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending was $15,621.04.[138] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[139] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[140] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[141] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[142] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[143] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[144]

Reserves In 2008, the Clairton City School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $561,531.00 and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $928,683.00.[145] In 2010, Clairton City School District Administration reported $613,570 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported zero in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. By 2013, the District reported a total balance of $526,000 in its reserves.[146] Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[147] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[148]

Audit In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several findings were reported to the school board and administration.[149]

Tuition Students who live in the Clainton City School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Clairton City 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 - $11,223.66, High School - $12,349.18.[150]

Budget referendum In 2011, the Clairton City School Board sought to raise property taxes beyond the Act 1 index limit through a voter referendum. The board sought to raise taxes an additional .57 mills over the 5 mills already permitted by law. The referendum failed Yes - 163, No - 916.[151][152] In the 2011-12 budget the Clairton City School District kept its all-day kindergarten program, while furloughing three teachers and multiple non professional staff members.[153]

In 2013, U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works plant sought a property reassessment. The assessment dropped from $14.5 million to $2.5 million. This reduced the property tax bill from $360,000 to $20,000.[154]

Clairton City School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%, Business Privilege Tax of .006 (6 mills), Mercantile Tax on Retail of .00075 (3/4 mill) and Mercantile Tax on Wholesale of .0005 (1/2 mill), a property tax, a $5.00 per person for the Local Services Tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes.[155] Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[156] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[157]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Clairton City School District will receive a 1.2% increase or $6,837,019 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $84,209 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Clairton City School District will receive $101,362 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, South Fayette Township School District received the highest percentage increase at 5.5%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[158] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[159]

For the 2012-13 school year, Clairton City School District received $6,854,172 in state basic education funding.[160] The district also received special education funding. 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. Clairton City School District received $101,362 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[161] 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, the district received $6,752,810 in state Basic Education Funding.[162] Additionally, the district received $101,362 in Accountability Block Grant funding for its all-day kindergarten. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[163] 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.[164] In 2010, the district reported that 882 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[165]

For the 2010-11 budget year, Clairton City School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $7,025,624. In Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which received an 11.32% increase in state funding. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was given a 23.65% increase in state funding.[166] 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 Clairton City School District a 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,887,866. Four Allegheny County public school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009-10. Chartiers Valley School District received an 8.17% increase. The majority of Allegheny County public districts (21) received the base 2% increase. In Pennsylvania, more than 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The amount of increase each public school district received was set by then Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[167] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[168][169]

The state's Basic Education Funding to the Clairton City School District in 2008-09 was $6,752,809.79.[170]

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides supplemental funding in the form of accountability block grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses. Clairton City School District uses its $275,121 to fund all-day kindergarten. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding.[171] The 2008-09 school year was the fifth year the district offered all-day kindergarten to its pupils. Schools districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grant funds.[172] In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants; $199.5 million went to providing all-day kindergartens.[173]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Clairton City School District received $87,683.[174]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

Classroom for the Future was a state program which 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), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Clairton City School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07, nor did it apply in 2007-08. The district was awarded $74,691 in the 2008-09 fiscal year.[175]

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Clairton 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 66,973 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[176] 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 was a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[177] 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.[178] The district was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. The school district administration was required to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3,000 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 for the program. The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in the state’s 2011 budget by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

Equity in Education grant[edit]

In 2012, the District received $50,000 to fund after school programs and tutoring efforts. The funding is provided by the Heinz Endowments. The grant to Clairton City is the first such significant grant by the Endowment to an Allegheny County School District outside of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.[179] The District also receive a separate $15,000 grant to support a mentoring Program in the High School. Mentors are Clairton City teachers who meet with the students twice a month during school hours.

Other grants[edit]

Clairton City School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Clairton City School District received an extra $1,445,987 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[180] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.[181] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly warned to use the funds for one-time expenditures like acquiring equipment, making repairs or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top Grant[edit]

Clairton City School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[182] The district has been identified as a turnaround district due to the very poor academic achievement. This means the district will receive an extra $700 per student, as a supplement to all other Race To The Top funding. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[183][184] In Pennsylvania, just 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[185] 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.[186]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Clairton City School Board elected to 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.[187] Multiple examples of ways the district could reduce costs were identified for the school board. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. Through analysis of the data, the team identified nine potential cost-savings opportunities for the district, which included: establish shared services for major utility purchasing; develop shared services for Food Service Management; and establish a shared services center for technology purchasing.[188]

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Clairton City School Board set property tax rates in 2011-12 at 7.5000 mills for buildings and 75.4000 mills for land.[189] 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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. Allegheny County has been struggling with a property tax reassessment for several years. On the local level, Pennsylvania 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.[190] In 2012, Allegheny County underwent a property value reassessment. The total assessed value of the district's 5,000-plus taxable properties went up by roughly 23 percent.[191]

  • 2012-13 - 7.5000 mills for buildings and 80.0000 mills for land.
  • 2011-12 - 3.5000 mills for buildings and 87.0000 mills for land.
  • 2010-11 - 3.5000 mills for buildings and 87.0000 mills for land.
  • 2009-10 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 73.5700 mills for land.[192]
  • 2008-09 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land.[193]
  • 2007-08 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land.[194]
  • 2006-07 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land.[195]

The average yearly property tax paid by Mercer County residents amounts to about 4.09% of their yearly income. Allegheny County ranked 209th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[196] 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.[197] 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%).[198]

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 school year is published by the PDE each year. 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.[199] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[200] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[201][202] A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[203]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Clairton City School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[204]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Clairton City School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to teacher pension costs. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[207]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Clairton City School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: excessive teacher pension costs and rising special education costs. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[208]

For the 2011-12 school year the Clairton City School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating pension costs and special education costs. Each year, the Clairton City 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.[209]

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.[210]

For the 2010-11 school year budget, the Clairton City School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. The approved exceptions included: Maintenance of Selected Revenue Sources and Pension Obligations.[211] 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.[212]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, Clairton City School District property tax relief was set at $271 for 1,725 approved properties.[213] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Clairton City School District was $275 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,700 property owners applied for the tax relief.[214] 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 Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[215]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[216]

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%).[217]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Clairton City School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The Clairton City School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs. According to the policies, students must maintain a record of academic proficiency sufficient to ensure that participation in interscholastic athletic activities will not interfere with academic achievement.[218][219]

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.[220][221]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2013 [222]

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