Frazier School District
|Frazier School District|
|142 Constitution Street
Perryopolis, PA, Fayette 15473
|School board||9 elected members|
Kevin W Mildren, Business Manager
|Grades||preschool 4 year olds-12th grade|
|• Kindergarten||95 (2014) 100 (2009)|
|• Grade 1||101 (2014) 83|
|• Grade 2||73 (2014) 94|
|• Grade 3||90 (2014) 99|
|• Grade 4||84 (2014) 97|
|• Grade 5||89 (2014) 102|
|• Grade 6||103 (2014) 86|
|• Grade 7||93 (2014) 82|
|• Grade 8||101 (2014) 89|
|• Grade 9||97 (2014) 97|
|• Grade 10||89 (2014) 96|
|• Grade 11||80 (2014) 92|
|• Grade 12||84 (2014) 79 (2009)|
|Color(s)||Red and White|
The Frazier School District is a diminutive, rural public school district located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. It serves the boroughs of Perryopolis and Newell, and the townships of Perry, Jefferson, and Lower Tyrone. Frazier School District encompasses approximately 83 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data it serves a resident population of 8,531. By 2010, the District's population declined to 8,006 people. The educational attainment levels for the Frazier School District population (25 years old and over) were 88.8% high school graduates and 16.1% college graduates. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.
According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 40.5% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level  as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012. In 2009, Frazier School District residents’ per capita income was $16,262, while the median family income was $39,438 In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010. In Fayette County, the median household income was $39,115. In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that less than 10 students in the Frazier School District were identified as homeless. In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.
Per Frazier School District officials, in school year 2007-08, the district provided basic educational services to 1,119 pupils. It employed: 90 teachers, 46 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators. Frazier School District received more than $9.3 million, in state funding, for the 2007-08 school year. In 2009-10, Frazier School District provided basic educational services to 1,249 pupils. The school employed: 87 teachers, 25 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators during the 2009-10 school year. The District received $9,052,923 in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.
Frazier School District is named for a wealthy Perryopolis resident named Mary Fuller Frazier, who provided the struggling school district then named Perry Area with an endowment. Frazier is the smallest district in Fayette County. The district operates four schools. There are two elementary schools: Central Elementary School and Perry Elementary School. Both schools serves grades K-5. There are two secondary schools the Frazier Middle School and Frazier High School. They are connected together and are located in Perryopolis Borough. There is also a library that is open to the community and an athletic field. Frazier will open the new Frederick L. Smeigh Learning Center in August 2015 which will house all K-8 students.
The Intermediate Unit IU1 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, background checks for employees, state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training, speech and visual disability services and criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.
- 1 Governance
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 Special education
- 4 Budget
- 4.1 State basic education funding
- 4.2 Other grants
- 4.3 Common Cents state initiative
- 4.4 Federal grants
- 4.5 Technology grant
- 4.6 Real estate taxes
- 5 Wellness policy
- 6 Extracurriculars
- 7 Vocational - Technical Services
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Frazier School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act(renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year. Frazier School District is noncompliant regarding posting its financial report in March 2016.
The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the Frazier School Board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board. The Frazier School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts. Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website. The superintendent is noncompliant regarding posting goals by March 2016.
In 2015, Frazier School District ranked 218th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school. Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.
- 2014 - 215th
- 2013 - 198th
- 2012 - 194th
- 2011 - 142nd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in student academic achievement as demonstrated by five years of results on the PSSAs in: reading, writing, math and three years of science.
- 2010 - 111th
- 2009 - 115th
- 2008 - 123rd
- 2007 - 98th out of 501 school districts.
- Overachievers ranking
In 2010, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Frazier School District ranked 20th. In 2009 the district was 17th. The paper 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."
- Western Pennsylvania ranking
Frazier School District was ranked 48th in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and science. (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County but excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District due to their not operating a high school).
- 2014 - 48th
- 2009 - 32nd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts in 2009
- 2008 - 34th among western Pennsylvania school districts.
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Frazier School District was in the 70th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)
In 2015, Frazier School District’s graduation rate was just 84.7%.
- 2014 - 91%
- 2013 - 86.21% 
- 2012 - 93%
- 2011 - 92%.
- 2010 - 84%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.
According to traditional graduation rate calculations:
Frazier High School
Frazier High School is located at142 Constitution Street, Perryopolis. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 350 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 43% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 12% of pupils received special education services, while 3.7% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 24 teachers. Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 342 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 110 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2013, the School employed 24 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 teacher was rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
- 2015 School Performance Profile
Frazier High School achieved 86.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 86.6% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 82.5% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 72% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course. Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.
- 2014 School Performance Profile
Frazier High School achieved 82.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 80.49% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 79.27% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 49.4% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course. Statewide, the percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in Algebra I increased to 39.7% to 40.1%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in reading/literature declined to 52.5%. The percentage of high school students who scored proficient and advanced in biology improved from 39.7% to 41.4%.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.
- 2013 School Performance Profile
Frazier High School achieved 73.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 85.7% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 70% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 32.8% showed on grade level science understanding. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, beginning in 2013, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.
- Regional ranking
The high school's 11th grade ranked 37th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools based on three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and two years of science. In 2009, the 11th grade ranked 42nd out of 123 high schools in the Pittsburgh region.
In 2012, Frazier High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging mathematics achievement. In 2010 and 2011, Frazier High School achieved AYP status. From 2003 to 2009, Frazier High School Achieved AYP status each school year.
- PSSA Results
Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.
In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2012 - 79% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 61%, (20% below basic). State - 69.1%
- 2010 - 77% (5% below basic). State - 66%
- 2009 - 67%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 74%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 69%, State - 65%
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2012 - 62% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2011 - 64%, (19% below basic). State - 60.3%
- 2010 - 64%, (14% below basic). State - 59%
- 2009 - 65%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 72%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 68%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2012 - 49% on grade level (6% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2011 - 47% (14% below basic). State - 40%.
- 2010 - 50% (1% below basic). State - 39%
- 2009 - 56%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 37%, State - 39%
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 22% of Frazier School District's 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. 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. 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.
Frazier High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. Frazier School District has an agreement with Penn State Fayette to allow the students to attend. 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 Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $4,986 for the program.
The School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 30 credits to graduate, including: math 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 3 credits, science 4 credits, Wellness 2 credits, Arts and Humanities 2 credits (unless attending CWCTC) and electives.
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. At Frazier High School the students must complete a career focused project under the supervision of the English teachers. 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.
By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course. 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. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate. 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. 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. 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.
Frazier High School participates in the Advanced Placement Program offered by the College Board. In 2015, the School offered 10 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. All advanced placement courses are counted as a level 3 weighted course for the purposes of class rank only. All students taking an Advanced Placement course are required to take the associated AP exam. The cost of the advanced placement examination(s) are covered by the district. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014). The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs.
In 2015, Frazier High School 21.60% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam. In 2013, Frazier High School 29.57% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.
In 2014, 52 Frazier School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 463. The Math average score was 470. The Writing average score was 436. Statewide in Pennsylvania, Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 504. The Writing average score was 480. The College Board also reported that nationwide scores were: 497 in reading, 513 in math and 487 in writing. In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.
In 2013, 56 Frazier School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 485. The Math average score was 501. The Writing average score was 456. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.
In 2012, 46 Frazier School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 477. The Math average score was 510. The Writing average score was 462. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.
In 2011, 39 Frazier School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 474. The Math average score was 491. The Writing average score was 470. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479. 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.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a research arm of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania’s SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.
Frazier Middle School is located at 142 Constitution Street, Perryopolis. In 2015, enrollment was 297 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 41.7% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 11% of pupils received special education services, while 3% of pupils were identified as gifted. According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 279 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 115 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 21.5 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the No Child Left Behind Act.
- 2015 School Performance Profile
The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 41% of 8th grade students at Frazier Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 29% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 64% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 66% were on grade level in reading, while 34% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 63% were on grade level in reading and 29% were on grade level in mathematics. Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills.
- 2014 School Performance Profile
Frazier Middle School achieved 82.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 83% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 67.8% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 75% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.
- 2013 School Performance Profile
Frazier Middle School achieved 83.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 72.7% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 84% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, 73% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 75% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.
In 2010 through 2012, Frazier Middle School achieved AYP status each school year. The attendance rate was 94% in 2001 and 93% in 2010. From 2003 through 2009, Frazier Middle School achieved AYP status each school year.
- PSSA Results
Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative. Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Science:
In 2013, Frazier School District did not implement a no-cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school. The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.
Central Elementary School
Central Elementary School is located at 305 Central School Road, Fayette City. In 2015, the School's enrollment was just 90 pupils in grades 3rd through 5th, with 43% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 4% of the pupils receive special education services, while 3% are identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school is a federally designated Title I school. In 2015 the Board voted to close the building shifting all the pupils to a new elementary/middle school along Constitution Road in Perryopolis. The building was named the Frederick L. Smeigh Education Center.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, enrollment was 144 pupils in grades first through fifth grades, with 58 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 9 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 79% of 5th grade students at Central Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 33% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 71% were on grade level in reading, while 48% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 96% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 58% were on grade level in reading and 56% were on grade level in mathematics. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.
Central Elementary School achieved a score of 78.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 62% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 72.2% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72.8% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 88% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing only 55% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.
Central Elementary School achieved a score of 78.1 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 69% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 75% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 81% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 92% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 79% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.
Each year, in the Spring, in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Law, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The first cohort of children who attended Accountability Block Grant funded full-day kindergarten reached third grade and took the PSSAs in the spring of 2008.
Perry Elementary School
The building was closed and demolished in 2015.
In December 2013, Frazier School District administration reported that 152 pupils or 12.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 38% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, the district administration reported that 168 pupils or 13.2% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts, which offered the program, would see a significant decrease in special education students, due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in sharply lower special education costs. School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2008. The District has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, which has yielded no savings.
In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, Frazier School District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress . To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department. The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.
Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA. Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA. Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding. 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. The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. Overidentification of students in order to increase state funding has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education. In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.
Frazier School District received a $664,588 supplement for special education services, in 2010. For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required. For the 2014-2015 school year, Frazier School District received an increase to $678,435 from the Commonwealth for special education funding. Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.
The District Administration reported that 31 or 2.70% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest gifted pupil percentage, within Fayette County, was 3.18% at Connellsville Area School District. 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. By Pennsylvania regulation, the testing must be done within 60 days of a parent signing the consent form.
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.
In 2013, the average teacher salary in Frazier School District was $57,874 a year. The District employed 94 teachers with a top salary of $110,000. Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News. Area School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.) After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security. In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries. In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.
In 2007, Frazier School District employed 81 teachers. The average teacher salary in the District was $52,277 for 180 days worked. 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. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, life insurance, retirement bonus and other benefits. According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year Pennsylvania public school educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.
Administrative costs Frazier School District's administrative costs per pupil were $839.12 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 in 2008. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union. In November 2011, the school board approved a contract with Kenneth Meadows (former district elementary principal) to serve as acting superintendent for $110,000 a year. This follows Frederick Smeigh, former acting superintendent's July 2011 resignation. David G Blozowich served as superintendent beginning in 2012, until he took early retirement in 2014. He was quickly replaced by Bill Henderson.
Per pupil spending In 2008, Frazier School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $12,229 which ranked 249th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $12,443.77. In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $12,500.57. In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States. In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01. In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759. Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09. Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.
Reserves - In 2008, the district reported an unreserved designated fund balance of zero and an unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $688,754.00. In 2010, Frazier School District Administration reported an increase to $467,860 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. By 2013, Frazier School District reported having no reserves and a -$87,105 deficit. 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. In 2005, the total reserve funds held by Pennsylvania public school districts was $1.9 billion. By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.
Audit In January 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. In reviewing a prior audit of certificates and assignments of professional personnel for the period July 1, 2006 through September 30, 2008, it was found that one teacher was assigned to teach one course for which she was not certified. This District was previously cited for the same teacher in the audit reports for the 2003-04 and 2002-03 school years and the 2001-02 and 2000-01 school years. The district was fined and reported to Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality. An audit in 2013, found multiple violations including of the state's retirement code by hiring the former superintendent who continued to collect his retirement benefits.
Tuition Students who live in the Frazier 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 Frazier 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 2013 tuition rates are Elementary School -$6,715.91, High School - $9,735.08.
Frazier School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%; per capita taxes, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits. Both retirement benefits are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools. Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.
State basic education funding
According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Frazier School District receives 65.5% of its annual revenue from the state. This exceeds some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.
For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $3,180,377 to Frazier School District, in January 2016. This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015. The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015. Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in funding. The District also received an increase to $164,194 in REady to Learn grant funding. In 2011-12, the district received a $6,581,004 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the Frazier School District received $63,969 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12. In 2010, the district reported that 467 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.
For the 2014-15 school year, Frazier School District received $6,671,408.99 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $151,297 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding. The Corbett Education budget also included Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State paid $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.
In the 2013-2014 school year, Frazier School District received a 1.4% increase or $6,671,941 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This was $90,937 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Frazier School District received $63,970 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Fayette County, Laurel Highlands School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 1.9%. The District had the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding. The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. For the Philadelphia School District, it is nearly 49 percent. As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.
For the 2012-13 school year, Frazier School District received $$6,581,004. Governor Corbetts's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS. This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
For the 2010-11 budget year, Frazier School District received a 3.02% increase in state basic education funding for $6,717, 566. The highest increase in Fayette County was given to the Laurel Highlands School District a 6.29% increase in Basic Education Funding. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. In the Commonwealth, the highest increase, in 2010-11, went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. 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 when 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 in February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.
For the 2009-10 school year, Frazier School District received an 2.08% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,717,566. The highest increase in Fayette County went to Connellsville Area School District with a 4.03% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. Ninety school districts were given the base 2% increase. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Frazier School District in 2008-09 was $6,581,003.60. The amount of increase each school district received was determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.
In 2007-08, the state Basic Education Funding to the Frazier School District was $6,581,004, which was a 3% increase over 2007-08. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 452 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year. 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.
All Pennsylvania school districts also eligible to receive additional funding from the state through several funding allocations, including: Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined. By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010-11, the district applied for and received $173,630, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the sixth year.
Ready to Learn grant
Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
Frazier School District received $87,327 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, PreK Counts funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.
PreK Counts grant
Frazier School District receives state funding to provide taxpayer funded preschool at the elementary schools. For the 2013-14 school year, Frazier School District received a Pre K Counts grant of $168,130. For the 2011 school year, Frazier School District was a high priority for funding due to the 36% poverty level of children in the district's attendance area. Enrollment for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is targeted to children living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
In 2013, the state’s PreK Counts program received $87,284,000. In 2010, the PreK Counts program received $83.6 million statewide in Governor Corbett’s education budget. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. Frazier School District received funding in 2007-08. In 2009-10 the district received $177,750 to provide preschool to 46 children. The District received $130,350 enrolling 33 students for 2011-12
Classrooms for the Future grant
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. Frazier School District applied to participate in 2007-08. Frazier School District received $75,926 in 2008-09.
Science It’s Elementary grant
Central 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. 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. 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. 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. Central Elementary School was the only elementary school in Fayette County to participate in the grant program.
Project 720 was a high school reform program implemented for three years under the Rendell administration. The intent was to increase academic rigor and improve the instruction of teachers in the Commonwealth’s high schools. Teachers were expected to use data driven instructional practices and to meet the needs of diverse learners. The 720 in the name referred to the number of days a student was in high school in ninth through 12th grades. High schools applied for funding and were required to agree to report to the PDE their plans, their actions and the outcomes. In 2007-08 budget year, the Commonwealth provided $11 million in funding. Frazier School District was one of 161 PA public school districts to apply, receiving $201,000 funding over three years. For 2010-11, Project 720 funding was decreased to $1.7 million by Governor Rendell. The grant program was discontinued effective with the 2011-12 state budget.
Safe School grant
In 2013, Frazier School District was awarded $25,000 in a state Safe Schools Targeted Grant. The maximum of $25,000 grants were awarded through a competitive application process. The funds must be used for research based interventions, like: peer mediation, staff training in managing behavioral issues and creating a positive school climate.
The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants; Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant; nor the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.
Common Cents state initiative
The Frazier School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Frazier School District received an extra $1,178,753 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. This funding is for the 2009-2011 school years. Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, then Governor Edward Rendell and the Pennsylvania School Board Association, to use the funds for one-time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.
Race to the Top grant
Frazier School District officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which will bring the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.
Title II grants
The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with "Highly Quality" teachers and principals as defined by the state. The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school. Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.
Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Frazier School District received $58,123 in federal Title II funding. In 2014-15, Frazier School District applied for and received $61,794.
English language learners grant
The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient. Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.
In 2010, the district was eligible for a federal Enhancing Education through Technology grant. The district did not apply for the funding. Other Fayette County districts received the extra funding.
Real estate taxes
Property tax rates in 2015-16 were set by the school board at 16.1490 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes. There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development. Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, School District is adversely impacted this way.
Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts. When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties. In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.
The average yearly property tax paid by Fayette County residents amounts to about 2.9% of their yearly income. Fayette County ranked 973rd out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income. 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. 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%). Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.
Act 1 Adjusted Index
The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year. In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index. The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS taking into account on the PSERS contribution rate.
A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Frazier School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
For the 2015-16 budget year, Frazier School Board applied for one exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: for its rapidly rising teacher pension costs. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.
For the 2014-15 budget year, Frazier School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: grandfathered school debt and escalating teacher pension costs. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.
For the 2013-14 budget year, Frazier School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: special education costs and rapidly rising teacher pension costs. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). 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 pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.
For the 2012-13 budget year, Frazier School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.
For the 2011-12 school year, Frazier School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the School Board has the option of adopting either 1) a resolution in January certifying they will not increase taxes above their index or 2) a preliminary budget in February. A school district adopting the resolution may not apply for referendum exceptions or ask voters for a tax increase above the inflation index. A specific timeline for these decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to a state report, for the 2011-12 school year budgets, 247 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 250 school districts adopted a preliminary budget. Of the 250 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget, 231 adopted real estate tax rates that exceeded their index. Tax rate increases in the other 19 school districts that adopted a preliminary budget did not exceed the school district’s index. Of the districts who sought exceptions: 221 used the pension costs exemption and 171 sought a Special Education costs exemption. Only 1 school district sought an exemption for Nonacademic School Construction Project, while 1 sought an exception for Electoral debt for school construction.
Frazier School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011. For 2009-10 school budget, the board also did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index. 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.
Property tax relief
In 2014, Frazier School District approved 2,500 homestead properties received $112. The decline in amount was related to more residents applying for tax relief and a decline in table games tax revenues. The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences. In Fayette County, the highest tax relief went to uniontown Area School District which was set at $196.
In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Frazier School District was set at $115 for the 2,432 approved primary homesteads and farmsteads. The highest tax relief in Fayette County was given to Uniontown Area School District which was set at $200. In 2009, Frazier School District tax relief was set at $116 for 2,398 homesteads. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Fayette County, 72% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. 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. This was the second year CUSD was the top recipient.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Frazier School District residents 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 individuals whose income is 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.
Frazier School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246. 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 and physical education that are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
The District offers both a free school breakfast and a 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. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.
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. 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 providing the lunch. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93. In 2015, federal reimbursement rates were: $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches and $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.
The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.
Frazier 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. Nurses also monitor each child's weight.
In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses. The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.
Highmark Healthy High 5 grant
In 2011, the Frazier School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Frazier High School received $9,990 which was used to fund Frazier Fitness For Life Program. Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools. The School also receive a Healthy High 5 grant in 2008.
Frazier School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA mandates that student athletes must be passing at least four full-credit subjects to participate in sports. The District is in PIAA District 7.
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.
According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.
Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid. The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website. Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.
According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.
The District funds:
According to PIAA directory July 2015
Vocational - Technical Services