Hermitage School District (Pennsylvania)

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Hermitage School District
Map of Mercer County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
411 N Hermitage Road
Hermitage, Pennsylvania, Mercer County 16148-3316
United States
Information
Type Public
Closed Hermitage Elementary and Hermitage Middle school 2008[1]
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent Dr Daniel J Bell, salary $122,720 (2012) (contract 2012 - June 30, 2019)[2]
Administrator

Mrs Monique Barber, Business Manager
Nanci Hosick, Director of Special Services
Brian Schaller, Director of Curriculum and Instruction $96,824 (2012)
Donald McClafferty Jr., Supervisor Bldg/Grounds
Adam Reagle, Food Services Director
Linda Willey, Administrative Assistant/Curriculum

Cheryl Tremmel, Transportation Director
Principal Trosch, Eric, $96,860 (2012)
Principal Gill, W Chris, $86,652 (2012)
Principal Brest, Diane HS, $84,814 (2012)
Principal Hosick, Nanci, $82,115 (2012)
Staff 151 non teaching staff members
Faculty 136.5 teachers[3]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years special education
Pupils

2,046 pupils[4]
2,098 pupils (2012-13)
2,086 pupils (2010-11)
2,112 pupils (2009-10)

2,206 pupils (2005-06)[5]
 • Kindergarten 158 (2012), 156 (2010)
 • Grade 1 155 (2012), 160
 • Grade 2 165 (2012), 146
 • Grade 3 166 (2012), 155
 • Grade 4 151 (2012), 143
 • Grade 5 160 (2012), 162
 • Grade 6 140 (2012), 162
 • Grade 7 166 (2012), 171
 • Grade 8 168 (2012), 162
 • Grade 9 186 (2012), 166
 • Grade 10 169 (2012), 171
 • Grade 11 152 (2012), 179
 • Grade 12 161 (2012), 153 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 2,173 in 2020[6]
Language English
Budget

$28,386,905 (2013-14)[7]
$27,551,555 (2012-13)[8]
$27,264,350 (2009-10)[9]
$21,977,000 (2008-09)
$20,947,000 (2007-08)

$20,614,000 (2006-07)
Per pupil Spending $11,684 (2008)
Per pupil spending $13,046.82 (2010)
Website

The Hermitage School District is a small, suburban/urban, public school district serving parts of Mercer County, Pennsylvania. It incorporates the city of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, a former township that has transitioned into city status. The District is made up of three discontinuous pieces that surround:Farrell Area School District and Sharon City School District. Hermitage School District encompasses approximately 29 square miles (75 km2). According to 2010 federal census data, it served a resident population of 16,220. By 2010, the District's population declined to 16,209 people.[10]

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 31.6% 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.[11] In 2009, the district residents’ mean per capita income was US$23,227, while the median family income was $46,994.[12] In Mercer County, the median household income was $42,573.[13] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[14] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[15] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[16]

According to District officials, in school year 2009-10 the Hermitage School District provided basic educational services to 2,103 pupils through the employment of 154 teachers, 129 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 10 administrators. Hermitage School District received more than $8.9 million in state funding in school year 2009-10.

The Hermitage School District operates: Karen A. Ionta Elementary School, Artman Elementary School, Delahunty Middle School, and Hickory High School. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania. In 2006 through 2008, the district conducted extensive renovations to its buildings at a cost of $10,661,108, with a PlanCon state reimbursement of 21%.[17] Hickory High School students have access to Mercer County Career Center programs and services. The Midwestern Intermediate Unit IU4 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services and professional development for staff and faculty.

Governance[edit]

Hermitage 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.[18] The federal government controls programs it funds like: Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the 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 Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration an "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[19]

Academic achievement[edit]

Hermitage School District was ranked 138th out of 496 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2014.[20] 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.[21] 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.

  • 2013 - 141st[22]
  • 2012 - 130th[23]
  • 2008 - 238th
  • 2007 - 220th out of 501 school districts.[24]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Hermitage School District ranked 244th. In 2011, the District was 182nd.[25] 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."[26]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Hermitage School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[27] In 2011, Hermitage School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). 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 Pennsylvania public 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.[28] Hermitage School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[29]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2014, Hermitage School District’s graduation rate was 93.8%.[30]

  • 2013 - 96%[31]
  • 2012 - 95%.[32]
  • 2011 - 92%.[33]
  • 2010 - 94.7%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[34]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Hickory High School[edit]

Hickory High School is located at 640 North Hermitage Road, Hermitage. In 2014, enrollment was reported as 809 pupils in 8th through 12th grades, with 26.7% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 11.7% of pupils received special education services, while 5.5% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 47 teachers.[39] 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 2012, Hickory High School reported an enrollment of 671 pupils in grades 8th through 12th, with 160 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 50 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[40] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[41] At Hickory High School, students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement course work and exams. The AP course participation rate at Hickory High School is 23 percent.

2014 School Performance Profile

Hickory High School achieved 84.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 78% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 73.8% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 62% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[42][43] 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%.[44]

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.[45] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[46][47]

2013 School Performance Profile

Hermitage High School achieved 69.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 68.9% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 63% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 48.6% showed on grade level science understanding.[48] 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 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.[49]

AYP status history

In 2012, Hickory High School achieved AYP status, even though it missed the goals for every academic metric measured.[50] From 2003 through 2011, Hickory High School achieved AYP status each school year.[51]

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.[52]

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 course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[53]

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 76% on grade level, (7% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[54]
  • 2011 - 74% (11% below basic). State - 69.1% [55]
  • 2010 - 70% (13% below basic). State - 66% [56]
  • 2009 - 73% (12% below basic). State - 65% [57]
  • 2008 - 57% (22% below basic). State - 65% [58]
  • 2007 - 60% (19% below basic). State - 65% [59]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 71% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[60]
  • 2011 - 66% (20% below basic). State - 60.3%[61]
  • 2010 - 62% (19% below basic). State - 59%[62]
  • 2009 - 62% (16% below basic). State - 56% [63]
  • 2008 - 52% (26% below basic). State - 56% [64]
  • 2007 - 52% (26% below basic). State - 53% [65]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 45% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[66]
  • 2011 - 44% (15% below basic). State - 40%[67]
  • 2010 - 42% (11% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 40% (11% below basic). State - 40% [68]
  • 2008 - 34% (17% below basic). State - 39% [69]

Science in Motion Hickory High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[70] Delahunty Middle School also worked with Westminster College to provide the enrichment experiences.

College Remediation Rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 16 of the Hickory 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.[71] 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.[72] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The Hickory 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. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[73] In 2010, Hickory High School received $9,452 in state funds to assist students with costs. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[74] Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[75] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, Hermitage School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 490. The Math average score was 470. The Writing average score was 456.[76] 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.[77]

In 2013, 129 Hermitage School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 479. The Math average score was 517. The Writing average score was 459. 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.[78]

In 2012, 143 Hermitage School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 478. The Math average score was 506. The Writing average score was 463. 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, 124 Hermitage School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 475. The Math average score was 495. The Writing average score was 455.[79] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[80] 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.[81]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. Hermitage School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in math, English, social studies, science, Physical Education 1/2 credit each year, Health 1/2 credit, Computer 1 and 8 electives. Students may exempt Physical education in 10th, 11th and 12th grades by participating in a school sponsored PIAA sport.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to 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.[82] 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.[83]

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.[84] 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.[85][86] 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.[87] 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.[88] 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.

Eighth grade[edit]

The eighth grade is housed in the high school building, but reported as the separate Hermitage Middle School to state and federal agencies. In 2011, the School reported 161 students with 36 students receiving a free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 10.5 teachers yielding a student teacher ratio of 15:1.

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 67% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 62% (17% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 62% (18% below basic). State – 57% [96]
  • 2009 - 65% (13% below basic). State - 55% [97]
  • 2008 - 59%, (13% below basic). State - 52% [98]
  • 2007 - tested, but results not made public.

Delahunty Middle School[edit]

Delahunty Middle School is located 419 North Hermitage Road, Hermitage. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 332 pupils in grades 6th and 7th, with 92 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 20 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.[99] 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.[100]

In both 2011 and 2012, Delahunty Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2012, the attendance rate was 96%.[101]

PSSA results

Ionta Elementary School[edit]

Karen A. Ionta Elementary School is located at 375 North Hermitage Road, Hermitage. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 305 pupils in 4th and 5th grades, with 91 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 20 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.[107] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[108] The school is named after a former school district superintendent.[109]

In 2011 and 2012, Ionta Elementary School achieved AYP status.[110]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 90%, (5% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 95%, (1% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 87%, (8% below basic). State - 81%

Artman Elementary School[edit]

Artman Elementary School is located at 343 North Hermitage Road, Hermitage. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 617 pupils in grades kindergarten through 3rd grade, with 192 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 37 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.[114] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[115] The School has an All Day Kindergarten program in place for many years.

In 2012, Artman Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status, due to lagging reading achievement. The school missed all the reading metrics measured in 2012. In 2011, Artman Elementary School achieved AYP status.[116] The attendance rate was 96% in 2012.

PSSA Results

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Hermitage School District administration reported that 269 pupils or 12.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 29% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[121] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 261 pupils or 12.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 35% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[122] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school district engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress .[123] 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.[124][125] 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.

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.[126] 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.[127] 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.[128] 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.[129] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[130]

Hermitage School District received a $1,094,948 supplement for special education services in 2010.[131] 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 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[132][133] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 77 or 3.67% 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.[134] 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.[135][136]

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.[137]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Hermitage School District was $59,786 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $19,931 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $79,716.[138] The District employed 157 teachers with an average salary of $60,886 and a top salary of $122,720.[139] In 2013 the Superintendent reported that the District had eliminated 31.5 positions in the past four years, including positions in: teaching, support, administrative and extracurricular staffs.

In 2009, Hermitage School District reported employing 162 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $58,686 and a top salary of $93,135.[140] The teacher’s work day is 8 hours including a duty-free lunch period and a daily preparation period, with 187 days in the contract year (180 student days). Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days (20 year or more employees get 1 extra day), 12 paid sick days which accumulate without restriction, and other benefits. Teachers receive a retirement bonus of $125 per year served in the District. The early retirement incentive is $12,000 at maximum. Retirees are also paid for unused sick days. The District grants the teachers union 2 days per month for the President to conduct union business during the school day with the District paying 1/2 their salary during union work time.[141]

Hermitage School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $703.85 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[142] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains 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.[143] According to PSBA, the median Superintendent salary rose to over $130,000 in 2011.[144]

Per Pupil Spending In 2008, the Hermitage School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $11,684 which ranked th among Pennsylvania's then 501 public school districts. In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $13,046.82.[145] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[146]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[147] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[148] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[149] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[150]

Reserves In 2008, the School District reported a balance of $2,426,893, in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $2,175,587. [151] In 2010, Hermitage School District Administration reported $2,073,326 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District also reported $3,793,359 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. By 2012, the Districts reserves had increased to $6,505,890. 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.[152] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[153]

Audit In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. Multiple serious findings regarding student transportation were reported to the Hermitage School Board and the District’s administration. The amount paid to the pupil transportation contractor greatly exceeds Department of Education final formula allowance.[154]

Tuition Students who live in the Hermitage 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 Hermitage 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 Hermitage School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,381.37, High School - $8,781.92.[155]

Economic development project In August 2012, the Hermitage School Board approved a plan were 69% of the property taxes that would have been collected on the Levey site, a blighted property under Mercer County Industrial Development Authority, would instead be used to pay the TIF bonds to develop the property.[156]

Hermitage School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%,[157] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, Local Services tax $5, per capita tax $5, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[158] 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.[159] 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.[160]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Hermitage School District will receive a 2.2% increase or $5,672,711 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $121,914 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Hermitage School District will receive $93,413 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Mercer County, Hermitage School District received the highest percentage increase. 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.[161] 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.[162]

For the 2012-13 school year, the Hermitage School District received $$5,550,797.[163] The Governor'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. Hermitage School District received $93,413 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[164] 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.

In 2011-12, the Hermitage School District received a $$5,550,797.26 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[165][166] Additionally, Hermitage School District received $93,413 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[167] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District of Allegheny County, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[168] In 2010, the district reported that 599 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[169]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.73% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $6,041,816 . Among the public school districts in Mercer County, the highest increase went to Greenville Area School District which got a 7.54% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County, which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[170] 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 each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[171]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 6% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,824,572 to Hermitage School District. Among the districts in Mercer County, the highest increase went to Sharon City School District which got a 7.59%. Ninety (90) Pennsylvania public school districts received the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[172] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[173]

The state Basic Education Funding to the Hermitage School District in 2008-09 was increased by 4.39% to $5,550,797.26. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 520 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[174] 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.[175][176]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, All Day Kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, Hermitage School District applied for and received $253,547 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide Full Day kindergarten since 2003-04.[177][178] In 2009, 100% of the kindergarteners in Hermitage School District attended full-day kindergarten.[179]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. The Hermitage School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District was denied funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Hermitage School District received $78,392 in 2008-09.[180] Among the public school districts in Mercer County the highest award was given to Greenville Area School District which received $344,743. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Other grants[edit]

Hermitage School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell), Education Assistance Grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Hermitage School District received an extra $1,786,776 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[181][182] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[183] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised 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[edit]

Hermitage School District officials applied for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided nearly one half million dollars, in additional federal funding, to improve student academic achievement.[184] 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.[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][187][188]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2013-14 were set by the school board at 60.2390 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.[189] 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 all government property (local, state and federal). Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75–85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[190] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[191] 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.[192]

  • 2012-13 - 59.0000 mills [193]
  • 2011-12 - 59.0000 mills.[194]
  • 2010-11 - 59.0000 mills [195]
  • 2009-10 - 59.0000 mills.[196]
  • 2008-09 - 59.0000 mills.[197]
  • 2007-08 - 59.0000 mills.[198]
  • 2006-07 - 57.0000 mills.[199]
  • 2005-06 - 57.0000 mills.[200]

The average yearly property tax paid by Mercer County residents amounts to about 2.88% of their yearly income. Mercer County ranked 672nd out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[201] 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.[202] 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%).[203]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted to raise property taxes above their annual Act 1 Index unless they either: allow Districts voters to approve the increase through a vote by referendum or they receive an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the school year is published by the PDE in the fall of each year. Each individual school district’s Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as local property values and the personal income of district residents. Originally, Act 1 of 2006 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.[204]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[205] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[206][207] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[208]

The School District Adjusted Index history for the Hermitage School District:

For the 2013-14 budget year, Hermitage School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. 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.[212]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Hermitage School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[213]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Hermitage School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Hermitage 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.

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.[214]

For the 2009-10 school budget, the Hermitage School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[215] 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.[216]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, Hermitage School District approved homestead properties received $97 to 4,733 approved homesteads and farmsteads.[217] 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. The amount of property tax relief each Pennsylvania public school district receives is announced by the PDE in May of each year. The amount of tax relief is dependent on the total tax revenue collected on the casino slots in the previous year. Thirty five percent of the slots tax revenues are used for property tax relief. In Mercer County, the highest tax relief went to Sharon City School District which was set at $257.[218] The highest property tax relief provided, among Pennsylvania school districts, goes to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District in Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. Chester-Upland School District has consistently been the top recipient since the inception of the program.[219]

In Pennsylvania, the homestead exclusion reduces the assessed values of homestead properties, reducing the property tax on these homes. The homestead exclusion allows homeowners real property tax relief of up to one half of the median assessed value of homesteads in the taxing jurisdiction (county, school district, city, borough, or township).[220]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently people who have an income of substantially more than $35,000 still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This tax rebate can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Treasury reported issuing more than half a million property tax rebates totaling $238 million.[221] The Property tax/rent rebate program is funded by revenues from the Pennsylvania Lottery. In 2012, these property tax rebates were increased by an additional 50 percent for senior households in the state, so long as those households have incomes under $30,000 and pay more than 15% of their income in property taxes.[222]

Wellness policy[edit]

Hermitage School Board established a district-wide Student Wellness policy.[223] 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." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[224]

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.[225] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

Hermitage 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.[226] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[227] In January 2013, the District acknowledged losing money $58,897 in 2012 and $112,321 accumulatively.[228]

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.[229] 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.[230] The District provides an approved snack list.[231]

Hermitage School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in the school buildings to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense over-the-counter and 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.[232] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA). Students in grades 10th,11th and 12th are exempted from gym classes if they participate in a school sport.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students residing 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.[233]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2013 [234]

Free speech court case[edit]

Hermitage School District was party to a student discipline case which was appealed by the ALCU to the US Supreme Court. Known as Layshock v. Hermitage School District, the District lost the case when the Supreme Court refused to review it. An earlier court ruled the student's actions were protected by free speech rights.[235] The student, Justin Layshock, received $10,000 in damages plus legal fees.[236]

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