Jefferson-Morgan School District

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Jefferson-Morgan School District
Map of Greene County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1351 Jefferson Road
Jefferson, Pennsylvania, Greene County 15344-0158
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
Superintendent MS. Donna Furnier salary $98,965 (2012) contract to June 30, 2017[1]
Administrator Mrs Jennifer Foringer - Business Administrator salary $66,211
Principal Mr. Joseph Orr, salary
Principal Silbaugh, Samuel, salary $70,540
Staff 50 (2012); 54 non teaching staff members (2010)
Faculty 63 teachers (2012); 67 teachers 2010[2]
Grades K-12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Number of students 810 pupils (2012-2013); 845 pupils (2011-2012); 888 pupils (2006-2007)
 • Kindergarten 65 pupils (2013); 50 (2012); 68 (2010)
 • Grade 1 62 pupils (2013); 69 (2012); 56 (2010)
 • Grade 2 66 pupils (2013); 78 (2012); 64 (2010)
 • Grade 3 76 pupils (2013); 54 (2012); 55 (2010)
 • Grade 4 65 pupils (2013); 69 (2012); 76 (2010)
 • Grade 5 54 pupils (2013); 54 (2012); 80 (2010)
 • Grade 6 56 pupils (2013); 76 (2012); 62 (2010)
 • Grade 7 59 pupils (2013); 73 (2012); 69 (2010)
 • Grade 8 59 pupils (2013); 59 (2012); 77 (2010)
 • Grade 9 56 pupils (2013); 69 (2012); 50 (2010)
 • Grade 10 52 pupils (2013); 70 (2012); 63 (2010)
 • Grade 11 60 pupils (2013); 45 (2012); 60 (2010)
 • Grade 12 60 pupils (2013); 62 (2012); 60 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 825 in 2019[3]
Language English
Mascot Rockets'
Budget

$12,881,000 (2014-2015)[4]
$12,163,603 (2013-2014)[5]

$12,021,000 (2011-2012)[6]
Per pupil spending $13,259 (2008)
Per pupil spending $15,340.77 (2010)
Website

Jefferson-Morgan School District is a diminutive, rural, public school district located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. It serves the boroughs of Jefferson, Rices Landing, and Clarksville. It also serves Jefferson and Morgan townships. Jefferson-Morgan School District encompasses approximately 47 square miles (120 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 6,142. By 2010, the District's population declined to 5,895 people.[7] in 2010, the educational attainment levels for the population 25 and over were 87.0% high school graduates and 13.7% college graduates.[8] In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $16,304, while the median family income was $38,728.[9] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[10] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[11] The School District reports 825 students in 2012. Whites make up 97% of the student body, blacks make up nearly 2%. The teacher-student ratio is 13:1. Thirty-seven percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch prices."J-M" are also known for there many wins and loses against the Carmichaels Area School District.

According to District officials, in school year 2005–2006, the Jefferson-Morgan School District provided basic educational services to 895 pupils. The District employed: 80 teachers, 36 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. In 2007-2008, the District provided basic educational services to 881 pupils. It employed: 79 teachers, 34 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. Jefferson-Morgan School District received more than $7.4 million in state funding in 2007-2008. In 2009-2010, the District provided basic educational services to 856 pupils. It employed: 78 teachers, 35 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators during the 2009-2010 school year. Jefferson-Morgan School District received $7.4 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.

Jefferson-Morgan School District operates two schools: Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School and Jefferson-Morgan Middle Senior High School. The District is often referred to locally as "J-M" or "Jeff-Morgan." Jefferson-Morgan High school students may choose to attend Greene County Career and Technology Center for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Intermediate Unit IU1 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]

Jefferson-Morgan School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[12] 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 School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[13]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "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.[14]

Academic achievement[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School District was ranked 461st out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts in 2013, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and science PSSAs. The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2013 - 468th[15]
  • 2012 - 466th[16]
  • 2010 - 467th[17]
  • 2009 - 468th
  • 2008 - 459th
  • 2007 - 463rd out of 501 school districts.[18]
Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Jefferson-Morgan School District ranked 489th. In 2012, the district was 482nd.[19] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[20]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Jefferson-Morgan School District was in the 9th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0–99; 100 is state best)[21]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Jefferson-Morgan School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[22] In 2011, Jefferson-Morgan 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.[23] Jefferson-Morgan 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.[24]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Jefferson-Morgan School District's graduation rate declined to 72.58%.[25] In 2012, Jefferson-Morgan School District's graduation rate was 90%.[26] In 2011, the District's graduation rate was 70%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Jefferson-Morgan School District's rate was 69% for 2010.[27]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Jefferson-Morgan Middle Senior High School[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan Middle Senior High School is located at 1351 Jefferson Road, Jefferson. In 2013, enrollment was reported as 388 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 40% of the pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 14.9% of pupils received special education services, while 6.4% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 38 teachers.[32] Per the PA Department of Education 1% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 395 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 161 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[33] The school is a federally designated Title I school. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act.[34]

2013 School Performance Profile

Jefferson-Morgan Middle High School achieved 76.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 66% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 57% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 49% showed on grade level science understanding. Eighth graders demonstrated 80% were on grade level in writing[35] 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.[36]

AYP history

In 2012, Jefferson-Morgan Middle Senior High School declined to Warning Adequate YEarly Progress (AYP) status due to missing all academics metrics measured in both reading and mathematics.[37]

  • 2010 and 2011 - achieved AYP status.
  • 2009 - Making Progress School Improvement level 2.
  • 2008 - declined to School Improvement level 2.[38] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[39] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[40]
  • 2007 - Making Progress School Improvement level 1
  • 2006 - declined to School Improvement level 1due to lagging student achievement
  • 2005 - declined to Warning AYP status
  • 2004 - achieved AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to low student achievement in reading and math
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.[41]

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.[42]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 44% on grade level, (33% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[43]
  • 2011 - 60% (19% below basic). State - 69.1%[44]
  • 2010 - 67% (23% below basic). State - 67% (62 pupils enrolled)[45]
  • 2009 - 68%, State – 65%[46]
  • 2008 - 45%, State – 65%[47]
  • 2007 - 69%, State – 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 45% on grade level (33% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[48]
  • 2011 - 46% (31% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 42% (37% below basic). State - 59%[49]
  • 2009 - 46%, State – 56%[50]
  • 2008 - 24%, State – 56%[51]
  • 2007 - 45%, State – 53%[52]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 15% on grade level (29% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[53]
  • 2011 - 40% (17% below basic). State - 40%[54]
  • 2010 - 31%, State – 39%
  • 2009 - 33%, State – 40%[55]
  • 2008 - 15%, State – 39%[56]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 40% of the Jefferson-Morgan 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.[57] 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.[58] 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 program[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan Junior Senior High School District offers a dual enrollment program. This state-funded program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[59] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[60] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[61] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,406 for its dual enrollment program. The grants were terminated by Governor Edward G. Rendell for the 2010-11 budget year.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Jefferson-Morgan School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 27.5 credits to graduate, including: Math 4 credits, English 4 credits, English Electives 0.5 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Science 4 credits, Physical Education 1.5 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Computers 1 credit, Family and Consumer Sciences 0.5 credits, Careers 0.5 credit, Culminating Project 1 credit and seven electives.[62]

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.[63] At Jefferson-Morgan the purpose of the culminating project is to teach students how to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and then communicate that knowledge and understanding. The Board of Education, Faculty and Administration of the Jefferson-Morgan School District believes that a well prepared project will provide students with the opportunity to engage in higher-level problem solving. It will also allow students to demonstrate initiative and involve them in authentic experiences.[64] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[65]

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.[66][67][68] 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.[69] 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.[70] 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.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Jefferson-Morgan School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 441. The Math average score was 453. The Writing average score was 418. 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.[71]

In 2012, 24 Jefferson-Morgan School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 468. The Math average score was 471. The Writing average score was 433. 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, 34 Jefferson-Morgan School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 484. The Math average score was 486. The Writing average score was 459.[72] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[73] 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.[74]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Jefferson-Morgan Middle High School offered 2 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. Students pay the fee for the exam which was $89 per test per pupil in 2012. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At the High School less than 10% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[75]

Eighth grade[edit]

PSSA Results:
Science
  • 2012 - 49% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 51% (25% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 – 44% (38% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 – 43%, State – 55%.[77]
  • 2008 – 56%, State – 52%[78]

Seventh grade[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School is located at 1363 Jefferson Road, Jefferson. In 2013, the School's enrollment was 422 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 51.9% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 16.8% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted.[80] 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 provides full day kindergarten.[81] Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the school reported an enrollment of 450 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 201 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 32 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[82] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[83]

2013 School Performance Profile

Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School achieved a score of 61.6 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 55% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 69% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, just 62% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, only 66% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 50% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[84]

AYP history

In 2012, Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School declined further to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to low reading and mathematics achievement. In 2011, Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School remained in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[85]

  • 2010 - achieved AYP status
  • 2009 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[86]
  • 2008 - achieved AYP status
  • 2007 - Warning AYP status
  • 2004 through 2006 - achieved AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 86% (2% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 91% (0% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 – 81% (6% below basic). State – 81%
  • 2009 – 83%, State – 83%
  • 2008 – 77%, State – 81%

Bullying and school safety[edit]

In 2012, Jefferson-Morgan School District administrative reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district. In 2009, Jefferson-Morgan School District administrative reported there were four incidents of bullying in the district.[93][94]

A district bullying policy is not posted on the Jefferson-Morgan School District's website. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[95] The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.[96]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[97]

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, Jefferson-Morgan School District administration reported that 155 pupils or 19% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 44% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, Jefferson-Morgan School District administration reported that 162 pupils or 19% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 40% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[98] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 253 pupils or 17% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 45% 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.[99] 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 .[100] 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 Jefferson-Morgan School District or contact the District's Special Education Department.[101][102] 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.[103] 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.[104] 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.[105] 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.[106] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[107]

The Jefferson-Morgan School District received a $623,238 supplement for special education services in 2010.[108] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. 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.[109][110] 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 35 or 4.10% 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.[111] 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 should have an intelligence quotient (IQ) "of 130 or higher, when multiple criteria ... indicate gifted ability", "[d]etermination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone" and "[a] person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability."[112] The determination "must include an assessment by a certified school psychologist."[112][113]

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.[114]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Jefferson-Morgan School District was $51,353 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $24,183 per employee (which is among the highest costs in Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts). The total total annual average teacher compensation of $75,536 at Jefferson Morgan School District.[115] In 2010, Jefferson-Morgan School District reported its average teacher salary was $48,731.[116]

In 2009, Jefferson-Morgan School District reported employing over 80 teachers with a salary range of $35,000 to $90,000.[117] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits. Teachers receive additional pay for extracurriculars, coaching, head teacher work, days past 182 worked and more.[118]

In 2007, Jefferson-Morgan School District employed 66 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $46,993 for 182 days worked.[119] 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.[120]

Jefferson-Morgan School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $779.08 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[121] 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.[122]

Reserves In 2008, Jefferson-Morgan School District reported a $1,580,711 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[123] In 2010, Jefferson-Morgan School District Administration reported $1,580,967.00 in the District's unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District reported zero in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. 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. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[124]

In 2008, Jefferson-Morgan School District reported per pupil spending was $13,259 which ranked 155th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[125]

In July 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the administration and the school board.[126] The District was audited again in January 2011. Serious fundings were reported to the School Board and Administration. In 2007, the District was the subject of a special investigations which found multiple violations of state law and state education regulations.[127]

Tuition Students who live in the Jefferson-Morgan 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 Jefferson-Morgan School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,863.19, High School - $12,188.50.[128]

Lawsuit In 2006, Connie L. Palfrey sued the Jefferson-Morgan School Board alleging that her contract as a technology administrator with Jefferson-Morgan School District was not renewed because she testified before the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission during an investigation of the District’s then Superintendent, Dr. Charles Rembold[129] Rembold was under investigation for activities with the Greene County Industrial Development Authority.[130] Rembold retired August 21, 2005.

Jefferson-Morgan School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[131] 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.[132] 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.[133]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, the District received $5,299,977.[134] 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. Jefferson-Green School District received $85,176. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[135] 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, Jefferson-Morgan School District received a $5,214,801 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[136][137] Additionally, the Jefferson-Morgan School District received $85,176 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.[138] 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.[139] In 2010, the District reported that 357 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[140]

For the 2010-11 budget year, Jefferson-Morgan School District was allotted a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,476,552. The highest increase in Greene County was given to Central Greene School District which got a 4.97% 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.[141] 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.[142]

In the 2009–2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.96% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,369,169.[143] Southeastern Greene School District got a 6.92%. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[144] The amount of increase each school district receives was set by Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[145]

The state Basic Education Funding to Jefferson-Morgan School District, in 2008–09, was $5,214,801. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 338 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–08 school year.[146]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K–3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010–11 the district applied for and received $231,189 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for 60 students.[147][148]

  • 2009–10 – $231,189 for full-day kindergarten[149]
  • 2008–09 – $231,198 for full-day kindergarten and teacher training.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010–11 the Carmichael Area School District received $63,603.[150]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006–2009. Jefferson-Morgan School District did not apply to participate in 2006–07. In 2007–08, the District received $81,091 and in 2008–09 $45,413 for a total of $126,504.[151]

Other grants[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education grants, PA Science Its Elementary grants, 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School District received an extra $725,310 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[152] The funding is for the 2009–10 and 2010–2011 school years.[153] The district used $89,155 to improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet State academic achievement standards.[154]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars to improve 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.[155] 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.[156]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The school board elected to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[157] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. The plan showed the district could save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by sharing services with other school districts through the region's Intermediate Unit. Intermediate Units in Pennsylvania are part of the governance structure of public education in the Commonwealth. They were designed primarily to provide services to local school districts that can be operated more effectively and efficiently on a regional basis. The district is served by IU#1.[158]

Enrollment and Consolidation[edit]

In 2010 a study on the possible consolidation of services between Carmichaels Area School District, Jefferson-Morgan School District and Southeastern Greene School District is being conducted.[159]

A study was done in 2004, examining consolidating Jefferson-Morgan School District with neighboring Bethlehem-Center School District located in Washington County, with Carmichaels Area School District or with Southeastern Greene School District in Greene County. It was estimated that several million dollars in savings would be achieved in these consolidations.[160] The study noted that consolidation could significantly decrease administrative costs for both communities while improving offerings to students. Consolidation of school district administrations does not require the consolidation of schools.[161] In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants released a report finding that the state would save hundreds of millions of tax dollars, by cutting the number of school administrations in half through consolidation, with no impact on programs offered to students.[162]

From 2000-2010, Pennsylvania public school district enrollment decreased over 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline was in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts may have a 16 percent decline. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[163] Statewide, there are 187 districts that were projected to have an enrollment decline of 15 percent or greater. Geographically, these districts are clustered in western Pennsylvania and in the state's northern tier.[164]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[165]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2012-13 were set by the school board at 23.6500 mills.[166] 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.[167] 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.[168] 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.[169] 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.[170]

  • 2011-12 - 23.0909 mills.[171]
  • 2010-11 - 23.0909 mills[172]
  • 2009-10 – 23.0909 mills.[173]
  • 2008-09 – 23.0909 mills.[174]
  • 2007-08 - 23.0909 mills.[175]
  • 2006-07 - 23.0909 mills.[176]
  • 2005-06 - 22.2910 mills.[177]

The average yearly property tax paid by Greene County residents amounts to about 2.77% of their yearly income. Greene County ranked 748th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[178] 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.[179] 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%).[180]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 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.[181] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[182] 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.[183][184]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Jefferson-Morgan School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[185]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Jefferson-Morgan School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2013-2014, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 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 the tax limit. For the exception for pension costs, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[188]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Jefferson-Morgan 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.[188]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Jefferson-Morgan 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.[189]

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.[190]

The Jefferson-Morgan School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2009–10 or 2010–11.[191] 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.[192]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Jefferson-Morgan School District was $239 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,818 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Greene County, 37% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[193] In Greene County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to Central Greene School District at $296. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[194] This was the third year they were the top recipient.

  • 2010 - $243 for 1,790 properties[195]
  • 2009 – $255 for 1,708 properties.
  • 2008 – $296 for 1,473 properties.

Wellness policy[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School Board established a district wellness program in 2006[196] 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.[197] The policy requires that the Superintendent or designee shall report to the Board on the district’s compliance with law and policies related to student wellness. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to low-income children. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[198]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Jefferson-Morgan School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.[199]

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.[200]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012[201]

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External links[edit]