Keystone Central School District

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Keystone Central School District
Map of Clinton County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
86 Administration Drive
Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, Clinton County 17751
United States
Coordinates 41°08′06″N 77°26′44″W / 41.134883°N 77.445486°W / 41.134883; -77.445486 (District office)Coordinates: 41°08′06″N 77°26′44″W / 41.134883°N 77.445486°W / 41.134883; -77.445486 (District office)
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
NCES District ID 4212725[1]
Superintendent Kelly Hastings, salary $121,570 (2015), contract renewed July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2020)[2]
Administrator

Steven M Kreger, salary $97,814 (2014)
Susan L Blesh, salary $94,300
Judith P Petruzzi, salary $93,268
Karen B Probst, salary $92,753

Terry L Murty, salary $92,459
Staff 203 non teaching staff members (2013)
Faculty 305.72 teachers (2015),[3] 320 (2010)[4]
Grades K - 12
Age 5 years old to 21 years old special education
Number of students

4,037 pupils (2015)[5]
4,233 pupils (02013)[6]
4,393 pupils (2011)[7]
Enrollment projected to be 3451 pupils 2019[8]
4,434 pupils (2010)
3,670 pupils (2008)

4,635 pupils (2006)[9]
Language English
Color(s) CM Blue, White, BHS Red, White
Mascot CM Wildcat, BHS Bucks
Budget $63,721,848 (2011-2012)[10]
Website
Potter County School Districts
Centre County School Districts

The Keystone Central School District (KCSD) is a midsized rural, public school district based in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania that includes public schools in Clinton County, and that serves students in Clinton County, Centre County, and Potter County. Geographically, the Keystone Central School District is the biggest school district in Pennsylvania. It encompasses approximately 1,048 square miles (2,710 km2) square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 36,950. By 2010, the District's population was 37,794 people,[11] making it a district of the third class. The educational attainment levels for the School District population (25 years old and over) were 85.7% high school graduates and 17.2% college graduates.[12] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 51.7% of the District’s pupils lived at 185% or below the Federal Poverty Level [1] as shown by their eligibility for the federal free or reduced price school meal programs in 2012.[13] In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that 71 students in the Keystone Central School District were homeless.[14]

In 2009, Keystone Central School District residents’ per capita income was $15,619, while the median family income was $37,532.[15] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [16] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[17] In Clinton County, the median household income was $42,184.[18] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[19] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[20]

According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Keystone Central School District (KCSD) provided basic educational services to 4,447 pupils through the employment of 408 teachers, 180 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 42 administrators. KCSD received more than $31 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. In 2012, Keystone Central School District reported an enrollment of 4,063 pupils. The District employed: 346 teachers, 198 full-time and part-time support personnel and 43 administrators.[21] The District received $32,177,419 in state education subsidies.

Keystone Central School District operates 6 elementary schools, three secondary schools (one middle school, one high school, and one combined middle and high school), an alternative education program, a career technology center and a cyber academy.

High school students may choose to attend the Keystone Central Career Technology Center (KCCTC) for training in the construction and mechanical trades. The Central Intermediate Unit IU10 provides the District with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, background checks for employees, state mandated recognizing and reporting child abuse training, speech and visual disability services and criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.

Schools[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Academic achievement[edit]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that three schools in the District are among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Included were: Dickey Elementary School, Liberty-Curtin Elementary School and Bucktail Area Middle School.[22][23] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[24]

Opportunity scholarship school

In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying one Keystone Central School District school was among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[25] Bucktail High School has been on the list each school year since 2013-14 school year. The school is among the 15% lowest achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[26] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[27] Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, nine (9) Pennsylvania public school districts had all of their schools placed on the list including: Steelton-Highspire School District, Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, and William Penn School District.[28] In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

Statewide ranking

Keystone Central School District was ranked 387th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2015 by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

In 2009 the academic achievement of the students of the Keystone Central School District fell in the 23rd percentile in the state's 500 school districts. (0-99; 100 is state best) [35]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Keystone Central School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging graduation rates and low academic achievement.[36] In 2011, Keystone Central School District achieved AYP status (Adequate Yearly Progress). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[37] School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2009, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[38]

District Graduation Rate[edit]

In 2012 and 2011, Keystone Central School District's graduation rate was 93%.[39] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Keystone Central School District's rate was 93% for 2010.[40]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. Keystone Central School Board has determined that students must earn 29 credits to graduate including: English 4 credits, social studies - 4 credits including civics; 7 total credits between math and science with each pupil taking Biology 1 and Algebra; Physical Education - 2 credits; Health 1/2 credit; 11.5 credits in electives.[44]

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[45] 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.[46]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[47] public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the respective Keystone Exams for each course.[48][49] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[50]

Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate.[51][52] 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.[53] 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.[54] 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.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 7% of Keystone Central School District 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.[55] 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.[56] 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.

Central Mountain High School[edit]

Central Mountain High School is located at 64 Keystone Central Drive, Mill Hall. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 1,180 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 35.9% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of pupils received special education services, while none of pupils were identified as gifted.[57] The school employed 75 teachers.[58] Per the PA Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[59]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 1,333 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 490 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 78 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 17:1.[60] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[61]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Central Mountain High School’s graduation rate was 90.7%.[62]

  • 2014 - 93%[63]
  • 2013 - 93.9% [64]
  • 2012 - 93% [65]
  • 2011 - 93%
  • 2010 - 91% [66]
  • 2009 - 88%

Academics[edit]

2015 School Performance Profile

Central Mountain High School achieved 67.4 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 64.6% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 54% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 41.3% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[67] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[68][69]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Mountain High School achieved 70.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 77% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 67% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 53% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[70][71] 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%.[72]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Mountain High School achieved out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 67% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 57% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 41% showed on grade level science understanding.[73] 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.[74]

AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Central Mountain High School declined to School Improvement II AYP status when it failed to achieve a single one of the 8 academic targets.[75]

  • 2011 - Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status.[76]
  • 2010 - School Improvement I status due to chronically low student achievement.[77]
  • 2009 - declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging achievement[78]
  • 2008 - achieved AYP status[79]
  • 2007 - Making Progress Corrective Action Level 1 AYP[80]
  • 2006 - declined further to Corrective Action Level 1 AYP due to low student academic achievement in reading and math. 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.[81]
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement Level II AYP status.[82]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status.[83] Central Mountain HIgh 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.[84] The High School was eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[85]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement.
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.[86]

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the applicable course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[87] Seventh graders and eighth graders continue to be tested in reading, math and 8th grade science PSSAs.

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 62% on grade level (19% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[88]
  • 2011 - 65%, (17% below basic). State - 69.1% [89]
  • 2010 - 63%, State - 67% [90]
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 65%[91]
  • 2008 - 63%, State - 65% [92]
  • 2007 - 66%, State - 65%

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[93]
  • 2011 - 61% (19% below basic). State - 60.3%[94]
  • 2010 - 54%, State - 59% [95]
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 56% [96]
  • 2008 - 57%, State - 55%
  • 2007 - 48%, State - 53%[97]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 33% on grade level (21% below basic). State - 44% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 29% (22% below basic). State - 40% [98]
  • 2010 - 33%, State - 39%[99]
  • 2009 - 33%, State - 40%[100]
  • 2008 - 25%, State - 39% [101]

SAT results[edit]

In 2014, 164 Central Mountain High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 471. The Math average score was 487. The Writing average score was 445.[102][103] 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.[104] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 191 Central Mountain High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was . The Math average score was . The Writing average score was . 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.[105]

In 2012, 183 Central Mountain High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 461. The Math average score was 469. The Writing average score was 456. 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, 165 Central Mountain High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 470. The Math average score was 485. The Writing average score was 462.[106] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[107] 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.[108]

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a research arm of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, compared the SAT data of students in rural areas of Pennsylvania to students in urban areas. From 2003 to 2005, the average total SAT score for students in rural Pennsylvania was 992, while urban students averaged 1,006. During the same period, 28 percent of 11th and 12th graders in rural school districts took the exam, compared to 32 percent of urban students in the same grades. The average math and verbal scores were 495 and 497, respectively, for rural students, while urban test-takers averaged 499 and 507, respectively. Pennsylvania’s SAT composite score ranked low on the national scale in 2004. The composite SAT score of 1,003 left Pennsylvania ranking 44 out of the 50 states and Washington, DC.[109]

Central Mountain Middle School[edit]

Central Mountain Middle School is located at 200 Ben Avenue, Mill Hall. In 2015, enrollment was 819pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 42.8% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 19% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted.[110] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[111] The school is not a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 925 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 387 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The School employed 69 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 13:1.[112] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 17 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[113]

Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Central Mountain School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[114] The process identifies students at risk for dropping out by examining the pupil’s: attendance, behavior and course grades. Interventions are implemented to assist at-risk pupils to remain in school. The program is funded by federal and private dollars.[115]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 51% of 8th grade students at Central Mountain Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 24% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 53% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 45% were on grade level in reading, while 15% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 53% were on grade level in reading and 34% were on grade level in mathematics.[116] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[117]

2014 School Performance Profile

Central Mountain Middle School achieved 83.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 69.8% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 76% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 60.8% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 71% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[118]

2013 School Performance Profile

Central Mountain Middle School achieved 67.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 66.8% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 76.6% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 47.45% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 53% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[119] 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.

AYP status history

In 2012, Central Mountain Middle School declined further to School Improvement I AYP status due to lagging student reading skills.[120]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status[121]
  • 2010 - declined to Warning Status due to low reading scores.[122]
  • 2009 - Making Progress Corrective Action level I AYP status[123]
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action level I AYP status AYP level[124] 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.
  • 2007 - Making Progress School Improvement Level II AYP status[125]
  • 2006 - remained in School Improvement Level II AYP status[126]
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status[127]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I AYP status due to low student achievement.[128] Central Mountain Middle 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.[84] The middl school was eligible for special, extra funding called School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[85]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and math
PSSA history

Sixth and seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative.[129] Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science.[130] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[86] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[131]

8th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 74% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[132]
  • 2011 - 84% (8% below basic) State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 75%, State - 81% [133]
  • 2009 - 82%, State: 80.9%
  • 2008 - 79%, State - 78%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 78% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 76% [134]
  • 2011 - 80% (9% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 78%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 69%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 68%, State -70%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 54% on grade level (23% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 60% (23% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 55%, State - 55% of
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 57%
  • 2008 - 51%, State - 50%

Bucktail High School[edit]

Bucktail High School is located at 1300 Bucktail Avenue, Renovo. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 124 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 64.5% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 18.5% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted.[136] The school employed 16 teachers.[137] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[59] Bucktail High school shares its building with Bucktail Middle School its feeder school. The School's first graduating class was 1960.

In 2013, Bucktail High School enrollment was just 146 pupils 9th-12th. Ninety-four students were eligible for a free breakfast/lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 17 teachers yielding a 8.5:1 student teacher ratio.[138]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Bucktail Area Middle/High School reported an enrollment of 107 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 68 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 9 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[139] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[140]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, the School’s graduation rate was 95.24.[62]

Academics[edit]

2015 School Performance Profile

Bucktail High School achieved 64.6 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 66.6% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 60.98% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 48.78% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[145] Statewide, 53 percent of schools with an eleventh grade achieved an academic score of 70 or better. Five percent of the 2,033 schools with 11th grade were scored at 90 and above; 20 percent were scored between 80 and 89; 28 percent between 70 and 79; 25 percent between 60 and 69 and 22 percent below 60. The Keystone Exam results showed: 73 percent of students statewide scored at grade-level in English, 64 percent in Algebra I and 59 percent in biology.[68][146]

2014 School Performance Profile

Bucktail High School achieved 74.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - were on grade level. In Algebra 1, just 66.7% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, only 34% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[147]

2013 School Performance Profile

Bucktail High School achieved 69.9 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 80% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 76% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 30.95% showed on grade level science understanding.[148]

AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Bucktail Area Middle High School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to missing every one of 13 academic metrics measured.[149]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[150]
  • 2010 - Warning AYP status due to chronic low student achievement.[151]
  • 2006 - 2009 - achieved AYP status[152]
  • 2005 - Making Progress School Improvement Level I AYP level [153]
  • 2004 - declined to achieve AYP status[154] 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. The school was required to pay for tutoring for struggling students.
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status
PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 58% on grade level, (22% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[155]
  • 2011 - 68% (13% below basic). State - 69.1%
  • 2010 - 51%, State - 67% [156]
  • 2009 - 66%, State - 65%[91]
  • 2008 - 63%, State - 65% [92]
  • 2007 - 51%, State - 65%

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 42% on grade level (36% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 48% (26% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 31%, State - 59%
  • 2009 - 48%, State - 56%
  • 2008 - 52%, State - 55%
  • 2007 - 27%, State - 53%[97]

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 17% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 44% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 16% (23% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 10%, State - 39%
  • 2009 - 18%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 26%, State - 39% [101]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 23 Bucktail High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 473. The Math average score was 472. The Writing average score was 449.[103][157]

In 2013, 20 Bucktail High School students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 428. The Math average score was 425. The Writing average score was 426. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing.

In 2012, 18 Bucktail High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 449. The Math average score was 462. The Writing average score was 458.

In 2011, 17 Bucktail Area High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 432. The Math average score was 419. The Writing average score was 423.[106]

In 2010, 16 Bucktail Area High School students took the SAT exams. The School's Verbal Average Score was 460. The Math average score was 464. The Writing average score was 456.[158]

Bucktail Area Middle School[edit]

Bucktail Area Middle School shares the high school's building at 1300 Bucktail Avenue, Renovo. In 2015, enrollment was just 94 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 65.9% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 18% of pupils received special education services, while none of the pupils were identified as gifted.[159] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[160]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 88 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 68 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 8 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 10.6:1.[161] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[162]

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 50% of 8th grade students at Bucktail Area Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, 13% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 44% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 37% were on grade level in reading, while none (0%) showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 26% were on grade level in reading and 58% were on grade level in mathematics.[163]

2014 School Performance Profile

Bucktail Area Middle School achieved 66 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 66% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 71% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 36.8% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 68% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[164]

2013 School Performance Profile

Bucktail Area Middle School achieved 70.3 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 67% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 78% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 44% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 55% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[165]

AYP status

Bucktail Area Middle School declined to Warning status due to lagging student achievement. In 2011, the school achieved AYP status.[166] From 2005 to 2010, Bucktail Area Middle School achieved AYP status each school year.[167]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 37% on grade level (37% below basic). State - 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 35% (41% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 34%, State - 55%
  • 2009 - 30%, State - 57%
  • 2008 - 29%, State - 50%

Dickey Elementary School[edit]

Dickey Elementary School is located at South Fairview Street, Lock Haven. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 280 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 68.5% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[172] 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.[173] The school is a federally designated Title I school. Dickey Elementary School is among the low achievement school which the state Department of Education has failed to assist.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 40.9% of 5th grade students at Dickey Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 18% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 41% were on grade level in reading, while 16% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 74% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 50% were on grade level in reading and 25% were on grade level in mathematics.[174] Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[175]

2014 School Performance Profile

Dickey Elementary School achieved a score of 69.4 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 57.89% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 57.78% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 72.18% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 74.47% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 29.27% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[176]

2013 School Performance Profile

Dickey 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 55.88% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 60.42% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 64.7% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 60.87% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 31.58% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[177] 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.

AYP status history

In 2012, Dickey Elementary School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, due to missing all reading metrics.[178]

  • 2004 to 2011 - achieved AYP status each school year.[179]
  • 2003 - Warning AYP status.

In 2012, only 67% of the students at Dickey Elementary School were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In math, 71% of the students in 3rd through 5th grades were on grade level and 24% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 86% of the pupils were on grade level.[180]

Liberty-Curtin Elementary School[edit]

Liberty-Curtin Elementary School is located at 11125 North Eagle Valley Road, Blanchard. In 2015, the School's enrollment was 233 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 42% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 15% of the pupils receive special education services, while none are identified as gifted.[181] 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.[182] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 55% of 5th grade students at Liberty-Curtin Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 37% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 50% were on grade level in reading, while 36% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 75% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 45% were on grade level in reading and 41% were on grade level in mathematics.[183]

2014 School Performance Profile

Liberty-Curtin Elementary School achieved a score of 68.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 61.9% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 62.5% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 73.5% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 80% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 39% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[184]

2013 School Performance Profile

Liberty-Curtin Elementary School achieved a score of 65.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 59% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, % of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 70% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 79% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 41% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[185]

AYP status history

In 2012, Liberty-Curtin Elementary School achieved AYP status.[186] In 2011, Liberty -Curtin Elementary School was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement. In 2012, only 67% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In math, 79% of the students in 3rd through 6th grades were on grade level and 35% scored advanced. In 4th grade science, 80% of the pupils were on grade level.[187]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Keystone Central School District administration reported that 739 pupils or 17.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 2.95% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[188] In December 2012, Keystone Central School District administration reported that 745 pupils or 17.3% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 56% of identified students having specific learning disabilities.

In December 2010, Keystone Central School District administration reported that 775 pupils or 17.6% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 56% of identified students having specific learning disabilities. In December 2009, the District administration reported that 764 pupils or 20.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[189]

In 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee regarding full day kindergarten. He claimed that districts which offered the program would see a significant decrease in special education students due to early identification and early intervention. He asserted the high cost of full day kindergarten would be recouped by Districts in lower special education costs.[190] Keystone Central School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2003. The District has seen a slight decrease in the percentage of special education students it serves, but it has yielding no savings.

The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.[191][192] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.

Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may take the PSSA-M an alternative math exam rather than the PSSA.[193] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[194] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[195] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[196]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815 for special education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[197] 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.[198] 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.[199] 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.[200]

Keystone Central School District received a $3,102,551 supplement for special education services in 2010.[201] For the 2011-12, 2012–13, 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.[202][203] For the 2014-2015 school year, Keystone Central School District received an increase to $3,159,868 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[204] Additionally, the state provided supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

In 2013, the state's Special Education Funding Reform Commission provided a report on the state of funding for special education in the Commonwealth.[205] Funding for special education programs is borne largely on a local basis at 60%, with the state contributing $1 billion or 30% and the federal government providing 10% of the funding.

LRE monitoring

In 2009, Keystone Central School District was identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Least Restrictive Environment monitoring. One hundred ninety six schools districts were selected in 2008-09. The district received an alert letter from the PDE - Bureau of Special Education.[206] School districts were placed in one of three categories: Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3. The district was placed in Tier 2 due to students spending less than 21% of the school day, outside of regular education. The monitoring is a product of the PDE addressing its voluntary settlement in Gaskin V. Pennsylvania which ordered that special education students spend most of their school day (80%) in regular education classrooms with supplementary aids and services to assist funded by the taxpayers.[207][208][209] In 2010, Keystone Central School District was assigned to the Tier 3 monitoring list, due to students spending less than 40% of their day in a regular education classroom. The district received a letter of "Warning" letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[210]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 41 or 3.62% of its students were gifted in 2009.[211] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. This approach permits such specialized instructional strategies as tiered assignments, curriculum compacting, flexible grouping, learning stations, independent projects and independent contracts. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[212]

Wellness policy[edit]

Keystone Central School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006 - Student Wellness Policy 246.[213] The policy deals with nutrition of meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity hat 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.[214] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for its approval.

Keystone Central School District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[215] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[216]

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.[217] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[218] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.

In 2014, President Barack Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[219][220]

The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.[221][222]

Keystone Central School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[223][224] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[225]

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed to each Pennsylvania high school the overdose antidote drug naloxone in a nasal spray. School nurses were also provided with educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.[226] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[227]

Bullying Policy[edit]

The Keystone Central school administration reported no incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[228][229]

The Keystone Central School Board prohibits bullying by district students. A policy approved in July 2009 defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[230] The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of bullying. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[231] 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.[232]

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.[233]

Governance[edit]

Keystone Central 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.[234] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, (renamed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015) which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[235] The school board is required by state law to post a financial report on the district in its website by March of each school year.[236] The Board posts videos of meetings on the District website.[237]

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. These contracts must be in writing and are subject to public discloure under the state’s Right to Know Act. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent and Business Manager regarding renewal of their employment contracts.[238] Pursuant to Act 141 of 2012 which amended the Pennsylvania School Code, all school districts that have hired superintendents on/after the fall of 2012 are required to develop objective performance standards and post them on the district’s website.[239]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "C-" 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.[240]

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.[241]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Keystone Central School District was $65,976 a year.[242] The District employed 549 teachers with a top salary of $121,570.[243][244] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[245] Keystone Central School District teacher and administrator retirement benefits are equal to at least 2.00% x Final Average Salary x Total Credited Service. (Some teachers benefits utilize a 2.50% benefit factor.)[246] After 40 years of service, Pennsylvania public school teachers and administrators can retire with 100% of the average salary of their final 3 years of employment. According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.[247] In 2014-15, Pennsylvania public school district mandated teacher pension contribution rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total salaries.[248] In 2014-15, the state mandated District contribution to the teacher pension fund rose to 21.40% of employee salaries and in 2015-16 it rose again to 25.84% of total District salaries.[249]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Keystone Central School District was $63,722 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $20,187 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $783,909.[250]

In 2009 salaries of KCSD teachers ranged from $40,038 to a top $123,500.[251]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the Keystone Central School District was $54,535 for 182 school days worked. This was the highest average teacher salary in Clinton County in 2007.[252] 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.[253] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, 10 sick days, and other benefits.[254] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[255]

Administration costs

Keystone Central School District had administrative costs per pupil in 2008 of $788 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[256] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association collects and maintains statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania.[257] 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.[258]

Per pupil spending

In 2008, Keystone Central reported per pupil spending was $12,411.[259] In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $13,310.75.[260] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[261] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[262]

State Audit

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the school district. Findings were reported to the school board.[263] In August 2015, Keystone Central School District was audited again.[264]

Tuition rate

Students who live in the Keystone Central School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. Or a student living in a neighboring public school district may seek admission to Keystone Central 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 - $9,017.02, High School - $9,589.62 [265]

Keystone Central School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.5%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government.[266] 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.[267] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeded $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits. Both retirement benefits are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[268] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[269][270]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Keystone Central School District receives 49.4% of its annual revenue from the state.[271] This meets some education advocates goal of the state providing 50% of district funding.[272]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $$9,708,997 to Keystone Central School District, in January 2016.[273] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[274] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[275] Ten (10) Pennsylvania school districts received no increase in funding.[276][277] The District also received $795,256 in state Ready to Learn grant funding. In April 2016, Governor Wolf announced his finalized dispersement of 2015-16 state Basic Education Funding. Keystone Central School District received a 3.97% increase for a total funding of $20,769,505.[278] This is $249,488 more than the District was to receive by law under the state’s Fair Funding Formula approved in 2015.[279][280] The highest increase in funding statewide was awarded by Governor Wolf to Wilkinsburg Borough School District which got a 44.1% increase in state Basic Education Funding. The average BEF increase among the Commonwealth’s 500 public school districts for 2015-16 was 2.21%.

For the 2014-15 school year, Keystone Central School District received $19,362,678.18 in State Basic Education funding. The District received $613,917 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget included $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[281] The Education budget also included Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State paid $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.[282]

In the 2013-14 school year, the Keystone Central School District received a 1.7% increase or $19,373,508 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $324,475 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Keystone Central School District received $325,489 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. The District had the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[283] The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland School District, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent.[284] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania School Employee Retirement System fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[285]

For the 2012-13 school year, Keystone Central School District received $19,374,522.[286] 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 program. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[287] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation.

In 2011-12 school year, Keystone Central School District received a $19,049,033, allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[288][289] Additionally, the Keystone Central School District received $325,489 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.[290] 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.[291]

For the 2010-11 school year, the Commonwealth provided the Keystone Central School District with a 3.42% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $20,492,086.[292] One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a base 2% increase in funding. Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County received the largest a 23.65% increase for 2010-11. Fifteen school districts received an increase greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each public school district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of funding each district received was determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, in the annual budget proposal.[293]

In 2009-10 school year, the state provided a 4.02% increase in state basic education funding to $19,814,135 for Keystone Central School District. Ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received the highest increase a 22.31% increase in basic education funding.[294] The amount of funding each district receives was determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, in the annual budget proposal. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount had increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[295][296]

In 2008, Keystone Central School District received $18,560,113.65 in Basic Education Funding form the State. The Department of Education reported that, in the 2007-08 school year, 1,890 students received a free or reduced-price lunch due to low family income.

All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several funding allocations, including: Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.[297] By 2015, Pennsylvania is spending over $27 billion on public education (local, state and federal resources combined).[298]

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 skills training; All Day Kindergarten; lower class size in Kindergarten through 3rd grade; literacy and math coaching programs (provides 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 $883,459 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten.[299][300] In 2009, 100% of the kindergarteners in Keystone Central School District attended full-day kindergarten.[301]

Ready to Learn grant[edit]

Beginning in the 2014-2015 budget, the State funded a new Ready to Learn Grant for public schools. A total of $100 million is allocated through a formula to districts based on the number of students, level of poverty of community as calculated by its market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) and the number of English language learners. Ready to Learn Block Grant funds may be used by the Districts for: school safety; Ready by 3 early childhood intervention programs; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.[302]

Keystone Central School District received $613,917 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, transportation reimbursement, reimbursement for Social Security payments for employees and other state grants which the district must apply to receive.

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.[303] The program was funded from 2006 through 2009. Keystone Central School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $444,264 and in 2008-09 $90,826 for a total of $535,090.[304] In 2009, the District received $48,973.[305]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provided 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 Keystone Central School District received $304,416.[306]

21st Century learning grant[edit]

In July 2010, Keystone Central School received a federal grant which is run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. The District received $698,880. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved, including eight charter schools. The funding is for the 2012-13 fiscal year.[307]

Environmental Education Grant[edit]

The Environmental Education Grant Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates that 5 percent of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department of Environmental Protection be set aside for environmental education. In 2010, Keystone Central School District was awarded $7,471 to expand the electronics and electrical program by including renewable energy instructional training modules for installation in an outdoor classroom laboratory.[308] In 2012 the District received an additional $6,234.

Other grants[edit]

Keystone Central School District has not participated in: Science Its Elementary Grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[309] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[310] 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[311] nor the Project 720 High School Reform grants[312] (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget).

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The school board elected to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[313] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal funding[edit]

Keystone Central School District received $3,190,972 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[314] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[315] 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]

Keystone Central School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the District up to $1.5 million in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[316] 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.[317] 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.[318]

Title II grants[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to be used to improve the quality of teacher instructions to pupils. The goal is to provide each child in public schools with "Highly Quality" teachers and principals as defined by the state.[319] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[320] Beginning in 2002, the federal funding committed to Title II was $3,175,000,000.

Public school district administrations must apply to the state annually for the Title II funds. In 2012-13, Keystone Central School District received $323,732 in federal Title II funding.[321] In 2014-15, Keystone Central School District applied for and received $308,860.[322]

English language learners grant[edit]

The Federal government provides annual grants to schools to assist in educating immigrant children and children who are identified as limited English proficient.[323] Upon registering for school a language survey is done for all new enrollment pupils, typically in kindergarten or preschool. They identify the primary language spoken at home. This data is collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which in turn notifies the federal government.[324]

In 2012-13, Keystone Central School District received $9,313 in Title III funding for English language learners.[325] For 2014-15, Keystone Central School District received $5,133 in Title III funding.[326]

Real estate taxes[edit]

For the 2015-16 school year, the Keystone Central School Board set property taxes at 44.2200 mills for Centre County residents, for residents in Clinton County 12.1900 mills, and residents of Potter County at 38.0900 mills.[327] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes.[328] There are a plethora of gas pipelines in the District due to marcellus shale gas development.[329] Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, Keystone Central School District is adversely impacted in this way.

Pennsylvania school district revenues are dominated by two main sources: 1) Property tax collections, which account for the vast majority (between 75-85%) of local revenues; and 2) Act 511 tax collections, which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[330] The School District crosses three counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties. In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including Keystone Central and those that did not cross county borders.[331] 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. In 2008, Clinton County conducted a county wide property reassessment. Upon completion of the reassessment the school board was required to reduce the millage rate to assure the school district received the same level of tax revenues for one year.[332]

  • 2014-15 - Centre County - 44.4700 mills, Clinton County - 12.2200 mills, Potter County - 38.0900 mills.[333]
  • 2013-14 - Centre County - 43.5900 mills, Clinton County - 11.9100 mills, Potter County - 36.6400 mills.[334]
  • 2012-13 - Centre County - 43.6200 mills, Clinton County - 11.9200 mills, Potter County - 36.6400 mills.[335]
  • 2011-12 - Centre County - 40.2400 mills, Clinton County - 11.23 mills, Potter County - 36.2800 mills.[336]
  • 2010-11 - Centre County - 40.2400 mills, Clinton County - 11.23 mills, Potter County - 36.2800 mills.
  • 2009-10 - Centre County - 37.3700 mills, Clinton County - 10.8300 mills, Potter County - 37.9500 mills.[337]
  • 2008-09 - Centre County - 36.1200 mills, Clinton County 53.3500 mills, Potter County - 38.0400 mills.[338]
  • 2007-08 - Centre County - 34.3300 mills, Clinton County 53.3500 mills, Potter County - 39.9700 mills.[339]
  • 2006-07 - Centre County - 34.3800 mills, Clinton County 53.3500 mills, Potter County - 40.6300 mills.[340]
  • 2005-06 - Centre County - 34.7300 mills, Clinton County 51.9000 mills, Potter County - 38.7200 mills.

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.[341] The average yearly property tax paid by Centre County residents amounts to about 3.34% of their yearly income. Centre County ranks 438th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income. (Clinton County - 3.21% of yearly income ranks 497th nationally) (Potter County - 2.95% of yearly income ranks 624th nationally).[342]

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 it 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, increasing rising health care 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.[343] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[344] 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.[345][346]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Keystone Central School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[347]

For the 2015-16 budget year, Keystone Central School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget 2015-16, 310 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 187 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Regarding the pension costs exception, 172 school districts received approval to exceed the Index limit in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 119 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. No Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[356]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Keystone Central School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[357] For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.[358]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Keystone Central School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[359]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Keystone Central School Board applied for 2 exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. The special education request was denied by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 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.[360]

For the 2011-12 school year, Keystone Central School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index: teacher pension costs and special education costs. Both were approved. 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.[361]

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.[362]

For the 2010-2011 school budget, Keystone Central School Board did not apply for any exception to exceed the index.[363] 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.[364] In 2007, the Keystone School Board adopted a resolution to stay within the Act 1 Index limit for the 2007-08 school budget.[365]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2012, property tax relief for residents of Keystone Central School District was set at $222 per approved homestead. In 2010, the School District's property tax relief was set at $224 for approved 9638 homesteads.[366] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Keystone Central School District was $228 per approved homestead, for the 9460 property owners who applied for the tax relief in 2009.[367] 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 Clinton County, 54% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. In Center County, 72% property owners applied. Potter County had a 79% participate.[368] The highest property tax relief was given to Chester Upland School District at $632 in 2010 and in 2009.[369]

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 with income substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate.

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%).[370]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Keystone Central School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and costly extensive sports program.[371] Keystone Central School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs.[372][373]

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.[374]

According to PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act 126 of 2014, all volunteer coaches and all those who assist in student activities, must have criminal background checks. Like all school district employees, they must also attend an anti child abuse training once every three years.[375][376][377]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[378] The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website. Article XVI-C of the Public School Code requires the disclosure of interscholastic athletic opportunities for all public secondary school entities in Pennsylvania. All school entities with grades 7-12 are required to annually collect data concerning team and financial information for all male and female athletes beginning with the 2012-13 school year and submit the information to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, all non-school (booster club and alumni) contributions and purchases must also be reported to PDE.[379]

According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.[380][381] The Board has instituted a concussion policy.[382] It stipulates that when an athlete exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury while participating in an athletic activity, the individual shall be removed by the coach from participation at that time.

The District funds
Central Mountain High School
CM Middle School Sports
Bucktail Area High School
Bucktail Junior High School

According to PIAA directory July 2015[383]

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External links[edit]