Newport School District (Pennsylvania)

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Newport School District
Map of Perry County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Newport School District shown in pale blue
Address
420 Fickes Lane
Newport, Pennsylvania, Perry County 17074-0009
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 locally elected members
School district Newport
Superintendent Ryan Neuhard (July 1, 2014 5 year contract)[1]
Administrator

Mrs. MaryKay Hunter, Sup. of Special Services
Greg Longwell, Business Manager
Shawn Lesh, Athletic Director

Lisa Good, Technology Administrator
Principal Elementary - Mr. Michael Smith
Principal Middle School - vacant
Principal High School - Mr. Scott McGrady, (2014), $92,000[2]
Staff 66 staff members
Faculty 87 teachers (2010) [3]
Grades Preschool-12th
Age 4 years old - PreK to 21 years old special education
Pupils

1,080 pupils (2015)[4]
1,125 pupils (2013)[5]
1,156 pupils (2011-12)[6]

1,195 students (2006-07)
 • Kindergarten 88 (2012), 125 (2010)
 • Grade 1 84 (2012), 69
 • Grade 2 80 (2012), 69
 • Grade 3 93 (2012), 95
 • Grade 4 100 (2012), 85
 • Grade 5 68 (2012), 91
 • Grade 6 99 (2012), 71
 • Grade 7 84 (2012), 91
 • Grade 8 80 (2012), 69
 • Grade 9 87 (2012), 107
 • Grade 10 86 (2012), 81
 • Grade 11 79 (2012), 84
 • Grade 12 82 (2012), 68 (2010)
 • Other Enrollment projected to remain 1,100 through 2019[7]
Color(s) Blue and White
Mascot Buffalo
Newspaper Blue & White
Yearbook Blunita
Budget

$18,076,885 (2015-16)[8]
$17,266,333 (2014-15)[9]
$16,595,635 (2012-13)
$15,931,098 (2011-12)[10]

$16 million (2009-10)
Per pupil Spending $12,622 (2008)
Website

Newport School District is a small, rural, public school district which is situated in the town of Newport, Pennsylvania, located in the eastern section of Perry County along the Juniata River 23 miles (37 km) northwest of Harrisburg, the Capital. The District encompasses about 73 square miles (190 km2). The District serves several small communities including: the borough of Newport; Buffalo Township, Howe Township, Juniata Township, Miller Township, and Oliver Township. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010, Newport School District served a resident population of 7,451 people. According to 2000 federal census data it served a resident population of 7,500 people. The educational attainment levels for the population 25 and over were 85.2% high school graduates and 14.7% college graduates.[11] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 45.1% 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.[12] In 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that 13 students in Newport School District were homeless.[13] In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $18,684, while the median family income was $46,240.[14] In Perry County, the median household income was $57,375.[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 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[18]

According to District officials, in school year 2009-10 the Newport School District provided basic educational services to 1,173 pupils. The District employed: 110 teachers, 52 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators. Newport School District received more than $8.2 million in state funding in school year 2009-10. In 2013-14, Newport School District provided basic educational services to 1,080 pupils. It employed: 94 teachers, 44 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 6 administrators. Newport School District received more than $8,625,413 in state funding in school year 2013-14.[19]

Newport School District operates two schools: one PreK-5 elementary school, one 6-12 middle/high school, and the District administrative office. Newport High School students may choose to attend Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School for training in several vocations including: allied health careers, mechanical trades, building trades and culinary arts. Newport School District is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit IU15 which offers a variety of services, including a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.

Governance[edit]

Newport 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.[20] 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 its resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.[21] 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.[22]

The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these District officials are voting members of the School Board. The School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Newport School Board and Newport School District Administration a "D-" 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.[26]

Schools[edit]

All three schools maintain a full-time student assistance program and extra instructional support for all students. An alternative education program is offered on-site after-school. The Zone after-school program provides after-school activities for students at the elementary and middle level. Art and music departments offer students instruction in instrumental music, voice, music theory, drawing & painting, ceramics, design, and glasswork. Students may participate in marching band, orchestral band, jazz band, chorus, and Innovations, our premier singing ensemble. The high school also has journalism classes and produces a high school newspaper, the Blue & White several times during the school year. In addition, students may participate in audio-visual activities at our television studios at both buildings where several students have produced quality news and human interest reports. The district offers a gifted acceleration program.

Academic achievement[edit]

In 2015, Newport School District ranked 304th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[27] 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.[28] 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.

Overachievers Ranking

In April 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Newport School District ranked 398th. The paper describes the ranking as: "the ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations." [35]

  • 2012 - 421st
  • 2011 - 449th
  • 2010 - 464th [36]
  • 2009 - 478th

In January 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Newport School District as in the bottom 5% of the state's school districts, for student academic achievement.[37] This mean the students were qualified for Education Opportunity Scholarships to attend another school: public charter, private, parochial or public cyber charter school. In 2009, the student achievement of the district fell in the 11th percentile among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. (0-99; 100 is state best) [38]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Newport School District achieved AYP status In 2011, Newport School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of 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.[39] Newport School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement.[40]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2015, Newport School District's graduation rate increased to 92.91%.[41]

  • 2014 - 91.76%.[42]
  • 2013 - 90%.[43]
  • 2012 - 80%. The graduation rate for males was 70%, while the graduation rate for females was 90%.[44]
  • 2011 - 82%.[45] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.
  • 2010 - 82% new four year rate[46]
Former calculation graduation rate

High school[edit]

Newport High School is located at 500 Caroline Street, Newport. In 2013, enrollment was reported as 333 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 33% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 22% of pupils received special education services, while 3% of pupils were identified as gifted. The school employed 27 teachers.[51] Per the PA Department of Education 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Newport High School had 370 pupils, in grades 9th through 12th, with 130 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 29 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[52]

2015 School Performance Profile

Newport High School achieved 63.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that 78% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 71% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 70% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[53] 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.[54][55]

2014 School Performance Profile

Newport High School achieved 76.8 of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 82.8% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 67.5% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 57.69% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[56][57] 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%.[58]

2013 School Performance Profile

Newport High School achieved 86.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 81% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 76% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 60% showed on grade level science understanding.[59] 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.[60]

The Newport High School was an inaugural participant in Project720. It was a participant in Project540 through the University of Pennsylvania. The high school offers an academy system which allows students to specialize in one of two areas; Arts & Humanities or Science & Industry. AP courses are offered in all core subject areas and full-range agricultural education, business education and technology education programs are available for all students. Approximately 50 students attend Cumberland Perry Career and Technical School annually.

AYP history

In 2012, Newport High School achieved AYP status even though it missed all measured metrics and the graduation rate. In 2011, the school was in Making Progress: in School Improvement I AYP status. Newport High School is in School Improvement Level 1 status due to chronically low academic achievement through 2010.[61] The school is eligible for School improvement grants to raise student academic achievement.

In August 2010, the high school was required by the No Child Left Behind law to notify students that they could transfer out of the Newport High School to another high school within the district due to Newport High School's chronic low achievement in reading and mathematics.[62]

In a November 2010 report by the The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education, Newport High School was cited as the most regressed district in Pennsylvania on the 11th Grade Math PSSA from 2004 to 2010. The study found the 11th grade math average dropped almost 30 percentage points on the test.[63]

In a February 2011, Newport School District Strategic Plan Report to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the school administration acknowledged it had not revised the curriculum, nor implemented other academic achievement improvement strategies that had been stated in its 2008 strategic plan.[64]

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.[65]

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.[66]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 63% on grade level, (19% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[67]
  • 2011 - 61% (15% below basic). State - 69.1% [68]
  • 2010 - 53%, State - 67% [69]
  • 2009 - 58.7%, State - 65%
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 65%
  • 2006 - 52%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 49%, on grade level (28% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[70]
  • 2011 - 45%, (29% below basic). State - 60.3%
  • 2010 - 25%, State - 59% [71]
  • 2009 - 41%, State - 56% [72]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 44%, State - 53% [73]
  • 2006 - 49%, State - 52% [74]
11th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 36% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 44% (16% below basic). State - 40% [75]
  • 2010 - 29%, State - 30%
  • 2009 - 26%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 34%, State - 39% [76]

Science in Motion Newport High School did not take advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[77] Elizabethtown College provides the experiences to schools in the region.

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Newport 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.[78] 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.[79] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 42 Newport School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 495. The Math average score was 489. The Writing average score was 470.[80][81] 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.[82] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 37 Newport School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 481. The Math average score was 473. The Writing average score was 455. 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.[83]

In 2012, 37 Newport School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 513. The Math average score was 491. The Writing average score was 496. 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, 28 students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 460. The Math average score was 476. The Writing average score was 442.[84] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[85] 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.[86]

The Pennsylvania Department of Education 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.[87]

Dual enrollment[edit]

Newport High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[88] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[89] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $5,008 for the program.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Newport School Board requires that each candidate for graduation earn twenty-four (24) credits.[90]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[91] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[92]

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.[93][94] 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.[95] 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.[96] 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.

AP Courses[edit]

In 2013, Newport High School offered 4 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The student pays the fee for the exam which was $89 per test per pupil in 2012. Students have the option of taking College Board approved courses and then taking the College Board's examination in the Spring. Students, who achieve a 3 or better on the exam, may be awarded college credits at US universities and colleges. Each higher education institution sets its own standards about what level of credits are awarded to a student based on their AP exam score. Most higher education give credits for scores of 4 or 5. Some schools also give credits for scores of 3. High schools give credits towards graduation to students who take the school's AP class. At Newport High School 64% of students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[97]

In 2014, Newport High School offered 5 AP courses, with 42.7% of pupils who took the course earning a 3 or better on the AP exam.[98]

Middle school[edit]

Newport Middle School is housed on the third floor of the middle/high school building. In 2013, enrollment was 260 pupils, in grades 6th through 8th, with 43% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 22% of pupils received special education services, while 2.6% of pupils were identified as gifted.[99] According to a 2013 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[100]

In 2010, Newport Middle School had 246 pupils enrolled in grades 6th through 8th, with 97 receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 24 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 10:1.[101] The school offers a full range of activities in addition to a core curriculum.

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE withheld SPP scores. It was reported that 60% of 8th grade students at Newport Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, only 27% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 61% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 52% were on grade level in reading, while 47% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 50% were on grade level in reading and 26% were on grade level in mathematics.[102] 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.[103]

2014 School Performance Profile

Newport Middle School achieved 84.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 74% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 82.9% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 62%% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 81% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[104]

2013 School Performance Profile

Newport Middle School achieved 77.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 71% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 78% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 58% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 59% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[105]

Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Newport School District did not implement a no cost dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[106] 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.[107]

AYP history[edit]

In 2011and 2012, Newport Middle School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status even though it missed every academic metric measured.[108] Many students at the Newport Middle School did not achieve adequate yearly progress in 2009 and 2010.[109] This resulted in the school being placed in School Improvement level 1 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2009 and 2010. The administration was required to develop a plan to improve student achievement and to submit it to the PDE for approval. In 2008, Newport Middle School was in Wanring AYP status due to lagging student achievement.[110]

PSSA results

Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, are examination given in the Spring of each school year. 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.[111] 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.[112] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[113] In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[114]

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2012 - 69% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[115]
  • 2011 - 72%, (10% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 78%, (13% below basic). State - 81% [116]
  • 2009 - 76% (12% below basic). State - 80% [117]
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2012 - 62% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2011 - 67%, (11% below basic). State - 76.9% [118]
  • 2010 - 70%, (22% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 60% (18% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 70% [119]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 56% on grade level (28% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 42%, (31% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 45%, (32% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 54% (24% below basic), State - 54%
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 52%

Elementary School[edit]

Newport Elementary School is located at 559 North 5th Street, Newport. In 2013, Newport Elementary School's enrollment was pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 52,8% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while no children were identified as gifted.[122] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. Newport Elementary School provides full day kindergarten.[123] The school is a federally designated Title I school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, Newport Elementary School had 564 pupils, in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 261 students receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 49 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[124] Newport Elementary School offers small class sizes and specials in art, music, speech, technology, science, and health & PE. The elementary features full-day kindergarten, a student-operated television studio, and an elementary student assistance program.

2014 School Performance Profile

Newport Elementary School achieved a score of 72.3 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 65% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 80% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 76% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 87% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 30.6% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.[125]

2013 School Performance Profile

Newport Elementary School achieved a score of 71.8 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 67% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 75% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 80 were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 81% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 59% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[126]

AYP History

In 2012, Newport Elementary school declined to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement. Although the student achievement was universally below state level in 2011, the School was rated as making Adequate Yearly Progress.[127] In 2010, the District reported a 95% attendance rate at the elementary school. The school achieved AYP status in 2009 and 2010. In 2008, the School declined to Warning AYP status due to low student academic achievement.[128] The school provided All Day Kindergarten since 2008.

PSSA Results

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th.[129] The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014.[130][131][132] The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.[133]

4th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 90%, (1% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 83%, (3% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 77% on grade level, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 84%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 81%

Preschool[edit]

Newport School District operates a preschool that is funded by a state Pre K Counts grant.[138][139] Perry County Early Childhood, Newport Public Library, Head Start, and the Girl Scouts of the USA all partner with Newport Elementary to provide a preschool activity night called “Play Stations”. Newport Elementary also operates the only PreK program in Perry County.

Special education[edit]

In 2011, Newport School District administration reported that 223 students received special education services with 52% of identified students having a specific learning disability. In 2010, the District Administration reported that 238 pupils or 20% of the District's pupils received Special Education services with 55% of identified students having specific learning disabilities. In 2009, Newport School District Administration reported that 236 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[140]

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 Special Education Department.[141]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[142] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[146]

Newport School District received a $833,205 supplement for special education services in 2010.[147] For the 2011-12 school year, 2012-13 school year and the 2013-14 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding was 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.[148][149] For the 2014-2015 school year, Newport School District will receive an increase to $852,773 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[150]

Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

The Newport School District Administration reported that 19 or 1.61% of its students were gifted in 2009.[151] 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. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to 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.[152]

School safety and bullying[edit]

The Newport School District administration reported there was one incident of bullying in the District in 2012. Additionally, there were 10 assaults on students and no sexual incidents involving students. The local law enforcement was involved in eight incidents at the schools, with four arrests.[153] [154] Each year the school safety data is reported by the district to the Safe School Center which then publishes the compiled reports online. Nationally, nearly 20% of pupils report being bullied at school.[155]

The Newport School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[156] 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.[157] 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.[158][159]

Education standards relating to student safety and anti harassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[160]

Safe School grant[edit]

In 2013, Newport School District did not participate in a state Safe Schools Targeted Grant. The maximum of $25,000 grants were awarded through a competitive application process.[161] The funds must be used for research based interventions, like: peer mediation, staff training in managing behavioral issues and creating a positive school climate. The District also did not participate in the state's School Resource Officer and Police Officer grants.

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.[162]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Newport School District was $54,923 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $23,562 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $78,486.[163] The District employed 200 teachers with an average salary of $59,911 and a top salary of $127,000.[164][165]

Newport 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.) [166] After 40 years of service, a teacher 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.[167]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Newport School District was $51,837 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $18,966 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $70,803.[168] The District employed 134 teachers with a top salary of $100,495.[169]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Newport School District was $52,105.85 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $16,904 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $69,010.[170] The District employed 103 teachers with a top salary of $100,495 in 2012. 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.[171][172]

In 2009, the Newport School District reported employing 118 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $52,664 and a top salary of $90,476.[173]

In 2007, the Newport School District employed 96 teachers who earned an average teacher salary of $47,811 for 180 days worked.[174] 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.[175] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, and other benefits.[176] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 165 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[177]

Administration costs The Newport School District administrative costs per pupil were $784 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[178] At the December 16, 2009 meeting the school board eliminated the following administration positions effective July 1, 2010: Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Director of Building and Grounds, Middle School Principal.[179]

Per pupil spending In 2008, the Newport School District spent $12,622 per pupil which ranked 207th out of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.[180] In 2010, the per pupil spending had increased to $18,037.70 which ranked 39th in Pennsylvania.[181] Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[182] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[183] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[184]

Reserves

in 2012, Newport School District reported $3,740,894 in reserves with $1,857,721 in its unreserved account. In 2010, the District reported $1,239,563.00 in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The undesignated fund balance was reported as zero.[185] In 2009, the District reported $117,100 in its unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[186] Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[187] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[188] In 2014, Newport School Board reported having $4,342,978 in reserves.[189]

Newport School District's annual budget was $16 million (2009–2010). In mid-2009, it was revealed that the District had a $1.1 million shortfall. The Board projected a $1.2 million deficit by the end of the 2009-10 school year.

For the 2010-11 school year, Newport School Board projected a substantial property tax increase to fund a $16.1 million budget. This meant a property tax increase of nearly $300 for the average property owner. The school board sought multiple Act 1 Index exceptions to permit this tax increase.[190] In March 2010, the board chose to eliminate 14 teaching positions.[191] The elementary school had 50 teachers during the 2009 - 2010 school year. The cuts will save the district $552,000. They include eliminating the non mandatory preschool program, a music teacher and the elective Discovery Program. The cuts are effective for the 2010-2011 school year.

Superintendent Buyout

Dr. Kerry W. Helm, Superintendent since 2006, resigned in December 2009, under board pressure due to taxpayer anger over the financial mismanagement. He negotiated a severance package that included: cash payments of $100,000 in two installments: $80,000 to be paid in January and $20,000 to be paid by Oct. 1, 2010. The district also agreed to make $981.63 in COBRA health insurance payments through June 2010. Helm had recently signed a new three-year contract in February 2009. Per that contract, the district would have needed to spend in excess $258,000 to buy him out of the $99,302 annual superintendent position.[192]

Audit In January 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board.[193] The District was audited again in April 2013 and findings were once again reported to the school board.

Tuition Students who live in the Newport School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Newport 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 Newport School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School -$8,029.56, Junior Senior High School - $7,705.36.[194]

Newport School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1.1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, per capita taxes $5, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[195] According to the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year, plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[196]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Newport School District receives 50.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[197]

For the 2014-15 school year, Newport School District will receive $5,622,899 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $158,269 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding.[198] The Education budget also includes 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 is paying $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.[199]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Newport School District will receive a 1.5% increase or $5,624,780 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $82,161 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Newport School District will receive $81,880 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Perry County, West Perry School District received the highest percentage increase at 2.1%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[200] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[201]

For the 2012-13 school year, Newport School District received $5,624,499 in State Basic Education funding.[202] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block grant. Newport School District received $81,880 in ABG funds. The state also provided $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[203] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011-12 school year, Newport School District received $5,542,619 in state Basic Education Funding.[204] Additionally, Newport School District received $81,880 in Accountability Block Grant funding. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 480 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2010–11 school year.[205]

For the 2010-11 school year, Newport School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding (BEF) resulting in a $5,883,294 payment.[206] West Perry School District received a 5.14% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Perry County. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was determined by then Governor Edward G. Rendell and then Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[207] This was the second year of Governor Rendell's plan for the state to fund some school districts at a much higher rate than others.

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.07% increase in Basic Education Funding to Newport School District, for a total of $5,767,935. Newport School District received the lowest increase in funding from the state, among all the public school districts in Perry County. The district also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low-income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. Among Perry County public school districts, the highest state funding increase was 6.39% to Susquenita School District.[208] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. Seventy school districts received the minimum 2% increase in 2009. The Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state funding in 2009. Individual district basic education funding increase was determined by then Governor Edward Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak in the annual budget process.

The state Basic Education funding to the Newport School District in 2008-09 was $5,542,619.13. Newport School District received $5,542,619.13 in state BEF funding in 2007-08. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 403 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[209]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11, Newport School District applied for and received $222,242 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.[210][211]

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.[212]

Newport School District will receive $158,269 in Ready to Learn Grant dollars in addition to State Basic Education funding, Special Education funding, Accountability Block Grant funding, PreK Counts funding, 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), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. Newport School District was not approved for funding in 2006-07. The Newport School District received $152,561 in 2007-08 and was given $45,413 for the 2008-09 school year.[213] Among the public school districts in Perry County, West Perry School District received the highest grant $361,599.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

While many students qualified, Newport School Administration did not apply for the state's Education Assistance Grant. The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code.[214][215]

PreK Counts grant[edit]

Newport School District receives state funding to provide preschool to resident children. For the 2011 school year, Pre-K Counts was funded at the 2010 levels of $83.6 million statewide in Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget,. The state also supplements the federal Head Start preschool program with an additional $37.6 million. Pre-K Counts funding was initiated during the Rendell administration. In 2007-08 the state funded Pre-K Counts at $75 million. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Newport School District received $59,250 to provide preschool to 15 children.[216][217]

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell),[218] Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants,[219][220] nor the 2012 and 2013 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant.[221] Newport School District also has not participated in 2012 and 2013 state Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants.[222]

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.[223] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

Newport School District received $1,084,472 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[224]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in March 2012, that the first-year data suggest student achievement is improving at campuses that participated in the School Improvement grant program. He reported that at nearly 60 percent of SIG schools, more students are demonstrating proficiency in reading and math. Nearly a quarter of those schools reported math improvement in the double digits, and close to 20 percent of schools saw double-digit gains in reading.[225]

In 2012, the Newport High School was eligible for School Improvement grant funding due to ongoing low student achievement. In the summer of 2011, the district administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). Both Newport High School and Newport Middle School were eligible for funding. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. Transformation calls for a change in faculty and administration evaluations, mandated training in proven teaching techniques and rigorous curriculum change that focuses on student achievement. The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 Million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools[226]

For 2010-11, Newport School District did not apply for a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the high school and middle school.[227]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal department of education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[228] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[229] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[230]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Newport School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars for committing to improve student academic achievement.[231] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[232]

The district employs three full-time technology personnel who service four fully equipped computer labs at the high school, two at the elementary school and five mobile wireless labs (Classrooms for the Future). In addition every classroom has at least one computer and many are equipped with Smartboards. The middle/high school library operates a mobile wireless lab of laptops for student use. Wireless internet access is available throughout the district. Both buildings in the district are monitored by digital surveillance equipment.

Real estate taxes[edit]

The Newport School Board set property tax rates for school year 2014-15 at 13.9050 mills.[233] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[234]

The average yearly property tax paid by Perry County residents amounts to about 3.11% of their yearly income. Perry County ranked 539th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[244] 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.[245] 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%).[246]

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 authorized to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[247] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[248] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employee pension fund) taking into account the PSERS contribution rate.[249][250]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Newport School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[251]

For the 2014-15 budget year, Newport School Board applied for an exception to exceed their Act 1 Index limit due to the rapidly escalating cost of the teachers' pensions. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS).[257] For 2014-15, Newport School District will pay $831,549 for teacher pensions and $268,715 to the Social Security system. 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.[258]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Newport School Board applied for all three exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: teacher's pensions cost, special education costs and Grandfather Construction debt. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[259]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Newport School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[260]

For the 2011-12 school year, Newport School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index: School Construction Grandfathered Debt. Each school budget year, the Newport 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.[261]

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.[262]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Newport School Board applied for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index - School Construction Grandfathered Debt. Each year, the Newport 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.[263]

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.[264]

For 2010-11, Newport School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets, including Maintenance of revenues and rising teacher pension costs.[265] 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.[266] For 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[267]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2013, Newport School District 2,177 approved homestead properties received $194.[268] The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[269] In 2012, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling, for the Newport School District, was $193 per approved permanent primary residence. The amount of property tax relief each school district receives is announced by the PDE in May each year. It is dependent on the amount of tax revenue collected on the casino slots in the previous year.

In 2010, the tax relief was $194. In Newport School District, 2129 property owners applied for the tax relief.[270] In 2009, the District's property tax relief was set at $194 for 2,174 approved homesteads. This was the highest tax relief to homestead owners residing in Perry County in 2010. 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 acres (40,000 m2) contiguous and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania was given to residents in Chester Upland School District in Delaware County, at $632 in 2009 and 2010.[271] In Perry County, 88.04% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. This was among the highest participation rates in Pennsylvania.[272]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This tax rebate can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Gambling Property Tax Relief. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Treasury reported issuing more than half a million property tax rebates totaling $238 million.[273] The Property tax/rent rebate program is funded by revenues from the Pennsylvania Lottery. In 2012, these property tax rebates were increased by an additional 50 percent for senior households in the state, so long as those households have incomes under $30,000 and pay more than 15% of their income in property taxes.[274]

Enrollment[edit]

In 2012, Newport School district enrollment declined to 1,175 preschool plus K-12. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 1200 students enrolled in the District in K-12. There were 97 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 68 students. Enrollment in Newport School District is projected to continue to remain below 1150 through 2019. With limited local taxation resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in each community. These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging mathematics and science achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. Consolidation of the central administrations would not require the closing of any schools.[275] A new district composed of Greenwood School District and Newport School District would have a student population of 2000 with stable enrollment projected for the next two decades. Newport School District has an athletic partnership with the Greenwood High School for football, track, soccer, and wrestling.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania in 2013. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[276] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[277] Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[278]

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent per a report by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.[279]

Renovations[edit]

The middle/high school recently underwent a $25 million renovation and additions project which is LEED Silver certified. The HVAC system has been converted to using geo-thermal energy to help reduce dependence on foreign oil as well as save money. A six thousand gallon cistern collects gray water to operate toilet facilities on all three floors of the building. The building features 21st century classrooms wired for technology, an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) auxiliary gymnasium and a new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) main gymnasium which seats approximately 1,500, a state of the art auditorium which seats 800, and state of the art technology education, agricultural education, and technology labs. The building is fully accessible to handicapped students and patrons.

Wellness policy[edit]

Newport School Board established a district-wide Wellness Policy in 2006.[280] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.[281]

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[282] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The Newport 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.[283] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[284]

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.[285] 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.[286] In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[287] 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.[288]

Newport 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.[289] 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.[290][291] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

The District participated in Highmark Foundation’s Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools grant which enabled mobile data collection of pertinent health and physical fitness screening data on students K-12 in a database held by InnerLink, Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[292] Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued in 2013.[293]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Newport Schools offer a full range of extracurricular activities, including: band and orchestra, chorus, and a wide variety of clubs and organizations. Newport students have represented the district at all levels of competition in both academic and extracurricular pursuits. Eligibility for participation is determined by the school board.[294][295][296] The District reported spending $413,000 to provide extracurriculars in 2013-14.[297]

Newport School Board entered into a three-year contract with Central Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Services to provide an athletic trainer at practices and home games.[298] The contract is for 25 hours a week for 40 weeks at $18,500 a year. Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[299]

The athletic stadium is named after George Katchmer who coached the school to its only undefeated season in 1953. There is a Buffalo pattern made from rocks displayed proudly behind the field. 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.[300][301]

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.[302][303][304]

Newport School District has an athletic partnership with Greenwood School District for football, track, soccer, and wrestling. Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[305]

The District funds:

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2013 [306]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°28′55″N 77°08′17″W / 40.482°N 77.138°W / 40.482; -77.138