Penn Hills School District

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Penn Hills School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
260 Aster Street
Penn Hills
Pennsylvania, Allegheny County 15235
United States
Information
Type Public
Motto "Improved Opportunities For All"
Closed Dible El School (2010), Forbes El School (2014), Penn Hebron El Academy (2014), Shenandoah El School (2008)
Superintendent

Dr Nancy J Hines, salary $140,000 2015[1] (contract July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2018)[2]

former superintendent - Thomas Washington contract terminated by Board February 2015[3]
Administrator

Robert Geletko, Business Manager, salary $95,000 (contract November 13, 2015 to June 2018)[4]

Richard Liberto, Business Manager Fired December 2015[5]
Principal Katie Friend, LMS
Principal Kristen Brown, PHES
Principal Eric Kostic, PHSHS
Staff 310 non teaching staff members (2014)[6]
Faculty 292 teachers (2014)
Grades preK-12
Pupils

3,986 (2015)[7]
3,906 pupils (2013)[8]
4,254 pupils (2011)
4,547 pupils (2009)
4,943 pupils (2008)
5,176 pupils (2007)

5,390 pupils (2006)[9]
 • Kindergarten 279 (2014),[10] 246 (2010)
 • Grade 1 272(2014), 257 (2010)
 • Grade 2 275 (2014), 270 (2010)
 • Grade 3 278 (2014), 314 (2010)
 • Grade 4 262 (2014), 306 (2010)
 • Grade 5 234 (2014), 296 (2010)
 • Grade 6 271(2014), 351 (2010)
 • Grade 7 302 (2014), 344 (2010)
 • Grade 8 326 (2014), 336 (2010)
 • Grade 9 356 (2014), 388 (2010)
 • Grade 10 399 (2014), 481 (2010)
 • Grade 11 368 (2014), 405 (2010)
 • Grade 12 330 (2014), 360 (2010)
 • Other 34
Color(s) Red and gold
         
Athletics conference AAAA
Mascot Indian
Budget

$82.7 million (2016-17)[11]

$97 million (2015-16)[12]
Website
Allegheny County
Map of Penn Hills Township

The Penn Hills School District (PHSD) is a mid sized, public school district located in Pittsburgh, serving the community of Penn Hills, which is about 10 miles (16 km) east of Downtown Pittsburgh. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 46,809. By 2010, the District's population declined to 42,431 people.[13] The educational attainment levels for the Penn Hills School District population (25 years old and over) were 91.8% high school graduates and 22.8% college graduates.[14] The District is one of the 500 public school districts of Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 56.8% 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.[15] In 2013 the Pennsylvania Department of Education, reported that students in the Area School District were homeless.[16] In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $20,161, while the median family income was $46,971.[17] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [18] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[19] In Allegheny County, the median household income was $51,366.[20] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[21] In 2014, the median household income in the USA was $53,700.[22]

In school year 2009-10, the Penn Hills School District enrollment was 4,577 pupils. It employed: 414 teachers, 822 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 22 administrators. Penn Hills School District received more than $27 million in state funding in school year 2009-10. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08, Penn Hills School District provided basic educational services to 5,490 pupils. The District employed: 467 teachers, 798 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 26 administrators. PHSD received more than $27.7 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

The District encourages a culture that values academic performance, diversity, extensive parental involvement, personalized education for all students, and demonstrated school board commitment, as well as a strong commitment to family and community. Among the programs that were offered in the past in Penn Hills are Schools of Focus, which includes a specific theme interwoven into the curriculum of each elementary school and allows parents to choose the school their child will attend; 21st Century Community Learning Centers; on-site, comprehensive vocational education; and strong professional development.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit IU3 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.

Penn Hills School District is bordered by seven school districts: Pittsburgh, Woodland Hills, Gateway, Plum, Wilkinsburg, Riverview and Fox Chapel (across the Allegheny River). Penn Hills School District's football size classification is "AAAA" (Quad-A), which is the largest of the four classifications (A, AA, AAA, and AAAA).

Current Schools[edit]

  • Penn Hills Senior High School (finished in January 2013) [23]
  • Penn Hills Elementary School (grades PreK-4) opened for 2014-15 school year and all district students K-4 attend this school built on the former site of Dible Elementary.[24]
  • John H. Linton Middle School (grades 5–8)

Governance[edit]

Penn Hills School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

In 2003, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted an investigation of multiple improprieties involving school board members.[30]

Academic achievement[edit]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that Forbes Elementary School was among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[31][32] 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.[33]

Opportunity Scholarship - lowest achieving schools

In May 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying that two Penn Hills School District schools as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[34] Included on the list were: Linton Middle School and Penn Hills Senior High School. They have been on the low achievement list since its inception in 2011. One hundred four (104) public school districts had one or more schools on the list. 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.[35] 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.[36] 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 public school districts in Pennsylvania 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.[37] 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.

In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying two Penn Hills School District schools as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state.[38] They were Linton Middle School and Penn Hills Senior High School. For school years 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013–14 both schools were on the state's lowest achievement list.

Statewide academic ranking

In 2015, Penn HIlls School District ranked 469th out of 493 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

  • 2014 - 471st[42]
  • 2013 - 474th[43]
  • 2012 - 473rd [44]
  • 2008 - 474th
  • 2007 - 464th of 501 school districts for student academic achievement [45]
Western Pennsylvania local ranking

Penn HIlls School District was ranked 96th out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[46] (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County but excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District due to their not operating a high school). In 2014, Penn HIlls School District ranked 96th in the Pittsburgh region.

For the 2011-2012 school year, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) ranked Penn Hills High School 546th out of the 676 public high schools in Pennsylvania. This ranking was based solely on combined math and reading PSSA test scores from the high school.[47]

District AYP history[edit]

In 2012, Penn Hills School District was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement and low graduation rate.[48] In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[49][50]

  • 2011 - achieved AYP status[51]
  • 2010 - declining again Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement[52]
  • 2009 - achieved AYP status[53]
  • 2007 and 08 - achieved AYP status each school year.
  • 2006 - declined again to Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement[54]
  • 2005 - achieved AYP status
  • 2004 - declined to Warning AYP status
  • 2003 - achieved AYP status

Graduation Rate[edit]

In 2015, the District’s graduation rate declined to 83.19%.[55]

  • 2014 - 83.24%[56]
  • 2013 - 83.57% [57]
  • 2012 - 82.20%.[58]
  • 2011 - 77.98%.[59]
  • 2010 - 82.20%, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate.[60]
According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Penn Hills Senior High School is located at 309 Collins Drive, Pittsburgh,. In 2015, enrollment was reported as 1,453 pupils in 9th through 12th grades, with 60.5% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 12.8% of pupils received special education services, while 6.6% of pupils were identified as gifted.[65] The school employed 100 teachers.[66] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 1,445 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 736 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. In 2012, the School employed 101.5 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.[67] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 11 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[68]

Pittsburgh Business Times ranking

Penn HIlls Senior High School ranked 105th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of 11th grade results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[69]

2015 School Performance Profile

Penn Hills Senior High School achieved 64.5 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement.The PDE reported that 63% of the High School’s students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, just 26.9% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, 30.8% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[70] 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.[71][72]

2014 School Performance Profile

Penn HIlls Senior High School achieved 59.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 59% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 59% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 42% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[73][74] 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%.[75]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,134 of 2,947 Pennsylvania public schools (72 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher.[76] Fifty-three percent of schools statewide received lower SPP scores compared with last year's, while 46 percent improved. A handful were unchanged.[77][78]

2013 School Performance Profile

Penn Hills Senior High School achieved 64.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 70% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 47.99% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, 18.64% showed on grade level science understanding.[79] 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.[80]

AYP History[edit]

In 2012, Penn Hills Senior High School declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to low academic achievement and low graduation rates.[81]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action II 5th Year AYP status due to chronic low student achievement.[82]
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year AYP status[83]
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action II 3rd Year AYP status [84]
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action II 2nd Year AYP status [85]
  • 2007 - declined to Corrective Action II first Year AYP status [86]
  • 2006 - declined to Corrective Action I Year AYP status [87] 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. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[88] The Penn Hills Senior High School was eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[89]
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement 2 AYP status [90]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement 1 AYP status [91] The administration was required to develop a school improvement plan that focus on raising student academic achievement and to submit the plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for review.
  • 2003 - declined to Warning AYP status due to low student academic achievement [92]
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.[93] 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.[94]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 54% on grade level, (23% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[95]
  • 2011 - 54% (30% below basic). State - 69.1%[96]
  • 2009 - 55% on grade level. State - 65% [97]
  • 2008 - 59%, State – 65% [98]
  • 2007 - 58%, State – 65% [99]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 39% on grade level (41% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[100]
  • 2011 - 44% (36% below basic). State - 60.3%[101]
  • 2009 - 41%, State - 56% [102]
  • 2008 - 43%, State – 56% [103]
  • 2007 - 38%, State – 53%[104]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 19% on grade level (35% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[105]
  • 2011 - 28% (39% below basic). State - 40%[106]
  • 2009 – 24%, State - 40%
  • 2008 – 27%, State - 39%[107]
  • 2007 - students field tested. Results withheld from the public by PDE.

Science in Motion Penn Hills Senior 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.[108] Westminster College provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Penn Hills 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.[109][110] 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.[111][112] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The 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.[113] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[114]

For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $22,798 for the program.[115]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Penn hIlls School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: a required class every year in math,3 units English 4 units, social studies 4 units, science 3 units, arts and humanities 2 units, Physical Education/health 1 unit, technology 1 unit and electives 7 units.[116]

For nearly two decades, all Pennsylvania secondary school students were required to complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[117] 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.[118]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2019,[119] 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.[120][121] The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.[122]

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.[123][124] 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.[125] 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.[126] 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.

By states orders by the Pennsylvaina school board association any student who is graduating student starting from the class of 2018 and beyond must have a drivers license in order to graduate and this order pends on your 16th birthday

SAT scores[edit]

In 2014, 172 Penn HIlls School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 443. The Math average score was 447. The Writing average score was 421.[127][128] 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.[129] In 2014, 1,672,395 students took the SATs in the United States.

In 2013, 181 Penn Hills School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 447. The Math average score was 454. The Writing average score was 416. 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.[130]

In 2012, 208 Penn Hills School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 450. The Math average score was 463. The Writing average score was 433. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 223 Penn HIlls School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 451. The Math average score was 460. The Writing average score was 424.[131] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[132] 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.[133]

AP Courses[edit]

In 2015, Penn HIlls Senior High School offered 13 Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a higher cost than regular courses. The fee for each AP Exam is $91 (2014).[134] The school normally retains $9 of that fee as a rebate to help with administrative costs. In 2012, the fee was $89 per test per pupil. 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 Penn HIlls Senior High School 20% of the students who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the exam.[135] In 2014, just 18% of pupils at Penn Hills Senior High School who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the AP exam given by the College Board. In 2013, 19% of pupils at Penn Hills Senior High School who took an AP course earned a 3 or better on the AP exam.

Linton Middle School[edit]

Linton Middle School is located at 250 Aster Street, Pittsburgh,. In 2015, enrollment was 1,133 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 72% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 22.7% of pupils received special education services, while 4% of pupils were identified as gifted.[136] According to a 2014 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[137]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, the school reported an enrollment of 1,261 pupils, in grades 5th through 8th, with 784 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 87 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13:1.[138] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 teacher was rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[139] Fifth grade was moved to Linton Middle School beginning with the 2010-11.

2015 School Performance Profile

The PDE reported that 29% of 8th grade students at Linton Middle School students were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In math/Algebra 1, just 6.2% of 8th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 27% of the school’s 8th graders demonstrated on grade level science understanding. No eighth grade writing scores were reported. In 7th grade, 22% were on grade level in reading, while just 9% showed on grade level math skills. Among 6th graders, 44% were on grade level in reading and 32% were on grade level in mathematics. Among fifth graders, 41% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, 34% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported.[140] Statewide 58% of eighth (8th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 29% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 7th graders were 58% on grade level in reading and 33% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills.[141]

2014 School Performance Profile

Linton Middle School achieved 54.2 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature, only 49.5% were on grade level. In Algebra 1/Math, 52% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In Science, 39% of 8th graders showed on grade level science understanding. In writing, 43% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[142]

2013 School Performance Profile

Linton Middle School achieved 55.7 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement. In reading, just 48.7% of the students were on grade level. In Mathematics/Algebra 1, 60% of the students showed on grade level skills. In Science, only 37.5% of the 8th graders demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, 37.9% of the 8th grade students demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[143] 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.

The eighth grade ranked 106th out of 141 western Pennsylvania eighth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009, for academic achievement as reflected by three years of results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs.[144]

AYP History[edit]

In 2012, Linton Middle School declined to Corrective Action Level II (fifth year) due to chronic, low student achievement in reading and mathematics[145]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action Level II (fourth year)[146]
  • 2010 - Making Progress - Corrective Action Level II [147]
  • 2009 - declined to Corrective Action Level II (third year)[148]
  • 2008 - declined to Corrective Action Level II (second year)[149]
  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action Level II (first year)[150]
  • 2006 - declined to Corrective Action Level I[151] 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.
  • 2005 - declined to School Improvement Level II due to chronic low academic achievement[152]
  • 2004 - declined to School Improvement Level I due to lagging academic achievement[153] The school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to notify parents of the low achievement and to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, Penn HIlls School District must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.
  • 2005 - declined to Warning AYP level due to chronic low academic achievement[154]
PSSA Results:

PSSAs are given in the Spring of each school year. Pennsylvania fifth grades are evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. 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.[155] 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.[156] The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.[157] In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.[158]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 63% on grade level (21% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[159]
  • 2011 - 69% (18% below basic) State - 81.8%[160]
  • 2010 - 75% (10% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 72%, State - 80.9%[161]
  • 2008 - 65%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 58%, State - 75%[162]
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 69% on grade level (17% below basic). State - 76% [163]
  • 2011 - 70% (14% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 72% (11% below basic). State - 75% [164]
  • 2009 - 54%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 54%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 51%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 35% on grade level (43% below basic). State - 59%[165]
  • 2011 - 44% (39% below basic). State - 58.3%
  • 2009 - 33%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 27%, State - 50%
  • 2007 - tested, scores withheld by PDE
Dropout Early Warning System

In 2013, Penn Hills School District did not implement a no cost state dropout prevention Early Warning System and Interventions Catalog at the junior high school.[166] 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.[167]

Penn Hills Elementary School[edit]

Penn Hills Elementary School is located at 1079 Jefferson Road, Pittsburgh. The building was newly built in 2013-14 for $40 million.[168] In 2015, Penn Hills Elementary School's enrollment was 1,400 pupils in grades preschool through 4th, with 67% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 17% of the pupils receive special education services, while 1% are identified as gifted.[169] 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.[170] The school is a federally designated Title I school. The District closed Forbes Elementary School, Penn Hebron Elementary Academy and Washington Elementary School.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 52% of 4th grade students at Penn HIlls Elementary School were on grade level in reading on the PSSAs given in April 2015. In mathematics, 34% of 4th grade students showed on grade level skills. In science, 71% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 43% were on grade level in reading and 26% were on grade level in mathematics.[171] 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.[172]

Special education[edit]

In December 2013, Penn Hills School District administration reported that 760 pupils or 19.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 40.4% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[173] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 876 pupils or 18.8% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 44% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[174] The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

In 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.[175] Penn Hills School District has provided full day kindergarten since 2008. The District has seen an increase in the percentage of special education students it serves, yielding no savings.

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, Penn Hills School District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.[176] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[177][178][179] 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.[180] Some special education students may take the PASA (Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment), rather than the PSSA.[181] Schools are permitted to provide accommodations to some students.[182]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding was in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[183] 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.[184] 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.[185] 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.[186] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[187]

Penn Hills School District received a $2,984,767 supplement for special education services in 2010.[188] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[189][190] In 2013-14, Penn HIlls School District received $2,984,799 in special education funding from the state. For the 2014-2015 school year, Penn Hills School District received an increase to $3,059,876 from the Commonwealth for special education funding.[191] Additionally, the state provides 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.[192] 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.

Gifted education[edit]

Penn Hills School District Administration reported that 277 or 6.05% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[193] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness are also considered for eligibility.[194][195]

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.[196]

In 2013, the average teacher salary in Penn Hills School District was $64,630 a year.[197] The District employed 366 teachers with a top salary of $155,970.[198][199] Pennsylvania teacher salaries (2013–14) are searchable in a statewide database provided by TribLive News.[200] Penn Hills 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.)[201] 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.[202] 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.[203] 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.[204]

In 2010, the District reported employing 398 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $55,216 and a top salary of $130,000.[205] The teacher’s work day is 7.5 hours, with 190 days in the contract year. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, 3 paid bereavement days, 2 emergency days and other benefits.[206]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $50,105 for 180 days worked.[207] in 2009 the district employed 417 teachers. A five-year employment contract was reached after a four-day strike. The teachers will receive raises of 1%, 2% and 3% in the last three years of the contract.[208] 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.[209] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, paid sick days, a retirement bonus and other benefits.[210] 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.[211]

Administrative costs

Penn Hills School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 were $769.82 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[212] Superintendent Joseph Carroll retired in 2010. His final salary was $130,000. He received an early retirement package, which included a $30,000 lump sum payment.[213] He is retiring mid contract at the age of 60. Carroll receives a defined benefit pension in excess of $100,000 a year that is exempted from local income tax and state income tax.

Per pupil spending

In 2008, the Penn Hills School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $13,300 which ranked 151st among Pennsylvania's then 501 public school districts. In 2010, the District’s per pupil spending had increased to $15,994.42, ranking 85th among the district.[214] by 2013, the per pupil spending of Penn HIlls rose dramatically to $18,079.18, ranking 59th in the Commonwealth.[215] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s state per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[216] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[217]

Tuition

Students who live in the Penn HIlls 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 Penn HIlls School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2013 tuition rates are Elementary School - $11,602.77, High School - $10,833.65.[218] In 2015, the Penn Hills School District tuition rates were Elementary School - $12,134.48, High School - $11,722.48.[219]

State Audit

In May 2016, Pennsylvania Auditor General Depasquale audited the school district. Eight significant fundings were reported which provoked a state investigation. Among the serious findings were financial misconduct resulting in a $18 million annual budget deficit.[220] Additionally, the district had amassed $167 million in debt between 2009 and 2016.[221][222]

Master plan

The district has a master plan to consolidate all students into three buildings by fall 2012. A new high school and single elementary center will be built to replace the current high school and four elementary schools. Funds for these capital projects come from a $130 million bond issue.[223]

Penn Hills School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 1%,[224] a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, grants, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government, generally 10%. 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.[225] 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.[226] Effective 2016, active duty military are also exempted from paying the local earned income tax in Pennsylvania.[227][228]

State basic education funding[edit]

According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, Penn Hills School District receives 36.7% of its annual revenue from the state.[229]

For the 2015-16 school year, Governor Tom Wolf released a partial Basic Education Funding of $8,292,136 to Penn Hills School District, in January 2016.[230] This was part of $10.3 billion in school funding withheld from the public schools, by the Governor since the summer of 2015.[231] The dispersement did not follow the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula which had been established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in June 2015.[232][233][234]

For the 2014-15 school year, Penn HIlls School District received $15,493,324.81 in State Basic Education funding. The District received another $$699,020 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.[235] 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.[236]

In the 2013-14 school year, Penn Hills School District received a 2.1% increase or $15,481,868 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This was $316,489 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Penn Hills School District received $419,960 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Cambria County, Westmont Hilltop School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 2.5%. 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.[237] 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.[238] As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[239]

For the 2012-13 school year, Penn Hills School District received $15,165,379 in state Basic Education Funding.[240] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) program. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[241] This amount was a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, Penn Hills School District received a $15,165,328 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[242][243] Additionally, Penn Hills School District received $419,960 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.[244] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District of Allegheny County, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[245] In 2010, the district reported that 2,383 students received free or reduced price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[246] Some Pennsylvania public school districts experienced a reduction of total funding due to the termination of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.77% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $16,279,455 . Among the districts in Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which got an 11.32% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County, which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[247] Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some public school districts at a far greater rate than others.[248]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.47% increase in Basic Education funding to penn HIlls School District, for a total of $15,539,804. Four Allegheny County school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2009–10. Chartiers Valley School District received the highest in Allegheny County an 8.19% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in state Basic Education Funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Penn Hills School District in 2008–09 was $15,165,328.48.[249] The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation made in the budget proposal made in February each year.[250]

The state Basic Education Funding (BEF) to the District in 2008-09 was $15,188,193. This was a 3.77% increase over 2007-08 state BEF to the District of $14,635,932. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,234 district students received free or reduced- price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[251] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[252][253]

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, Penn HIlls School District applied for and received $1,139,876 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The District used the funding to provide full-day kindergarten, literacy and math coaches, and to conduct teacher trainings.[254][255] In 2009, 100% of the kindergarteners in Penn HIlls School District attended full-day kindergarten.[256]

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.[257]

Penn Hills School District received $699,020 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. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. The Penn HIlls School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the District received $478,552. The District received $87,295 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $565,847.[258][259] Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, the highest award was given to South Park School District which received $786,781. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. The grant program was discontinued by Governor Edward Rendell as part of the 2009-10 state budget.

Education Assistance Grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11, Penn Hills School District received $369,020.[260] In 2003-04, Governor Rendell signed into law the EAP for targeted tutoring at a funding level of $38 million. Almost 35,000 students in 82 academically challenged school districts received extra help in the first year. The program was continued at the same funding level in 2004-05. In 2005-06, the program received $66 million in funding and expanded to support tutoring in 175 school districts and Career and Technical Centers.

Other grants[edit]

The District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants;[261][262] PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell);[263] 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant;[264] 2013 Safe Schools and Resource Officer grants; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants;[265] nor Project 720 High School Reform grants[266] (discontinued effective with 2011-12 budget).

Federal grants[edit]

Penn Hills School District received an extra $3,966,699 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[267] This funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

Penn HIlls School District officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant. The district is identified as a turnaround district due to chronically poor academic achievement of its students. When approved for the grant, the district will receive millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Turnaround status also brings an extra $700 per student, in supplemental funding above the basic grant amount.[268] 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.[269][270][271]

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.[272] The funds are sent to the state Department of Education which distributes them to each school district and charter school.[273] 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, Penn Hills School District received $195,460 in federal Title II funding.[274] In 2014-15, Penn Hills School District applied for and received $184,378.[275]

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.[276] 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.[277]

In 2012-13, Penn Hills School District received $3,802 in Title III funding for English language learners.[278] For 2014-15, Penn Hills School District received $4,847 in Title III funding.[279]

21st Century learning grant[edit]

In July 2010, Penn Hills School District 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. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved including eight charter schools. The funding was for the 2012-13 fiscal year.[280] The District received $360,000 in July 2010, $240,000 in July 2011, and July $240,000 in 2012.[281]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Penn HIlls School Board elected to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program.[282] 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.[283][284] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2016-17 were raised by the Penn Hills School Board to 26.3061 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and all government property (local, state and federal). 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.[285] 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.[286] When a Pennsylvania public school district includes municipalities in two or more counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[287] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[288]

The average yearly property tax paid by Allegheny County residents amounts to about 4.09% of their yearly income. Allegheny County ranked 209th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[300] 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.[301] 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%).[302] Pennsylvania's 2011 tax burden of 10.35% ranked 10th highest out of 50 states. The tax burden was above the national average of 9.8%. Pennsylvania's taxpayers paid $4,374 per capita in state and local taxes, including school taxes.[303]

Act 1 Adjusted Index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not permitted to raise property taxes above their annual Act 1 Index unless they either: allow Districts voters to approve the increase through a vote by referendum or they receive an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the school year is published by the PDE in the fall of each year. Each individual school district’s Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as local property values and the personal income of district residents. Originally, Act 1 of 2006 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the Pennsylvania 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.[304]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[305] 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.[306][307] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[308]

The School District Adjusted Index history for the Penn HIlls School District:

Property Tax Relief[edit]

In 2014, Penn HIlls School District approved 12,476 homestead properties to receive $189 each.[316] The amount received by the District must be divided equally among all approved residences.[317]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Penn Hills School District was $185 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 12,715 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[318] The highest tax relief in Allegheny County was awarded to Duquesne City SD which received $389. The highest property tax relief provided, among Pennsylvania school districts, goes to the homesteads of Chester Upland School District in Delaware County which received $632 per approved homestead in 2010. Chester-Upland School District has consistently been the top recipient since the programs inception.[319] The tax relief was started by Governor Edward G. Rendell with passage of the state gaming law in 2004. Rendell promised taxpayers substantial property tax relief from legalized gambling.[320]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Penn Hills School District residents aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This rebate can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief. 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.[321]

Wellness policy[edit]

Penn Hills School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[322] 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.[323]

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

The District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[325] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[326] The District offers a summer free meal program to children at several school buildings.

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.[327] 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.[328] The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93. In 2015, federal reimbursement rates were: $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches and $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.[329]

In 2014, President Barack Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day.[330][331]

The US Department of Agriculture 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.[332][333]

Penn HIlls 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.[334][335] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.[336]

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.[337] The cost was covered by a grant from a private foundation.[338]

Health eTools program

Penn Hills School 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.[339] Health eTools for Schools also provided interdisciplinary research-based curriculum in nutrition, physical education and physical activity to participating districts. The program was discontinued by the company in 2013.[340]

Alma Mater[edit]

Oh Penn High School

Our best we pledge to you

The days we have spent here

We always will hold dear

Oh red and gold

Staunch friends we are foretold

Forever we'll be loyal

To our Penn High School

Extracurriculars[edit]

Penn Hills School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive sports program.

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.[341]

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.[342][343][344]

Sports[edit]

Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.[345] 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.[346][347]

The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website. 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.[348]

The District funds:

Varsity
Middle School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2015[349]

Former Schools[edit]

  • Penn Hills Senior High School built in 1959 and closed on December 28, 2012 when the new school open on the site of the former Roberts Elementary School which was most recently used as the district's administration building.
  • Seneca Junior High, closed and demolished now is the site of UPMC's Seneca Hills Village Independent Living.[350]
  • Penn Hebron Elementary, closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year. This school was originally Penn Junior High. Penn Hebron Elementary Academy was located at 102 Duff Road, Pittsburgh. It provided full day kindergarten through 4th grade. Penn Hebron Elementary Academy achieved a score of 81 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 63.23% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 4th. In 3rd grade, 63.8% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 73.79% were on grade level (3rd-4th grades). In 4th grade science, 70.70% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding.[351]
  • Washington Elementary, closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
  • Forbes Elementary, closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Forbes Elementary School was located at 5785 Saltsburg Road, Verona. It provided kindergarten through third grade. Forbes Elementary School achieved a score of 64.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 3rd grade, 50% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 55.7% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades).[352]
  • Clifford M. Dible Elementary, closed at the end of the 2010-11 school year and the building was demolished to make way for the new Penn Hills Elementary building.
  • Shenandoah Elementary, closed at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.[353]
  • William Penn Elementary, closed at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.[354]
  • Roberts Elementary School, closed and later demolished to make way for the new Penn Hill Senior High School.
  • William McKinley Elementary School, closed and now a Senior Citizens Center.[355]
  • Hebron Elementary School, closed in the 1980s after a fire and now part of an industrial park.[356]
  • Morrow Elementary School, closed in 1974 and now is part of the Penn Hills Senior Citizen Center on Jefferson Road.[357]
  • Ben Franklin School, closed in 1975[358]
  • Thaddeus Stevens School, closed in 1979[359]
  • Davidson School, closed in the 1980s and was one of the smallest and oldest schools [360]
  • Lincoln Park School, closed and is now the Lincoln Park Community Center.

Other Facilities[edit]

  • PHSD Roberts Administration Building, Closed and demolished for new High School
  • PHSD Transportation Dept./Bus Garage, buses are now outsourced
  • Fralic Sports/Athletic Center

Students enjoy easy access to Downtown Pittsburgh, with the city's business, cultural, shopping, sports, and entertainment facilities only 20 minutes away.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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Coordinates: 40°28′43″N 79°49′04″W / 40.47855°N 79.81773°W / 40.47855; -79.81773