Port Allegany School District

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Port Allegheny School District
Map of McKean County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Location
20 Oak Street
Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, McKean County and Potter County 16743-1297
United States
Information
Type public school district
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent Tony Flint
Principal Marc Budd - High School Principal
Principal Terry Kriner - Elementary Principal
Faculty 65 teachers in 2010 [1]
Grades K to 12
Pupils 946 (2010-11) [2]
 • Kindergarten 64
 • Grade 1 81
 • Grade 2 77
 • Grade 3 61
 • Grade 4 71
 • Grade 5 63
 • Grade 6 66
 • Grade 7 63
 • Grade 8 81
 • Grade 9 72
 • Grade 10 79
 • Grade 11 92
 • Grade 12 90
 • Other Enrollment projected to decline to 770 in 2019[3]
Mascot Gators
Budget $10,078,000 (2010-11) [4]
Per pupil spending $11,695 (2008)
Per pupil spending $13,088.53 (2010)
Website
Port Allegany High School.jpg
Port Allegany School District region in Potter County

Port Allegany School District is a small, rural, Public school district located in McKean County and Potter County, Pennsylvania, United States. Geographically the district is situated in the north-central-west part of the state. The district bridges two counties: McKean County and Potter County. Port Allegany School District encompasses an area of about 169 square miles (440 km2). The residents of Roulette, PA, Roulette Township, Pleasant Valley Township in neighboring Potter County, send their children to Port Allegany Schools. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 6,344. In 2010, the District's population had decreased to 5,737 people.[5] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08, the Port Allegany School District provided basic educational services to 1,065 pupils. Port Allegany School District employed: 76 teachers, 45 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators. Port Allegany School District received more than $8.8 million in state funding in school year 2007-08. The offices for the school system are in Port Allegany High School, which is in the borough of Port Allegany.

Port Allegany School District operates two schools: Port Allegany Junior Senior High School and Port Allegany Elementary School. The district is part of the Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9 which provides services for special education students, curriculum development and teacher training.

In 2004, Port Allegany School District employed 78 teachers and 39 full-time/part-time support staff.[6]

Governance[edit]

Port Allegany School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without compensation for a term of four years.), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[7] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Port Allegany School Board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[8]

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one Port Allegany School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Port Allegany Elementary School was among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[9] 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.[10] According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[11] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating. For 2013, the elementary school was removed from the lowest-achieving school list.

Statewide Ranking

Port Allegany School District was ranked 450th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[12] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[13] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2011 - 447th
  • 2010 - 433rd[14]
  • 2009 - 436th
  • 2008 - 399th[15]
  • 2007 - 446th out of 501 school districts.
District AYP status history

In 2012, Port Allegany School District achieved AYP status, even though both schools are in School Improvement status, due to low student academic achievement.[16] In 2011, Port Allegany School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) even though its elementary school was among the lowest-achieving in the Commonwealth. 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.[17] Port Allegany School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[18]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Port Allegany School District’s graduation rate was 93%.[19] In 2011, the graduation rate was 89%.[20] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was 83.75% for 2010.[21]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Port Allegany Junior Senior High School is located at 20 Oak Street, Port Allegany. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 477 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 175 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school is a federally designated Title I school. Port Allegany Junior Senior High School employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 14:1.[25] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[26]

In 2012, Port Allegany Junior Senior High School declined to School ImprovementAYP status due to low student achievement in reading and mathematics. In 2010 and 2011, Port Allegany Junior Senior High School was in Warning AYP status.[27] Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement.[28] Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[29] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[30]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 57% on grade level, (23% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2011 - 54% (29% below basic). State - 69.1% [32]
  • 2010 - 57%, State - 67%[33]
  • 2009 - 64%, State - 65%[34]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 65%[35]
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 64% on grade level (19% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[36]
  • 2011 - 59% (19% below basic). State - 60.3% [37]
  • 2010 - 56%, State - 59% [38]
  • 2009 - 50%, State - 56% [39]
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 56% [40]
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 35% on grade level (5% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[41]
  • 2011 - 40% (14% below basic). State - 40% [42]
  • 2010 - 35%, State - 40%
  • 2009 - 35%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 20%, State - 39%

Science in Motion Port Allegany Junior Senior High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[43]

College remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 27% of the Port Allegany 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.[44] 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.[45] 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 Port Allegany Junior Senior High School does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. The program is offered through over 400 school districts with the assistance of a state grant. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions or who enroll in their institution after graduating from high school.[46]

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. The Port Allegany School Board has determined a number and type of courses that a pupil must pass in order to graduate.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[47] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[48]

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.[49][50][51] 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.[52] 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.[53] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 48 Port Allegany School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 491. The Math average score was 506. The Writing average score was 459. 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, 44 Port Allegany School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 473. The Math average score was 488. The Writing average score was 443.[54] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[55] 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.[56]

Junior high school[edit]

8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 79% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 79% [57]
  • 2011 - 71% (19% below basic) State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 77%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 72%, State - 80.9%[58]
  • 2008 - 74%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 74% (10% below basic). State - 76%
  • 2011 - 66% (22% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 69%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 72%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 61%, State -70%
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 61% (23% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 64%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 64%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 62%, State - 50%

Elementary School[edit]

Port Allegany Elementary School is located at 85 Clyde Lynch Drive, Port Allegany. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Port Allegany Elementary School reported an enrollment of 469 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 216 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Port Allegany Elementary School is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 30 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15.5:1.[59] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[60]

In 2012, Port Allegany Elementary School declined to School Improvement AYP status due to low academic achievement in both reading (missed all 4 metrics) and mathematics.[61] In 2011, Port Allegany Elementary School was in Warning AYP status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics. The school was among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 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 Port Allegany School District. Additionally, the elementary school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[62] Port Allegany Elementary School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.

PSSA Results

4th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 71%, (13% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 74%, (10% below basic). State - 82.9%
  • 2010 - 80%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 81%, State - 83%

Wellness policy[edit]

Port Allegany School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Student Wellness Policy 246.[69] 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 National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, 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.[70] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval. The District offers a free school breakfast and free school lunch to low-income children. The program is funded with federal dollars through the USDA.[71]

Enrollment[edit]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are 957 students enrolled in K-12. There were 96 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 71 students. Enrollment in Port Allegany School District is projected to continue to sharply decline losing 200 more students by 2019.[72] Port Allegany School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $781 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[73] In 2009, Governor Edward Rendell proposed the consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts in order to achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.[74] These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.[75] Consolidation of central administrations into one would not necessitate the closing of any schools. Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. The Governor's proposal called for the savings to be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes.[76]

Over the 2000 to 2010 decade, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment decreased 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline was in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts had a 16 percent decline in enrollment. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[77]

Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of school districts in the nation. In Pennsylvania, 80% of the school districts serve student populations under 5,000, and 40% serve less than 2,000. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[78] 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.[79][80]

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the Port Allegany School District administration reported that 151 pupils or 15.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 60% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[81] In December 2009, the District administration reported that 148 pupils or 15.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 60% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[82] 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).[83]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[84] 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.[85] 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.[86] 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.[87] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[88]

Port Allegany School District received a $669,578 supplement for special education services in 2010.[89] For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[90][91]

Gifted education[edit]

Port Allegany School District Administration reported that 22 or 2.09% 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.[92] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.[93][94]

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by 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.[95]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Port Allegany School District was $55,611.63 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $15,493.71 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $71,105.34.[96]

In 2009, Port Allegany School District reported employing 81 teachers and administrators with a median salary of $55,584 and a top salary of $105,833.[97] The teacher’s work day is 7.5 hours with a 30-minute duty-free lunch and a daily preparation period. There are 185 days in the contract year, with 180 student days. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, life insurance, income protection insurance, dental insurance, professional development reimbursement, paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, and other benefits.[98]

In 2007, the district employed over 100 teachers. The average teacher salary in the District was $45,186 for 180 days worked.[99] 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.[100] The District ranked second in McKean County for average teacher salary in 2007.

Per pupil spending In 2008, per pupil spending at Port Alleghany School District was $11,695. It ranked 314th in the state for per pupil spending.[101] In 2010 the per pupil spending had increased to $13,088.53.[102] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[103] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[104] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[105]

Reserves In 2009, Port Allegany School District reported a balance of zero in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $3,239,395.00 [106] In 2010, Area Administration reported $2,783,001 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District reported $800,000 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[107]

Audit In October 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the District. The findings were reported to the Port Allegany School Board and the District’s administration.[108]

According to Standard and Poor's, the local community is challenged by a limited local economy with elevated unemployment and rapidly decreasing enrollment. The district's residents have low property wealth, and moderately high overall net debt burden measured as a percentage of market value.[109]

Tuition Students who live in Port Allegany 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 Port Allegany School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each public 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 Port Allegany School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $8,901.64, High School - $9,968.50.[110]

Port Allegany School District is funded by a combination of local earned income tax 0.5%, property taxes, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, Occupational Privilege Taxes, per capita tax of $10.00 ($5.00 under Act 511 and $5.00 under the School Code, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. In Pennsylvania, both Social Security income and pension income is exempted from personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[111]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2012-13 school year, Port Allegany School District received $6,934,874.[112] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-13 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Port Allegany School District received $99,948. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[113] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation.

In 2011-12, Port Allegany School District received a $6,934,874 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[114][115] Additionally, the School District received $99,948 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.[116] The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[117] In 2010, the district reported that 433 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[118]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.45% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,426,939 to Port Allegany School District. Among the districts in McKean County, the highest increase went to Kane Area School District which got a 4.28% increase. Coudersport Area School District, in Potter County, received a 5.50% in basic education funding. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania public school districts received the Commonwealth's base 2% increase. Statewide, the highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.[119] 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 districts at a far greater rate than others.[120]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.53% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,249,175. Among the districts in McKean County, the highest increase went to Bradford Area School District which got a 7.46%. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $4,787,151.79. Ninety school Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[121] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[122] 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.[123][124]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 436 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[125]

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 501 public 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, Port Allegany School District applied for and received $271,283 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for 67 children.[126][127]

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 Port Allegany School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07 nor in 2007-08. Port Allegany School District applied in 2008-09 receiving $75,604.[128] In McKean County, the highest award was given to Bradford Area School District. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide by then Governor Rendell, due to a massive state financial crisis.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's Education Assistance Plan 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, Port Allegany School District received $29,232.[129]

Literacy grant[edit]

Port Allegany School District was awarded a $452,548 competitive literacy grant. It is to be used to improve reading skills birth through 12th grade. The district was required to develop a lengthy literacy plan, which included outreach into the community. The funds come from a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant, also referred to as the Keystones to Opportunity grant It is a five-year, competitive federal grant program designed to assist local education agencies in developing and implementing local comprehensive literacy plans. Of the 329 pre-applications by school districts reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, School District was one of only 148 entities that were invited to submit a full application. In County 5 school districts and one charter school were awarded funding for one year.[130] The grant stipulates that the funds must be used for teacher training, student screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level and research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice. Districts must hire literacy coaches. The coaches work with classroom teachers to improve their literacy teaching skills. Pennsylvania was among six other states, out of the 35 that applied, to be awarded funding. Pennsylvania received $38 million through the federal program. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reserved 5% of the grant for administration costs at the state level.

Other grants[edit]

Port Allegany School District did not participate in: PA DEP Environmental Education grants, Science Its Elementary grants, nor the 21st Century learning grants.

Stimulus ARRA funding[edit]

Port Allegany School District received an extra $1,261,792 in ARRA Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[131][132] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[133] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top Grant[edit]

Port Allegany School District officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[134] 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.[135] 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.[136][137][138]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property taxes were set by the Port Allegany School Board at 39.7200 mills for property owners in Potter County for 2012-13. McKean County property owners - 15.2700 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.[139] Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes, including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. 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.[140] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[141] 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.[142]

  • 2011-12 - 35.7500 mills for residents in Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[143]
  • 2010-11 - 35.4100 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[144]
  • 2009-10 - 37.4700 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[145]
  • 2008-09 - 36.4200 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[146]
  • 2007-08 - 37.0900 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[147]
  • 2006-07 - 35.1600 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.
  • 2005-06 - 34.1600 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills. (McKean County raised assessing real estate to 100% of fair market value from 25%).[148]
  • 2004-05 - 34.9000 mills Potter County, McKean County 15.4800 mills.[149]

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.[150] The average yearly property tax paid by Potter County residents amounts to about 2.95% of their yearly income. Potter County is ranked 624th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income. McKean County residents amounts to about 2.6% of their yearly income. McKean County is ranked 874th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[151]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 percent, but the Act 1 Index can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as property values and the personal income of district residents. Act 1 included 10 exceptions, including: increasing pension costs, increases in special education costs, a catastrophe like a fire or flood, increase in health insurance costs for contracts in effect in 2006 or dwindling tax bases. The base index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage, as determined by the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for the preceding calendar year and the percentage increase in the Employment Cost Index for Elementary and Secondary Schools, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, for the previous 12-month period ending June 30. For a school district with a market value/personal income aid ratio (MV/PI AR) greater than 0.4000, its index equals the base index multiplied by the sum of .75 and its MV/PI AR for the current year.[152]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Port Allegany School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[153]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Port Allegany 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.[156]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Port Allegany School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Port Allegany 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.[157]

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.[158]

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.[159] In 2010, the Port Allegany School Board sought no exceptions, budgeting within the Act 1 limit.[160]

Property Tax Relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling, for the Port Allegany School District, was $216 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1501 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 tax assessment office. Farmers 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 2009, 68% of McKean County property owners applied for the property tax relief.[161]

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%).[162]

School activities[edit]

Port Allegany School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive and costly sports program. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) regulations.

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.[163]

Clubs[edit]

Computer club, drama club, French club, peer helpers, SADD, Spanish club, academic team and student council.

Music[edit]

  • Chorus
  • Show Choir
  • Chamber Singers
  • Drama
  • Band
  • Marching Band[164]

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [165]

Current events[edit]

In January 2008, Port Allegany School District made national headlines when their school nurse died due to injuries suffered after a roadside bomb exploded on him, while he was serving his country in Afghanistan.[166] Lieutenant Colonel Richard Berrettini died at the age of 52 after voluntarily leaving his post at the Port Allegany High School in the winter of 2007.[167] Berrettini was a medical officer who was critically injured when his humvee was struck by an IED. After the military flew him to a Texas hospital, he died from his injuries. This occurred days before he was to be returning to his post with the Port Allegany School District.[168]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°48′59″N 78°16′17″W / 41.81647°N 78.27145°W / 41.81647; -78.27145