Redbank Valley School District

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Redbank Valley School District
Map of Clarion County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
910 Broad Street
New Bethlehem, PA
New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Clarion 16242
United States
Type Public
School board 9 Elected Representatives
Superintendent Michael Drzewiecki
President Dr. Chad Shaffer
Dean Mr. Tom Logan
Principal Mrs. Amy Rupp (7-12)
Principal Mrs. Sue Ann Boyles (3-6)
Principal Mrs. Cheryl McCauley (K-2)
Staff 159
Grades K-12
Age range 5-21
Enrollment 1,137
Average class size 90
Color(s) Red & White
Fight song "The Hey Song"
Athletics conference District-9
Sports See Extracurricular
Mascot Bulldog
Team name Bulldogs, Lady Bulldogs
Rival Union Golden Knights (Historically)
Publication "The Bark"
Budget $17,489,000.76 (2014-2015)
Tuition 10219.57 (HS), 9064.59 ( Elem.)
Revenue 2090 per. (Fed. 2011; K-12)
Redbank Valley School District region in Armstrong County

Redbank Valley School District History

Over the last many decades, Redbank Valley has been known throughout the surrounding counties as prestige institution of education. The Redbank Valley High School (RVHS) athletics, education, and arts programs have been recognized throughout surrounding districts and communities. RVHS's "Bulldog Marching Band" was, at one point, the No. 1 marching band in the state, competing and placing high in both the North American Marching Band Association and the Lakeshore Marching Band Association. This is followed by the fine athletic programs, that have won numerous championships across the many sports programs provided. This has spanned across not only District IX, but on the state level as well. Education recently topped these all, as not even a decade ago, the school district had been educating many students that would receive highly regarded majors and doctorates.

Redbank Valley School District Currently

In recent years, enrollment has declined by nearly 1,500 students and the district has closed 3 schools in this time. Due to this decline the large tax-base that once supported the district has collapsed, and the center of all concerns within the administration, is the budget and expenses incurred by the district. Currently this public school district serves approximately 1,000 students. It is the largest school district in Clarion County, Pennsylvania in both terms of enrollment, as well as land mass. The district currently employs more than 150 staff members, and many positions are either newly created, or have been recently retired by the Board of School Education. The Redbank Valley School District is the wealthiest school district in Clarion County, and utilizes not only the highest budget, but the highest reserve fund as well.

Area Served[edit]

Redbank Valley School District is located primarily in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania with the district offices and all 3 schools located in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. The boroughs of South Bethlehem, New Bethlehem, and Hawthorn, as well as the townships of Redbank (Armstrong), Redbank (Clarion), Madison, Mahoning, and Porter are within district boundaries. The district is part of the Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 region which serves approximately 20 school districts in north central Pennsylvania.


Redbank Valley currently has 3 operational facilities. All built within 10 years of the District's founding, they have been renovated to meet capacity limits, as the class size has increased (and later decreased). These schools include both the repurposed elementary buildings, now the Redbank Valley Intermediate School (3-6) and the Redbank Valley Primary School (K-2). The third and largest of the schools is the Redbank Valley Junior/Senior High School, that combines grades 7-12.

Elementary schools[edit]

School Name Grades School Address Built Renovated
Redbank Valley Primary School
600 Vine St.
New Bethlehem, PA 16242
1962 1988
Redbank Valley Intermediate School
1306 Truittsburg Rd
Hawthorn, PA 16230
1960 1990

Junior/senior high school[edit]

School Name Grades School Address Built Renovated
Redbank Valley Junior/Senior High School 7-12 920 Broad St.
New Bethlehem, PA 16242
1957 1987, 1996, 2008

Defunct schools[edit]

School Name Grades School Address Built Renovated Closed
Mahoning Township Elementary School K-6 330 Pheasant Farm Rd.
New Bethlehem, PA 16242
1959 1990 2011
Madison Township Elementary School K-6 1155 Madison Rd.
Templeton, PA 16259
1959 1986
Porter Township Elementary School K-6 1935 1986


The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (each serving four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[1] 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 Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "D-" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[2]

Academic achievement[edit]

Redbank Valley School District was ranked 279th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and two years of science.[3]

2009 - 229th
2008 - 158th
2007 - 167th of 500 Pennsylvania school districts in 2007.[4]

Graduation Rate:
2009 - 88%[5]
2008 - 93%
2007 - 93%[6]

High school[edit]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 67% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.[7]
2008 - 64%, State - 65%
2007 - 78%, State - 65% [8]

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 48% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2008 - 31%, State - 55%
2007 - 57%, State - 53%[9]

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 31% on grade level. State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 35%, State - 39%[10]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 27% of Redbank Valley High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[11] 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.[12] 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.

Graduation project[edit]

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.[13]

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 and programs 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.[14] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[15]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $1,749 for the program.[16]


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 1200 students enrolled in K-12th grades. Annual enrollment in the Redbank Valley School District is projected to continue to decline by another 150 students by 2018. The graduating class of 2015 was 86 students. Enrollment Projections by the Pennsylvania Department of Education reported 1/2009. The district employs 7 administrators, a psychologist, a significant complement of teachers, as well as many full- and part-time staff members. Redbank Valley administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $555.21 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[17] With limited resources, opportunities for students at the high school are limited. Consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities.[18] These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.[19] Consolidation of two or more school district central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[20]

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent. The most significant enrollment decline is projected to be in western Pennsylvania, where rural school districts may have a 16 percent decline. More than 40 percent of elementary schools and more than 60 percent of secondary schools in western Pennsylvania are projected to experience significant enrollment decreases (15 percent or greater).[21] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative costs of the schools will continue to rise.

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.[22] 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.[23]


In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $48,346 for 180 days worked. The district ranked third in Clarion County for average teacher salary in 2007.[24] 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.[25] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[26] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the state teacher retirement fund, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[27]

2014/2015 budget[edit]

The general fund budget for the 2014/2015 school year is exactly $17,489,000.76. This is a slight increase from last year's budget of $16,439,194.00. Redbank Valley, as of May 2014, has a deficit of approximately 1.5 million. This has resulted in all-around cuts, ranging from the sciences, to general supplies, and textbooks.

State basic education funding[edit]

In the 2009/2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.0% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $8,425,418. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $8,260,213.85. Two percent was the lowest level of increase for districts in 2009. Seventy school districts received a 2% increase in 2009. Clarion-Limestone Area School District received a 4.86% increase in state basic education funding. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[28] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[29]

The district reports that 435 students enrolled in the federal free and reduced school lunch program in 2007-2008.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received $1,389,322 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific education programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[30] This funding was for 2009-2011 school years.

Race to the Top[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[31] 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.[31] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[32][needs update]

In 2008, the district reported a $3,259,400 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was $6,390,000.[33]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2008-2009 were set at: Armstrong County residents - 19.4200 mills and the residents in Clarion County was 42.6700 mills.[34] School districts located in more than one county are required to apportion the tax levy based on the market value in each county as determined by the State Tax Equalization Board pursuant to section 672.1 of the School Code. As a result, the tax rate increases are not the same for each county in a multi-county school district.[35] 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 tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Redbank Valley School District was $116 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,162 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Clarion County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2009, went to Clarion-Limestone Area School District at $140. The highest property tax relief, among Pennsylvania school districts, went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead.[36] 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 Clarion County, 47% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009. In Armstrong County, 77% of residents applied for property tax relief.

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

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%).



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. These include a mandatory yearly physical for all sports; fall, winter, or spring. To participate in all athletic activities and/or events, students or participants must pay a $50.00 "activity fee" as outlined the 2014/2015 handbook. If the fee has failed to be paid, the participant is to be exempted from practices and games, performances, until which time the fee has been paid, or the school has dismissed him or her from team eligibility.

Programs and activities[edit]

As of the 2014/2015 school year, RVSD offers the following extracurricular activities and programs.[37]


Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country Track, Football, Golf, Powder Puff Football, Soccer, Softball, Track and Field, Marching Band, Volleyball, Wrestling


Bible Club, FBLA, FFA, Journalism Club, Library/Media Club, Jazz Band, Outdoor, SADD, Shakespeare Club, Ski Club, Student Council, Tech 4s, Broadcast Journalism, Show Choir


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
  2. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Statewide Honor Roll Ranking, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 14, 2010
  4. ^ Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 23, 2007.
  5. ^ Redbank Valley High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children - High School Graduation 2007
  7. ^ Redbank Valley High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  8. ^ Redbank Valley High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2007
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education report PSSA Reading and Math 2007 by school and grade, August 2007
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education report PSSA Science 2008 by school and grade, August 2008
  11. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  12. ^ National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDS 2008
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. Site accessed March 2010.
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10. August 2009
  17. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, Feb 2009.
  18. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Administrative Costs for Clarion County School Districts 2007-08, The Morning Call, July 2009
  19. ^ 2009-10 Executive Budget Facts Pennsylvania School District Consolidation, Edward Rendell, Governor and Mary Soderberg, Secretary of the Budget. February 2009
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Study of the Cost Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts, 2007.
  21. ^ "Research Analyzes Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity", The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. October 2009
  22. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  23. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  24. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Average classroom teacher salary in Clarion County, 2006-07. The Morning Call. Accessed March 2009.
  25. ^ Teachers need to know enough is enough, PaDelcoTimes, April 20, 2010.
  26. ^ Redbank Valley Professional Education Association Employment Contract 2009
  27. ^ Legislature must act on educators' pension hole. The Patriot News. February 21, 2010
  28. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Funding Allocations by district, October 2009
  29. ^ The Pennsylvania Department of Education Budget Proposal 2009
  30. ^ PA ARRA Funding by district
  31. ^ a b Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support Governor's Office press release, January 20, 2010
  32. ^ Race to the Top Fund, U.S. Department of Education, March 29, 2010.
  33. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education report on Fund Balances by Local Education Agency 1997 to 2008
  34. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. 2009
  35. ^ Taxpayer Relief Act Special Session Act 1 of 2006 - Report on Referendum Exceptions For School Year 2009-2010. Pennsylvania Department of Education. April 24, 2009.
  36. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Education Report, May 1, 2009
  37. ^