Ringgold School District
|Ringgold School District|
|400 Main Street
New Eagle, Pennsylvania, Washington 15607
|School board||9 elected members|
|Administrator||Deborah DiMascio, Supervisor of Special Education|
|Director||Jeff Matty, Assistant to the Superintendent|
|• Grade 1||254|
|• Grade 2||214|
|• Grade 3||211|
|• Grade 4||233|
|• Grade 5||209|
|• Grade 6||261|
|• Grade 7||243|
|• Grade 8||234|
|• Grade 9||272|
|• Grade 10||280|
|• Grade 11||291|
|• Grade 12||263|
|• Other||Projected to decline to 2800 by 2019|
|Color(s)||navy blue and Vegas gold|
Ringgold School District is a midsized, suburban, public school district located in the northeastern corner of Washington County, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh. The district encompasses 58 square miles, including the city of Monongahela, the boroughs of Donora, New Eagle and Finleyville, and the townships of Carroll, Union, and Nottingham. According to 2000 federal census data, it served a resident population of 26,933. The area is a mix of Pittsburgh suburbia and rural areas.
Per District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Ringgold School District provided basic educational services to 3,290 pupils, while employing: 249 teachers, 176 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 19 administrators. Ringgold School District received more than $18.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.
The district includes a combination of two former high schools from the area. Monongahela and Donora both had their own junior and senior high schools. These building were sold in 2013 and no longer being used in the district. The current high school was built in 1979.
Ringgold School District operates four schools: Ringgold High School and Ringgold Elementary School South both in Carroll Township and Ringgold Middle School and Ringgold Elementary School North both in Union Township. There are also plans in place to build a new middle school adjacent to the high school on the same campus with construction slated to begin on November 2, 2015
- 1 Academic achievement
- 2 Bullying policy
- 3 Special education
- 4 Budget
- 4.1 State basic education funding
- 4.2 Common Cents state initiative
- 4.3 Real estate taxes
- 5 Extracurriculars
- 6 References
Ringgold School District was ranked 378th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania school districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 5 years of PSSA results in: reading, writing, math and three years of science.
- Former calculation graduation rate
In 2011, Ringgold Senior High School achieved AYP status. In 2010 and 2009, the senior high school was in School Improvement II due to chronically low academic achievement of its students.
In 2011, the high school ranked 63rd out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools, for academic achievement of its 11th graders based on the past three years of the PSSAs in: reading, writing, math and three years of science.
- 2010 - 67th
- 2009 - 73rd
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 82% on grade level, (4% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 78% (10% below basic). State - 66% 
- 2009 - 68%, State - 65% 
- 2008 - 66%, State - 64%
- 2007 - 62%, State - 65% 
- 11th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 80%, on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 69%, (20% below basic). State - 59%
- 2009 - 54%, State - 56% 
- 2008 - 65%, State - 56%
- 2007 - 35%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science:
- 2011 - 38% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level. .
- 2010 - 42% (13% below basic). State - 39%
- 2009 - 38%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 35%, State - 39%
College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 51% of Ringgold 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. 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. 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.
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, including the graduation ceremony. 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. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. For the 2009-10 funding year, Ringgold School District received a state grant of $12,529 for the program.
The Challenge Program, Inc. offers $250.00 cash incentives to Ringgold High School sophomores, juniors, and seniors who excel in the categories of: Academic Improvement, Attendance, Community Service and Academic Excellence. The program partners with businesses to motivate students both in and out of the classroom by encouraging good habits in students that will last throughout their education and into their future careers. For the 2010–2011 school year, the top 10% of students in each of the categories will be eligible to win $250.00.
The Ringgold School Board has determined that a students must earn 23 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 3 credits, Science 3 credits, Social Studies 3 credits, Physical Education 1.75 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Arts/Humanities 2 credits, Graduation Projects .75 credits and 6 credits in Electives. Students must also score at the proficient or advanced level on all of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests taken their junior year or one of the districts four alternative options.
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.
By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, beginning with the graduating class in 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
In 2011, the school achieved AYP status. In 2010, the school also achieved AYP status. The Pittsburgh Business Times ranked 141 eighth grades in western Pennsylvania, in 2009. The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated by three years of results on: math, reading, writing and one year of science PSSAs. Formerly Finley Middle School now a consolidated school with all the district's 6th through 8th grades.
- 8th Grade Reading:
- 2011 - 83% on grade level (8% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
- 2010 - 80% (7% below basic). State - 81%
- 2009 - 82%, State - 80.9% 
- 2008 - 74%, State - 78% 
- 8th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 74% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
- 2010 - 64% (18% below basic), State - 75% 
- 2009 - 71%, State - 71%
- 2008 - 70%, State - 70%
- 8th Grade Science:
- 2011 - 53% on grade level (21% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
- 2010 - 48% (31% below basic). State - 57% 
- 2009 - 50%, State - 55%
- 2008 - 52%, State - 50%
- 7th Grade Reading
- 2011 - 74% on grade level (9% below basic). State – 76%
- 2010 - 72% (8% below basic). State - 73%
- 7th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 80% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 78.6%
- 2010 - 77% (9% below basic). State - 77%
- 6th Grade Reading:
- 2011 - 66% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.
- 2010 - 58% (23% below basic). State - 68%
- 6th Grade Math:
- 2011 - 70% on grade level (8% below basic). State - 78.8%
- 2010 - 70% (16% below basic). State - 78%
Carroll Middle School
Closed by the school board in 2009.
- 8th Grade Reading:
2009 - 74% on grade level. State: 80.9% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 73%, State - 78%
- 8th Grade Math:
2009 - 58% on grade level. State: 71% of 8th graders were on grade level. 2008 - 50%, State -70%
- 8th Grade Science:
2009 - 38% on grade level. State: 55% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 31%, State - 50%
The Ringgold School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.
Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.
In order to comply with state and federal laws, the 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. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the 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 Ringgold School District or contact the Supervisor of Special Education.
In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. The funds were distributed to districts based on a state policy which estimates that 16% of the district's pupils are receiving special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.
Ringgold School District received a $1,913,736 supplement for special education services in 2010.
For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding 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.
The District Administration reported that 145 or 4.60% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to a variety of AP courses. 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.
In 2007, the district employed 227 teachers with the average teacher salary in the district at $44,398 for 180 days worked. 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. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.
The district administrative costs in 2008 were $707.74 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. In 2007, the school board awarded a four-year contract to Gary Hamilton to serve as the district's superintendent. His initial salary was set at $120,000 with incentives. He also received an extensive benefits package. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165.
In 2008, the district administration reported spending $11,029 per pupil which ranked 394th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.
In April 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the administration and the school board by state officials.
Reserves In 2008, the district reported a $2,863,447 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.
The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. 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 individual's wealth.
State basic education funding
In 2011–12, the district will receive $12,097,472 in state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, the district will receive $239,985 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011–2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010–2011. In 2010 the district reported that 1,250 pupils received a free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty levels.
For the 2010–11 budget year, the Ringgold School District was allotted a 5.86% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $13,373,336. This was an increase of $740,495 over the previous year's funding from the Commonwealth. The highest increase in Washington County was provided to Charleroi School District which received a 9.90% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in the state, in 2010–11, went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. 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.
In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.95% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $11,603,644. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $11,163,203.29. In Washington County, the highest increase went to Burgettstown Area School District at 6.45%. The Pennsylvania Department of Education gave 15 school districts an increase of Basic Education Funding in excess of 10% in the 2009 - 10 budget. The highest increase in the commonwealth went to Muhlenberg School District in Berks County which received a 22.31% increase in state BEF for 2009-10. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the per district allocation, in the Commonwealth budget proposal made in February each year. The Department of Education reported that 1,145 students, attending school at the Ringgold School District, received a free or reduced-price lunch in 2007 due to low family income.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004–2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students, For 2010–11 the district applied for and received $651,379, in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Ringgold School District uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten and to implement research based school improvement programs.
Classrooms for the Future grant
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 2006–2009. Ringgold School District did not apply for funding in 2006–07. In 2007–08, it received $361,252. In 2008–09, the district received $65,742 for a total funding of $426,994.
Education Assistance grant
The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11, Ringgold School District received $222,274.
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received $2,455,983 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. This funding is for 2009-10 and 2010-2011. school years.
Race to the Top Grant
School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district a million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
Common Cents state initiative
The Ringgold School Board decided to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
Ringgold School Board set property tax rates in 2011 at 120.0000 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.
- 2010 - 120.0000 mills.
- 2009 – 117.0000 mills.
- 2008 – 113.0000 mills.
- 2007 – 109.000 mills.
Act 1 Adjusted index
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 and the adjusted index for each district are publicly announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Education In September each year. 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Ringgold School District 2006–2007 through 2011–2012.
- 2006–07 – 5.4%, Base 3.9%
- 2007–08 – 4.7%, Base 3.4%
- 2008–09 – 6.1%, Base 4.4%
- 2009–10 – 5.6%, Base 4.1%
- 2010–11 – 4.0%, Base 2.9%
- 2011–12 – 1.9%, Base 1.4%
- 2012-13 - 2.3%, Base 1.7% 
For the 2011–12 school year, Ringgold School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, Ringgold 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 in the fall of each school year, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
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.
Ringgold School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index for the budget year 2010–2011. 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.
Property tax relief
In 2010, property tax relief for 7,726 approved residents of Ringgold School District was set at $158. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Ringgold School District was $159 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 7,682 property owners applied for the tax relief. In Washington County, the highest tax relief went to Washington School District at $407 in 2009 and $414 in 2010. The greatest tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the Chester Upland School District of Delaware County set at $632 in 2009 and $641 in 2010. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Washington County, 73% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently people who have an income of 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%).
The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is set through school board policies.
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.
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