Rockwood Area School District
|Rockwood Area School District|
|439 Somerset Avenue
Rockwood, Pennsylvania, Somerset 15557
|Number of students||799|
|Color(s)||Red and White|
Track and Field
The Rockwood Area School District is a public school district located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It serves the boroughs of Rockwood, New Centerville, Casselman, and Seven Springs, plus the townships of Milford Township, Black Township, Upper Turkeyfoot Township, and Middlecreek Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The district encompasses approximately 146 square miles. According to 2007 local census data, it serves a resident population of 5,680. According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the RASD provided basic educational services to 858 pupils through the employment of 70 teachers, 35 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 3 administrators.
- 1 Schools
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 Bullying policy
- 4 Special education
- 5 Governance
- 6 Budget
- 6.1 State basic education funding
- 6.2 Common Cents state initiative
- 6.3 Enrollment and Consolidation
- 6.4 Real estate taxes
- 7 Extracurriculars
- 8 References
There is one elementary school and one secondary School, which are located in Rockwood Borough on the same piece of land.
- Rockwood Area Elementary School became the district's sole elementary school, after the closing of Kingwood Elementary in 2009. RAES serves Grades Kindergarten to Sixth.
- Rockwood Area Junior/Senior High School is the sole secondary facility in the district, serving Seventh-Twelfth grades.
Rockwood Area School District was ranked 214th out of 493 Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and two years of science PSSAs.
2009 - 216th
2008 - 219th out of 497 school districts
2007 - 202nd out of 501 school districts.
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of the Rockwood Area School District was in the 69th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) 
Rockwood Area Junior-Senior High School
11th Grade Reading
2010 - 75% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level. (72 pupils enrolled) 
2009 - 67%, State - 65% (70 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 79%, State - 65% (81 pupils enrolled) 
11th Grade Math:
2010 - 60% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders on grade level.
2009 - 62%, State - 56%
2008 - 71%, State - 56%
The Challenge Program, Inc. offers $250.00 cash incentives to Rockwood ASD 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. 
College remediation rate
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 30% of the Rockwood Area Junior Senior 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. 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. 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, the school district received a state grant of $7,675 for the program.
The Rockwood Area School Board requires students to earn 26 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Arts and Humanities 2 credits, Physical Education 1 credit, Health 0.5 credit, Computer Application 1 credit and Electives 5.5 credits. 
Beginning with the class of 2011, students will have two options for completing the culminating project. Plan A - Students will complete a career project beginning in the ninth grade and continuing through the twelfth grade. Plan B - Students may complete a special interest or community service project. 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.
Beginning with the class of 2015, students must take the Keystone Exams in reading and math.
2010 - 90% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level. (51 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 90%, State - 80% (64 pupils)
2008 - 90%, State - 78% (55 pupils)
2010 - 87% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.
2009 - 87%, State - 71%
2008 - 72%, State - 70%
2010 - 72% on grade level. State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 66%, State - 55%.
2008 - 57%, State - 52%
2010 - 78% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders are on grade level. (57 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 81%, State - 71% (53 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 80%, State - 70% (63 pupils enrolled)
2010 - 83% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 77% of 7th graders are on grade level.
2009 - 84%, State - 75%
2008 - 82%, State - 70%
Rockwood Area Elementary School
Sixth Grade: 6th Grade Reading:
2010 - 79% on grade level. State: 68% of 6th graders were on grade level. (62 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 76%, State - 67%
2008 - 79%, State - 67%
6th Grade Math:
2010 - 98% on grade level. State - 78% of 6th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 84%, State - 75%
2008 - 79%, State -72%
5th Grade Reading:
2010 - 59% on grade level. State - 64% of 5th graders were on grade level. (67 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 60%, State - 64%
2008 - 51%, State - 61%
5th Grade Math:
2010 - 91% on grade level. State - 74% of 5th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 77%, State - 73%
2008 - 70%, State - 73%
4th Grade Reading:
2010 - 83% on grade level. State - 72% of 4th graders were on grade level. (54 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 69%, State - 72% (52 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 60%, State - 70%
4th Grade Math:
2010 - 95% on grade level. State - 84% of 4th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 75%, State - 81
2008 - 80%, State - 79%
4th Grade Science:
2010 - 94% on grade level. State - 81% of 4th graders were on grade level.
2009 - 85%, State - 83%
2008 - 84%, State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading:
2010 - 74% on grade level. State - 75% of 3rd graders were on grade level. (66 pupils enrolled)
2009 - 84%, State - 77%
2008 - 87%, State - 77%
3rd Grade Math:
2010 - 86% on grade level. State - 84% of 3rd graders were on grade level.
2009 - 87%, State - 81%
2008 - 89%, State - 80%
Kingwood Elementary School
In February 2009, the Rockwood School Board voted to close the school at the end of the school year due to low enrollment.
5th Grade Reading:
2009 - 87%, State - 64% (16 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 76%, State - 61% (17 pupils enrolled)
5th Grade Math:
2009 - 100%, State - 73%
2008 - 94%, State - 73%
4th Grade Reading:
2009 - 80%, State - 72% (19 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 84%, State - 70%
4th Grade Math:
2009 - 94%, State - 81
2008 - 100%, State - 79%
4th Grade Science:
2009 - 95%, State - 83%
2008 - 100%, State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading:
2009 - 100%, State - 77% (18 pupils enrolled)
2008 - 94%, State - 77%
3rd Grade Math:
2009 - 100%, State - 81%
2008 - 94%, State - 80%
The Rockwood Area School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty.  The board's policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.  The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of bullying. 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 December 2009, the district administration reported that 424 pupils or 19.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. 
The District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress. To identify students who may be eligible for special education, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Instructional Support Team or Student Assistance Team. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the Department of Special Education.
The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. 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 "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.
In 2009, the district reported employing 76 teachers with a salary range of $34,081 to $64,000 for 186 days. Additionally, teachers receive an extensive benefits package including life insurance, health insurance, defined benefit pension, paid professional development, paid sick days and paid personal days. The retiring teachers receive $100 for each unused sick day up to a maximum of $5,000. 
In 2007, the district employed 65 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,277 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.
Rockwood Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $844.01 per pupil. This ranked 144th for per pupil administrative spending in the state. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. In June 2008, the board hired Mark Bower as Superintendent, with an initial salary of $75,000. After the first year, the base salary will increase to $92,700 with a $2,700 raise each year. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.
In 2008, the district reported spending $11,914 per pupil. 
Reserves In 2008, the district reported a $546,177.00 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.
In August 2009, the Pennsylvania auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and the administration. It was concluded that the District did take appropriate corrective action to address the deficit fund balance of 2006. 
The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. 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 person's wealth. 
State basic education funding
For the 2010-11 budget year, the Rockwood Area School District was allotted a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $3,361,824. The highest increase in Somerset County was provided to North Star School District and Somerset Area School District both of which received a 2.82% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding. 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 the district with a 2.04% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $3,295,906. Somerset Area School District got a 4.87%. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,230,215. Ninety Pennsylvania school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.
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 $106,767 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The Rockwood Area School District uses the funding to provide all-day kindergarten for the fifth year for 62 students and to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grades. 
Federal Stimulus grant
The district received an extra $491,350 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding is for the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years. 
Race to the Top grant
District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided hundreds of thousands in additional federal dollars to improve 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.
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. Rockwood Area School District did not apply in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the school received $98,233 and in 2008-09 it received $45,413 for a total of $143,646. 
Common Cents state initiative
The Rockwood Area School Board decided to not participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.  After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Enrollment and Consolidation
The district's enrollment is in the bottom 10% in Pennsylvania.
A study was done in 2004, examining consolidating Rockwood Area School District with neighboring Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District. It was estimated that there would be nearly $700,000 in savings would be achieved. It also considered a consolidation with Salisbury-Elk Lick School District reporting that it would benefit both communities by achieving substantiall saving on administration costs.  The study noted that consolidation could significantly decrease administrative costs for both communities while improving offerings to students. Consolidation of school district administrations does not require the consolidation of schools.
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).  Statewide, there are 187 districts that are projected to have an enrollment decline of 15 percent or greater. Geographically, these districts are clustered in western Pennsylvania and in the state’s northern tier. 
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. Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.
Real estate taxes
Property tax rates in 2010-11 were set by the school board at 21.8900 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.
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 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 Rockwood Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
2006-07 - 4.7%, Base 3.9%
2007-08 - 4.0%, Base 3.4%
2008-09 - 5.3%, Base 4.4%
2009-10 - 4.8%, Base 4.1%
2010-11 - 3.3%, Base 2.9%
2011-12 - 1.4%, Base 1.4%
The Rockwood Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index for the budget in 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, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Rockwood Area School District was $148 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,575 property owners applied for the tax relief.  The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Somerset County, 47% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.  In Somerset County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to Shanksville-Stonycreek School District at $211. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead. This was the third year they were the top recipient.
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, individual with income much 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 for participation is determined by school board policy.
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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