South Side Area School District

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
South Side Area School District
Map of Beaver County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
4949 State Route 151
Hookstown, Pennsylvania, Beaver County 15050
United States
Information
Type Public
Superintendent Tammy Adams
School number 724-573-9581
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1187 (2010-11)[1]
 • Kindergarten 70
 • Grade 1 72
 • Grade 2 73
 • Grade 3 90
 • Grade 4 91
 • Grade 5 82
 • Grade 6 95
 • Grade 7 109
 • Grade 8 99
 • Grade 9 96
 • Grade 10 109
 • Grade 11 92
 • Grade 12 109
 • Other Enrollment projected to be 923 in 2019[2]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $11,316.82, HS - $12,061.79[3]
Website

The South Side Area School District is a small, rural, public school district in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The district encompasses approximately 76 square miles (200 km2) It serves the boroughs of Hookstown, Frankfort, and Georgetown, and the township of Greene Township and Hanover Township. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 6,935 people. In 2009, the district residents’ per capita income was $17,378, while the median family income was $49,030.[4] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[5] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[6] According to District officials, in school year 2007-08 the South Side Area School District provided basic educational services to 1,331 pupils through the employment of 112 teachers, 78 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 8 administrators. South Side Area School District received more than $13.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

South Side Area School District operates three schools: South Side High School (9th-12th), South Side Middle School (6th-8th), South Side Elementary School (K-5th).

Governance[edit]

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.[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 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.[8]

Academic achievement[edit]

South Side Area School District was ranked 168th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2012.[9] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[10]

  • 2011 - 229th[11]
  • 2010 - 245th[12]
  • 2009 - 206th
  • 2008 - 213th
  • 2007 - 190th out of 501 school districts.[13]

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. South Side Area School District ranked 213th. In 2011, the district was 182nd.[14] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[15]

Western Pennsylvania Districts Regional ranking

(includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County)

  • 2012 - 42nd
  • 2011 - 57th
  • 2010 - 60th
  • 2009 - 53rd

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the graduation rate was 98%.[16] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. South Side High School's rate was 84% for 2010.[17]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

South Side High School

South Side High School is located at 4949 State Route 151, Hookstown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the high school reported an enrollment of 417 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 126 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 36 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[22] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 20 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[23]

In 2012, South Side High School ranked 55th out of 105 high schools in the western Pennsylvania region. In 2011, South Side High School ranked 62nd. In 2010, South Side High School's 11th grade ranked 67th out of 105 western Pennsylvania high schools based on three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and science.[24]

In 2010 and 2011, South Side High School achieved AYP status.[25]

11th Grade Reading

  • 2011 - 70% on grade level, (8% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[26]
  • 2010 - 72% (19% below basic). State - 66%[27]
  • 2009 - 52% (22% below basic). State - 65%[28]
  • 2008 - 67% (18% below basic). State - 65%[29]
  • 2007 - 59% (20.9% below basic). State - 65%[30]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 57% on grade level (22% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2010 - 72% (17% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 43% (29% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 62% (26% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 70% (16% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 47% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[32]
  • 2010 - 49% (11% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 41% (15% below basic). State - 40%[33]
  • 2008 - 45% (9% below basic). State - 39%[34]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 16% of South Side 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.[35] 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.[36] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The high school offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. By state law, the courses count towards both high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. South Side Area School District denies the credits earned at higher ed institutions to count towards graduation requirements. 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 offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[37] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[38] For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $16,746 for the program.[39]

SAT scores[edit]

From January to June 2011, 52 South Side Area students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 509. The Math average score was 513. The Writing average score was 501.[40] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[41] 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.[42]

AP courses[edit]

South Side High School offers the following Advanced Placement courses: AP U.S. Government & Politics, AP U.S. History, AP Economics, AP Psychology, AP World History, AP Language & Composition, AP Literature & Composition, AP Computer Science A, AP Music Theory, AP Statistics, and AP Spanish. Students who achieve a 3 or higher on the College Board's exam may receive college credits at the higher education institution of their choice.

Graduation requirements[edit]

The South Side School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: Mathematics 3 credits (including Algebra and Geometry), English - 4 credits, social studies 3 credits, science 3 credits, including Biology and Physical Science, Physical Education/Health - 2.5 credits, Computer - 2 credits, Driver's Education and electives 9 credits. In the senior year the student must earn one additional credit in either math, science or social studies. Additionally, students must demonstrate at least proficiency on the PSSA tests or other alternative assessment. Freshmen students must accumulate 7 credits to move to sophomore status.[43]

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.[44]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating class of 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.[45][46][47] 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.[48] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Middle school[edit]

South Side Middle School is located at 4949 State Route 151, Hookstown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 300 pupils in grades 6th through 8th, with 101 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school employed 25 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[49] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 13 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[50]

In 2012, South Side Middle School 8th grade ranked 60th among 149 eighth grades in the western region of Pennsylvania. In 2011, the school's 8th grade ranked 90th.[51] In 2009, the 8th grade ranked 60th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on three years of results in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and science.

In 2010 and 2011, South Side Middle School achieved AYP status.[52]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 78% on grade level (9% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 50% (27% below basic). State – 57%[57]
  • 2009 - 57% (17% below basic). State - 55%[58]
  • 2008 - 54% (20% below basic). State - 52%[59]
  • 2007 - tested, results not made public.

7th grade[edit]

In 2012, Beaver Falls Middle School 7th grade ranked 44th among 148 seventh grades in the western reion of Pennsylvania. In 2011, the school's 7th grade ranked 43rd out of 148 seventh grades ranked.[60] In 2010, the 7th grade ranked 52nd.

Sixth Grade[edit]

In 2012, South Side Middle School 6th grade ranked 102nd among 202 sixth grades in the western reion of Pennsylvania. In 2011, the sixth grade ranked 108th locally. In 2010, the school's 6th grade ranked 67th out of 106 local schools.[64] In 2009, the 6th grade ranked 118th in the region.

Elementary school[edit]

South Side Elementary School is located at 4949 State Route 151, Hookstown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 545 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th, with 187 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. The school employed 44 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[65] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of the teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act.[66]

In 2010 and 2011, South Side Elementary School achieved AYP status.[67]

4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 99%, 73% advanced. State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 97%, 49% advanced. State - 81%
  • 2009 - 98%, 54% advanced. State - 83%
  • 2008 - 90%, 51% advanced. State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 154 pupils or 12% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. Of the students who were identified, 40% had a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the district administration reported that 158 pupils or 12% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. In 2008, 168 pupils or 13% of the students used special education services.[72]

In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, 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 .[73] To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the District seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the District or contact the district's Special Education Department.[74][75]

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.[76] 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.[77] The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[78] Overidentification 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.[79]

The South Side School District received a $702,349 supplement for special education services in 2010.[80] 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.[81]

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 66 or 5.10% of its students were gifted in 2009.[82] 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.[83][84][85]

Budget[edit]

In 2009, the district reported employing 160 teachers and administrators with an average teacher salary range of $61,971 and a top salary of $110,635. In 2011, the starting salary was $48,756. The work year is 187 days with 182 student instruction days. Teachers who are required to work beyond the contract time (not in supplementals or coaching) receive $26 per hour.[86] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days which accumulate, 10 paid sick days which accumulate over the teacher's career, 4 paid bereavement days and other benefits. Teaacher pay up to $450 per month for their family health insurance benefits.[87][88] In 2011, the average teacher salary in NBASD was $55,729.82 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $19,048 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $74,778.33.[89] According to a study conducted at the American Enterprise Institute, in 2011, public school teachers’ total compensation is roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector.[81] The study found that the most generous benefits that teachers receive are not accounted for in many studies of compensation, including: pension, retiree health benefits and job security.

South Side Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $871.11 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[90] 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.[91]

In 2008, the South Side Area School District administration reported that per pupil spending was $16,666 which ranked 33rd among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010 the per pupil spending was $16,576.42.[92] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[93] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[94]

Reserves In 2008, the district reported a balance of $7,849,871 in an unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $1,750,001.[95] In 2010, South Side Area Administration reported an increase to $9,099,874 in the unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved - undesignated Fund was $500,001. Pennsylvania 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.[96]

In October 2011, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. They included "errors in reporting pupil transportation data resulted in overpayments to the District of $402,201. The District said there was a problem with software it uses to manage the bussing service, resulting in the doubling of miles for each bus reported to PDE. They also found that South Side Area School District had not taken appropriate corrective action regarding findings reported in prior audits.[97]

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.[98] In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the level of the individual’s personal wealth.[99]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $9,988,465 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[100][101] Additionally, the School District received $75,892 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 is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[102] 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.[103] In 2010, the district reported that 441 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[104]

In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $10,391,999. Among the districts in Beaver County, the highest increase went to Midland Borough School District which got a 7.57% 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.[105] The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where a district received at least the same amount as the year before, even where 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.

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $10,188,234. Among the districts in Beaver County, the highest increase went to Big Beaver Falls Area School District which got a 5.26%. The state Basic Education Funding to South Side Area School District, in 2008-09, was $9,988,464.88. Ninety school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[106] 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.[107] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 353 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[108]

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher 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 $205,991 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten, high school reform, efforts to improve science and applied knowledge skills and tutoring before and after school.[109][110]

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 2006-2009. The South Side Area School District was denied funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 the district received $143,995. The district received $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $189,408.[111] In Beaver County the highest award was given to Freedom Area School District that received $476,723. 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 due to a massive state financial crisis.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the South Side Area School District received $30,019.[112]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $2,385,052 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[113] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years.[114] 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]

South Side Area School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided hundreds of thousands in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement.[115] 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.[116] 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.[117][118][119]

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the South Side Area School Board at 51.0000 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.[120] 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.[121] 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.[122] In 2010, miscalculations by the board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts.[123]

  • 2010-11 - 50.0000 mills[124]
  • 2009-10 - 50.0000 mills.[125]
  • 2008-09 - 50.0000 mills.[126]
  • 2007-08 - 50.0000 mills.[127]
  • 2006-07 - 50.0000 mills.[128]

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.[129] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[130] The following exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA School Employees Retirement System - pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[131][132]

The School District Adjusted Index for the South Side Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[133]

  • 2006-07 - 5.3%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.7%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.0%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.0%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.4%, Base 1.7%[134]

For the 2012-13 budget year, South Side Area 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. 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.[135]

For the 2011-12 school year, the South Side Area School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the South Side Area 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.[136]

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.[137]

The South Side Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011.[138] For 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index.[139] 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.[140]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the South Side Area School District was $209 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, property owners applied for the tax relief.[141] 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 (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Beaver County, 64% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[142] In Beaver County, the highest amount of tax relief in 2010, went to property owners in Aliquippa School District at $357. 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.[143] 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.[144]

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%).[145]

Wellness policy[edit]

South Side Area School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006.[146] 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 Board appointed a Wellness Committee composed of the following: a member of the elected School Board, school district administrators (the Superintendent, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and building Principles), the school district Food Service Director, parents/guardians, teachers, school district nurses, and students.[147] The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

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

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, South Side Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. South Side High School received $9,927 which was used to fund the South Side Spinners.[149] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5-year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

Extracurriculars[edit]

The South Side Area School 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 residing 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.[150]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA, July 2011
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Enrollment and Projections by school district". 
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Tuition rates per LEA, 2011
  4. ^ US Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, 2009
  5. ^ US Census Bureau (2010). "American Fact Finder, State and County quick facts". 
  6. ^ US Census Bureau (September 2011). "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
  8. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2012). "Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide ranking". 
  10. ^ "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2012". Pittsburgh Business Times. April 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2011". Pittsburgh Business Times. April 2011. 
  12. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2010". 
  13. ^ "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007. 
  14. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Statewide Overachivers Ranking Information, April 6, 2012
  15. ^ "Overachiever statewide ranking". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 6, 2010. 
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "South Side Area School District AYP Data Table". 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "South Side Area School District Academic Achievement Report Card Data table". 
  19. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 27, 2010). "PA School District Statistical Snapshot Database 2008-09". 
  20. ^ The Times-Tribune (June 25, 2009). "County School Districts Graduation Rates 2008". 
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (2008). "High School Graduation rate 2007" (PDF). 
  22. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data - South Side High School, 2010
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Qualifications of Teachers South Side High School, September 29, 2011
  24. ^ The Rankings: 11th grade, Pittsburgh Business Times, April 2011.
  25. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side High School AYP Overview, September 29, 2011
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-2010 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  28. ^ The Times-Tribune (September 14, 2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 PSSA results". 
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "2007-2008 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  30. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2007). "PSSA Math and Reading results". 
  31. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "South Side High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011" (PDF). 
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA results in Science". 
  33. ^ The Times-Tribune (2009). "Grading Our Schools database, 2009 Science PSSA results". 
  34. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Report on PSSA Science results by school and grade 2008". 
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 20, 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report,". 
  36. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 2008
  37. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Dual Enrollment Guidelines". 
  38. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement". 
  39. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Dual Enrollment Grants 2009 10 Fall Grants by School District". 
  40. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Public School SAT Scores 2011". 
  41. ^ College Board (September 2011). "SAT Scores State By State - Pennsylvania". 
  42. ^ "While U.S. SAT scores dip across the board, N.J. test-takers hold steady". September 2011. 
  43. ^ South Side High School Administration (2012–13). "South Side High School Program of Studies Course Description" (PDF). 
  44. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education. "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
  45. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Keystone Exam Overview" (PDF). 
  46. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2011). "Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Overview". 
  47. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education (2010). "Rules and Regulation Title 22 PA School Code CH. 4". 
  48. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Keystone Exams". 
  49. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data – South Side Middle School, 2010
  50. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Qualifications of Teachers South Side Middle School, September 29, 2011
  51. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2012). "Eighth Grade Ranking Information". 
  52. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 201). "South Side Middle School AYP Overview 2011".  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  53. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "South Side Middle School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011" (PDF). 
  54. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 15, 2008). "Reading and Math PSSA 2008 by Schools". 
  55. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report (September 14, 2010). "2010 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing Results". 
  56. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results". 
  57. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report (August 2010). "Science PSSA 2010 by Schools". 
  58. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report (August 2009). "Science PSSA 2009 by Schools". 
  59. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Report (August 15, 2008). "Science PSSA 2008 by Schools". 
  60. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2012). "Seventh Grade Ranking Information". 
  61. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Middle School Academic Report Card 2009, September 14, 2009
  62. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Middle School Academic Report Card 2008, August 15, 2008
  63. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Elementary School Academic Report Card 2007, 2007
  64. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2012). "Sixth Grade Ranking Information". 
  65. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data – South Side Elementary School, 2010
  66. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Qualifications of Teachers South Side Elementary School, September 29, 2011
  67. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Elementary School AYP Overview, September 29, 2011
  68. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "South Side Elementary School Report Card 2011" (PDF). 
  69. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Elementary School Academic Report Card 2009, September 14, 2009
  70. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Elementary School Academic Report Card 2008, August 15, 2008
  71. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, South Side Elementary School Academic Report Card 2007, 2007
  72. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education Services (2009–2010). "South Side Area School District Special Education Data Report LEA Performance on State Performance Plan (SPP) Targets". 
  73. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education (2008). "Pennsylvania Parent Guide to Special Education Services". 
  74. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - School District Administration (January 6, 2011). "Procedural Safeguards Annual Notice of Special Programs". 
  75. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education (September 2005). "Gaskin Settlement Agreement Overview Facts Sheet" (PDF). 
  76. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania Special Education Funding". 
  77. ^ Senator Patrick Browne (November 1, 2011). "Senate Education Committee Holds Hearing on Special Education Funding & Accountability". 
  78. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Amy Morton, Executive Deputy Secretary (November 11, 2011). "Public Hearing: Special Education Funding & Accountability Testimony". 
  79. ^ Baruch Kintisch Education Law Center (November 11, 2011). "Public Hearing: Special Education Funding & Accountability Testimony" (PDF). 
  80. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (July 2010). "Special Education Funding from Pennsylvania State_2010-2011". 
  81. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year". 
  82. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (Revised December 1, 2009 Child Count (Collected July 2010)). "Gifted Students as Percentage of Total Enrollment by School District/Charter School" (PDF).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  83. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania School Board. "CHAPTER 16. Special Education For Gifted Students". Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  84. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 26, 2010). "Special Education for Gifted Students Notice of Parental rights" (PDF). 
  85. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Investing in PA kids, April 2012
  86. ^ Asbury Park Press (2009). "PA. Public School Salaries". 
  87. ^ South Side Area School Board. "South Side Area School District Teacher Union Employment Contract 2010". 
  88. ^ "Pennsylvania Public Schools Teachers' Union Contracts". April 27, 2012. 
  89. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2012). "Investing in Pennsylvania Students". 
  90. ^ Fenton, Jacob. (February 2009). "Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?,". The Morning Call. 
  91. ^ Pennsylvania School Board Association (October 2009). "Public School Salaries 11th Annual". 
  92. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2009-10 Selected Data - 2009-10 Total Expenditures per ADM". 
  93. ^ United States Census Bureau (2009). "States Ranked According to Per Pupil Elementary-Secondary Public School System Finance Amounts: 2008-09" (PDF). 
  94. ^ US Census Bureau (2009). "Total and current expenditures per pupil in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary education, by function and state or jurisdiction: 2006-07". 
  95. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Fund Balances by Local Education Agency 1997 to 2008". 
  96. ^ Murphy, Jan., Pennsylvania's public schools boost reserves, CentreDaily Times, September 22, 2010
  97. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (October 2011). "South Side Area School District Beaver County, Pennsylvania Performance Audit Report". 
  98. ^ Penn State Cooperative Extension (2010). "What are the Local Taxes in Pennsylvania?, Local Tax Reform Education Project,". 
  99. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (April 2010). "Personal Income Taxation Guidelines". 
  100. ^ PA Senate Appropriations Committee (June 28, 2011). "School District 2011-12 Funding Report". 
  101. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (July 2011). "Basic Education Funding". 
  102. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (June 30, 2011). "Basic Education Funding". 
  103. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (June 30, 2011). "Basic Education Funding 2011-2012 Fiscal Year". 
  104. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, District Allocations Report 2009, 2009-10
  105. ^ Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee Education Budget information (June 30, 2010). "PA Basic Education Funding-Printout2 2010-2011" (PDF). 
  106. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (October 2009). "Funding Allocations by district". 
  107. ^ Pennsylvania Office of Budget (February 2009). "Governor's Budget Proposal 2009 Pennsylvania Department of Education Budget Proposal 2009". 
  108. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Funding Report by LEA, 2009
  109. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Accountability Block Grant report Grantee list 2010". 
  110. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Accountability Block Grant Mid Year report". 
  111. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General (December 22, 2008). "Classrooms for the Future grants audit" (PDF). 
  112. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Educational Assistance Program Funding 2010-2011 Fiscal Year". 
  113. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2009). "County ARRA FUNDING Report". 
  114. ^ "School stimulus money". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 12, 2009. 
  115. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 9, 2009). "Race To The Top Webinar powerpoint for districts December 2009" (PDF). 
  116. ^ Governor's Press Office release (January 20, 2010). "Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support,". 
  117. ^ Race to the Top Fund, U.S. Department of Education, March 29, 2010.
  118. ^ Gerald Zahorchak (December 2008). "Pennsylvania Race to the Top Letter to Superintendents" (PDF). 
  119. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 19, 2009). "Pennsylvania Race to the Top - School Districts Title I Allocations 2009-10". 
  120. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Real Estate Tax Rates by School District 2011-12 Real Estate Mills". 
  121. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2004). "Act 511 Tax Report". 
  122. ^ State Tax Equalization Board (2011). "State Tax Equalization Board About US". 
  123. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General office - Bureau of Audits (February 2011). "A Special Performance Audit of the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Boards" (PDF). 
  124. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  125. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "Financial Elements Reports". 
  126. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Financial Elements Reports 2008-09 Real Estate Mills". 
  127. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2008). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  128. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2006). "Real Estate Tax Millage by School District,". 
  129. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2010). "2010-11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines". 
  130. ^ Kaitlynn Riely (August 4, 2011). "Law could restrict school construction projects". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  131. ^ Pennsylvania General Assembly (June 29, 2011). "SB330 of 2011". 
  132. ^ Eric Boehm (July 1, 2011). "Property tax reform final piece of state budget". PA Independent. 
  133. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2010-2011". 
  134. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2012-2013 School District Adjusted Index, May 2012
  135. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Report on Referendum Exceptions For School Year 2012-2013, March 30, 2012
  136. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2011). "Special Session Act 1 of 2006 the Taxpayer Relief Act information". 
  137. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (April 2011). "Report on Exceptions". 
  138. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2010). "Report on Referendum Exceptions for 2010-2011". 
  139. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2009). "Report on Referendum Exceptions for 2009-2010". 
  140. ^ Scarcella, Frank & Pursell, Tricia (May 25, 2010). "Local school tax assessments exceed state averages". The Daily Item. 
  141. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 1, 2010). "SSAct1_Property Tax Relief Per HomeStead 2010". 
  142. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General Office, (February 23, 2010). "Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief,". 
  143. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Education Report May 1, 2010
  144. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education (2006). "Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program". 
  145. ^ Tax Foundation (September 22, 2009). "New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners". 
  146. ^ South Side Area School Board Policy Manual, Student Wellness Policy 246, 2006
  147. ^ South Side Area School District Administration (2012). "Wellness Policy". 
  148. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education – Division of Food and Nutrition. (July 2008). "Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools for the School Nutrition Incentive". 
  149. ^ Highmark Foundation, 2011 School Challenge Grants, 2011
  150. ^ Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, (November 10, 2005). "Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities".