Sto-Rox School District

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Sto-Rox School District
Map of Allegheny County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
600 Russelwood Avenue
McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County 15136-3615
United States
Information
Type Public
Staff 114 staff members
Grades

K-12

Superintendent Frank Dalmas
Number of students 1,432 pupils 2011, 1,382 (2009-10)
 • Kindergarten 110
 • Grade 1 128
 • Grade 2 104
 • Grade 3 110
 • Grade 4 107
 • Grade 5 99
 • Grade 6 95
 • Grade 7 110
 • Grade 8 103
 • Grade 9 110
 • Grade 10 93
 • Grade 11 118
 • Grade 12 95 [1]
Color(s) Kelly Green, White
Mascot Vikings
Budget

$23.1 million 2012-13;[2] $21.97 million 2013-14[3]
$23 million (2012-13)[4]

$22 million (2011-12)[5]
Tuition for nonresident and charter school students ES - $8,416.59, HS - $9,102.72 [6]
Per pupil spending $14,767 (2008) ranked 67th in state
Per pupil spending $13,988.97 (2010) ranked 202nd
Website

The Sto-Rox School District is a diminutive, suburban, public school district in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The youth of the borough of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township are educated by the district. Sto-Rox School District encompasses approximately 3 square miles (7.8 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 13,330 people. By 2010, the district's population declined to 12,468 people.[8] In 2009, Sto-Rox School District residents' per capita income was $15,833, while the median family income was $33,343 a year.[9] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [10] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[11] By 2013, the median household income in the United States rose to $52,100.[12]

In school year 2005-06, the Sto-Rox School District provided basic educational services to 1,457 pupils through the employment of 133 teachers, 94 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 10 administrators. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Sto-Rox School District received more than $10.1 million in state funding in school year 2005-06. In the 2007-08 school year, the Sto-Rox School District provided basic educational services to 1,403 pupils. It employed: 127 teachers, 97 full-time and part-time support personnel, and ten (10) administrators. Sto-Rox School District received more than $11.2 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.[13] In 2010, the District provided basic educational services to 1,375 pupils. At the time, Sto-Rox School District employed: 177 teachers, 22 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 12 administrators. Sto-Rox School District received $13.2 million in state funding in the 2009-10 school year.

As of 2006, the school districts' official colors changed from kelly green and white to hunter green and white. The official mascot is the viking.

Buildings[edit]

All elementary students of the Sto-Rox School District in grades K-3 attend Sto-Rox Elementary School in Kennedy Township. The school was built in 1997 and has an east and west wing. All middle school students in grades 4-6 attend Sto-Rox Middle School in Kennedy Township. The state-of-the-art modern building was constructed in 2002. Both the middle and elementary schools have convenient access to a nature trail which is located in the woods behind the buildings.

All secondary students (grades 7-12) attend Sto-Rox High School in Stowe Township. The building was built in 1926 as the Stowe Township High School, but became Sto-Rox High School in the 1967 when Stowe Township School District merged with the School District of the Borough of McKees Rocks, thus forming Sto-Rox.

Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying three Sto-Rox School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Sto-Rox Elementary, Sto-Rox Middle School and Sto-Rox High School were the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[14] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[15] Fifty three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, seven public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[16] Funding foe the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Sto-Rox High School as one of the 144 persistently, lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The 11th grade had just 38.31% on grade level in reading and mathematics.

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Sto-Rox School District declined further to District Improvement II AYP level due to chronic low student achievement and a low graduation rate.[17] In 2011, Sto-Rox School District declined to District Improvement I AYP level due to chronic low student achievement and a low graduation rate.[18] In 2011, the District remained on the State's persistently, lowest-achieving schools list. In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.

  • 2010 - Warning status for low reading and math achievement.[19]
  • 2009 - Warning
  • 2008- Warning
  • 2007 - achieved AYP
  • 2006 - achieved AYP
  • 2005 - Making Progress School Improvement I
  • 2004 - Declined to School Improvement I
  • 2003 - Warning

Statewide academic ranking[edit]

In 2013, Sto-Rox School District's ranking was 487th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts for student academic achievement. The ranking was based on the last 3 years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: mathematics, reading, writing and science. The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs.

  • 2012 - 489th[20]
  • 2011 - 486th[21]
  • 2010 - 484th [22]
  • 2009 - 487th
  • 2008 - 490th out of 500.
  • 2007 - 490th out of 501.[23]
Overachievers Ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Sto-Rox School District ranked 312th.[24] 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."[25]

  • 2012 - 258th[26]
  • 2011 - 132nd
Western Pennsylvania local region academic ranking

The Sto-Rox School District was ranked 100th out of 105 Western Pennsylvania School Districts in 2013, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[27] The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science. (includes 105 districts in: Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County and Westmoreland County; however it excludes Duquesne City School District & Midland Borough School District due to no high schools)

  • 2012 - 100th
  • 2011 - 100th [28]
  • 2010 - 101st [29]
  • 2009 - 101st out of 105 Western Pennsylvania districts.[30]
  • 2008 - 102nd out of 105.

In 2009, the student achievement of the Sto-Rox School District was in the lowest 3rd percentile among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best) [31]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Sto-Rox School District's graduation rate was 73%.[32] In 2011, the graduation rate was 79%.[33] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Sto-Rox High School's rate was 66% for 2010.[34]

Under former calculation formula

High school[edit]

Sto-Rox High School is located at 1105 Valley Street, Mckees Rocks. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 409 pupils in grades 9th through 12th, with 316 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch. Sto-Rox High School is a federally designated Title I school. The school employed 35 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11.79:1.[39] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[40]

In 2012, Sto-Rox High School's 11th grade's academic achievement ranked 112th among the local region's high schools. The high school's 11th grade ranked 111th out of 123 western Pennsylvania high schools based on the last three years of results in PSSAs on: reading, math writing and science.[41]

Adequate yearly progress history

In 2012, Sto-Rox High School declined further to School Improvement II level due to its low graduation rate. In 2011, Sto-Rox High School declined to School Improvement I level due to continuing low student achievement.[42] Under the federal No Child Left Behind ACT, the school administration was required to notify parents of their right to transfer their child to a successful school in the District.[43] Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) required the administration write a School Improvement Plan to raise student achievement in reading and math as well as the graduation rate. The administration submitted the plan to the PDE for approval.

  • 2010 - Warning status. The school met 1 of 8 academic performance goals in 2010.[44]
  • 2009 - Warning
  • 2008 - Warning
  • 2007 - Achieved AYP status
  • 2006 - Warning
  • 2005 - Warning
  • 2004 - Achieved AYP status
  • 2003 - Warning

Under No Child Left Behind, the school was required to notify parents of the low academic achievement at the school and to offer a transfer to a better achieving school within the school district. The District operates one high school. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school district must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[45] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[46]

PSSA Results[edit]

From 2008 to 2012, the 11th grade was tested in Reading, Mathematics and Science. Before 2007, the tests were in reading and mathematics.

11th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 39% on grade level (38% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[47]
  • 2011 - 43% (33% below basic). State - 69.1%[48]
  • 2010 - 35% (44% below basic). State - 67% [49]
  • 2009 - 46% (37% below basic). State - 65% [50]
  • 2008 - 44% (38% below basic). State - 65%
  • 2007 - 44%, State - 65%[51]
  • 2006 - 34%, State - 65%[52]
  • 2005 - 39%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 32% on grade level (38% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[53]
  • 2011 - 34% (46% below basic). State - 60.3%[54]
  • 2010 - 38% (45% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 41% (38% below basic). State - 56%[55]
  • 2008 - 30% (47% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 34%, State - 53%
  • 2006 - 21%, State - 52%
  • 2005 - 15%, State - 51%
11th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 6% on grade level (47% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.[56]
  • 2011 - 11% (53% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2010 - 22% (40% below basic). State - 40% [57]
  • 2009 - 24% (33% below basic). State - 40%
  • 2008 - 22%, State - 39% [58]

College Remediation[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 53% of the Sto-Rox 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.[59] 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.[60] 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]

Sto-Rox 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 District works with Robert Morris University to offer the program. For several years, the state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[61] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[62] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $8,001 for the program.[63]

Graduation requirements[edit]

The Sto-Rox School Board has determined that students must earn 22 credits to graduate, including: English 4 credits, Math 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, and Electives 4 credits.[64] Additionally, each high school student is required to complete seven hours of documented community service each school year for a total of 28 hours before graduation.[65]

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.[66] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[67]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[68][69][70] For the class of 2019, a composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[71] 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.[72] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2012, 49 Sto-Rox School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 406. The Math average score was 413. The Writing average score was 402. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 54 Sto-Rox School District students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 380. The Math average score was 395. The Writing average score was 349.[73] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[74] 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.[75]

Sto-Rox Middle School[edit]

Sto-Rox Middle School is located at 298 Ewing Road, Mckees Rocks. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 382 pupils in grades 5th through 8th, with 332 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federally designated Title I school and receives supplemental federal funding. The school employed 30 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 12:1.[76] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1 teacher was rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[77]

Local region ranking

Sto-Rox Middle School's 8th grade ranked 140 out of 141 Western Pennsylvania Middle Schools in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking is based on three years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and science.[78]

  • 2011 - 135th
  • 2009 - 137th[79]
AYP History

In 2012, Sto-Rox Middle School remained in Corrective Action II 2nd Year due to chronic, low student achievement, particularly in reading.[80] The attendance rate was 91%.[81] which permists students to transfer to other successful schools in the district or local charter schools. The District has no alternative, successful school for the students to transfer to under No Child Left Behind.[82] In 2010 and 2009, Sto-Rox Middle School's attendance rate was 91%. In remained 91% in 2011 and 2012[83]

  • 2011 - declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to chronic, low student achievement.
  • 2010 - declined to Corrective Action I
  • 2009 - School Improvement II[84] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the administration to develop a School Improvement Plan targeted at raising student academic achievement. The plan was submitted to the PDE for approval.
  • 2008 - declined School Improvement Level II
  • 2007 - School Improvement I
  • 2006 - Making Progress School Improvement I
  • 2005 - School Improvement I
  • 2004 - Warning
  • 2003 - achieved AYP
PSSA Results
8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 54% on grade level (34% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[53]
  • 2011 - 50% (29% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 53%, State - 81% [85]
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 80.9%.[86]
  • 2008 - 44%, State - 78% [87]
  • 2007 - 26%, State - 75% [88]
8th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 51% on grade level (29% below basic). State - 76% [89]
  • 2011 - 40% (42% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 54%, State - 75%
  • 2009 - 65%, State - 71%
  • 2008 - 38%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 52%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 29% on grade level (52% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2011 - 23% (56% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 26%, State - 57%
  • 2009 - 27%, State - 55% [90]
  • 2008 - 22%, State - 50%

Sto-Rox Elementary School[edit]

Sto-Rox Elementary School is located at 300 Ewing Road, Mckees Rocks. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 584 pupils in grades kindergarten through 4th, with 513 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. Sto-Rox Elementary School employed 38 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[92] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.[93]

Sto-Rox Elementary School third grade was ranked 315th out of 327 western Pennsylvania region 3rd grades for academic achievement in reading, math and writing.[94]

In 2009, Sto-Rox's 5th grade was ranked 264th out of 291 fifth grades in the western region of Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[95]

AYP history

In 2012, Sto-Rox Elementary School declined further to Corrective Action II 1st Year due to continuing low student academic achievement in reading and mathematics.[96] In 2011, Sto-Rox Elementary School declined to Corrective Action I AYP status due to continuing, exceptionally low student achievement.[97] Parents may transfer children to another school or charter school.[98]

  • 2010 - declined to School Improvement II performance rating
  • 2009 - Making Progress in School Improvement Level I
  • 2008 - School Improvement Level I
  • 2007 - Made AYP
  • 2006 - Warning AYP status
  • 2005 - Warning
  • 2004 - Wanring
PSSA Results
4th Grade Science:
  • 2012 - 42% (26% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - 50%, (17% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 64%, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 59%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2011, the District administration reported that 306 pupils or 21.7% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 33% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2009, the District administration reported that 370 pupils or 26.3% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 49.9% of the identified students having specific learning disability.[104]

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 Special Education Department.[105][106] The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish an annual notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and District's website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.[107]

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.[108] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[109] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[110] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[111] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[112]

Sto-Rox School District received a $1,033,312 supplement for special education services in 2010.[113] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[114][115][116] Additionally, the state provides supplemental funding for extraordinarily impacted students. The District must apply for this added funding.

Gifted education[edit]

Sto-Rox School District Administration reported that 21 or 1.53% of its students were gifted in 2009.[117] 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.[118] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Sto-Rox School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both.[119]

School safety and Bullying policy[edit]

The Sto-Rox School Administration reported thirty three (33) incidents of bullying in 2012. Additionally, the Administration reported 4 assaults on students, 3 incidents of indecent exposure, 24 fights, and 4 incidents that involved law enforcement.[120] The Sto-Rox School Administration reported nine (9) incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009.[121][122]

Sto-Rox School Board prohibits bullying by district students and employees.[123] 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. 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.[124] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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.[125]

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.[126]

Wellness policy[edit]

The Sto-Rox School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[127] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the 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.[128] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers a free school breakfast and free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[129] The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.[130] Sto-Rox School District also participates in a summer free meal program for children.[131]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[132]

Sto-Rox School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[133] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2009, Sto-Rox School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Sto-Rox High School received $10,000 which was used to fund resistance training exercise equipment that will be utilized during the "Rowing Rox" fitness program.[134] Sto-Rox Elementary School received $9,985 to support its "Exertainment for grades 3-5th. Sto-Rox Middle School received $10,000 to purchase mini trampolines.[135] 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.

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[136]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Sto-Rox School District was $54,207 a year, with the cost of their benefits rising to $17,890 per employee for a total compensation of $72,097.[137]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Sto-Rox School District was $54,187.60 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $15,012.09 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $69,199.69.[138]

In 2009, Sto-Rox School District reported employing over 140 teachers with a starting salary of $38,500 for 180 student days for pupil instruction and 10 non student days. The average teacher salary was $49,901 while the maximum salary was $113,623.[139] 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.[140] Additionally, Sto-Rox School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 sick days, 1 paid bereavement day, and other benefits. Teachers are paid an additional hourly rate, if they are required to work outside of the regular school day. The school day is 7 hours 30 minutes. Retirees receive $25 for each unused accumulated sick days. Teachers who serves as department heads receive additional in compensation. The union receives 6 days of union release time at no loss of pay to be used among teacher union delegates[141] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[142]

In May 2009, the Sto-Rox School Board requested the Pennsylvania Department of Education conduct a thorough examination of the District's financial situation. Among the problems discussed were a small and eroding tax base, a high number of special-education students, a steady outflow of tuition to charter schools and one of the state's highest tax rates.[143]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the District was $48,526 for 180 days worked.[144]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Sto-Rox School District reported spending $14,767 per pupil. This ranked 67th in the commonwealth out of 500 school districts.[145] In 2010, the per pupil spending rose to $14,899.[146] In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States.[147] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was reported as $12,759.[148] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year 2000-01.[149]

Among the fifty states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[150] Pennsylvania’s total revenue per pupil rose to $16,186 ranking 9th in the nation in 2011.[151]

Administrative costs Sto-Rox School District's administrative costs in 2008 were $1089.17 per pupil. The District ranked 41st of 500 Pennsylvania public school districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398, in 2008.[152] Additionally, the District provides an extensive benefit package to all of its administrators.[153]

Audit In July 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Multiple findings were reported to the administration and school board.[154] In September 2011, Sto-Rox School District was audited again by the Pennsylvania Auditor General. Multiple findings were reported to the school board, administration and PDE. Among the findings was that two bus drivers did not have a valid commercial driver’s license and/or S endorsement card indicating completion of safety training. Five drivers did not have a valid federal criminal history record nor a valid child abuse screening clearance.[155]

Bank Settlement Sto-Rox School District received $608,883 in a settlement against Bank of America in 2011. The bank acknowledged engaging in illegal bid rigging which over charged the District for bonds sold in 2001.[156]

Reserves In 2008, the Sto-Rox School District reported a balance of zero in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $527,461. [157] In 2010, Sto-Rox School District Administration reported an increase to $1,768,518 in the unreserved-designated fund balance. The District also reported zero in its unreserved-undesignated fund in 2010. In 2012, the District's reserves were $1,528,193. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. Pennsylvania public school districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. By law the state limits the total unreserved-undesignated fund balance at 8% of the annual budget for school districts that have budgets over $19 million a year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[158] By 2013, reserves held by Pennsylvania public school districts, as a whole, had increased to over $3.8 billion.[159]

Tuition Students who live in the Sto-Rox School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Sto-Rox School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount that the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to for their child to attend the Sto-Rox School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $7,234.27, High School - $10,650.54.[160]

Charter School In 2011, Propel Charter Schools applied to the Sto-Rox School Board for an approval of their charter to open a kindergarten through 12th grade charter school within the district's borders. Initially, the Board rejected the application, fearing the loss of more students from the district. The charter school administration submitted a revised proposal in the Spring of 2012. In July 2012, the Board reached out to the administration of Propel schools to discuss the charter proposal.[161] There are already a significant number of Sto-Rox district resident students who opt to attend area charter schools. As per state law, the District must pay for each student and transport the child to any charter school within 10 miles of the District's attendance borders. For the 2011-12 school year, Sto-Rox paid $8,406 for each regular education student who attended a charter school and $19,848 for each special education student. Propel operates 9 schools in Allegheny County. Three were approved by the local district, the rest received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, after being denied by the local school board. Student academic achievement at the Propel schools has grown, exceeding their peers in the local district's schools. In 2012, one in six students who live in the Sto-Rox School District attend a Pennsylvania public charter school.[162]

Sto-Rox School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%, 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 level of wealth.[163] The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.[164]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, the Sto-Rox School District will receive $8,443,578 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding, which is $151,040 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Sto-Rox School District will receive $190,225 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. All Pennsylvania public school districts have the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s 2013-14 budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. The state funded the PSERS (state school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[165]

In the 2012-13 school year, Sto-Rox School District received $8,482,763.[166] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 includes $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which is an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. The state also provides $100 million for the Accountability Block Grant (ABG). Sto-Rox School District received $190,225 in ABG funding. The state will also provide $544.4 million for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[167] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

In 2011-12, Sto-Rox School District received $7,853,564 in state Basic Education Funding.[168][169] Additionally, the District received $190,522 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.[170]

For 2010-11, the Sto-Rox School District received a 2.57% increase in state Basic Education Funding (BEF) resulting in a $8,214,791 payment.[171] South Fayette Township School District received an 11.32% increase which was the highest increase in BEF in Allegheny County in 2010-11. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. Fifteen (15) Pennsylvania public school districts received a BEF increase of greater than 10%. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. The state's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even where its enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by then 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.[172]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $8,008,596. This was the base percentage increase, in Basic Education Funding, in the Commonwealth. Four school districts in Allegheny County received an increase of over 6 percent. Chartiers Valley School District received an 8.19% increase, which was the highest increase awarded to a public school district in Allegheny County in 2009-10. The total estimated Fund Balance, Revenues, and other financing for the 2009-10 budget was $26,394,191.[173] In Pennsylvania, a 2% increase in funding was the lowest. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received an increase of over 22.31%. Fifteen school districts received Basic Education increases in excess of 10%[174] The amount of increase each Pennsylvania public school district received was determined by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak through the allocation made in the budget proposal made in February each year.[175]

The state Basic Education funding to the Sto-Rox School District in 2008-09 was $7,851,563.99. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,027 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[176]

Accountability Block Grant[edit]

The state provides supplemental funding in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved student educational achievement uses. Sto-Rox School District uses its $516,317 to fund: increasing instructional time, implementing career awareness instruction and to provide Professional Development to teachers. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding.[177] The 2008-09 school year was the fifth year the district offered all-day kindergarten to its pupils. Schools Districts apply each year for Accountability Block Grants.[178] In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million in Accountability Block grants.[179]

Education Assistance grant[edit]

The state's Education Assistance Program 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 Sto-Rox School District received $132,025.[180]

School Improvement Grant[edit]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the US Department of Education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The School Improvement Grant funds were disbursed via a competitive grant program.[181] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest-achieving," making them eligible for this special funding.[182] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day.[183] Both Sto-Rox Middle School and Sto-Rox High School were eligible for SIG funding. Sto-Rox Elementary School was eligible for extra funds when available. The Sto-Rox School District Administration did not apply for the grant.[184] Superintendent Serenka submitted a letter for exemption from application even though Sto-Rox High School is on the list of the state's lowest-performing schools.[185]

In 2011, the Sto-Rox High School, Sto-Rox Middle School, and the Sto-Rox Elementary School, all qualified for School Improvement Grants funding due to continuing, low student achievement. The school district administration did not apply for this extra funding.

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006 to 2009. Sto-Rox School District did not apply for funding in 2006/07. In 2007/08 the District received $60,241. For the 2008/09 school year the district received $30,805 for a total of $91,046. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.[186]

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

The district received $2,006,181 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[187] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,027 students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[188]

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions in additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[189][190] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[191] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[192] 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.[193]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Sto-Rox School Board chose 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.[194] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement any of the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Sto-Rox ranks as the fourth highest taxed school district statewide for overall tax effort.[195]

The Sto-Rox School Board levied a 22.6000 mills tax on real estate in 2013-14.[196] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Irregular property reassessments have become a serious issue in the commonwealth as it creates a significant disparity in taxation within a community and across a region. Property 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts.[197] 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.[198] In 2010, miscalculations by the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[199]

  • 2012-13 - 25.0000 mills
  • 2011-12 - 25.0000 mills[200]
  • 2010-11 - 25.0000 mills.[201]
  • 2009-10 - 25.0000 mills.[202]
  • 2008-09 - 25.0000 mills.[203]
  • 2007-08 - 25.0000 mills.[204]
  • 2006-07 - 25.0000 mills.[205]
  • 2005-06 - 25.0000 mills.[206]

The average yearly property tax paid by Allegheny County residents amounts to about 4.09% of their yearly income. Allegheny County ranked 209th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[207] According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[208] 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%).[209]

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 authorized 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.[210]

In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation eliminating six of the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[211] Several 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 pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[212][213] The legislature also froze the payroll amount public school districts use to calculate the pension-plan exception at the 2012 payroll levels. Further increases in payroll cannot be used to raise the district’s exception for pension payments.

The School District Adjusted Index for the Sto-Rox School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[214]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Sto-Rox School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[216]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Sto-Rox 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.[217]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Sto-Rox School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Sto-Rox 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.[218]

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.[219]

The Sto-Rox School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009-10 or in 2010-11.[220][221]

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.[222]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Sto-Rox School District was $313 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,725 property owners applied for the tax relief.[223] The tax relief was subtracted from the total annual school property on the individual's 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 Allegheny County, the highest property tax relief in 2009 was awarded to the approved property owners in Duquesne City School District at $346. Pennsylvania awarded the highest property tax relief to residents of the Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County at $632 per homestead and farmstead in 2010.[224] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was the top recipient.

A study conducted by the Pennsylvania Auditor General found that 60% of eligible Allegheny County property owners had applied for property tax relief.[225]

Enrollment[edit]

In 2010 the total enrollment of Sto-Rox School District is 1369 pupils.[226]

A proposal was made by a prominent Allegheny County citizen, David Wassel, to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars and improve student services. The plan calls for a proposed district that includes Carlynton School District, Montour School District and Sto-Rox School District.[227]

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).[228] 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.[229]

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.[230] A study was done examining consolidating Sto-Rox School District with neighboring Cornell School District.[231] The study noted that consolidation could significantly decrease administrative costs for both communities while improving offerings to students.

In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.[232]

Extracurriculars[edit]

Sto-Rox School District offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. In 2010 the Sto-Rox School Board set significant academic expectations for students to participate in extracurriculars and interscholastic athletics programs.[233][234]

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.[235]

In June 2013, the Board voted to eliminate 2 high school sports - boys varsity baseball and girls varsity softball saving over $25,000. It was part of a cost cutting plan that included eliminating 9 teaching positions. Two sports were eliminated to comply with federal mandates under Title IX.[236] It was reported the Board spent over $190,000 offering sports to a small group of participating students, before the cuts were made.

Sports[edit]

The District funds:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Sto-Rox School District Enrollment and Projections, January 2009
  2. ^ Chute, Eleanor and Niederberger, Mary., 16 of 43 school districts in Allegheny County hike taxes, July 15, 2012
  3. ^ Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sto-Rox school directors furlough eight employees, June 27, 2013
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sto-Rox budget taps reserves, May 24, 2012
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sto-Rox budget holds taxes steady; hires new superintendent, June 24, 2011
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Tuition rates per LEA, 2011
  7. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data - Sto-Rox School District, 2011
  8. ^ US Census Bureau, 2010 Census Poverty Data by Local Educational Agency, 2011
  9. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2009
  10. ^ US Census Bureau (2010). "American Fact Finder, State and County quick facts". 
  11. ^ US Census Bureau (September 2011). "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010" (PDF). 
  12. ^ Michael Sauter & Alexander E.M. Hess, (August 31, 2013). "America's most popular six-figure jobs". USA Today. 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General, Sto-Rox School District audit, September 2011
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (July 2012). "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program". 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2012). "Tuition rate Fiscal Year 2011-2012". 
  16. ^ Olsen, Laura, State list of failing schools has 53 in county, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, July 26, 2012
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Sto-Rox School District AYP Overview 2012". 
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Sto-Rox School District AYP Overview 2011". 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Sto-Rox School District AYP Overview 2010, October 20, 2010
  20. ^ "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2012". Pittsburgh Business Times. April 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 29, 2011). "Statewide Honor Roll 2011". 
  22. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll 2010". 
  23. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County,". 
  24. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Statewide Overachivers Ranking Information 2013, April 4, 2013
  25. ^ "Overachiever statewide ranking". Pittsburgh Business Times. May 6, 2010. 
  26. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Statewide Overachievers Ranking Information, April 6, 2012
  27. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, Local Region Ranking Information, April 4, 2013
  28. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 2011). "PBT Honor Roll Rank 2011,". 
  29. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (October 16, 2010). "PBT Honor Roll Rank 2010,". 
  30. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (May 15, 2009). "Western Pennsylvania School District Rankings". 
  31. ^ The Morning Call, 2009 PSSA RESULTS Sto-Rox School District, 2009
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2012). "Sto-Rox School District AYP Data Table". 
  33. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, STO-ROX School District AYP Data Table 2011, 2011
  34. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 15, 2011). "New 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate Calculation Now Being Implemented". 
  35. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2011). "Sto-Rox School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2010 data table". 
  36. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Sto-Rox School District Report Card 2009". 
  37. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "High School Graduation Rate 2007". 
  38. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Sto-Rox School District Report Card 2006". 
  39. ^ National Center for Education Statistics, Common Care Data - Sto-Rox High School, 2010
  40. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Qualifications of Teachers Sto-Rox High School, September 29, 2011
  41. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 4, 2012). "The Rankings: 11th grade,". 
  42. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2012). "STO-ROX High School AYP Overview 2012". 
  43. ^ Sto-Rox School Administration (2012). "Parental Notices 2012". 
  44. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Sto-Rox School District AYP Status 2010, October 2010
  45. ^ US Department of Education, (2003). "NCLB Parental Notices" (PDF). 
  46. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "School Improvement Grant". 
  47. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2012). "2011-2012 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  48. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "2010-2011 PSSA and AYP Results". 
  49. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 2010). "Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2010". 
  50. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2009). "Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009". 
  51. ^ Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2007
  52. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2006). "Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2006". 
  53. ^ a b c Pittsburgh Post Gazette (October 15, 2012). "How is your school doing?". 
  54. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011, September 29, 2011
  55. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results". 
  56. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Sto-Rox High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2012" (PDF). 
  57. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2010). "Report on Science PSSA 2010". 
  58. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2008). "Report on Science PSSA 2008". 
  59. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2009). "Pennsylvania College Remediation Report". 
  60. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  61. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Dual Enrollment Guidelines". 
  62. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (March 2010). "Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement". 
  63. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education. "Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment Grants 2009-10 Fall Grants by School District". 
  64. ^ Sto-Rox School Administration (January 13, 2009). "Sto-Rox School District Strategic Plan Academics and Assessments" (PDF). 
  65. ^ Sto-Rox HighSchool Administration (2013). "20131-4 Course Description guide" (PDF). 
  66. ^ Pennsylvania State Board of Education. "Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements". 
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  234. ^ Sto-Rox School Board (February 25, 2010). "Extracurricular Activity Policy 122". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
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  236. ^ Ryan Riordan ., Sto-Rox school board cuts baseball, softball, June 29, 2013

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°28′32″N 80°04′13″W / 40.47561°N 80.07017°W / 40.47561; -80.07017