Warren County School District

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Warren County School District
Map of Warren County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
185 Hospital Drive
Warren, Pennsylvania, Warren County 16365
United States
Type Public
Superintendent Dr. William Clark
Enrollment 5143 pupils enrolled in 2010[1]
 • Kindergarten 317
 • Grade 1 362
 • Grade 2 357
 • Grade 3 386
 • Grade 4 404
 • Grade 5 367
 • Grade 6 412
 • Grade 7 384
 • Grade 8 403
 • Grade 9 400
 • Grade 10 423
 • Grade 11 466
 • Grade 12 462
 • Other Enrollment projected to decline to 4607 pupils in 2020.

The Warren County School District (WCSD) is a public school district in Warren County, Pennsylvania, and it is designed to encompass all but three county municipalities. It has four attendance areas: North, East, West and Central. Warren County School District encompasses approximately 792 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 40,689. In 2009, the residents' per capita income was $17,898, while median family income was $42,714.[2] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[3] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[4] Per school district officials, in school year 2005–06, the Warren County School District provided basic educational services to 5,552 pupils through the employment of 474 teachers, 302 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 28 administrators. The Warren County School District received more than $33 million in state funding in school year 2005–06.


Academic achievement[edit]

All WCSD schools are working on school improvement plans. Every school has a School Improvement Team.[16]

Warren County School District was ranked 328th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2011, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance based on the PSSAs for: reading, writing, math and three years of science.[17]

  • 2010 – 302nd
  • 2009 – 298th
  • 2008 – 289th
  • 2007 – 266th out of 501 Pennsylvania school districts.[18]

In 2009, the academic achievement, of the students in the Warren County School District, was in the 32nd percentile among all 500 Pennsylvania school districts Scale (0–99; 100 is state best)[19]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2011, the Warren County School District - district wide graduation rate was 87%.[20] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Warren County School District's rate was 84% for 2010.[21]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations
  • 2010 – 92%[22]
  • 2009 – 91%
  • 2008 – 90%[23]
  • 2007 – 90%[24]
College remediation:

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 17% of Warren County School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[25] 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.[26] 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.

Academic achievement districtwide[edit]

In both 2011 and 2010, the Warren County School District achieved AYP status. In 2009, the district was in Making Progress: in District Improvement I due to chronically, low student achievement.[27]

11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 69% on grade level, (15% below basic). State - 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[28]
  • 2010 – 61% (23% below basic). State - 66%[29]
  • 2009 – 68% (16% below basic), State – 65%[30]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 57%, on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2010 – 55% (32% below basic). State - 59%[32]
  • 2009 – 57% (22% below basic). State – 56%.
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 41% on grade level (14% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.[33]
  • 2010 – 38% (17% below basic). State – 39%
  • 2009 – 41% (20% below basic). State – 40%[34]
8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 86% on grade level (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 – 81% (9% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 – 81% (11% below basic). State – 80%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 85% on grade level (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2010 – 78% (11% below basic). State - 75%[35]
  • 2009 – 72% (10% below basic). State – 71%[36]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 67% on grade level (15% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 – 63% (21% below basic). State – 57%
  • 2009 – 61% (18% below basic). State – 55%[37]

4th Grade Science:

  • 2011 - 86% (2% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 – 89% (3% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 – 88% (2% below basic). State – 83%

Charter School[edit]

Tidioute Community Charter School operates within the Warren County School District at 241 Main St, Tidioute. The Tidioute Community Charter School is a public, K4-12 charter school. The school was opened when the district closed Tidioute High School in 2003 and the local elementary school in 2005. TCCS serves students from the Warren County School District, Forest Area School District and Titusville Area School District. Each district must provide funding for the children from its residency area. According to Pennsylvania School Code, the Warren County School District maintains high level administrative and financial oversight of the charter school. The Warren County School District administration forwards the state and local $11,271 per pupil funding to the charter school. The school is required to meet the same education standards that all other public schools meet in Pennsylvania.[38] In 2010 the enrollment was 279 with 59 low income pupils and 14 students receiving special education services.[39]

The school achieved AYP status in 2009 and 2010[40] In 2010, the graduation rate was 100%. In 2009 the rate was 83%[41] Academic Achievement Report Card 2010[42]

In 2009/10 the school received $37,784.[43]

Dual enrollment[edit]

The Warren County School District has partnered with Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and St. Bonaventure University to offer college credits to area high school students through the dual enrollment program. Home school, charter school and private school students have access to this program by Pennsylvania Department of Education rules.

In 2010, Warren County School District received a $28,110 state grant to be used to assist students with tuition, college fees and required textbooks.

The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[44] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[45] The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system.[46]

Special education[edit]

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 923 pupils or 17.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[47]

In compliance with state and federal law, 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.[48]

The district provides: Early Intervention, Learning Support, Emotional Support, along with various physical disability supports.[49]

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.[50]

Warren County School District received a $3,876,382 supplement for special education services in 2010.[51] The state provided the same level of funding for 2011–12.

Gifted education[edit]

The District Administration reported that 181 or 3.52% of its students were gifted in 2009.[52] In its Strategic Plan written in 2009, the administration acknowledged that student underachievement, among the students in its Gifted Support Program, was a serious issue. The plan proposed they will be monitored regularly to ensure that students are making continual academic progress, accelerated appropriately, and on-track to graduation.[53] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to honors and advanced placement courses, and dual enrollment with local colleges. 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.[54]

Bullying and school safety[edit]

Warren County School District administration reported there were no incidents of bullying in the district in 2009–10.[55][56]

The School Board has not provided the district's antibully policy in the school district's web site.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59]

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.[60]


In 2009, the district reports employing over 480 teachers with a starting salary of $38,000 for 180 days for pupil instruction.[61] The average teacher salary was $46,430 while the maximum salary is $135,000.[62] 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.[63] The school day is limited by the union contract to 7 hours 20 minutes, including lunch. Special Education teachers receive additional compensation. Teachers receive a paid lunch time of 30 minutes. Additionally, Warren County School District teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 2 paid personal days, 10 sick days, paid bereavement days and other benefits. Teachers are paid extra when they are required to work outside of the regular school day hours. Severance includes payment for unused sick days. The board has agreed to give 15 days of paid leave for teachers to work in the union's offices.[64] 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.[65]

In 2011 responding to serious revenue constraints, the board and teachers union discussed a wage freeze. In June, the union voted to end discussions without an outcome.[66]

In 2007, the district employed 383 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $45,018 for 180 school days worked.[67]

Warren County School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $717.35 per pupil. The district is ranked 296th out of 500 in Pennsylvania for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[68] Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, notified the district that it would be investigated for an excessive administrator buyout. Superintendent Dr. Robert Terrill received a buyout of $101,000. His salary was $140,454 during the 2009-2010 school year.[69][70]

In 2008, Warren County School District reported spending $11,626 per pupil. This ranked 323rd in the commonwealth.[71] In 2010 the per pupil spending has risen to $12,822.82.[72]


In 2009, the district reported $6,607,005 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $1,350,000.[73] In 2010, the district reported $2,084,710 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as $2,700,000. PA 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.[74]

In January 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Significant findings were reported to the administration and school board. In particular, it found that administrative issues resulted in unverifiable Social Security and Medicare reimbursement by the state.[75]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth.[76]

State basic education funding[edit]

In 2011-12, the district received a $23,809,537 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[77][78] Additionally, the School District received $498,547 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.[79] 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.[80] In 2010, the district reported that 2,238 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[81]

For 2010–11, Warren County School District received a 3.06% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $25,663,540 payment.[82] 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. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010–11. The amount of increase each school district receives is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education through the allocation set in the state budget proposal made in February each year.[83]

In the 2009–2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.59% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $24,901,859. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008–09 was $23,809,537.31. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more.[84] Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.[85]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1,702 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.[86]

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 Warren County School District applied for and received $1,353,181 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide all-day kindergarten the 3rd year, to provide low class size K-3rd, to provide teacher training to provide research based instruction and to hire teacher coaches to instruct teachers.[87][88]

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. Warren County School District applied for funding for 2006–07 and was denied funding. The district did not apply again. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future state grant awards.[89]

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 Warren County School District received $311,018 in this state-funded program.[90]

Federal Stimulus grant[edit]

The district received an extra $6,849,033 in ARRA – Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[91] The funding is for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.

Race to the Top grant[edit]

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district over one million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[92] 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.[93] 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.[94]

Common Cents state initiative[edit]

The Warren County School Board chose to not permit the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program access to the district records. 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.[95] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2011-12 were set by the school board at 48.9600 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.[96] 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.[97] The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties.[98]

  • 2010-11 - 48.0000 mills[99]
  • 2009-10 - 47.0000 mills.[100]
  • 2008-09 - 47.0000 mills.[101]
  • 2007-08 - 46.0000 mills.[102]

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 the school board seeks one or more exceptions from the state's 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.[103] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[104] 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 pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[105][106]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Warren County School District 2006–2007 through 2010–2011.[107]

  • 2006–07 – 5.6%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007–08 – 4.9%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008–09 – 6.3%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009–10 – 5.9%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010–11 – 4.2%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011–12 – 2.0%, Base 1.4%
  • 2012-13 - 2.5%, Base 1.7%[108]

For the 2011-12 school year, the Warren County School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Warren County 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.[109]

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.[110]

Warren County School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2009–10 or in 2010–11.[111] 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.[112]

Property tax relief[edit]

In 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced the district's property tax relief from gambling would be $242 for each of the 11,324 approved properties.[113][114]

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Warren County School District was $245 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 11,182 property owners applied for the tax relief.[115] 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. The Pennsylvania Auditor General found that 77% of property owners applied for tax relief in Warren County, in 2009.[116] 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.[117] This was the second year Chester Upland School District was 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 individuals who have income substantially more than $35,000, may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.[118]

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%).[119]


The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. These program begin with elementary children and extend through high school athletics. Eligibility to participate in these activities is determined by school board policy.

By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those home schooled, 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.[120]


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