Clairton City School District


Clairton City School District
Clairton City School District
Clairton City School District located in southern Allegheny County
Address
501 Waddell Avenue
Clairton, Pennsylvania, Allegheny, 15025
United States
Information
Superintendent Lucille Abellonio, Ed.D.
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 84
Grade 1 51
Grade 2 52
Grade 3 58
Grade 4 56
Grade 5 58
Grade 6 53
Grade 7 53
Grade 8 63
Grade 9 79
Grade 10 61
Grade 11 64
Grade 12 50
Other Enrollment is projected to decline to 650 pupils in 2016
Mascot Bears
Yearbook The Clairtonian
Website

The Clairton City School District is a diminutive, suburban public school district. The Clairton City School District encompasses approximately 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) serving the City of Clairton in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 8,491. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $14,608, while the median family income was $31,539. [2] District officials reported that, in school year 2007-08, the they provided basic educational services to 808 pupils through the employment of 78 teachers, 40 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 7 administrators.

The district operates Clairton High School (9th-12th), Clairton Middle School (5th-8th) and Clairton Elementary School (K-4th).

Contents

Academic achievement

Statewide ranking - The Clairton City School District was ranked 491st out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts for student academic achievement by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2011. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and three years of science. [3]

  • 2010 - 492nd [4]
  • 2009 - 491st out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts
  • 2008 - 495th[5]
  • 2007 - 495th out of 501 school districts.[6]

In 2009, the academic achievement of students in the Clairton City School District was in the bottom 1 percentile of 500 Pennsylvania School Districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[7]

Regional ranking - In 2010 the Clairton City School District was ranked 103rd out of 105 western Pennsylvania school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for: math, reading, writing and two years of science.[8]

  • 2009 - the school district ranked 103rd out of 105 districts.[9]
  • 2008 - the school district ranked 103rd out of 105 districts.

Graduation rate

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Clairton City School District's rate was 80% for 2010.[10]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations:

High school

In 2010, the high school and middle school are in Warning Status due to chronically low student achievement.[14]

The Clairton City High School ranks 116th of 123 high schools in western Pennsylvania for academic achievement based on four years of PSSA results on: math, reading, writing and two years of science, by Pittsburgh Business Times on April 30, 2010[15]

  • 2009 - 118th out of 123 high schools[16]
PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
  • 2010 - 38% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level.[17]
  • 2009 - 39%, State - 65%[18]
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 65%[19]
11th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 18% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[20]
  • 2009 - 31%, State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 21%, State - 56%
11th Grade Science:
  • 2010 - 5% on grade level. State: 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 3.6%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 3%, State - 39%

College Remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 60% of the Clairton City 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.[21] 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.[22] 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

The high school offers a Dual Enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities 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.[23] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[24] 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.[25]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $8,108 for the program.[26]

Graduation requirements

The school board has determined that a student must earn 26.5 credits including: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Social Studies 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Humanities 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Electives 2 credits, Independent and Family Living 1 credits and Computer Application Courses 2 credits.[27]

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.[28]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[29]

Clairton Middle School

Clairton Middle School 8th grade was ranked 139th out of 155 western Pennsylvania middle school 8th grades in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on four years of student academic performance on the PSSAs for math, reading, writing and two years of science.[30]

  • 2009 - 131st of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools[31]
8th Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 64% on grade level. State: 81% of 8th graders were on grade.
  • 2009 - 79%, State - 80.9%[32]
  • 2008 - 59%, State - 78%
  • 2007 - 57%, State - 75%[33]
8th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 36% on grade level. State: 73% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 46%, State - 71%[34]
  • 2008 - 45%, State - 70%
  • 2007 - 41%, State - 67%
8th Grade Science:
  • 2010 - 16% on grade level. State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 16%, State - 55%
  • 2008 - 17%, State - 50%

Seventh Grade

The seventh grade ranked 138 out of 153 western Pennsylvania seventh grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading and writing. PSSAs.[35]

7th Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 42% on grade level. State - 73% of 7th graders were on grade level. (56 pupils enrolled)
  • 2009 - 25%, State - 71% (59 pupils enrolled)
  • 2008 - 46%, State - 70% (67 pupils enrolled)
7th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 51% on grade level. State - 77% of 7th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 42%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 50%, State - 70%

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade ranked 192nd out of 207 western Pennsylvania sixth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, and writing. PSSAs.[36]

6th Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 47% on grade level. State - 68% of 6th graders were on grade level. (38 pupils enrolled)
  • 2009 - 27%, State - 67% (52 pupils enrolled)
  • 2008 - 38%, State - 67% (57 pupils enrolled)
6th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 68% on grade level. State - 78% of 6th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 57%, State - 75%
  • 2008 - 63%, State - 72%

Clairton Elementary School

Fifth Grade

The fifth grade ranked 275th out of 287 western Pennsylvania fifth grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, and writing. PSSAs.[37]

5th Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 46% on grade level. State - 64% of 5th graders were on grade level. (47 pupils enrolled) [38]
  • 2009 - 24%, State - 64% (53 pupils enrolled)
  • 2008 - 26%, State - 61% (57 pupils enrolled)
5th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 68% on grade level. State - 74% of 5th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 60%, State - 73%
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 73%

Fourth Grade

The fourth grade ranked 300th out of 313 western Pennsylvania fourth grades, by the "Pittsburgh Business Times" in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading, writing and two years of science PSSAs. [39]

4th Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 26% on grade level. State - 72% of 4th graders were on grade level. (52 pupils enrolled)
  • 2009 - 53%, State - 72% (56 pupils enrolled)
  • 2008 - 33%, State - 70% (50 pupils enrolled)
4th Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 45% on grade level. State - 84% of 4th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 60%, State - 81%
  • 2008 - 63%, State - 79%
4th Grade Science:
  • 2010 - 31% on grade level. State - 81% of 4th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 54%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 48%, State - 81%

Third Grade

The third grade ranked 316th out of 327 western Pennsylvania third grades, by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2010 for academic achievement as reflected by four years of results on: math, reading and writing. PSSAs. [40]

3rd Grade Reading:
  • 2010 - 41% on grade level. State - 75% of 3rd graders were on grade level. (55 pupils enrolled)
  • 2009 - 25%, State - 77% (51 enrolled pupils)
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 77% (53 pupils enrolled)
3rd Grade Math:
  • 2010 - 64% on grade level. State - 84% of 3rd graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 41%, State - 81%
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 80%

Special Education

In December 2009 the district administration reported that 229 pupils or 28.9% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. This was the highest percentage of students receiving special education services in Allegheny County school districts. [41] [42]

In compliance with state and federal laws, 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 Supervisor of Special Education.[43]

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.[44]

Clairton City School District received a $1,000,850 supplement for special education services in 2010.[45]

For the 2011-12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. 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. [46]

Bullying policy

In 2009 the administrative reported there were 4 incidents of bullying in the district.[47][48]

The Clairton City School Board prohibits bullying by district students and faculty. The policy defines bullying and cyberbullying. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying.[49] The board expects staff members to be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of bullying. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[50] 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.[51]

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.[52]

Wellness policy

The Clairton City School Board established a district wellness policy in June 2006 - Policy 246.[53] 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.[54]

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

Enrollment and Consolidation

In 2011, the school district officials sent letters to four neighboring school districts: West Jefferson Hills School District, Elizabeth Forward School District, South Allegheny School District and West Mifflin Area School District seeking voluntary merger talks. The proposal was rebuffed by all four school districts. [55]

In 2009, a proposal was made by a local advocate, David Wassel, to consolidate Allegheny County school districts to save tax dollars and improve student services. The proposal was that Clairton City and South Park School District join with West Jefferson Hills School District. [56]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 780 students enrolled in K-12 in 2009. There were 59 students in the Class of 2009. The district's class of 2010 has 50 students. Enrollment in the Clairton City School District is projected to continue to decline to 710 in 2015. [57] Clairton City School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1643 per pupil. This is the second highest among in the 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. [58]

A Standard and Poors study found that an optimal school district size, to conserve administrative costs, was 3000 pupils. [59] Consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities. [60] According to a proposal made in 2009 by Governor Edward G Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. [61] Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools.

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 dollars without forcing the consolidation of any school buildings. [62] The study noted that while the best school districts spent 4% of the annual budget on administration, others spend over 15% on administration. [63]

On June 29, 2011, Rep Marc J. Gergely predicted the district will be forced to consolidate with its neighboring district, in the next few years, based in the current state funding of the district. [64]

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). [65]

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. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity. [66] In a survey of 88 superintendents of small districts, 42% of the 49 respondents stated that they thought consolidation would save money without closing any schools.[67]

Budget

In 2008, per pupil spending at Clairton City School District was ranked 49th in the state at $15,652 for each child.[68]

In 2007, the Clairton City School District employed 80 teachers working 190 days with 183 student days. The average teacher salary in the district was $55,836 for 180 days worked. The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania was $54,977.[69] 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.[70]

In 2009, the district employed 94 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $60,601. The beginning salary was $38,000, while the highest salary was $123,600. [71] Teachers work an 8 hour day with one planning period included. The district provides 4 IEP days for working on plans for special education and gifted students. Additionally, the teachers received a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, 3 paid bereavement leave days and many other benefits. The district offers an extensive retirement/longevity package which includes 10 years of district paid health insurance or $40,000. Additionally, each employee receives $50 per day for all unused sick and personal days.[72] According to Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[73][74]

Clairton City School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $1643 per pupil. This is the second highest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[75] The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association, the average salary for a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year was $122,165.[76] Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.

In 2008, the Clairton City School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $561,531.00 and a unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $928,683.00.[77]

In August 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several findings were reported to the school board and administration.[78]

In 2011, the school board sought to raise property taxes beyond the Act 1 index limit. The board sought to raise taxes an additional .57 mills over the 5 mills already allowed by law. The referendum failed Yes - 163, No - 916. [79] [80] In the 2011-12 budget the Clairton City School District kept its all-day kindergarten program, while furloughing three teachers and multiple non professional staff members. [81]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, 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 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.

State basic education funding

In 2011-12, the district will receive $6,752,810 in state Basic Education Funding. [82] Additionally, the district will receive $101,362 in Accountability Block Grant funding for all day kindergarten.

For the 2010-11 budget year the Clairton City School District received a 2% increase in state basic education funding for a total of $7,025,624. In Allegheny County, the highest increase went to South Fayette Township School District which received an 11.32% increase in state funding. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received a 2% base increase for budget year 2010-11. The highest increase in the state was given to Kennett Consolidated School District of Chester County which was given a 23.65% increase in state funding.[83]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,887,866. Four county school districts received increases of over 6% in Basic Education Funding in 2008-10. Chartiers Valley School District received an 8.17% increase. The majority of Allegheny County districts received a 2% increase. In Pennsylvania, over 15 school districts received Basic Education Funding increases in excess of 10% in 2009. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding. The state's Basic Education Funding to the Clairton City School District in 2008-09 was $6,752,809.79. [84] 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. [85]

Accountability Block Grant

The state provides supplemental funding in the form of accountability block grants. The use of these funds is strictly focused on specific state approved uses. Clairton City School District uses its $275,121 to fund All Day Kindergarten. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding.[86] 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.[87] In 2009-10 the state provided $271.4 million dollars in Accountability Block grants $199.5 million went to providing all day kindergartens.[88]

Education Assistance Grant

The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the Clairton City School District received $87,683.[89]

Race to the Top Grant

School district officials applied for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[90] The district has been identified as a turnaround district due to the very poor academic achievement. This means the district will receive an extra $700 per student, as a supplement to all other Race To The Top funding. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. [91] In Pennsylvania, just 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate.[92] 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. [93]

Federal Stimulus Grant

The district received an extra $1,445,987 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[94]

Classrooms for the Future grant

The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Clairton City School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07, nor did it apply in 2007-08. The district was awarded $74,691 in the 2008-09 fiscal year.[95]

Common Cents state initiative

The school board elected to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Common Cents program. The program called for the state to audit the district, at no cost to local taxpayers, to identify ways the district could save tax dollars.[96] Multiple examples of ways the district could reduce costs were identified for the school board. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes. Through analysis of the data, the team identified nine potential cost-savings opportunities for the district, which included: establish shared services for major utility purchasing; develop shared services for Food Service Management; and establish a shared services center for technology purchasing. [97]

Real estate taxes

The Clairton City School Board set property tax rates in 2010-11 at 3.9000 mills for buildings and 87.0000 mills for land. [98] 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. On the local level, Pennsylvania 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.[99]

  • 2009-10 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land.[100]
  • 2008-09 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land. [101]
  • 2007-08 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land. [102]
  • 2006-07 - 3.1000 mills for buildings and 75.0000 mills for land. [103]

Act 1 Adjusted index

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed to raise taxes above that index unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the state Department of Education. The base index for the 2010-2011 school year is 2.9 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.[104]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Clairton City School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012. [105]

  • 2006-07 - 6.1%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 5.3%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.9%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 6.4%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.5%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.2%, Base 1.4%

For the 2011-12 school year the Clairton City School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index due to escalating pension costs and special education costs. Each year, the Clairton City 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 publisher each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. [106]

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.[107]

For the 2010-11 school year budget, the Clairton City School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. The approved exceptions included: Maintenance of Selected Revenue Sources and Pension Obligations.[108] 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.[109]

Property tax relief

In 2010, Clairton City School District property tax relief was set at $271 for 1,725 approved properties.[110] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Clairton City School District was $275 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1,700 property owners applied for the tax relief. [111] The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Allegheny County, 60% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[112]

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, so people who make 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.[113]

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%).[114]

Extracurriculars

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. The Clairton City School Board determines eligibility policies to participate in these programs. According to the policies, students must maintain a record of academic proficiency sufficient to ensure that participation in interscholastic athletic activities will not interfere with academic achievement. [115]

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.[116][117]

References

  1. ^ Enrollment and Projections by LEA, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2009
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2009
  3. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 3, 2011). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings Information". http://www2.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/events/pennsylvania_schools/statewiderank.html. 
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 30, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll Rankings". http://bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/feature/schools/statewide_rankings.html. 
  5. ^ State Honor Roll Ranking
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (2007). "Best Schools Ranking,". http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/education/13346734/detail.html. 
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