SQLSTATE[HY000] [2013] Lost connection to MySQL server at 'reading initial communication packet', system error: 0 North Clarion County School District

North Clarion County School District

North Clarion County School District
10439 Route 36
Northwestern Pennsylvania
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, Clarion, 16353
United States
School board 9 elected members
Superintendent Steve Young
School number (814) 744-8544
Principal Steve Young - High School
Principal Robert Collett
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 43
Grade 1 35
Grade 2 32
Grade 3 41
Grade 4 40
Grade 5 39
Grade 6 38
Grade 7 67
Grade 8 54
Grade 9 45
Grade 10 53
Grade 11 60
Grade 12 64
Mascot Wolves

North Clarion County School District is located next to a corn/potato/soy bean field in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. It consists of the North Clarion County Elementary School with pre-kindergarten through grade 6 and the North Clarion County Junior/Senior High School serving students in grades 7 through 12.



The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[1] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the school board and district administration a "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the school district's website for information regarding; taxes, the current budget, meetings, school board members names and terms, contracts, audits, public records information and more.[2]


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are 611 students enrolled in K-12. There were 92 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 64 students. Enrollment in North Clarion County School District is projected to continue to sharply decline through 2019.[3] The administrative infrastructure costs per pupil are high.[4] With limited resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in both communities. These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.[5] Consolidation of multiple central administrations into one would not necessitate the closing of any schools. A new district composed of Clarion Area School District, Clarion-Limestone Area School District and North Clarion County School District would have a total student population of 2500 with declining enrollment projected across the district.

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).[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]


In 2007, the district employed 50 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $48,088 for 180 days worked. The district ranked first in Clarion County for average teacher salary in 2007.[9]

North Clarion County School District administrative costs per pupil was $882.50 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[10] In August 2006, the North Clarion County School Board awarded a contract to David Stake as Superintendent with an initial salary of $89,000. The contract provides an extensive benefits package that includes: health insurance, life insurance , travel exprences, dues, paid sick and holidays, vacation time and more.[11]

The school district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a 1% real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. The largest amount of state funding is the Basic Education Funding, but there are a wide variety of smaller funding programs. In Pennsylvania, pension income and social security income is exempt from state income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of level of income.[12]

State basic education funding

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 2.0% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $3,338,377. The state Basic Education Funding to the district in 2008-09 was $3,241,493.75. This was the lowest level of increase for districts in 2009. Ninety school districts in Pennsylvania received a base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state Basic Education Funding in 2009.[13] The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor and the Secretary of Education as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.[14]

Federal Stimulus Funds

The district received $663,543 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[15] This funding is for 2009-2011 school years.

Race to the Top grant

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district hundreds of thousands of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[16] 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.[17] Pennsylvania was not approved in the first round of the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. A second round of state RTTT application judging will occur in June 2010.[18]

Real estate taxes

Property tax rates in 2009 were set at 46.49 mills.[19] 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.

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 it 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.[20]

The School District Adjusted Index for the North Clarion County School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[21]
2006-07 - 5.2%, Base 3.9%
2007-08 - 4.6%, Base 3.4%
2008-09 - 5.9%, Base 4.4%
2009-10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
2010-11 - 3.9%, Base 2.9%

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.[22]

Property tax relief

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the North Clarion County School District was $95 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1425 property owners applied for the tax relief. The relief was subtracted from the total annual school property tax bill. Property owners apply for the relief through the county Treasurer's office. Farmers can qualify for a farmstead exemption on building used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. In Clarion County, 47.86% of eligible property owners applied for property tax relief in 2009.[23] In Clarion County, the highest relief was given to Clarion-Limestone Area School District at $183. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania was allotted to Chester Upland School District in Delaware County which got $632 in 2009.[24]

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.

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%).[25]


North Clarion County School District was ranked 163rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and two years of science PSSAs.[26]

2009 - 184th
2008 - 215th
2007 - 225th out of 501 school districts.[27]

Graduation rate

The high school graduates about 60 students per year.

2009 - 96% [28]
2008 - 95%
2007 - 91%[29]

PSSA Results

11th Grade Reading
2009 - 73% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.[30]
2008 - 67%, State - 65%
2007 - 78%, State - 65%[31]

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 63% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 55% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2008 - 54%, State - 56%
2007 - 57%, State - 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 57% on grade level. State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 50%, State Avg. - 39% [32]

College remediation

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 12% of the North Clarion County 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.[33] 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.[34] 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 juniors and seniors 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, including the graduation ceremony. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[35] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[36] 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.[37]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $9,992 for the program.[38]

Other students that reside in the district who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school or are homeschooled are eligible for the university courses contained in the dual enrollment contract.

Graduation project

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[39]

Eighth Grade

8th Grade Reading
2009 - 86% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 80% of 8th graders on grade level.[40]
2008 - 88%, State - 78%

8th Grade Math:
2009 - 68% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 71% of 8th graders are on grade level.
2008 - 82%, State - 70%

8th Grade Science:
2009 - 61% on grade level. State - 55% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 78%, State Avg. - 52% [41]

Seventh Grade

7th Grade Reading
2009 - 82% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 71% of 7th graders on grade level.[42]
2008 - 62%, State - 70%

7th Grade Math:
2009 - 77% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 75% of 7th graders are on grade level.
2008 - 69%, State - 70%

Wellness policy

North Clarion County School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[43] 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 hat are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education, 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.[44]

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


The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy.[45]

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.[46]

North Clarion's Academic Decathlon team placed first in the state this year in the small school division.[1] The team further placed 4th in the nation in the small school online competition.[2] Last year, North Clarion had great success at the regional and state level.[3]


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
  2. ^ The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. "The Pennsylvania Project". http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Pennsylvania_school_districts. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment and Projections by school district January 2009
  4. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts, Standard and Poor's School Evaluation Services, 2007.
  5. ^ 2009-10 Executive Budget Facts Pennsylvania School District Consolidation, Edward Rendell, Governor and Mary Soderberg, Secretary of the Budget. February 2009
  6. ^ "Research Analyzes Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity", The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. October 2009
  7. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  8. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  9. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Average classroom teacher salary in Clarion County, 2006-07. The Morning Call. accessed March 2009.
  10. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, February 2009.
  11. ^ Benefits of Learning, The Altoona Mirror, August 2007
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Finance - Income Tax Facts. April 2010
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education - Funding Allocations by School District, October 2009
  14. ^ Governor's Budget 20109 The Pennsylvania Department of Education Budget Proposal 2009, Office of the Budget, February 2009
  15. ^ North Clarion County ARRA FUNDING Report
  16. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support Governor's Office press release, January 20, 2010
  17. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support, Governor's Press Office release, January 20, 2010.
  18. ^ Race to the Top Fund, U.S. Department of Education, March 29, 2010.
  19. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Finance. 2009
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education 2010-11 Act 1 of 2006 Referendum Exception Guidelines.
  21. ^ Special Session Act 1 of 2006 School District Adjusted Index for 2006-2007 through 2010-2011, Report prepared by Pennsylvania Department of Education, May 2010.
  22. ^ Scarcella, Frank and Pursell, Tricia, Local school tax assessments exceed state averages. The Daily Item, May 25, 2010
  23. ^ Special Report Pennsylvania Property Tax Relief, Auditor General Office, 2-23-2010.
  24. ^ Tax Relief per Homestead 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Education report 2009
  25. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  26. ^ Statewide Honor Roll Rankings 2010, Pittsburgh Business Times, May 14, 2010
  27. ^ Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007
  28. ^ North Clarion County School District Academic Achievement Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c16/106167504
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children - High School Graduation Rates 2007
  30. ^ North Clarion County School District Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c16/106167504
  31. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Math and Reading Results 2007 by district, school and grade
  32. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Science Results 2008 by district, school and grade
  33. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report, Pennsylvania Department of Education. January 2009 http://www.scribd.com/doc/23970364/Pennsylvania-College-Remediation-Report
  34. ^ National Center for Education Statistics - IPEDS 2008
  35. ^ 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Department of Education - Dual Enrollment Guidelines.
  36. ^ Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement. site accessed March 2010. http://www.patrac.org/
  37. ^ Report: PA College Credit Transfer System Makes Higher Education More Affordable, Accessible, Pennsylvania Department of Education. April 29, 2010
  38. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Dual Enrollment Fall Grants 2009-10. August 2009
  39. ^ Pennsylvania Code §4.24 (a) High school graduation requirements
  40. ^ North Clarion County School District Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c16/106167504
  41. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Science Results 2008 by district, school and grade
  42. ^ North Clarion County Junior-Senior High School Academic Achievement Report Card 2009
  43. ^ North Clarion County School Board Policy Manual
  44. ^ Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools for the School Nutrition Incentive, Pennsylvania Department of Education — Division of Food and Nutrition. July 2008
  45. ^ North Clarion County School Board Policy Manual Extracurriculars Policy 122 and Interscholastic Athletics Policy 123.
  46. ^ Home-Schooled, Charter School Children Can Participate in School District Extracurricular Activities, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Press Release, November 10, 2005

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