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Clarion Area School District
221 Liberty Street
Clarion, Pennsylvania, Clarion, 16214
United States
Type Public
Superintendent Dr. George E. White
Principal Randy Cathert 9-12
Principal Todd MacBeth 4-8
Principal Primary position open
Vice principal Brad Wagner HS Dean of Students
Grades K-12
Enrollment 830
Kindergarten 50
Grade 1 56
Grade 2 50
Grade 3 64
Grade 4 62
Grade 5 65
Grade 6 75
Grade 7 63
Grade 8 57
Grade 9 85
Grade 10 60
Grade 11 68
Grade 12 75
Mascot Bobcats

The Clarion Area School District covers the Borough of Clarion and Highland Township, Monroe Township and Paint Township in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. The district operates Clarion Area Jr/Sr High School (7th-12th) and Clarion Area Elementary School (K-6th). For students who wish to learn a vocational trade, the Clarion Area School District is associated with the Clarion County Career Center.


Academic Achievement

Clarion Area School District was ranked 154 out of 501 Pennsylvania School Districts in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance based on the three years of PSSA results on: reading, writing, mathematics and one year of science.

Graduation Rate:
2009 - 94%[1]
2008 - 92%

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 81% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 - 81%, State - 65%[2]
2007 - 76%, State - 65%

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 59% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[3]
2008 - 56%, State - 56%
2007 - 57%, State 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 43% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 47%

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 30% of Clarion Area 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. [4]

8th Grade Reading:
2009 - 87% on grade level. [5]
2008 - 84%, State - 78%
2007 - 81%

8th Grade Math:
2009 - 62% on grade level.
2008 - 61%, State - 70% [6]
2007 - 64%

8th Grade Science:
2009 - 64% on grade level. State: 54% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 57%, State - 52%[7]

Clarion Area Elementary School

4th Grade Reading:
2009 - 93%, State - 72% [8]
2008 - 74%, State - 70%[9]
2007 - 87%, State - 70%

4th Grade Math:
2009 - 78%, %, State - 82%
2008 - 85%, State - 80%
2007 - 89%, State - 78%

4th Grade Science:
2009 - 98% on grade level. State: 83% of 4th graders were on grade level.[10]
2008 - 90%


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 860 students enrolled in K-12. There were 92 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 75 students. Enrollment in Clarion Area School District is projected to continue to decline through 2019. Clarion Area administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $854 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. [11] With limited local taxation resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in each community.[12] These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging mathematics and science achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. Consolidation of the central administrations would not require the closing of any schools.[13] [14] A new district composed of Clarion Area School District, Clarion-Limestone Area School District and North Clarion County School District would have a student population of 2500 with declining enrollment projected in all three former districts.

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).[15] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative costs of the schools will continue to rise.

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.[16] This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[17] 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. [18]


In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $53,414 for 180 days worked. The district ranked first in Clarion County for average teacher salary in 2007.[19]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.54% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $2,709,135. This was full percentage point higher increase, in Basic Education Funding, than most other school districts in Clarion County received. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $2,616,459.63. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 230 students received free or reduced lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[20]

The district received $525,315 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[21]

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.[22] The administration, school board and teachers' union prioritized local control over free resources to improve student success. A substantial property tax increase will be needed to make up for the rejected funding. Dr. White, Superintendent, informed the school board, at their January 2010 meeting, that he objected to doing the paperwork that was involved in the program.[23]

In 2008, the district reported a $1,240,849 in a unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was over $850,000.[24]

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. The Pennsylvania Auditor General regularly audits the school district. The reports are public information and are posted online.[25]

Real Estate Taxes: Property tax rates in 2009 were set at 67.5 mills.[26] 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.

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Clarion Area School District was $129 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1633 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.

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%).[27]


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. [28]

The district offers a wide variety of clubs, activities and sports.


  1. ^ Clarion Area School District Report Card 2009
  2. ^ The 2008 PSSA Mathematics and Reading School Level Proficiency Results (by Grade and School Total)
  3. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results
  4. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Math and Reading Results 2009
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Results Math and Reading School 2008
  7. ^ The 2008 PSSA Science State Level Proficiency Results by Grade and State Total (Full Academic Year)
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Results Math and Reading School 2009
  9. ^ The 2008 PSSA Mathematics and Reading School Level Proficiency Results (by Grade and School Total)
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education PSSA Results Science by School 2009
  11. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, Feb 2009.
  12. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Administrative Costs for Clarion County School Districts 2007-08, The Morning Call, July 2009
  13. ^ 2009-10 Executive Budget Facts Pennsylvania School District Consolidation, Edward Rendell, Governor and Mary Soderberg, Secretary of the Budget. February 2009
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Enrollments
  15. ^ "Research Analyzes Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity", The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. October 2009
  16. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Study of the Cost Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts, 2007.
  17. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  18. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  19. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Average classroom teacher salary in Clarion County, 2006-07. The Morning Call. accessed March 2009.
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Funding Report by LEA 2009.
  21. ^ Clarion County ARRA FUNDING
  22. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support
  23. ^ Bevevino retires from Clarion Area; board nixes ‘Race to the Top’ Greg Renninger, The Clarion News. January 26, 2010.
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education report on Fund Balances by Local Education Agency 1997 to 2008
  25. ^ Clarion County School District Audits
  26. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Finance. 2009
  27. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  28. ^ 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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