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Keystone School District
Address
451 Huston Avenue
Knox, Pennsylvania, Clarion, 16232
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 regionally elected members
Superintendent Richard Bonnar, Acting
Administrator Suzanne Chomas, Special Ed Director
Principal Shawn Corcetti, ES
Principal Vicky Walters, HS
Vice principal Jonathan Maddy, HS
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1177
Kindergarten 108
Grade 1 95
Grade 2 80
Grade 3 77
Grade 4 74
Grade 5 85
Grade 6 80
Grade 7 74
Grade 8 99
Grade 9 94
Grade 10 113
Grade 11 86
Grade 12 112
Color(s) Black and Gold
Website

The Keystone School District is a public school district in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. It serves the boroughs of Shippenville, Knox, and Callensburg, as well as the townships of Beaver Township, Elk Township, Licking Township, Ashland Township, and Salem Township. It features an elementary school and a combined junior/senior high school, both of which are located in Knox. The district is divided into 3 regions for the election of school board members who serve a 4 year term. The district is part of the Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 region. The intermediate unit provides support services and therapy to special education students. It also provides training to school personnel.

Contents

Academic Achievement

Keystone School District was ranked 297th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania School Districts in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 3 years of PSSA results.[1]

Graduation Rate:
2009 - 99%[2]
2008 - 89%

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 81% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 - 74%

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 69% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[3]
2008 - 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 36% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 53%

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

Enrollment

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 1200 students enrolled in K-12. Enrollment in Keystone School District is projected to continue to decline for the next decade. The administrative and mandate infrastructure costs per pupil are very high. With limited local taxation resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial cost savings for the people in each community. These excessive overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging science achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. Consolidation of the central administrations with neighboring school districts, does not require the closing of any schools. [5]

A new district composed of Union School District (Pennsylvania), Keystone School District and adding Perry Township and Richland Township would have a student population under 2000 pupils. Consolidation would bring the elimination of costly main office, administrator positions. This would assist the district residents with the rising school administrator, employee and teachers' pension costs by controlling the need to raise taxes.

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] As the enrollment declines, per pupil administrative and madate 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.[7] This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity.[8] 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. [9]

Budget

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $48,222 for 180 days worked. The district ranked fourth in Clarion County for average teacher salary in 2007.[10]

In 2008, Keystone School District administrative overhead costs were $799 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania at $398 per pupil. [11]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.29% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $6,895,485. 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 $6,676,095.96.

The district received $1,154,382 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[12]

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.[13] 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.

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.[14]

Real Estate Taxes: Property tax rates in 2009 were set at 61.5800 mills.[15] 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 Keystone School District was $134 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2091 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. For comparison, the Union School District also received $134 per homestead/Farmstead.

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%).[16]

Academic Achievement

Keystone School District was ranked 297th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania School Districts in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 3 years of PSSA results.[17]

Graduation Rate:
2009 - 99%[18]
2008 - 89%

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 81% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.
2008 - 74%

11th Grade Math:
2009 - 69% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 56% of 11th graders are on grade level.[19]
2008 - 53%

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 36% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 53%

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 30% of Keystone 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. [20]

Extracurriculars

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. [21]


References:

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Rankings, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Keystone School District Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c16/106166503
  3. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/school_assessments/7442
  4. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Enrollments G-O http://www.scribd.com/doc/27321841/Enrollments-Projected-by-LEA-G-O-2008-09
  6. ^ "Research Analyzes Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity", The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. October 2009
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Study of the Cost Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts, 2007.
  8. ^ Rendell, E. & Soderberg, M. (2009). Pennsylvania school district consolidation. 2009-10 Executive Budget Fast Facts. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.
  9. ^ Study of the cost-effectiveness of consolidating Pennsylvania districts. New York: Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services. 2007, p. 6.
  10. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Average classroom teacher salary in Clarion County, 2006-07. The Morning Call. accessed March 2009.
  11. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, Feb 2009.
  12. ^ Clarion County ARRA FUNDING
  13. ^ Pennsylvania's 'Race to the Top' Fueled by Effective Reforms, Strong Local Support http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=7201&PageID=510952&mode=2&contentid=http://pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/global/news_releases/governor_s_office/news_releases/pennsylvania_s__race_to_the_top__fueled_by_effective_reforms__strong_local_support.html
  14. ^ Clarion County School District Audits
  15. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Finance. 2009
  16. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Public School Rankings, Pittsburgh Business Times. May 23, 2007.
  18. ^ Keystone School District Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c16/106166503
  19. ^ 2009 PSSAs: Reading, Math, Writing and Science Results http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/school_assessments/7442
  20. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report
  21. ^ 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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