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Otto-Eldred School District
Address
143 Sweitzer Drive
Duke Center, Pennsylvania, McKean County, 16729
United States
Information
Type Public
School board 9 regionally elected members
Superintendent Robert J. Falk
Principal Matthew D. Splain, HS
Principal Terry L. Stanley, ES
Grades K-12
Enrollment 679
Kindergarten 64
Grade 1 51
Grade 2 46
Grade 3 53
Grade 4 43
Grade 5 48
Grade 6 50
Grade 7 60
Grade 8 55
Grade 9 41
Grade 10 49
Grade 11 59
Grade 12 60
Newspaper Otto Horn
Website

The Otto-Eldred School District is a public school district in McKean County. The school district is named after three of the four municipalites it serves: Eldred, Eldred Township, and Otto Township. Annin Township is also within its boundaries. The district is part of the Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9 which provides services for special education students, curriculum development and teacher training.

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Enrollment

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are 679 students enrolled in K-12. There were 70 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 60 students. Enrollment in Otto-Eldred School District is projected to continue to sharply decline by 2019.[1] The district's administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $784 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. [2] With limited resources, opportunities for students are limited. In a Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study on school consolidation, 63% of the superintendents that responded expressed agreement that consolidation with another district could help them provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for their students.[3] Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in the impacted communities. [4] 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 central administrations into one would not necessitate the closing of any schools.

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]

Budget

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $48,804 for 180 days worked.[9]

In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.41% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $5,570,240. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,386,585.59. For comparison, Governor Edward Rendell gave a 7.46% increase in funding to Bradford Area School District, a 13% increase to Hazleton Area School District and Kane Area School District received a 5.32% increase in state funding.

The district also received $977,141 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[10]

School district officials did not apply for the Race to the Top federal grant which would have brought the district millions of additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement.[11] 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 opportunity.

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 provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising taxes.

Real Estate Taxes:

Property tax rates in 2009 were set at 16.00 mills.[12] 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 a region.

In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Clarion Area School District was $163 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 1156 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 2009, 68% of McKean County property owners applied for the property tax relief.[13]

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%).[14]

Academic Achievement

The Otto-Eldred School District was ranked 385th out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts for student academic achievement by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2008.

Graduation rate
2009 - 92% [15]
2008 - 84%

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
2009 - 73% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 65% of 11th graders on grade level.[16]
2008 - 54%

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

11th Grade Science:
2009 - 28% on grade level. State: 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 20%, State Avg. - 39%

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 19% of the Otto-Eldred Junior-Senior 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. [17]

8th Grade Reading:
2009 - 87% on grade level. State: 80.9% of 8th graders were on grade level.[18]
2008 - 74%, State Avg. - 78%

8th Grade Math:
2009 - 72% on grade level. State: 71% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 59%, State Avg. -70%

8th Grade Science:
2009 - 40% on grade level. State: 55% of 8th graders were on grade level.
2008 - 52%, State Avg. - 50%

Extracurriculars

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

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. [19]

References:

  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment and Projections for Otto-Eldred School District, January 2009
  2. ^ Fenton, Jacob. Pennsylvania School District Data: Will School Consolidation Save Money?, The Morning Call, Feb 2009.
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Public School Consolidation Study. June 1, 2007
  4. ^ Fenton, Jacob, Administrative Costs for McKean County School Districts 2007-08, The Morning Call, July 2009
  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 McKean County, 2006-07. The Morning Call. accessed March 2010.
  10. ^ McKean County ARRA FUNDING Report
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Real Estate Tax Millage by School District, Pennsylvania Department of Finance. 2009
  13. ^ Property Tax Relief in Pennsylvania Special Report, Pennsylvania Office of the Auditor General, Jack Wagner, Auditor General. February 2010.
  14. ^ New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners, Tax Foundation, September 22, 2009.
  15. ^ Otto-Eldred Area School District Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/School/DataTable/c42/109426003/3107
  16. ^ Otto-Eldred Junior Senior High School Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c42/109426003
  17. ^ Pennsylvania College Remediation Report http://www.scribd.com/doc/23970364/Pennsylvania-College-Remediation-Report
  18. ^ Pennsylvania Reading, Math, Science and Writing PSSA Results 2009
  19. ^ 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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