Crawford Central School District


Crawford Central School District
Crawford Center School District
Address
11280 Mercer Pike
Meadville, Pennsylvania, Crawford, 16335
United States
Information
Superintendent Charles E. Heller, III
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 314
Grade 1 300
Grade 2 323
Grade 3 312
Grade 4 333
Grade 5 267
Grade 6 278
Grade 7 306
Grade 8 393
Grade 9 300
Grade 10 353
Grade 11 322
Grade 12 341
Other the enrollment is projected to be 3900 in 2020
Mascot Bulldogs (Meadville HS), Cardinals (Cochranton HS)
Website

The Crawford Central School District covers the City of Meadville, Borough of Cochranton and East Fairfield Township, Fairfield Township, Union Township, Vernon Township, Wayne Township and West Mead Township in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Crawford Central School District encompasses approximately 156 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 30,882 people. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $18,463, while the median family income was $43,771. [2] Per District officials, in school year 2007-08 the Crawford Central School District provided basic educational services to 4,079 pupils. It employment of 334 teachers, 208 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 26 administrators in 2008. Crawford Central School District received more than $22.3 million in state funding in school year 2007-08.

Contents

Schools

  • Meadville Area Senior High School
  • Cochranton Jr/Sr High School
  • Meadville Area Middle School
  • First District Elementary School - made AYP in 2009 and 2010 using Safe Harbor. [3]
  • Second District Elementary School
  • East End Elementary School - 2010 "Making Progress: in School Improvement I" | 2009 "School Improvement I". [4]
  • West End Elementary School - 2010 made AYP | 2009 declined to "Warning" status [5]
  • Neason Hill Elementary School - 2010 declined to "Warning" status | 2009 made AYP. [6]
  • Cochranton Area Elementary School - made AYP in 2009 and 2010 [7]

Governance

The 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.[8] 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 Crawford Central School Board and school district administration a "D-" 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.[9]

Academic achievement

Crawford Central School District was ranked 426th in 2011, among 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on five years of student academic performance on the PSSAs on: mathematics, reading, writing and three years of science. [10]

  • 2010 - 395th [11]
  • 2009 - 363rd
  • 2008 - 307th [12]
  • 2007 - 288th of 500 Pennsylvania school districts for student achievement.[13]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of the Crawford Central School District was in the bottom 8th percentile of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Scale (0-99; 100 is state best) [14]

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in a School Improvement Grant application to the US Department of Education, identified Second District Elementary School as one of the 144 lowest performing schools in the Commonwealth. It reported that 42.80% of the students were proficient in reading and math. [15]

College remediation According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 14% of Crawford Central 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.[16] 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.[17] 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.

Graduation rate

The Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate in 2010. Crawford Central School District's rate was 84% for 2010.[18]

  • 2010 - 91% [19]
  • 2009 - 88% [20]
  • 2008 - 88%
  • 2007 - 88% [21]

Cochranton Area Junior Senior High School

In 2010, the school is in Making Progress: in School Improvement I due to ongoing low student achievement. In 2009, the school was in School Improvement I chronic, low student achievement. [22]

In 2010, the graduation rate at the Cochranton Area Junior Senior High School was 93%. In 2009 the graduation rate was 97%. [23]

Eleventh Grade

11th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 78% on grade level (13% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.[24]
  • 2009 - 64% (19% below basic), State - 65% [25]
  • 2008 - 56% (21% below basic), State - 65% [26]
  • 2007 - 78% (8% below basic), State - 65% [27]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 38%, on grade level (41% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level. [28]
  • 2009 - 39% (33% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 41% (36% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 60% (21% below basic), State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 37% on grade level (10% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 43% (10% below basic). State - 40% [29]
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 39%

Eighth Grade

8th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 84% on grade level (6% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 75% (12% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 82% (9% below basic), State - 78% [30]
  • 2007 - 89% (6% below basic), State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 67% on grade level (21% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 75% of 8th graders are on grade level.[31]
  • 2009 - 60% (17% below basic), State - 71% [32]
  • 2008 - 57% (19% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 58% (18% below basic), State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 62% on grade level (25% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level. [33]
  • 2009 - 62% (25% below basic), State - 55% [34]
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 52% [35]

Seventh Grade

7th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 81% on grade level (5% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 70% (13% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 71% (16% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 72% (12% below basic), State - 67%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 71% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 62% (18% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 64% (17% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 63% (12% below basic), State - 67%

Meadville Area High School

In 2010, the Meadville High School was in School Improvement I due to chronic, low student achievement. In 2009, the high school was in Warning AYP status. [36]

In 2010 the graduation rate was 90%. In 2009, the graduation rate at Meadville was 86%. [37]

11th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 61% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.[38]
  • 2009 - 63% (17% below basic), State - 65% [39]
  • 2008 - 64% (20% below basic), State - 65% [40]
  • 2007 - 76% (12% below basic), State - 65% [41]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 42%, on grade level (38% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level. [42]
  • 2009 - 43% (32% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 49% (35% below basic), State - 56%
  • 2007 - 57% (24% below basic), State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 39% on grade level (16% below basic). State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2009 - 41% (15% below basic). State - 40% [43]
  • 2008 - 35%, State - 39%

Meadville Area Middle School

In 2010 and 2009, the school achieved AYP status. [44]

PSSA Results

8th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 79% on grade level (8% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 81% (13% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2008 - 75% (18% below basic), State - 78% [45]
  • 2007 - 76% (10% below basic), State - 75%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 77% on grade level (9% below basic). State - 75% [46]
  • 2009 - 66% (12% below basic), State - 71% [47]
  • 2008 - 64% (17% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 62% (16% below basic), State - 68%

8th Grade Science:

  • 2010 - 63% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 57% of 8th graders were on grade level. [48]
  • 2009 - 61% (20% below basic), State - 55% [49]
  • 2008 - 51% (25% below basic), State - 52% [50]

Seventh Grade

7th Grade Reading

  • 2010 - 71% on grade level (12% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 73% of 7th graders on grade level.
  • 2009 - 72% (11% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 67% (14% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 76% (10% below basic), State - 67%

7th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 78% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 77%
  • 2009 - 81% (9% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 73% (10% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2007 - 72% (8% below basic), State - 67%

Second District Elementary School

The school made AYP in 2009 and 2010 using Growth Model. [51] The attendance rate was 93% in 2009 and 2010. [52] In 2009, the school's enrollment as 260 students K-6th grade. In 2008, the school's enrollment as 252 students K-6th grade. In 2007 enrollment was 245 students.

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report noting that Second District Elementary School as one of the 144 lowest achieving schools in the Commonwealth. It reported that 42.80% of the school's 3rd-6th grade students were on grade level in both reading and math. [53]

6th Grade Reading:

  • 2010 - 41% on grade level (28% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 68% of 6th graders are on grade level. [54]
  • 2009 - 31% (20% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2008 - 61% (19% below basic), State - 67%
  • 2007 - 31% (31% below basic), State - 63%

6th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 38% on grade level (21% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 49% (26% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 57% (19% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2007 - 53% (26% below basic), State - 69%

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2010 - 20% on grade level (49% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 64% of 5th graders are on grade level.
  • 2009 - 29% (41% below basic), State - 64%
  • 2008 - 37% (40% below basic), State - 62%
  • 2007 - 53% (25% below basic), State - 60%

5th Grade Math:

  • 2010 - 42% on grade level (42% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 74%
  • 2009 - 38% (24% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2008 - 48% (34% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2007 - 59% (18% below basic), State - 71%
4th Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 22% (50% below basic), State - 73%
  • 2009 - 47% (34% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2008 - 39% (34% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 57% (27% below basic), State - 60%
4th Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 42% (36% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 42% (48% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2008 - 43% (21% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2007 - 72% (17% below basic), State - 78%
4th Grade Science;
  • 2010 - 39%, (31% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 58%, (19% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 70%, (12% below basic), State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading;
  • 2010 - 55%, (33% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 39%, (44% below basic), State - 77%
  • 2008 - 42%, (33% below basic), State - 70%
  • 2007 - 53%, (21% below basic), State - 72%
3rd Grade Math;
  • 2010 - 67%, (12% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 44%, (25% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2008 - 45%, (33% below basic), State - 80%
  • 2007 - 60%, (0% below basic), State - 78%

Special Education

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 752 pupils or 18.5% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[55]

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 Special Education Department.[56]

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.[57]

Crawford Central School District received a $2,443,455 supplement for special education services in 2010.[58]

Gifted Education

The District Administration reported that less than 10 of its students were gifted in 2009. [59] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility. [60] Through the strategic planning process, the Superintendent must ensure that Crawford Central School District provides a continuum of program and service options to meet the needs of all mentally gifted students for enrichment, acceleration, or both. The Crawford Central School District gifted curriculum focuses on complex and in-depth study of major ideas, key concepts and themes that integrate knowledge within and across disciplines. [61]

Bullying Policy and school safety

The Crawford Central School Administration reported five incidents of bullying occurring in the schools in 2009 There were 35 incidents of fighting the schools. [62][63]

The school board prohibits bullying by district students and employees. [64] 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. 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.[65] District administration are required to annually provide the following information with the district's Safe School Report: the board’s bullying policy, a report of bullying incidents in the school district, and information on the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention or education programs. 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.[66]

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.[67]

Budget

In 2007, the Crawford Central School District employed 314 teachers working 180 days of pupil instruction. The average teacher salary in the district was $49,124. [68] 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.[69] In 2011, Crawford Central School district provides a salary and benefits package to the teachers which exceeds what the average recent college graduate receives working for local human services agencies, private companies and other organizations. The starting salary for a first-year teacher right out of college, in Crawford Central is $46,714. This is over $8,000 a year higher than the state average starting teacher pay and far exceeds what neighboring districts pay. The health insurance monthly premium the teacher pays is $25 a month for the PPO (preferred provider organization) plan. Most teachers who start teaching right out of college can retire at age 57 with 35 years of service with a state defined benefit pension that equals 100 percent of their final take-home pay.

In 2008, per pupil spending at Crawford Central School District was $11,073 for each child. This ranked 390th among Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. [70]

Crawford Central School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $687 per pupil. This is ranked 333rd among in the 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. [71] The Pennsylvania School Board Association tracks salaries for Pennsylvania public school employees. It reports that the average superintendent salary in Pennsylvania was $122,165, in 2008. [72]

In 2008, the Crawford Central School District reported an unreserved designated fund balance of $550,895 and a unreserved-undesignated fund balance of $3,788,557. [73] In 2010, the board had increased the district's unreserved-undesignated reserves to $5,340,392.00. [74]

In January 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit on the district. Several serious findings were reported to the school board and administration. The auditors noted that Board violated the Sunshine Laws of Pennsylvania and improper use of capital reserve funds.[75]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local tax on income, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants have provided 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. [76]

State basic education funding

In 2011-12, the district will receive $15,099,149 in state Basic Education Funding. [77] [78] Additionally, the district will receive $241,353 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to [[Duquesne City School District which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12.[79] Districts experienced a reduction in funding due to the loss of federal stimulus funding which ended in 2011.

In 2010, the district reported that 1,878 pupils received a free or reduced lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.

For the 2010-11 budget year, the Crawford Central School District received a 5.13% increase, in state basic education funding, for a total of $15,877,543.49. This was the highest increase in state funding, among Crawford County school districts. One hundred fifty school districts in Pennsylvania received the 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 awarded a 23.65% increase in state basic education funding. [80]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 7.64% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $15,877,543. This was the highest increase in state funding awarded to Crawford County school districts. In Pennsylvania, 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 Crawford Central School District in 2008-09 was $14,751,009.72. [81] 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. [82]

In 2008, the district reported that 1,668 pupils received a free or reduced lunch due to their family meeting the federal poverty threshold of $22,050 for a family of four. Many state and federal programs use the threshold to calculate benefits.

Accountability Block Grant

The state provides additional education funding to schools, in the form of Accountability Block Grants. The use of these funds is strictly targetted on specific state approved uses designed to improve student academic achievement. Crawford Central School District uses its $655,094 to fund all day kindergarten for the seventh year. These annual funds are in addition to the state's basic education funding and all federal funding. [83] School Districts must apply each year for Accountability Block Grants. [84] In 2009-10, the state provided $271.4 million dollars in Accountability Block grants, with $199.5 million of it going to providing all day kindergarten. [85]

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, Mathematics) and paid for mandatory teacher training to optimize the computers' use in the classroom for improving instruction. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Crawford Central School District administration did not apply for the grant in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district's application was rejected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. For the 2008-09, school year the district received $214,474. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards. [86]

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 Crawford Central School District received $132,697.[87]

Federal stimulus grant

The Crawford Central School District received $5.9 million in ARRA - Federal stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students. [88] Of the money, $3,773,281 is from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) program. The fund is a one-time appropriation of $53.6 billion distributed directly to states to: help stabilize state and local government budgets in order to minimize and avoid reductions in education and other essential public services; help ensure that school districts have the resources to avert cuts and retain educational personnel and staff; help support the modernization, renovation, and repair of schools. School district received multiple notices form the state that this was a limited time grant that would terminate in 2 years.

Race to the Top grant

School district officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have brought the district over $1 million additional federal dollars for improving student academic achievement. [89] Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success.[90] In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. [91] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. According to then Governor Rendell, failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved. [92]

School Improvement Grant

In the summer of 2011, the district was notified that Second District Elementary School was eligible for a School Improvement Grant for the second year. In 2010, East End Elementary School and Meadville Area Senior HIgh School were also eligible. The district did not apply for the funding. The grant stipulates the funds be used for improving student achievement using one of four federally dictated strategies. The strategies are: transformation, turnaround, restart with new faculty and administration or closure of failing schools. Transformation calls for a change in faculty and administration evaluations, mandated training in proven teaching techniques and rigorous curriculum change that focuses on student achievement. [93] In 2010, the high school was also identified as eligible for a School Improvement Grant.

Common Cents state initiative

The Crawford Central School District School Board chose to not 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.[94] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Real Estate Taxes

In 2010, the Crawford Central School Board set the property taxes rate at 48.6200 mills in Crawford County and 81.3600 mills in Mercer County. [95] A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Property taxes, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, apply only to real estate - land and buildings. The property tax is not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes including: places of worship, places of burial, private social clubs, charitable and educational institutions and government property. 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. Additionally, service related, disabled US military veterans may seek an exemption from paying property taxes. Pennsylvania school 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. [96]

  • 2009-10 - 46.7800 mills Crawford County and 77.7100 mills in Mercer County. [97]
  • 2008-09 - 44.8800 mills in Crawford County and in Mercer County 76.6900 mills. [98]
  • 2007-08 - 42.2300 mills in Crawford County and 71.1300 mills in Mercer County. [99]

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 permitted to raise taxes above that index, unless they allow voters to vote by referendum, or they seek an exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The base index for the 2011-2012 school year is 1.4 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.[100] With the 2011 state education budget, the General Assembly voted to end most of the Act 1 exceptions leaving only special education costs and pension costs. The cost of construction projects will go to the voters for approval via ballot referendum. [101]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Crawford Central School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[102]

  • 2006-07 - 5.3%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.6%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.0%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.6%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.0%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%

For the 2011-12 school year, the Crawford Central School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index including: Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue and Pension Obligations. Each year the Crawford Central 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. [103]

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. [104]

Crawford Central School Board applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11. The exceptions requested included Special Education costs and pension costs.[105] They also applied for exceptions in 2009 including Maintenance of Local Tax Revenue. [106] 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. [107]

Property tax relief

In 2011, property tax relief for 7,083 approved residents of Crawford Central School District was set at $205.[108] In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Crawford Central School District was $205 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 7,071 property owners applied for the tax relief. [109] 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. [110]

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, consequently individuals who have income 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. [111]

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%). [112]

Extracurriculars

The district offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policies.

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.[113]

References

  1. ^ Enrollment and Projections by LEA, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2010
  2. ^ American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau, 2009
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