|Karns City Area School District|
Map of Armstrong County Pennsylvania School Districts
|1446 Kittanning Pike|
Butler County, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, 16041
|Superintendent||Mr. Eric Ritzert|
|School board||9 elected members|
|Students and staff|
|Colors||Purple, Gold, and White|
Karns City Area School District is a public school district in Butler County, Clarion County, and Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The boroughs of Chicora, East Brady, Fairview, Karns City, Petrolia, and Bruin, as well as the townships of Parker, Fairview, Donegal, Perry, Sugarcreek, Brady's Bend, and Brady are within district boundaries. There are two K-6 elementary schools- Chicora and Sugarcreek Elementaries, as well as Karns City Junior-Senior High School. The district encompasses approximately 125 square miles (320 km2). According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 10,720. According to district officials, in school year 2007-08 the KCASD provided basic educational services to 1,798 pupils through the employment of 127 teachers, 102 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 9 administrators.
- 1 Governance
- 2 Academic achievement
- 3 Special education
- 4 Enrollment
- 5 Budget
- 6 Extracurriculars
- 7 References
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. 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.
Karns City Area School District was ranked 177th out of the 498 ranked Pennsylvania school districts in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic performance as demonstrated in 3 years of reading, writing, mathematics and two years of science PSSA results.
- 2009 - 193rd
- 2008 - 229th
- 2007 - 270th out of 501 districts.
- Graduation Rate
Junior Senior High School
In 2010 the attendance rate was reported as 94%.
- PSSA Results
- 11th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 83% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders on grade level.
- 2009 - 85%, State - 65%
- 2008 - 75%, State - 65%
- 2007 - 70%, State - 65%
- 11th Grade Math
- 2010 - 71% on grade level. In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 77%, State - 56%
- 2008 - 69%, State - 54%
- 2007 - 63%, State - 53%
- 11th Grade Science
- 2010 - 51% on grade level. State - 39% of 11th graders were on grade level.
- 2009 - 52%, State - 40%
- 2008 - 46%, State - 39%
College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 21% of Karns City Area 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. 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. 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.
The high school does not offer the Pennsylvania dual enrollment program which permits students to earn deeply discounted college credits while still enrolled in high school. Participants continue to have full access to their high school's programs and services, including the graduation ceremony. Over 400 Pennsylvania school districts offer this state-funded program.
Students in 7th through 11 grades are required to complete specific reading assignments during the summer break. There are two options for fulfilling the summer reading requirement. Complettion is part of the first quarter grade. Students may either read 400 pages and write 10 reading response entries or read 400 pages of Accelerated Reader program books. They must then take tests on the books in the fall.
The Karns City Area School Board has determined that students must earn 23 credits to graduate, including: 4 credits of English, 4 credits of Social Studies, 3 credits of Mathematics, 3 credits of Science, 2 credits of Physical Education/Health, 0.50 credit of Keyboarding, 0.25 credits of Driver Education, 0.50 credit Technology 2 and 5.75 credits in electives Additionally, students are expected to achieve proficient or advanced on the Reading and Math PSSAs.
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. At Karns City High School student may opt from 3 graduation projects: a World cultures project, a Physics science fair project, or an English research paper project.
According to Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
Junior high school
In 2009, the 8th grade was ranked 58th out of 141 western Pennsylvania middle schools based on three years of student academic achievement in PSSAs in: reading, math writing and one year of science. (Includes schools in: Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Westmoreland County, and Washington County
Karns City Junior Senior High School was selected as one of the 53 high schools in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report that is a high performing school. The school was identified as a Bronze level school for academic programs and student achievement.
- 8th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 88% on grade level. State - 81%
- 2009 - 83%, State - 80%
- 2008 - 83%, State - 78%
- 2007 - 84%, State - 75%
- 8th Grade Math
- 2010 - 67% on grade level. State - 75%
- 2009 - 69%, State - 71%
- 2008 - 71%, State - 70%
- 2007 - 69%, State - 67%
- 8th Grade Science
- 7th Grade Reading
- 2010 - 71% on grade level. State - 73%
- 2009 - 64%, State - 71.7%
- 2008 - 61%, State - 70%
- 2007 - 62%, State - 66%
- 7th Grade Math
- 2010 - 69% on grade level. State - 77%
- 2009 - 69%, State - 75%
- 2008 - 67%, State - 72%
- 2007 - 66%, State - 67%
In December 2009, the district administration reported that 193 pupils or 11.4% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.
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 Supervisor of Special Education.
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.
Karns City Area School District received a $1,120,020 supplement for special education services in 2010.
The District Administration reported that 102 or 6.20% of its students were gifted in 2009. 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.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 1700 students enrolled in K-12th grades. There were 130 students in the Class of 2009. The class of 2010 has 106 students. Annual enrollment in the Karns City School District is projected to continue to decline by another 200 students by 2019. The district employs 8 administrators, a psychologist, a significant complement of teachers, as well as, many full and part-time staff members. The Administrative infrastructure costs per pupil are high. With limited resources, opportunities for students at the high school are limited. Consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings. The excessive administrative overhead dollars could then be redirected to enriching the academic programs or to substantially reducing property taxes. Consolidation of two or more school district central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. Additionally, 63% of the 49 superintendents, that responded to a consolidation of schools survey, expressed agreement that consolidation with another district could help them provide additional academic enrichment opportunities for their students. This is especially true for districts that are trying to increase the rigor of their academic programs.
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). 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. This results in excessive school administration bureaucracy and not enough course diversity. 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.
In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $52,411 for 180 days worked. The district ranked first in Butler County for average teacher salary in 2007. On April 7, 2010, the district teachers' union announced the intent to go out on strike regarding their contract. 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. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.
In 2008, Karns City School District reported spending $10,813 per pupil. This spending ranked 412th in the commonwealth.
Karns City Area administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $656.36 per pupil. This ranked 375th out of 500 Pennsylvania school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.
In November 2010, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the school board and district administration.
In 2009, the district reported a $1,565,036 in an unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.
State basic education funding
For 2010-11 the Karns City Area School District received a 2.96% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $9,875,564 payment. The highest increase in BEF in Butler County was provided to South Butler County School District which received a 6.21% increase in BEF. Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County received the highest increase in the state at 23.65% increase in funding for the 2010-11 school year. One hundred fifty school districts received the base 2% increase in 2010-11. 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.
In the 2009-2010 budget year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 3.46% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $9,592,041. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $9,271,554. The district also received supplemental funding for English language learners, Title 1 federal funding for low-income students, for district size, a poverty supplement from the commonwealth and more. South Butler County School District received 4.54% increase, which was the highest increase in Butler County for the 2009-10 school year. Among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received the highest with a 22.31% increase in funding.
Accountability Block Grants
Beginning in 2004-2005, the state launched the Accountability Block Grant school funding. This program has provided $1.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Accountability Block Grant program requires that its taxpayer dollars are focused on specific interventions that are most likely to increase student academic achievement. These interventions include: teacher training, all-day kindergarten, lower class size K-3rd grade, literacy and math coaching programs that provide teachers with individualized job-embedded professional development to improve their instruction, before or after school tutoring assistance to struggling students. For 2010-11 the Karns City Area School District applied for and received $355,798 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide before and after school tutoring and full-day kindergarten for the 7th year.
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, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Karns City Area School District did not apply for funding in 2006-07. In 2007-08 it received $215,494. For the 2008-09 school year, the district received $45,413 for a total of $260,907. Of the 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, 447 of them received Classrooms for the Future grant awards.
Federal stimulus funding
In 2009-2010, the district received an extra $1,589,233 in ARRA - Federal stimulus money to be used in specific education programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding is for 2009-10 and 2010-2011.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Karns City Area School District had 625 students receiving free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.
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 in additional federal dollars for extending student academic achievement. 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. 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.
Common Cents state initiative
The Karns City Area School Board did 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. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Real estate taxes
Property tax rates in 2009 were set at 35.2500 mills for residents in Armstrong County. Property owners in Butler County have a millage set at 102.7900 mills. Clarion County residents millage rate was 59.2400 mills. 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.
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 authorized 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 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.
The School District Adjusted Index for the Karns City Area School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.
- 2006-07 - 5.7%, Base 3.9%
- 2007-08 - 5.0%, Base 3.4%
- 2008-09 - 6.5%, Base 4.4%
- 2009-10 - 6.0%, Base 4.1%
- 2010-11 - 4.3%, Base 2.9%
- 2011-12 - 2.1%, Base 1.4%
The Karns City Area School Board did not apply for any applied for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2010-11. 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.
Property tax relief
In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Karns City Area School District was $213 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2,786 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 buildings used for agricultural purposes. The farm must be at least 10 contiguous acres (40,000 m2) and must include the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption.
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%).
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.
- Pennsylvania Public School Code Governance 2010
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- Pittsburgh Business Times (May 6, 2010). "Statewide Honor Roll Ranking 2010".
- Pittsburgh Business Times (May 23, 2007). "Three of top school districts in state hail from Allegheny County".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (February 20, 2011). "Karns City Junior-Senior High School Report Card 2010". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011.
- "Karns City Junior-Senior High School Report Card 2009 http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c10/104103603". External link in
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