Northern Potter School District

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Northern Potter School District
Map of Potter County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
745 SR 49 Northern Potter Road
Ulysses, Pennsylvania, Potter County, 16948-9570
United States
Information
School board9 elected members
SuperintendentScott V Graham M'ed 7/2012 - 6/30/2017 salary $105,398 (2012);[1] salary $102,081 (2009)[2]
AdministratorMrs Mary L Ransom, Business manager
Faculty46 teachers (2011)[3]
GradesPreschool (4year olds) -12th
Age4 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils533 pupils (2013) preschool through 12th, 550 pupils (2009-10)[4]
Kindergarten34
Grade 129
Grade 239
Grade 332
Grade 435
Grade 536
Grade 639
Grade 744
Grade 844
Grade 946
Grade 1043
Grade 1139
Grade 1236
OtherEnrollment to continue to decline[5]
MascotPanther
Budget$8,992,229 (2013-14)[6]

$8,912,631 (2012-13) [7]

Per pupil spending$22,324 (2008) 4th in PA for spending
Per pupil spending$15,728.12 (2010) 96th in PA
Website
 
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Northern Potter School District
Map of Potter County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
745 SR 49 Northern Potter Road
Ulysses, Pennsylvania, Potter County, 16948-9570
United States
Information
School board9 elected members
SuperintendentScott V Graham M'ed 7/2012 - 6/30/2017 salary $105,398 (2012);[1] salary $102,081 (2009)[2]
AdministratorMrs Mary L Ransom, Business manager
Faculty46 teachers (2011)[3]
GradesPreschool (4year olds) -12th
Age4 years old to 21 years old special education
Pupils533 pupils (2013) preschool through 12th, 550 pupils (2009-10)[4]
Kindergarten34
Grade 129
Grade 239
Grade 332
Grade 435
Grade 536
Grade 639
Grade 744
Grade 844
Grade 946
Grade 1043
Grade 1139
Grade 1236
OtherEnrollment to continue to decline[5]
MascotPanther
Budget$8,992,229 (2013-14)[6]

$8,912,631 (2012-13) [7]

Per pupil spending$22,324 (2008) 4th in PA for spending
Per pupil spending$15,728.12 (2010) 96th in PA
Website

The Northern Potter School District is a rural public school district located in northeastern Potter County, Pennsylvania. It serves the municipalities of Ulysses, Ulysses Township, Genesee, Bingham, and Harrison. Portions of Allegany Township and Hector Township are also within its boundaries. Northern Potter School District encompasses approximately 231 square miles (600 km2). According to 2010 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 4,113. In 2009, the District residents’ per capita income was $14,003, while the median family income was $35,333.[8] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501 [9] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[10]

According to Northern Potter School District officials, the District provided basic educational services to 580 pupils. The District employed: 54 teachers, 32 full-time and part-time support personnel, and four administrators during the 2011-12 school year. Northern Potter School District received $5.9 million in state funding in the 2011-12 school year. In school year 2009-10, the Northern Potter School District provided basic educational services to 590 pupils. Northern Potter School District employed: 54 teachers, 29 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 4 administrators. Northern Potter School District received more than $5.7 million in state funding in school year 2009-10.

Northern Potter School District operates two schools: an elementary school and a junior–senior high school. High school students may choose to attend a half day vocational training program at Seneca Highlands Area Career and Technical Center, which is located in Port Allegany, McKean County, Pennsylvania

Governance[edit]

The Northern Potter School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serves without compensation for a term of four years), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[11] 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 Superintendent and Business Manager are appointed by the school board. The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer with overall responsibility for all aspects of operations, including education and finance. The Business Manager is responsible for budget and financial operations. Neither of these officials are voting members of the School Board.

The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the Northern Potter School Board and District Administration an "F" for transparency based on a review of "What information can people find on their school district's website". It examined the Northern Potter 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.[12]

Academic achievement[edit]

Northern Potter School District was ranked 433rd out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2013.[13] The ranking was based on student academic achievement as demonstrated on the last three years of the PSSAs for: reading, writing math and science.[14] The PSSAs were given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs. This is the last year that high school students take the PSSAs.

Overachiever statewide ranking

In 2013, the Pittsburgh Business Times also reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Northern Potter School District ranked 369th. In 2012, the District was 249th. [19] The editor describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[20]

District AYP status history[edit]

In 2012, Northern Potter School District achieved AYP status.[21] In 2011, Northern Potter School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2011, 94 percent of the 500 Pennsylvania public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of Pennsylvania public school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.[22] Northern Potter School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 Northern Potter School District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.[23]

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2013, Northern Potter School District’s graduation rate was 91%.[24] In 2012, Northern Potter School District’s graduation rate was 86%.[25] In 2011, the graduation rate was 87.5%.[26] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Northern Potter Junior Senior High School's rate was 85.71% for 2010.[27]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

High school[edit]

Northern Potter Junior Senior High School is located at 763 Northern Potter Road, Ulysses. In 2013, school official reported an enrollment of 251 pupils with 47% from low income homes. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, the school reported an enrollment of 288 pupils in grades 7th through 12th, with 127 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 25.5 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 11:1.[31] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.[32]

2013 School Performance Profile

Northern Potter Junior Senior High School achieved 69 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - 61% of tested students were on grade level. In Algebra 1, 63% demonstrated on grade level skills. In Biology, just 45% of students showed on grade level science understanding at the conclusion of their biology course.[33] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Pennsylvania 11th grade students no longer take the PSSAs. Instead, they now take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.

AYP History

In 2012, Northern Potter Junior Senior High School declined to School Improvement I AYP status due to low reading and mathematics achievement.[34] In 2011 the school declined to Warning AYP Status due to lagging student and mathematics achievement. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the school administration was required to notify parents of the school's poor achievement outcomes and to offer the parent the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the District. Additionally the school administration was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to develop a School Improvement Plan to address the school's low student achievement. Under the Pennsylvania Accountability System, the school must pay for additional tutoring for struggling students.[35] The High School is eligible for special, extra funding under School Improvement Grants which the school must apply for each year.[36]

PSSA Results
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Math
11th Grade Science

Science in Motion Northern Potter Junior Senior High School took advantage of a state program called Science in Motion which brought college professors and sophisticated science equipment to the school to raise science awareness and to provide inquiry-based experiences for the students. The Science in Motion program was funded by a state appropriation and cost the school nothing to participate.[49] University of Pittsburgh at Bradford provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Among Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, graduation requirements widely vary. Northern Potter School Board requires 24 credits and prescribed courses that a student must pass to graduate. These include: English 4 years, Math 4 years, Social Studies 4 years, Science 3 years, Physical education 4 credits, health 2 credits, electives 15 credits.[50]

The District offers a Veterans Diploma to those who were honorably discharged in WWII, Korea War or Vietnam War.[51]

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.[52] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[53] Effective with the graduating class of 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education eliminated the state mandate that students complete a culminating project in order to graduate.[53]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, beginning with the class of 2017, public school students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, and English Literature by passing the Keystone Exams.[54][55][56] For the class of 2019, a composition exam will be added. For the class of 2020, passing a civics and government exam will be added to the graduation requirements.[57] In 2011, Pennsylvania high school students field tested the Algebra 1, Biology and English Lit exams. The statewide results were: Algebra 1 38% on grade level, Biology 35% on grade level and English Lit - 49% on grade level.[58] Individual student, school or district reports were not made public, although they were reported to district officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students identified as having special needs and qualifying for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) may graduate by meeting the requirements of their IEP.

Dual enrollment[edit]

Northern Potter Senior High School offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Northern Potter received $973.00.[59] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[60] Under state rules, other students that reside in the district, who attend a private school, a charter school or are homeschooled are eligible to participate in this program.[61] In 2010, Governor Edward Rendell eliminated the grants to students, from the Commonwealth, due to a state budget crisis.

SAT scores[edit]

In 2013, Norther Potter School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 514. The Math average score was 503. The Writing average score was 486. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nation-wide SAT results were the same as in 2012.[62]

In 2012, 23 Northern Potter School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 497. The Math average score was 481. The Writing average score was 455. The statewide Verbal SAT exams results were: Verbal 491, Math 501, Writing 480. In the USA, 1.65 million students took the exams achieving scores: Verbal 496, Math 514, Writing 488. According to the College Board the maximum score on each section was 800, and 360 students nationwide scored a perfect 2,400.

In 2011, 14 Northern Potter School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 544. The Math average score was 549. The Writing average score was 491.[63] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among states with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[64] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged 497 (out of 800) verbal, 514 math and 489 in writing.[65]

Junior High[edit]

In 2013, the 8th grade was tested in writing skills. They found 70% of the students showed on grade level skills.[66]

8th Grade Science

Northern Potter Children's School[edit]

Northern Potter Children's School is located at 745 Northern Potter Road, Ulysses. Northern Potter Children's School provides preschool to 3 and 4 year olds and full day Kindergarten through 6th grade. In 2013, the school reported an enrollment of 281 students, with 54% of the students from low income homes. Fourteen percent of the pupils receive special education services in 2013. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, Northern Potter Children's School reported an enrollment of 317 pupils, with 177 pupils receiving a federal free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school is a federal Title I school. The school employed 20.6 teachers, yielding a student–teacher ratio of 15:1.[68] According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 100% of its teachers were rated "Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind Act.[69]

2013 School Performance Profile

Northern Potter Children's School achieved a score of 78.7 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 61% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 59% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 71% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, just 68% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 63% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.[70]

AYP History

Northern Potter Children's School declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to lagging student achievement in reading and mathematics.[71] The school achieved AYP status from 2004 to 2011. In 2003, Northern Potter Children's School was in Warning AYP status due to low student achievement in reading and mathematics.

4th Grade Science

Special Education Services[edit]

In December 2013, Northern Potter School District Administration reported that 85 pupils or 14% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 58.8% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, Northern Potter School District Administration reported that 86 pupils or 14% of the district's pupils received Special Education services, with 50% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.[77] In December, 2008 the District reported that 15.5% of pupils received special education services.[78] Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism.[79] The largest group of stduents are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

A parent or staff member may initiate the referral process for special assistance or gifted education, by submitting a written request. Screening information will be used by the Prereferral Intervention Team to meet the child's specified needs or to document the need for further evaluation. If it is determined that a child needs additional services, the Prereferral Intervention Team makes adjustments relative to such things as the child's learning style, behavior, physical inabilities, and speech problems. Recommendations are made and put into effect in the regular classroom setting. Parents are involved in the prereferral process. If a student does not make progress with prereferral involvement, parents will be asked to give written permission for necessary individual professional evaluations.[80] The District contracts with Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9 to provide needed services.

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for 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.[81] The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs.[82] Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[83] The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[84] In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive that schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.[85]

Northern Potter School District received a $422,302 supplement for special education services in 2010.[86] For the 2011-12, 2012–13 and 2013-14 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-11. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[87][88]

Gifted education[edit]

Northern Potter District Administration reported that 9 or 1.5% of its students were gifted in 2009. The highest percentage of gifted students reported among all 500 school districts and 100 public charter schools in Pennsylvania was North Allegheny School District with 15.5% of its students identified as gifted.[89] 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.[90][91]

Wellness policy[edit]

Northern Potter School Board established a district wellness policy in 2006 - Policy 246.[92] The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 - 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, school districts must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, districts were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Districts were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus.[93] The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

The District offers a free school breakfast to low-income children. The free and reduced price meal program is partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).[94] All students attending the school can eat breakfast and lunch. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are provided a breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. Children from families with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be charged no more than 30 cents per breakfast. A foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household is eligible for both a free breakfast and a free lunch. Runaway, homeless and Migrant Youth are also automatically eligible for free meals.[94][95]

In 2013, the USDA issued new restrictions to foods in public schools. The rules apply to foods and beverages sold on all public school district campuses during the day. They limit vending machine snacks to a maximum of 200 calories per item. Additionally, all snack foods sold at school must meet competitive nutrient standards, meaning they must have fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein in them or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D.[96] In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 all US public school districts are required to raise the price of their school lunches to $2.60 regardless of the actual cost of providing the lunch.[97]

Northern Potter School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available in each building to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance.[98] Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

Highmark Healthy High 5 grant[edit]

In 2011, Northern Potter School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. Northern Potter Children's School received $7,700 which was used to fund Winter Sports Program. The Junior Senior High School also received a $7,850 grant for its Winter Sports Program.[99] Beginning in 2006, Highmark Foundation engaged in a 5 year, $100 million program to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents through local nonprofits and schools.

Budget[edit]

Pennsylvania public school districts budget and expend funds according to procedures mandated by the General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). An annual operating budget is prepared by school district administrative officials. A uniform form is furnished by the PDE and submitted to the board of school directors for approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year on July 1.

Under Pennsylvania’s Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 of the Special Session of 2006, all school districts of the first class A, second class, third class and fourth class must adopt a preliminary budget proposal. The proposal must include estimated revenues and expenditures and the proposed tax rates. This proposed budget must be considered by the Board no later than 90 days prior to the date of the election immediately preceding the fiscal year. The preliminary budget proposal must also be printed and made available for public inspection at least 20 days prior to its adoption. The board of school directors may hold a public hearing on the budget, but are not required to do so. The board must give at least 10 days’ public notice of its intent to adopt the final budget according to Act 1 of 2006.[100]

In 2012, the average teacher salary in Northern Potter School District was $56,135.84 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $15,445.55 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $71,581.39.[101]

In 2011, the average teacher salary in Northern Potter School District was $52,446.24 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers receive was $14,186.19 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $66,632.43.[102]

In 2007, the average teacher salary in the district was $48,505 for 180 days worked. This was the highest average teacher salary in Potter County in 2007.[103] In 2009 salaries of NPSD teachers range from $98,325 to $38,000.[104] 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.[105] Additionally, the teachers received a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, 10 paid sick days which accumulate, and other benefits.[106] According to State Rep. Glen Grell, a trustee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System Board, a 40-year educator can retire with a pension equal to 100 percent of their final salary.[107]

Administrative spending Northern Potter School District's administrative costs per pupil were $973 in 2008 which ranked 80th among Pennsylvania's 501 public school districts. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[108] In 2007 the school board awarded a five year employment contract to Scott V. Graham. The starting salary was $95,000 plus an extensive benefits package including life insurance, health insurance, a defined benefit pension, and the taxpayer pays for dues, as well as travel to conferences.[109]

Per pupil spending In 2008, Northern Potter School District reported spending $22,324 per pupil which was 4th highest in the state out of 500 school districts.[110] In 2010, Northern Potter's per pupil spending was $15,728.12.[111] Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09.[112] In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.[113] The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Pennsylvania spent $8,191 per pupil in school year year 2000-01.[114]

Reserves In 2008, Northern Potter School District reported a balance of $669,537 in its unreserved-designated fund. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $237,826.[115] In 2010, Norther Potter School District Administration reported an increase to $716,500 in the unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The District reported $569,038 in its unreserved-designated fund in 2010. In 2013, the District's had $1,659,135 in reserve funds. Pennsylvania public school district reserve funds are divided into two categories – designated and undesignated. The undesignated funds are not committed to any planned project. Designated funds and any other funds, such as capital reserves, are allocated to specific projects. School districts are required by state law to keep 5 percent of their annual spending in the undesignated reserve funds to preserve bond ratings. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, from 2003 to 2010, as a whole, Pennsylvania school districts amassed nearly $3 billion in reserved funds.[116]

Tuition Students who live in the Northern Potter School District's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to Northern Potter School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the District's schools. The 2012 tuition rates are Elementary School - $10,563.25, High School - $13,429.96.[117]

Audit In 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Several findings were cited, including teacher credentials.[118] In 2013, another audit was conducted. Findings were reported to the administration and school board officials.

Northern Potter School District is funded by a combination of local taxes, including an earned income tax 1%, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, Act 511 and Section 679 per capita taxes be $5.00 each, occupational tax rate be 50% of assessed valuation, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants can provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension income and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax, regardless of the individual's wealth.[119]

State basic education funding[edit]

For the 2013-14 school year, Northern Potter School District received a 0.9% increase or $4,159,129 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $37,798 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, Northern Potter School District received $57,522 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Allegheny County, South Fayette Township School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 5.5%. The District has the option of applying for several other state and federal grants to increase revenues. The Commonwealth’s budget increased Basic Education Funding statewide by $123 million to over $5.5 billion. Most of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts received an increase of Basic Education Funding in a range of 0.9% to 4%. Eight public school districts received exceptionally high funding increases of 10% to 16%. The highest increase in state funding was awarded to Austin Area School District which received a 22.5% increase in Basic Education Funding.[120] The state funded the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.[121]

For the 2012-13 school year, Northern Potter School District received $4,178,853.[122] The Governor's Executive Budget for 2012-2013 included $9.34 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade public education, including $5.4 billion in basic education funding, which was an increase of $49 million over the 2011-12 budget. In addition, the Commonwealth provided $100 million for the Accountability Block grant program. Northern Potter School District received $57,522. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS.[123] This amount is a $21,823,000 increase (0.34%) over the 2011-2012 appropriations for Basic Education Funding, School Employees' Social Security, Pupil Transportation, Nonpublic and Charter School Pupil Transportation.

In 2011-12, Northern Potter School District received a $4,121,331 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding.[124][125] Additionally, Northern Potter School District received $57,522 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget included $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount was a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011.[126] 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.[127] In 2010, the District reported that 292 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.[128]

In the 2010-11 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania again provided a base 2% increase in Basic Education Funding (BEF) for a total of $4,287,833 to Northern Potter School District. The majority of Potter County districts received the state's base 2% increase. The highest increase in Potter County went to Coudersport Area School District which received a 5.50% increase in BEF. The largest increase in Pennsylvania, went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state Basic Education Funding in 2010.[129][130] The Commonwealth's hold harmless policy regarding state basic education funding continued where each district received at least the same amount as it received the prior school year, even when enrollment had significantly declined. The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward Rendell and then Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal given each February. This was the second year of Governor Rendell’s policy to fund some districts at a far greater rate than others.[131]

In the 2009-10 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided Northern Potter School District a base 2% increase in Basic Education funding for a total of $4,203,758. For comparison, Governor Rendell gave a 7.46% increase in funding to Bradford Area School District and Hazleton Area School District received a 13.36% increase in state funding in 2009. Ninety school Pennsylvania public school districts received a 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009.[132] The amount of increase each school district received was set by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, as a part of the state budget proposal.[133] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania spent $7,824 Per Pupil in the year 2000. This amount increased up to $12,085 by the year 2008.[134][135]

The state Basic Education funding to Northern Potter School District in 2008-09 was $4,121,330.60.

Accountability Block Grants[edit]

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, Northern Potter School District applied for and received $156,129 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the past five years.[136][137]

Classrooms for the Future grant[edit]

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 to 2009. Northern Potter School District did not apply to participate in any of the three years the grant ran. It was one of just fifty four districts that did not receive state funding for computers and smart boards.[138] In Potter County the highest award was given to Coudersport Area School District. The highest funding statewide was awarded to Philadelphia City School District in Philadelphia County - $9,409,073. In 2010, Classrooms for the Future funding was curtailed statewide, by Governor Rendell, due to a multibillion dollar state financial crisis.

Science It’s Elementary grant[edit]

Northern Potter Children's School successfully applied to participate and received a Science It’s Elementary grant in 2008-09. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was offered in 143 schools reaching 2,847 teachers and 66,973 students across Pennsylvania.[139] In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Education initiated an effort to improve science instruction in the Commonwealth’s public elementary schools. Called Science: It’s Elementary, the program is a hands on instruction approach for elementary science classes that develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills.[140] To encourage schools to adopt the program’s standards aligned curriculum, the state provided a grant to cover the costs of materials and extensive mandatory teacher training.[141] Northern Potter School District was required to develop a three-year implementation plan for the participating school. They had to appoint a district liaison who was paid $3000 by PDE to serve as the conduit of all information between the district and the Department and its agents along with submitting orders and distributing supplies to implementing teachers. For the 2006-07 state education budget, $10 million was allocated. The 2006-07 State Education Budget provided $635 million in new spending for pre-K through 12th grades for the 2006-07 school year. It marked an 8-percent increase over 2005-06 public school funding by the Commonwealth.[142] The grant program was expanded to $14.5 million in the 2008-09 budget. The grant was discontinued in 2010 by Governor Rendell due to a massive state budget.

Education Assistance grant[edit]

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 Northern Potter School District received $30,892.[143]

Other grants[edit]

Northern Potter School District did not participate in: PA DEP Environmental Education grants, the 2012 and 2013 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grants, Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants,[144] nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.

Federal Stimulus funding[edit]

Northern Potter School District received $822,336 in 2009-2010 of ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students.[145][146][147] The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.[148] Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly advised to use the funds for one-time expenditures like: acquiring equipment, making repairs to buildings, training teachers to provide more effective instruction or purchasing books and software.

Race to the Top Grant[edit]

Northern Potter 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 improving student academic achievement.[149] 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.[150] Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[151] Substantial local property tax increases will be needed to make up the declined revenue.

Real estate taxes[edit]

Property tax rates in 2013-14 were set by Northern Potter School Board at 30.1670 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 across a region.[152] 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. 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.[153] When the school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, a state board equalizes the tax rates between the counties.[154] In 2010, miscalculations by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts, including those that did not cross county borders.[155]

According to a report prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the total real estate taxes collected by all school districts in Pennsylvania rose from $6,474,133,936 in 1999-00 to $10,438,463,356 in 2008-09 and to $11,153,412,490 in 2011.[163] The average yearly property tax paid by Potter County residents amounts to about 2.95% of their yearly income. Potter County is ranked 624th of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income.[164] 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%).[165]

Act 1 Adjusted index[edit]

The Act 1 of 2006 Index regulates the rates at which each school district can raise property taxes in Pennsylvania. Districts are not allowed 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 2010-11 school year was 1.4 percent, but it can be adjusted higher, depending on a number of factors, such as local 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, increasing rising health care 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.[166] In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten exceptions to the Act 1 Index.[167] Several exceptions were maintained: 1) costs to pay interest and principal on indebtedness incurred prior to September 4, 2004 for Act 72 schools and prior to June 27, 2006 for non-Act 72 schools; 2) costs to pay interest and principal on electoral debt; 3) costs incurred in providing special education programs and services (beyond what is already paid by the State); and 4) costs due to increases of more than the Index in the school’s share of payments to PSERS (PA school employees pension fund) taking into account the state mandated PSERS contribution rate.[168][169]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Northern Potter School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.[170]

For the 2013-14 budget year, Northern Potter School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit. For the school budget year 2013-14, 311 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index. Another 171 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 89 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. For the pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.[175]

For the 2012-13 budget year, Northern Potter School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. For 2012-2013, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; 223 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeded the Index limit. For the exception for pension costs, 194 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 129 districts received approval to exceed the tax limit.[176]

For the 2011-12 school year, Northern Potter School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the Northern Potter 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 published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[177]

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.[178]

For the 2010-11 school year, the Northern Potter School Board did not seek any exceptions and budgeted within the Act 1 Index limit.[179] 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.[180]

Property tax relief[edit]

For 2013-14, Property Tax Relief payments for Northern Potter School District homestead owners was $199. In 2009, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Northern Potter School District was $249 per approved permanent primary residence. This was among the lowest amounts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the District, 946 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.[181] In 2009, 79% of Potter County property owners applied for the property tax relief.[182]

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.[183]

Enrollment[edit]

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, total enrollment K-12 was 550 students in 2010. There were 49 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 had 33 students. Enrollment in Northern Potter School District enrollment continued to decline to 533 pupils after including preschool students in 2013.[184] Northern Potter School District spent $973 per pupil on administrative costs in 2008. This was ranked 69th of 500 school districts for administrative spending. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil.[108] With limited resources, opportunities for students are acutely 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.[185] Consolidation with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial cost savings for people in all the impacted communities.[186] The savings could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes.[187]

A study of Pennsylvania public school spending, conducted by Standard and Poor's, examined the consolidation of Northern Potter School District Administration with neighboring Galeton Area School District. It found there would be substantial administrative savings without closing any schools. It project taxpayer savings of over $1 million in 2008.[188]

According to a 2009 school district administration consolidation proposal by then Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to reduce local property taxes.[189] Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools.[190] In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Fiscal Responsibility Task Force released a report which found that consolidating school district administrations with one neighboring district would save the Commonwealth $1.2 billion without forcing the consolidation of any schools.[191] Then Northern Potter Superintendent, Scott graham wrote an editorial opinion published in the school's newsletter voicing opposition to the plan due in part to the loss of superintendent positions as well as other costly administrator positions in the county.[192]

Over the 2000 to 2010 decade, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment decrease by 8 percent.[193] 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.[194] 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.[195] In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants released a report finding that the state would save hundreds of millions of tax dollars, by cutting the number of school administrations in half through consolidation, with no impact on programs offered to students.[196]

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.[194] 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.[195]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Northern Potter School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and an extensive, costly sports program. Eligibility to participate is determined by school board policy.[197]

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.[198]

Sports[edit]

The District is in PIAA District 9.

The District funds:

Junior High School Sports

According to PIAA directory July 2012 [199]

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