Newport School District (Pennsylvania)


Newport School District (Pennsylvania)
Newport School District
Address
420 Fickes Lane
Newport, Pennsylvania, Perry, 17074
United States
Information
Superintendent open position
Principal Elementary - Mr. Michael Smith
Principal Middle School - Mr. Joseph Stroup
Principal High School - Mr. Bob Savige
Grades K-12
Kindergarten 125
Grade 1 69
Grade 2 69
Grade 3 95
Grade 4 85
Grade 5 91
Grade 6 71
Grade 7 91
Grade 8 69
Grade 9 107
Grade 10 81
Grade 11 84
Grade 12 68
Other Enrollment projected to remain under 1100 through 2019[1]
Mascot Buffalo
Newspaper Blue & White
Yearbook Blunita
Website

Newport School District is a Class 3 district in Perry County, Pennsylvania situated in the town of Newport, Pennsylvania, located in the eastern section of Perry County along the Juniata River 23 miles (37 km) northwest of Harrisburg, the Capital. The District encompasses about 73 square miles (190 km2) with a population of approximately 8,000 citizens. Newport Schools enroll less than 1,100 students annually from the borough of Newport and five townships in Perry County; Buffalo, Howe, Juniata, Miller, and Oliver. The district consists of one PreK-5 elementary school, one 6-12 middle/high school, and the district office. It employs approximately 118 professional staff, 7 administrators and 65 support staff. Newport reports that it employes 100% highly qualified professional staff.

Contents

Governance

Newport 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.[2] 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 "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.[3]

The district is served by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 which offers a variety of services including: a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a group purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.

Schools

All three schools maintain a full-time student assistance program and extra instructional support for all students. An alternative education program is offered on-site after-school. The Zone after-school program provides after-school activities for students at the elementary and middle level. Art and music departments offer students instruction in instrumental music, voice, music theory, drawing & painting, ceramics, design, and glasswork. Students may participate in marching band, orchestral band, jazz band, chorus, and Innovations, our premier singing ensemble. The high school also has journalism classes and produces a high school newspaper, the Blue & White several times during the school year. In addition, students may participate in audio-visual activities at our television studios at both buildings where several students have produced quality news and human interest reports. The district offers a gifted acceleration program.

Academic achievement

Newport School District was ranked 451st out of 498 Pennsylvania School Districts in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on student academic achievement based on five years of the PSSA math, reading, writing and three years of science results.[4]

  • 2010 - 444th
  • 2009 - 440th
  • 2008 - 453rd
  • 2007 - 409th of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts.[5]

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Newport School District ranked 449th. The paper describes the ranking as: "the 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 lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations." [6]

  • 2010 - 464th [7]
  • 2009 - 478th

In 2009 the student achievement of the district fell in the 11th percentile among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. (0-99; 100 is state best) [8]

Graduation Rate

In 2011, the graduation rate was 93%. [9] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4 year cohort graduation rate. Newport School District's rate was 82% for 2010. [10]

Former calculation graduation rate

High school

Newport High School was an inaugural participant in Project720. It was a participant in Project540 through the University of Pennsylvania. The high school offers an academy system which allows students to specialize in one of two areas; Arts & Humanities or Science & Industry. AP courses are offered in all core subject areas and full-range agricultural education, business education and technology education programs are available for all students. Approximately 50 students attend Cumberland Perry Career and Technical School annually.

In January 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified the district as in the bottom 5% of the state's school districts, for student academic achievement. [15] Newport High School is in School Improvement Level 1 status due to chronically low academic achievement through 2010. [16]

In August 2010, the high school was required by law to notify students that they could transfer out of the Newport High School to another high school within the district due to Newport High School's chronic low achievement in reading and mathematics. [17]

In a November 2010 report by the The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education, Newport High School was cited as the most regressed district in Pennsylvania on the 11th Grade Math PSSA from 2004 to 2010. The study found the 11th grade math average dropped almost 30 percentage points on the test.[18]

In a February 2011, Newport School District Strategic Plan Report to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the school administration acknowledged it had not revised the curriculum nor implemented other academic achievement improvement strategies that had been stated in its 2008 strategic plan. [19]

PSSA Results:
11th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 61% on grade level, (15% below basic). 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.[20]
  • 2010 - 53% on grade level, In Pennsylvania, 67% of 11th graders on grade level.[21]
  • 2009 - 58.7%, State- 65%
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 65%
  • 2007 - 59%, State - 65%
  • 2006 - 52%, State - 65%
11th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 45.5%, on grade level (29% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 60.3% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 25%, State - 59% [22]
  • 2009 - 41%, State - 56% [23]
  • 2008 - 49%, State - 56%
  • 2007 - 44%, State - 53% [24]
  • 2006 - 49%, State - 52% [25]
11th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 44% on grade level (16% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 29%, State - 30%
  • 2009 - 26%, State - 40%
  • 2008 - 34%, State - 39% [26]

College remediation: According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 44% of Newport 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.[27] 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.[28] 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.

Dual enrollment

The 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 at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books.[29] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[30]

For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $5,008 for the program.

Graduation requirements

The Board requires that each candidate for graduation shall have earned twenty-four (24) credits. [31]

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. [32]

By Pennsylvania State School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 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.[33]

Middle school

Newport Middle School is housed on the third floor of the middle/high school building and offers a full range of activities in addition to a challenging core curriculum. Middle school teams meet regularly to assess performance and student progress to provide the personal attention so important to students at this age. Many students at the Newport Middle School did not achieve adequate yearly progress in 2009 and 2010. [34] This resulted in the school being placed in School Improvement level 1 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2009 and 2010.

8th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 72% on grade level (10% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 81.8% of 8th graders on grade level.
  • 2010 - 78%, (13% below basic). State - 81% [35]
  • 2009 - 76% (12% below basic). State - 80% [36]
  • 2008 - 71%, State - 78%
8th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 67% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76.9% of 8th graders are on grade level
  • 2010 - 70%, (22% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 60% (18% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 66%, State - 70% [37]
8th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 41% on grade level (29% below basic). State – 58.3% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2010 - 45%, (32% below basic). State - 57%
  • 2009 - 54% (24% below basic), State - 54%
  • 2008 - 41%, State - 52%
7th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 61% on grade level (17% below basic). State – 76%
  • 2010 - 73%, (11% below basic). State - 73% [38]
  • 2009 - 64% (11% below basic), State - 71%
  • 2008 - 55%, State - 70%
7th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 75% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 78.6%
  • 2010 - 79% (7% below basic), State - 77%
  • 2009 - 65% (11% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 72%, State - 70%
6th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 65% on grade level (16% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 69.9% of 6th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 57%, (21% below basic). State - 68%
  • 2009 - 57%, (12% below basic), State - 67% [39]
  • 2008 - 61%, State - 67%
6th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 62% on grade level (18% below basic). State - 78.8%
  • 2010 - 64%, (24% below basic). State - 78%
  • 2009 - 66% (8% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2008 - 60%, State - 72%

Elementary School

Newport Elementary School offers small class sizes and specials in art, music, speech, technology, science, and health & PE. The elementary features full-day kindergarten, a student-operated television studio, an elementary student assistance program, and a breakfast program.

In 2010 the district reported a 95% attendance rate at the elementary school. Although the student achievement was universally below state level, the school was rated as making Adequate Yearly Progress. [40]

5th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 68% on grade level (15% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.
  • 2010 - 61%, (27% below basic). State - 64% [41]
  • 2009 - 52%, (25% below basic)., State - 64%[42]
  • 2008 - 39%, State - 61%
5th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 63% on grade level (15% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2010 - 60%, (23% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2009 - 55%, (18% below basic)., State - 73%
  • 2008 - 58%, State - 73%
4th Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 71%, (19% below basic), State – 73.3%
  • 2010 - 68%, (16% below basic). State - 72%
  • 2009 - 65%, (19% below basic), State - 72%
  • 2008 - 59%, State - 70%
4th Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 83% (8% below basic), State – 85.3%
  • 2010 - 71%, (15% below basic). State - 84%
  • 2009 - 80%, (7% below basic)., State - 81%
  • 2008 - 73%, State - 79%
4th Grade Science:
  • 2011 - 83%, (3% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 77% on grade level, State - 81%
  • 2009 - 84%, State - 83%
  • 2008 - 69%, State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading:
  • 2011 - 81%, (4% below basic), State – 77.2%
  • 2010 - 74%, (13% below basic). State - 75%
  • 2009 - 86%, (7% below basic), State - 77%
  • 2008 - 76%, State - 77%
3rd Grade Math:
  • 2011 - 89%, (4% below basic), State – 83.5%
  • 2010 - 82%, (3% below basic). State - 84.5%
  • 2009 - 86%, (5% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2008 - 78%, State - 80%

Preschool

The district operates a preschool that is funded by a state Pre K Counts grant.[43] [44] Perry County Early Childhood, Newport Public Library, Head Start, and the Girl Scouts of America all partner with Newport Elementary to provide a preschool activity night called “Play Stations”. Newport Elementary also operates the only PreK program in Perry County.

Special Education

In December 2009, the district administration reported that 236 pupils or 20% of the district's pupils received Special Education services.[45]

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.[46]

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.[47]

Newport School District received a $833,205 supplement for special education services in 2010.[48]

Gifted Education

The District Administration reported that 19 or 1.61% of its students were gifted in 2009. [49] By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The primary emphasis is on enrichment and acceleration of the regular education curriculum through a push in model with the gifted instructor in the classroom with the regular instructor. Students identified as gifted attending the High School have access to dual enrollment with local colleges. 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. [50]

Budget

In 2007, the district employed 96 teachers who earned an average teacher salary of $47,811 for 180 days worked.[51] 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.[52] Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance, professional development reimbursement, personal days, sick days, and other benefits.[53] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 165 students received free or reduced lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[54]

The district administrative costs per pupil were $784 in 2008. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. [55] At the December 16, 2009 meeting the school board eliminated the following administration positions effective July 1, 2010: Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Director of Building and Grounds, Middle School Principal.[56]

In 2008, the Newport School District spent $12,622 per pupil which ranked 207th out of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. [57]

Reserves

In 2009, the district reported $117,100 in a unreserved-undesignated fund balance. The designated fund balance was reported as zero.[58]

The district budget was $16 million (2009–2010). In mid 2009, it was revealed that the district had a $1.1 million shortfall. The Board projects a $1.2 million dollar deficit by the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

For the 2010-2011 school year, the school board is projecting a substantial property tax increase to fund a $16.1 million dollar budget. This will mean a property tax increase of nearly $300 for the average property owner. The school board sought multiple Act 1 Index exceptions to permit this tax increase.[59]

In March 2010, the board chose to eliminate 14 teaching positions.[60] The elementary school had 50 teachers during the 2009 - 2010 school year. The cuts will save the district $552,000. They include eliminating the non mandatory preschool program, a music teacher and the elective Discovery Program. The cuts are effective for the 2010-2011 school year.

Superintendent Buyout

Dr. Kerry W. Helm, Superintendent since 2006, resigned in December 2009, under board pressure due to taxpayer anger over the financial mismanagement. He negotiated a severance package that included: cash payments of $100,000 in two installments: $80,000 to be paid in January and $20,000 to be paid by Oct. 1, 2010. The district also agreed to make $981.63 in COBRA health insurance payments through June 2010. Helm had recently signed a new three-year contract in February 2009. Per that contract, the district would have needed to spend in excess $258,000 to buy him out of the $99,302 annual superintendent position.[61]

In January 2009, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the district. Findings were reported to the administration and school board. [62]

The district is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax, a property tax, a real estate transfer tax, coupled with substantial funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. Grants provide an opportunity to supplement school funding without raising local taxes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pension and Social Security income are exempted from state personal income tax and local earned income tax regardless of the individual's wealth. [63]

State basic education funding

In 2011-12, the district will receive $5,542,619 in state Basic Education Funding. [64] Additionally, the district will receive $81,880 in Accountability Block Grant funding. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 480 students received free or reduced lunches due to low family income in the 2010–11 school year.[65]

For 2010-11, the Newport School District received a 2% increase in state Basic Education Funding resulting in a $5,883,294 payment.[66] West Perry School District received a 5.14% increase, which was the highest increase in BEF in Perry County. 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.[67]

In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 4.07% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $5,767,935. Newport School District received the lowest increase in funding from the state, among all the public school districts in Perry County. The state Basic Education funding to the district in 2008-09 was $5,542,619.13.The district also received supplemental funding for: Title I (federal funding for low income students), for district size, a poverty supplement from the Commonwealth and more. In Dauphin County the highest state funding increase was 10.66% to Susquehanna Township School District.[68] Seventy school districts received a 2% increase in 2009. The Muhlenberg School District of Berks County received a 22.31% increase in funding in 2009. Individual district basic education funding is determined by the Governor and the Secretary of Education in the annual budget process.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 403 students received free or reduced lunches due to low family income in the 2007-2008 school year.[69]

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 Newport School District applied for and received $222,242 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district used the funding to provide full day kindergarten for the 7th year. [70] [71]

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), along with other specialized equipment and provided funding for teacher training to optimize the use of the computers. The program was funded from 2006-2009. Newport School District was not approved for funding in 2006-07. The Newport School district received $152,561 in 2007-08 and was given $45,413 for the 2008-09 school year. [72]

Education Assistance Grant

Newport School Administration did not apply for the state's 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. [73] [74]

Common Cents state initiative

The school board elected 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. [75] After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.

Federal Stimulus Funding

The district received $1,084,472 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low income students.[76]

School Improvement Grant

In the summer of 2011, the district administration did not apply for School Improvement Grant funding, from the federal government (over $9.9 million available). Both Newport High School and Newport MIddle School were eligible for 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. The Pennsylvania Education Secretary awarded $66 Million to reform Pennsylvania's lowest achieving schools[77]

For 2010-11, Newport School District did not apply for a School Improvement Grant. It was eligible for funding due to the chronic, low achievement at the high school and middle school. [78]

In 2010, Pennsylvania received $141 million from the federal department of education, to turn around its worst-performing schools. The funds were dispersed via a competitive grant program. [79] The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified 200 Pennsylvania schools as "persistently lowest achieving," making them eligible for this special funding. [80] Pennsylvania required low performing schools to apply or provide documentation about why they had not applied. The funds must be used, by the district, to turn around schools in one of four ways: school closure, restart - close the school and reopen it as a charter school. The other two options involve firing the principal. One would require at least half the faculty in a chronically poor performing school be dismissed. The second involves intensive teacher training coupled with strong curriculum revision or a longer school day. [81]

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 committing to improve student academic achievement.[82] 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 for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.[83]

The district employs three full-time technology personnel who service four fully equipped computer labs at the high school, two at the elementary school and five mobile wireless labs (Classrooms for the Future). In addition every classroom has at least one computer and many are equipped with Smartboards. The middle/high school library operates a mobile wireless lab of laptops for student use. Wireless internet access is available throughout the district. Both buildings in the district are monitored by digital surveillance equipment.

Real estate taxes

The Newport School Board set property tax rates for school year 2011-12 at 13.7670 mills. [84] 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. 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 (Local Tax Enabling Act), which are around 15% of revenues for school districts. [85]

  • 2010-11 - 17.8270 mills. [86]
  • 2009-10 - mills. [87]
  • 2008-09 - mills.[88]
  • 2007-08 - mills.[89]

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.[90]

The School District Adjusted Index for the Newport School District 2006-2007 through 2010-2011.[91]

  • 2006-07 - 5.5%, Base 3.9%
  • 2007-08 - 4.8%, Base 3.4%
  • 2008-09 - 6.1%, Base 4.4%
  • 2009-10 - 5.7%, Base 4.1%
  • 2010-11 - 4.1%, Base 2.9%
  • 2011-12 - 2.0%, Base 1.4%

Newport School Board applied for multiple exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budgets in 2010-11 including: Maintenance of revenues and pension costs. [92] 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.[93]

Property tax relief

In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the Newport School District was $194 per approved permanent primary residence. In the district, 2129 property owners applied for the tax relief.[94] In 2009, the district's property tax relief was set at $194 for 2,174 approved homesteads. This was the highest tax relief in Perry County in 2010. 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 acres (40,000 m2) contiguous and must be the primary residence of the owner. Farmers can qualify for both the homestead exemption and the farmstead exemption. The highest property tax relief in Pennsylvania was given to residents in Chester Upland School District in Delaware County, at $632 in 2009 and 2010.[95]

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, so people who make substantially more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).[96]

Enrollment

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are fewer than 1200 students enrolled in K-12. There were 97 students in the Class of 2009. The senior class of 2010 has 68 students. Enrollment in Newport School District is projected to continue to remain below 1150 through 2019. With limited local taxation resources, opportunities for students are limited. Consolidation of the administrations with adjacent school districts would achieve substantial administrative cost savings for people in each community. These excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging mathematics and science achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to substantially reduce property taxes. Consolidation of the central administrations would not require the closing of any schools.[97] A new district composed of Greenwood School District and Newport School District would have a student population of 2000 with stable enrollment projected for the next two decades.

Newport School District has an athletic partnership with the Greenwood High School for football, track, soccer, and wrestling.

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.[98] 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.[99] Less than 95 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts have enrollment below 1250 students, in 2007.[100]

Over the next 10 years, rural Pennsylvania school enrollment is projected to decrease 8 percent per a report by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.[101]

Renovations

The middle/high school recently underwent a $25 million renovation and additions project which is LEED Silver certified. The HVAC system has been converted to using geo-thermal energy to help reduce dependence on foreign oil as well as save money. A six thousand gallon cistern collects gray water to operate toilet facilities on all three floors of the building. The building features 21st century classrooms wired for technology, an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) auxiliary gymnasium and a new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) main gymnasium which seats approximately 1,500, a state of the art auditorium which seats 800, and state of the art technology education, agricultural education, and technology labs. The building is fully accessible to handicapped students and patrons.

Extracurricular

Newport Schools offer a full-range of extracurricular activities including football, baseball, softball, soccer, field hockey, basketball, wrestling, band and orchestra, chorus, and a wide variety of clubs and organizations. Newport students have represented the district at all levels of competition in both academic and extracurricular pursuits. Newport School District has an athletic partnership with Greenwood School District for football, track, soccer, and wrestling. Eligibility for participation is determined by the school board. [102] [103] [104]

The athletic stadium is named after George Katchmer who coached the school to its only undefeated season in 1953. There is a Buffalo pattern made from rocks displayed proudly behind the field.

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.[105] [106] [107]

References

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