West Branch Area School District is governed by 9 individually elected board members (serve four-year terms), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus resources on student success in acquiring reading and math skills. The 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 School Board enters into individual employment contracts for these positions. In Pennsylvania, public school districts are required to give 150 days notice to the Superintendent regarding renewal of the employment contract.
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives Sunshine Review gave the 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 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. In October 2014, the School District's policies are posted online.President - Joe Kovalcin
Vice President - Larry Allen
West Branch Area School District was ranked 440th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2014, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school. Three school districts were excluded because they do not operate high schools (Saint Clair Area School District, Midland Borough School District, Duquesne City School District). The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th. Adapted PSSA examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Writing exams were given to children in 5th and 8th grades.2013 - 428th
2011 - 443rd
2010 - 438th
2009 - 420th
2008 - 454th
2007 - 428th out of 501 school districts.
In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. West Branch Area School District ranked 384th. In 2010, the district was 382nd. 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."
In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of West Branch Area School District was in the bottom 6th percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)
In 2012, West Branch Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. In 2011, West Branch Area 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. West Branch Area School District achieved AYP status each year from 2004 to 2010, while in 2003 the District was in Warning status due to lagging student achievement.
In 2013, West Branch Area School District graduation rate was 83%. In 2012, West Branch Area School District graduation rate was 80%. In 2011, West Branch Area School District graduation rate was 74%. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. High School's rate was % for 2010.According to traditional graduation rate calculations
2010 - 88%
2009 - 88%
2008 - 81%
2007 - 81%
In April 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying one West Branch Area School District school as among the lowest achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state. West Branch Area Junior Senior High Schools students were among the bottom 15% of achievement. West .Branch Area Elementary School had improved enough to be removed from the lowest achievement list
In 2011, West Branch Area Elementary School was identified as a low achieving school. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012. The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district. Fifty-three public schools in Allegheny County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012-13 school year, eight public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District, William Penn School District and Steelton-Highspire School District. In 2014, Monessen City School District had all three of its schools added to the list. Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating.
West Branch Area Junior Senior High School is located at 444 Allport Cutoff, Morrisdale. In 2013, enrollment was reported as 549 pupils in 7th through 12th grades, with 49% of pupils eligible for a free lunch due to family poverty. Additionally, 16% of pupils received special education services, while 2% of pupils were identified as gifted. The School employed 42 teachers. Per the PA Department of Education, 2% of the teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010, there were 630 students grades 7th through12th with: 103 in 12th grade, 92 in 11th, 119 in 10th grade and 101 in ninth grade. The school had 47 teachers. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 4 teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under No Child Left Behind.2013 School Performance Profile
West Branch Area Junior Senior High School achieved 62.8 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. In reading/literature - just 62% were on grade level. In Algebra 1, only 58% showed on grade level skills. In Biology, just 46% showed on grade level science understanding at the end of the course. 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, beginning in 2012, they take the Keystone Exams at the end of the associated course.AYP History
In 2012, West Branch Area Junior Senior High School declined to Corrective Action II 1st Year AYP status due to missing 6 of 8 metrics in reading and mathematics. In 2011, West Branch Area Junior Senior High School Making Progress: in Corrective Action I status due to low student academic 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.2010 - declined to Corrective Action I due to chronic, low academic achievement. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the school administration to develop a School Improvement Plan focused on raising student academic achievement. They were required to submit the plan to the PDE for approval.
2009 - remained in School Improvement 2
2008 - declined to School Improvement 2
2007 - declined to School Improvement 1
2006 - declined to Warning AYP status
2005 - achieved AYP status
2004 - achieved AYP status
2003 - achieved Warning AYP status
Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered from 2003 through 2012, in all Pennsylvania public high schools. The exams were administered in the Spring of each school year. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam included content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies. The mathematics exam included: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. The standards were first published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.
In 2013, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its high school assessments to the Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, Reading/literature and Biology1. The exams are given at the end of the course, rather than all in the spring of the student's 11th grade year.11th Grade Reading
2012 - 68% on grade level, (9% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2011 - 76% (9% below basic). State - 69.1%
2010 - 56% on grade level (20% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 66% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2009 - 54% (24% below basic). State - 65%
2008 - 67% (18% below basic). State - 65%
2007 - 67% (15% below basic). State - 65%
11th Grade Math
2012 - 54% on grade level (24% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2011 - 59% (15% below basic). State - 60.3%
2010 - 49%, (35% below basic). State - 59%
2009 - 39%, (35% below basic). State - 56%.
2008 - 38%, (36% below basic). State - 56%
2007 - 36%, (35% below basic). State - 53%
11th Grade Science
2012 - 47% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2011 - 50% on grade level (13% below basic). State - 40% of 11th graders were on grade level.
2010 - 37% (21% below basic). State - 39%
2009 - 37% (17% below basic). State - 40%
2008 - 46% (9% below basic)s. State - 39%
Science in Motion West Branch Junior Senior High School did not take 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. Clarion University provided the science enrichment experiences to schools in the region.
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 11% of West Branch Area High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
In 2013, West Branch Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 455. The Math average score was 459. The Writing average score was 452. The College Board reported that statewide scores were: 494 in reading, 504 in math and 482 in writing. The nationwide SAT results were the same as in 2012.
In 2012, 67 students at West Branch Area School District students took the SAT exams. The District's Verbal Average Score was 451. The Math average score was 455. The Writing average score was 434. 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, 45 West Branch students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 463. The Math average score was 474. The Writing average score was 416. Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479. 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.
West Branch Area Junior 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 Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. For the 2009-10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $4,515 for the program.
West Branch Area School Board has determined that a pupil must earn 25 credits to graduate, including: mathematics 4 credits, English 4 credits, social studies 3.5 credits, science 4 credits, Physical Education 2 credits, Humanities and Arts - 2 credits, Health 0.5 credits, Safety Ed 0.5 credits, Family and Consumer Science 0.5 credits, Computer Technology 0.5 credits and electives 3.5 credits.
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. Students must complete 21 hours of community service to be eligible for graduation.
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. The exam is given at the end of the course. Keystone Exams replace the PSSAs for 11th grade.
Students have several opportunities to pass the exam. Schools are mandated to provide targeted assistance to help the student be successful. Those who do not pass after several attempts can perform a project in order to graduate. 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. 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. 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.
Seventh grades have been tested in reading and mathematics since 2006. Eighth graders are tested in: reading, writing, mathematics and Science. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, eighth graders, who are enrolled in Algebra I take the Keystone Exam for Algebra I at the end of the course. The testing of 8th grade in reading and mathematics began in 1999, as a state initiative. Testing in science began in 2007. The goal is for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focus on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The standards were published in 1998 and are mandated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In 2014, the Commonwealth adopted the Pennsylvania Core Standards - Mathematics.
8th Grade Science:2012 - 43% on grade level (29% below basic). State - 59%
2011 - 51% (28% below basic). State – 58.3%
2010 - 57% (25% below basic). State – 57%
2009 - 55% (21% below basic). State - 55%
2008 - 55%, (20% below basic). State - 52%
West Branch Area Elementary School is located at 356 Allport Cutoff, Morrisdale. The School reported an enrollment of 552 pupils in grades kindergarten through sixth, with 44.9% of pupils receiving a federal free or reduced price meals due to family poverty. Additionally, 25.9% of the pupils receive special education services, while less than 1% are identified as gifted. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 96% of the teachers were rated highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. The school provides full day kindergarten. The School is a federally designated Title I school.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, enrollment was 561 pupils in grades kindergarten through 6th, with 238 pupils receiving a free or reduced price lunch. The School employed 45 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 12.5:1. 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. The School provided full day kindergarten to all its pupils.
In 2010, West Branch Area Elementary School reported 615 students with 291 qualifying for a free or reduced-price lunch due to family poverty. The school had 35 teachers.2013 School Performance Profile
West Branch Area Elementary School achieved a score of 78.5 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2012-13, only 59% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 5th. In 3rd grade, 67% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 68.7% were on grade level (3rd-5th grades). In 4th grade science, 85% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 50% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level writing skills.AYP history
In 2012, West Branch Area Elementary School improved to achieving AYP status. In 2011, West Branch Area Elementary School declined to Warning AYP status. In 2010 the school achieved AYP status. In 2011 the attendance rate was 96%, while in 2010 it was 95%. The School has Title I School-Wide Program.PSSA History
Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, commonly called PSSAs are No Child Left Behind Act related examinations which were administered beginning 2003 to all Pennsylvania public school students in grades 3rd-8th. The goal was for 100% of students to be on grade level or better in reading and mathematics, by the Spring of 2014. The tests focused on the state's Academic Standards for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The Science exam is given to 4th grades and includes content in science, technology, ecology and the environmental studies.4th Grade Science
2012 - 85%, (5% below basic). State - 82%
2011 - 78%, (7% below basic). State – 82.9%
2010 - 80%, (9% below basic). State - 81%
2009 - 90%, (3% below basic). State - 83%
2008 - 84%, (3% below basic). State - 81%
In December 2012, the district administration reported that 244 pupils or 21.9% of the District's pupils received Special Education services, with 44.3% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. In December 2010, the District administration reported that 262 pupils or 21% of the district's pupils received Special Education services. Of these students, 51% had a specific learning disability.
In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school 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 services, 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 Special Education administration. 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 district's Special Education Department.
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. 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. The state requires each district to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. Overidentification 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. In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.
The West Branch Area School District received a $707,881 supplement for special education services in 2010. For the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010-2011. 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.
The District Administration reported that 17 or 1.30% of its students were gifted in 2009. By law, the district must provide mentally gifted programs at all grade levels. The referral process for a gifted evaluation can be initiated by teachers or parents by contacting the student’s building principal and requesting an evaluation. All requests must be made in writing. To be eligible for mentally gifted programs in Pennsylvania, a student must have a cognitive ability of at least 130 as measured on a standardized ability test by a certified school psychologist. Other factors that indicate giftedness will also be considered for eligibility.
In 2011, West Branch Area School District agreed to participate in a pilot program to develop a new way to evaluate public school teachers and principals that, in part, takes into account student achievement. Several York County school districts are participating. The pilot program had 104 K-12 entities, including: nine career and technical centers, nine charter schools and nine intermediate units. Beginning in January 2012, participating school districts will use the new evaluation method and provide feedback to the Department of Education. This new evaluation was not used to determine an educator’s official 2011-12 assessment. Under the new evaluation system, 50% of the evaluation of a teacher will be based on an observation divided into four categories: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. The other half will be based on student achievement (15 percent will be building-level data, 15 percent will be teacher-specific data, and 20 percent will be elective). The new evaluation system has both announced and unannounced observations. There are meetings between the teacher and evaluator before and after the direct observation of a lesson.
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.
In 2013, the average teacher salary in West Branch Area School District was $54,828 a year, while the cost of the benefits teachers received was $26,010.56 per employee, for a total annual average teacher compensation of $82,839.38. IN 2012, the District employed 89 teachers and administrators with an average salary of $56,083 and a top salary of $109,272.
In 2009, West Branch Area School District reported employing over 92 teachers and administrators with a salary range of $39,000 to $100,000. The median salary was $50,129. In 2009 the beginning salary was set at $40,000 in the teachers' contract.
In 2007, West Branch Area School District employed 84 teachers. The average teacher salary in the district was $46,444 for 180 days worked. As of 2007, Pennsylvania ranked in the top 10 states in average teacher salaries. When adjusted for cost of living Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for teacher compensation. Additionally, the teachers receive a defined benefit pension, health insurance (single teacher pays $25 per month), $40,000 life insurance, dental insurance, long term disability program, professional development reimbursement, 3 paid personal days, 10 paid sick days, 5 paid bereavement days, and other benefits, including payment for unused sick days up to 150 days. Teachers are paid an additional $200 for each 5 years of continuous service. If a teacher is asked to work beyond the regular day they receive an additional hourly rate of $23, per hour.Administrative costs
West Branch Area School District administrative costs per pupil in 2008 was $659.09 per pupil. The lowest administrative cost per pupil in Pennsylvania was $398 per pupil. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association keeps statistics on salaries of public school district employees in Pennsylvania. According to the association's report, the average salary for a superintendent, for the 2007-08 school year, was $122,165. Superintendents and administrators receive a benefit package commensurate with that offered to the district's teachers' union.
Reserves In 2008, West Branch Area School District reported no funds in an unreserved-designated fund balance. The unreserved-undesignated fund balance was reported as $3,383,053.00. In 2010, West Branch Area School District reported $5,080,418.00 in an Unreserved - Undesignated Fund. In 2013, the Board reported there is $4,755,835 in reserves. PA 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.Per pupil spending
In 2008, West Branch Area School District Administration reported that per pupil spending was $11,867 which ranked 289th among Pennsylvania's 501 school districts. In 2010, the per pupil spending declined to $10,894.77 By 2012 the spending was reported to have risen to $20,932.70 per pupil. In 2013, the per pupil spending was reported as $13,802.17. In 2011, Pennsylvania’s per pupil spending was $13,467, ranking 6th in the United States. Among the states, Pennsylvania’s total per pupil revenue (including all sources) ranked 11th at $15,023 per student, in 2008-09. In 2007, the Pennsylvania per pupil total expenditures was $12,759.Audit
In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted a performance audit of the School District. The findings were reported to the school board and administration. The report found that the District had dealt with a series of recommendations given in a prior audit of child accounting data which found that not all source documentation was retained for audit purposes, resulting in an inability to verify the West Branch Area School District’s entitlement to subsidies and reimbursements totaling $14,646,740.
Tuition Students who live in the 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 West Branch Area 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 - $10,209.96, High School - $9,758.78.
West Branch Area School District is funded by a combination of: a local earned income tax 0.5%; $5 Per Capita (Section 679 School Code); a $5.00 Per Capita (Act 511); $10.00 Occupation Tax (Act 511); $10.00 Local Service/Occupational Privilege Tax; a property tax, a real estate transfer tax 0.5%, 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. Interest earnings on accounts also provide nontax income to the District. 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 level of the individual’s personal wealth. The average Pennsylvania public school teacher pension in 2011 exceeds $60,000 a year plus they receive federal Social Security benefits: both are free of Pennsylvania state income tax and local income tax which funds local public schools.
According to a report from Representative Todd Stephens office, School District receives 66.9% of its annual revenue from the state.
For the 2014-15 school year, West Branch Area School District will receive $7,075,493 in State Basic Education funding. The District will also receive $190,199 in new Ready To Learn Block grant. The State’s enacted Education Budget includes $5,526,129,000 for the 2014-2015 Basic Education Funding. The Education budget also includes Accountability Block Grant funding at $100 million and $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding for public schools that focus on student achievement and academic success. The State is paying $500.8 million to Social Security on the school employees behalf and another $1.16 billion to the state teachers pension system (PSERS). In total, Pennsylvania’s Education budget for K-12 public schools is $10 billion. This was a $305 million increase over 2013-2014 state spending and the greatest amount ever allotted by the Commonwealth for its public schools.
In the 2013-2014 school year, West Branch Area School District received a 1.3% increase or $7,075,493 in Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding. This is $92,728 more than its 2012-13 state BEF to the District. Additionally, West Branch Area School District received $102,285 in Accountability Block Grant funding to focus on academic achievement and level funding for special education services. Among the public school districts in Clearfield County, Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District received the highest percentage increase in BEF at 6.1%. West Branch Area School 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. The highest percent of state spending per student is in the Chester-Upland district, where roughly 78 percent comes from state coffers. In Philadelphia, it is nearly 49 percent. As a part of the education budget, the state provided the PSERS (Pennsylvania school employee pension fund) with $1,017,000,000 and Social Security payments for school employees of $495 million.
For the 2012-13 school year, West Branch Area School District received $6,984,372. 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 (ABG) program. West Branch Area School District received $102,285 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The state also provided a $544.4 million payment for School Employees’ Social Security and $856 million for School Employees’ Retirement fund called PSERS. This amount was 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. Since taking office, Corbett’s first two budgets have restored more than $918 million in support of public schools, compensating for the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars lost at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
In the 2011-12 school year, West Branch Area School District received a $6,984,019 allocation, of state Basic Education Funding. Additionally, West Branch Area School District received $102,285 in Accountability Block Grant funding. The enacted Pennsylvania state Education budget includes $5,354,629,000 for the 2011-2012 Basic Education Funding appropriation. This amount is a $233,290,000 increase (4.6%) over the enacted State appropriation for 2010-2011. The highest increase in state basic education funding was awarded to Duquesne City School District, which got a 49% increase in state funding for 2011-12. In 2010, the district reported that 550 students received free or reduced-price lunches, due to the family meeting the federal poverty level.
In the 2010-2011 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.54% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,346,518 to West Branch Area School District. Among the districts in Clearfield County, the highest increase went to Dubois Area School District which got a 7.76% increase. One hundred fifty Pennsylvania school districts received the base 2% increase. The highest increase in 2010-11 went to Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County which received a 23.65% increase in state funding.
In the 2009-2010 budget year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a 5.23% increase in Basic Education Funding for a total of $7,346,519. Among the public school districts in Clearfield County, this was the highest increase awarded. Ninety Pennsylvania public school districts received the base 2% increase. Muhlenberg School District in Berks County received a 22.31% increase in state basic education funding in 2009. The amount of increase each school district receives is set by the Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak as a part of the state budget proposal given each February.
The state Basic Education Funding to the District, in 2008-2009, was $6,759,597.84. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 560 district students received free or reduced-price lunches due to low family income in the 2007–2008 school year.
All Pennsylvania school districts also receive additional funding from the state through several other funding allocations, including Reimbursement of Charter School Expenditures; Special Education Funding; Secondary Career & Technical Education Subsidy; PA Accountability Grants; and low achieving schools were eligible for Educational Assistance Program Funding. Plus all Pennsylvania school districts receive federal dollars for various programs including: Special Education funding and Title I funding for children from low income families. In 2010, Pennsylvania spent over $24 billion for public education - local, state and federal dollars combined.
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 district applied for and received $277,626 in addition to all other state and federal funding. The district uses the funding to provide full-day kindergarten for the second year.
The Classroom for the Future state program provided districts with hundreds of thousands of extra state funding to buy laptop computers for each core curriculum high school class (English, Science, History, Math) and paid for teacher training to optimize the computers use. The program was funded from 2006-2009. The School District did not apply to participate in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the district received $144,596. The district received $45,413 in 2008-09 for a total funding of $190,009.
The state's EAP funding provides for the continuing support of tutoring services and other programs to address the academic needs of eligible students. Funds are available to eligible school districts and full-time career and technology centers (CTC) in which one or more schools have failed to meet at least one academic performance target, as provided for in Section 1512-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. In 2010-11 the West Branch Area School District did not apply for funding.
In 2013, West Branch Area School District was awarded $23,500 in a state Safe Schools Targeted Grant. The maximum of $25,000 grants were awarded through a competitive application process. The funds must be used for research based interventions, like: peer mediation, staff training in managing behavioral issues and creating a positive school climate.
West Branch Area School District did not participate in: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education annual grants; PA Science Its Elementary grants (discontinued effective with 2009-10 budget by Governor Rendell); Education Assistance Grants; 2012 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant; 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grants nor the federal 21st Century Learning grants.
West Branch Area School District received an extra $2,369,309 in ARRA - Federal Stimulus money to be used in specific programs like special education and meeting the academic needs of low-income students. The funding was limited to the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years. Due to the temporary nature of the funding, schools were repeatedly warned 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.
West Branch Area School District officials did not apply for the federal Race to the Top grant which would have provided over one million dollars in additional federal funding to improve student academic achievement. Participation required the administration, the school board and the local teachers' union to sign an agreement to prioritize improving student academic success. In Pennsylvania, 120 public school districts and 56 charter schools agreed to participate. Pennsylvania was not approved for the grant. The failure of districts to agree to participate was cited as one reason that Pennsylvania was not approved.
West Branch Area 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. After the review of the information, the district was not required to implement the recommended cost savings changes.
Property tax rates in 2014-15 were set by the West Branch Area School Board at: 97.00 mills for district residents in Clearfield County and 10.90 mills for district residents in Clinton County. 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. Clinton County conducted a reassessment in 2008. 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. The school district includes municipalities in two counties, each of which has different rates of property tax assessment, necessitating a state board equalization of the tax rates between the counties. In 2010, miscalculations by the board were widespread in the Commonwealth and adversely impacted funding for many school districts.2013-14 - 94.1000 mills for Clearfield County and 9.8000 mills for Clinton County.
2012-13 - 93.0000 mills for Clearfield County and 9.0000 mills for Clinton County.
2011-12 - 91.4000 mills for Clearfield County and 8.0000 mills for Clinton County.
2010-11 - 91.4000 mills for Clearfield County and 5.7700 mills for Clinton County.
2009-10 - 90.4000 mills for Clearfield County and 8.7000 mills for Clinton County.
2008-09 - 90.4000 mills for Clearfield County and 71.8000 mills for Clinton County.
2007-08 - 88.4000 mills for Clearfield County and 67.4500 mills for Clinton County.
The average yearly property tax paid by Clearfield County residents amounts to about 2.83% of their yearly income. Clearfield County ranked 707th out of the 3143 United States counties for property taxes as a percentage of median income. 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. Property taxes in Pennsylvania are relatively high on a national scale. According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 11th in the U.S. in 2008 in terms of property taxes paid as a percentage of home value (1.34%) and 12th in the country in terms of property taxes as a percentage of income (3.55%).
The 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 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. In June 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated six of the ten the exceptions to the Act 1 Index. The following 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. A specific timeline for Act I Index decisions is published annually, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The School District Adjusted Index for the West Branch Area School District 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.
For the 2014-2015 budget year, West Branch Area School Board applied for two exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: teacher pension costs and special education costs. In 2014-15, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 21.4% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For the school budget 2014-15, 316 Pennsylvania public school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above its Act 1 Index limit. Another 181 school districts adopted a preliminary budget leaving open the option of exceeding the Index limit. Districts may apply for multiple exceptions each year. For the pension costs exception, 163 school districts received approval to exceed the Index in full, while others received a partial approval of their request. For special education costs, 104 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Seven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for the grandfathered construction debts exception.
For the 2013-2014 budget year, West Branch Area School Board applied for three exceptions to exceed their Act 1 Index limit: teacher pension costs, special education costs and School Construction Grandfathered Debt. In 2013-14, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 16.93% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). 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 pension costs exception, 169 school districts received approval to exceed the Index. For special education costs, 75 districts received approval to exceed their tax limit. Eleven Pennsylvania public school districts received an approval for grandfathered construction debts.
For the 2012-13 budget year, West Branch Area School Board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Act 1 Index. In 2012-13, all Pennsylvania school districts were required to make a 12.36% of payroll payment to the teacher’s pension fund (PSERS). For 2012-2013 budget year, 274 school districts adopted a resolution certifying that tax rates would not be increased above their index; while 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.
For the 2011-2012 school year, West Branch Area School Board did not apply for an exception to exceed the Act 1 Index. Each year, the 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.
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.
The West Branch Area School Board did not apply for any exceptions to exceed the Act 1 index for the budget in 2011. For 2009-10 school budget, the board did not apply for exceptions to exceed the Index. 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.
In 2010, the Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief from gambling for the West Branch Area School District was not reported to the Commonwealth. The gaming fund provided the district with $282,652.85 for property 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 (40,000 m2) 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 went to the residents of Chester Upland School District of Delaware County who received $632 per approved homestead. Chester Upland has been the top recipient every year of the program.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is provided for low income Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers aged 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 for homeowners. The maximum rebate for both homeowners and renters is $650. Applicants can exclude one-half (1/2) of their Social Security income, consequently, individual with income much more than $35,000 may still qualify for a rebate. Individuals must apply annually for the rebate. This can be taken in addition to Homestead/Farmstead Property Tax Relief.
West Branch Area School Board established a district-wide Student Wellness Policy in October 2011. 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 Richard B. Russell 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." Most districts identified the superintendent and school foodservice director as responsible for ensuring local wellness policy implementation.
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. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.
West Branch Area School District offers both a free school breakfast and a free or reduced-price lunch to children in low income families. 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. The meals are partially funded with federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture.
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. 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. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that Districts raise their full pay lunch prices every year until the price of non-subsidized lunches equals the amount the federal government reimburses schools for free meals. That subsidy in 2013-2014 was $2.93.
In 2014, President Obama ordered a prohibition of advertisements for unhealthy foods on public school campuses during the school day. The Food and Drug Administration requires that students take milk as their beverage at lunch. In accordance with this law, any student requesting water in place of milk with their lunch must present a written request, signed by a doctor, documenting the need for water instead of milk.
West Branch Area School District provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. A nurse is available in the 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. Nurses also monitor each child's weight.
In 2009, the West Branch Area School District received funding through a Highmark Healthy High 5 grant. West Branch Area Elementary School received $8,689 which was used to purchase DDR system, climbing wall and nutrition curriculum for students in grades 1-6. In 2014, West Branch Area School District received $5000 to fund the SPARK Physical education curriculum. 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.
According to Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment reports, there were 1,245 students enrolled in K-12 in 2009–2010 school year at West Branch Area School District. There were 106 students in the Class of 2009. The district's class of 2010 had 90 students. Enrollment is projected to decline to 796 students by 2020. A study of Pennsylvania public school spending, conducted by Standard and Poor's, examined the consolidation of small public school districts in Pennsylvania in 2007. The study found that consolidation of the administration with an adjacent school district would achieve substantial administrative cost savings which varied by district.
According to a 2009 school district administration consolidation proposal by Governor Edward Rendell, the excessive administrative overhead dollars could be redirected to improve lagging academic achievement, to enrich the academic programs or to reduce property taxes. Consolidation of two central administrations into one would not require the closing of any schools. The Governor's proposal called for the savings to be redirected to improving lagging reading and science achievement, to enriching the academic programs or to reducing residents' property taxes. 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.
From 2000 through 2010, rural Pennsylvania public school district enrollment has decreased by 8 percent. In 2010, there were 726,417 children in rural Pennsylvania, or 21 percent of the total rural population. From 2000 to 2010, the number of children in rural counties decreased 7 percent. The decline in the number of children impacted most rural counties with 42 of Pennsylvania’s 48 rural counties experiencing a decline. Cameron County, Elk County and Sullivan County experienced the greatest declines, with a decrease of more than 21 percent in all three counties. Clearfield County's live birth rate was 944 births in 1990. Clearfield County's live birth rate in 2000 declined to 819 births, while in 2011 it had declined further to 749 babies. Over the past 50 years (1960 to 2010), rural Pennsylvania saw a steady decline in both the number and proportion of residents under 18 years old. In 1960, 1.06 million rural residents, or 35 percent of the rural population, were children.
Pennsylvania’s birth rate has been declining for two decades. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in 1990, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s birth rate was 171,053. In 2000, Pennsylvania’s birth rate was 145,874. Finally in 2011, the State’s birth rate declined further to 142,021. From 2000 to 2009, the number of babies born in rural counties declined 5 percent. Urban counties have also experienced a decline in the number of school aged children. From 2000-2010 urban Pennsylvania counties had a 3 percent decline in the number of residents under 18 years old. In 2010, there were 2.07 million residents, or 22 percent of the urban population, who were under age 18.
West Branch Area School District offers a variety of clubs, activities and sports. Eligibility for participation is determined by school board policy and in compliance with standards set by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The District is noncompliant with state law, due to failing to post its Interscholastic Athletic Opportunities Disclosure Form on its website. In 2014-15, the District reported spending $450,666 for extracurriculars.
A new baseball field was built, but leased to a local little league team for 25 years which expires in 2036.
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.
The West Branch band also has a shining history, as they've played in such cities as Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Harrisburg. Most recently, the band goes to Disney World bi-yearly to play in the Fourth of July parade. The band wins many awards and helps to uphold the proud traditions and history of West Branch High School. In 2008, the former band director and creator of many of the school's traditions, Mr. William Gabel, retired. He was replaced by former elementary music teacher and West Branch alumna, Mrs. Jennifer Ennis Sproull.
West Branch's mascot is the Warrior. Their team motos are "Warrior Power" and "Warrior Pride". They participate in the PIAA District 6 with Single-A classification in all but wrestling and baseball, where they compete in Double-A. Noteworthy athletic achievements include four PIAA individual state champions in wrestling (Jerry White, Robert English, Justin Owens, & Jared Ricotta), winning a district championship in football in 1988, a district championship in baseball, a team district duals championship in wrestling, and other various conference championships. Former Warrior baseball players Ed Veres and John Prestash were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft straight out of high school. Larry Beightol, a former football player at West Branch, is an offensive line coach in the NFL, most recently working with the Detroit Lions. Wrestling State Champion Jared Ricotta, after starting four years for the Duquesne Dukes Division I Wrestling Team and capturing three Northeast Regional Titles was recruited by NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports as a professional tire changer.
Starting in Fall 2010, West Branch and local school Philipsburg-Osceola School District agreed to a co-op boys soccer program. Any 9-12th grade boy wishing to play soccer now plays with the Philipsburg Soccer team.
According to Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act, all sports coaches, paid and volunteer, are required to annually complete the Concussion Management Certification Training and present the certification before coaching.
Coaches receive compensation as outlined in the teachers' union contract. When athletic competition exceeds the regular season, additional compensation is paid.The District funds
Junior High Middle School Sports
According to PIAA directory July 2013