Three NASD Schools Identified as 'Low-Achieving' by Pa.
Whitehall Elementary joined Eisenhower and Stewart middle schools on the Department of Education's list of poor performers. Students at those schools may now be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in scholarship aid to attend a different school.
Three schools from the Norristown Area School District have once again appeared on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's list of low-achieving schools.
Eisenhower Middle School, Stewart Middle School, and Whitehall Elementary School each ranked in the bottom 15% of aggregated Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) math and reading test results for the 2011-12 school year. Both Eisenhower and Stewart appeared on last year's list as well.
For students living in areas served by those schools, the "low-achieving" designation could mean eligibility to take advantage of the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTCP). The program offers up to $15,000 to attend a non-public school or a public school in a district where they do not reside.
The financial criteria determining eligibility for an "Opportunity Scholarship" are changing later this year. Until June 30, a student's family can not have annual household income above $60,000, plus $12,000 for each dependent member of the household. After June 30, the baseline figure increases from $60,000 to $75,000.
The program is funded by businesses who contribute to scholarship providers in exchange for a tax credit, and the number of scholarships awarded is ultimately dependent upon whether sufficient funds are available.
A list of scholarship providers to which students may apply is available at http://www.newpa.com/ostc.
Last year, Eisenhower and Stewart were joined on the list by Norristown High School, prompting the school district to argue that the state's assessment methodology was flawed.