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.
Norristown Area School District Says State Report is Wrong