A week after the Williamsport Area School Board voted to keep Stevens Elementary open, the school has landed on a list identifying it as one of the most underachieving schools in the state.
With two other district elementary schools - Round Hills and Sheridan - being closed at the end of the school year, more students may be on their way to Stevens. However, through the recently created Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, some students could receive funding to go elsewhere.
The state Department of Education released a list of schools in the bottom 15 percent when it comes to math and reading scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Achievement tests. Students who attend those schools are eligible for the program.
SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
A costumed Kirk Felix, then principal of Stevens Elementary School, reads to students in 2008.
Stevens is the only Lycoming County school on the list.
Students within Stevens' boundaries whose families have a household income of $60,000 or less would be eligible to receive a scholarship of up to $8,500 to attend a different school - either public or private.
Stevens is one of 414 schools in 74 districts in the state to be eligible for the program. A news release from the state department said 242,000 students in the state could be affected.
In an emailed statement, district Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Kelley said she believed this is a one-year case for the elementary school.
"For eight consecutive years, Stevens Elementary School has made 'Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)' and has been recognized with a 'Keystone' from the (state) Department of Education for that progress.
"Apparently, the identification of Stevens Elementary School was based on only one year's scores. As always in our district, each year the data is analyzed and appropriate instructional and support decisions are made to identify and meet the needs of all children," she said.
Kelley also said the information wasn't known before deciding what schools would be closed.
Parents will be notified of the tax credit by letter, she said.