Parents of Youngsville High School students may have some enrollment decisions to make.
The school is on a list of low-achieving schools released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to PDE, YHS is among the bottom 15 percent of high schools in the state based on the combination of math and reading scores from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) standardized tests from the previous year.
The Warren County School District received the news on Tuesday.
"The district is concerned and is looking at how to improve scores at Youngsville High School as well as throughout the district," Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel said on Thursday. "The district is currently doing research and will follow all state requirements as a result of this classification."
According to PDE Press Secretary Tim Eller, the low-achieving list was created based on the 2010-2011 PSSA. YHS failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the 2010-2011 PSSA tests.
The results of the 2011-2012 PSSA tests have been made available to school districts, but have not been released to the public. According to Hufnagel, YHS's scores improved from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012. "Preliminary 2012 results show an improvement in both reading and math at Youngsville High School," he said.
Officials did not say if they believed the improvement was enough to take YHS off the list next year.
However, no amount of improvement would have been enough to get the school off the list immediately.
"The 2011-2012 scores will be reflected in the list for the 2013-2014 school year," Eller said.
Youngsville's standing on the list will last at least until the next list is published, no later than Feb. 1, 2013, according to Eller.
In creating the list, PDE did not indicate a hierarchy. "The department does not rank schools," Eller said. "This list is representative of the 15 percent of schools that are low-achieving."
Because YHS is on the list, students there may be eligible for scholarship dollars to attend other schools.
A new state law allows for scholarships of up to $8,500 for regular education students and up to $15,000 for special education students for students who live in the attendance area of the low-achieving schools and whose families meet income guidelines.
Those dollars can be applied to tuition at private schools or other districts with open enrollment policies.
The full regular education scholarship amount would cover the $8,419.67 2011-2012 tuition at Corry Area High School. It would fall short of the $9,823.88 tuition for out-of-district students at Titusville High School. A call to Forest Area School District regarding out-of-district tuition was not returned Thursday.
The scholarships could also be used to pay tuition at private schools, including Warren County Christian School in Pittsfield Township.
Charter schools - including Tidioute Community Charter School - are not allowed to charge tuition, but are another possible option for students in the Youngsville attendance area.
District officials are investigating whether students in the Youngsville attendance area could transfer to another Warren County School District high school.
Families with annual income of less than $60,000, plus $12,000 per dependent household member, qualify for scholarships.
The district must notify parents, and post on its website, information including application instruction about the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit within 15 days.
To cover the scholarships, state lawmakers raised the cap on the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) from $75 million statewide to $150 million for the coming year. Of the $150 million maximum, $50 million is earmarked for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program.
Under the EITC program, businesses may make tax-deductible contributions to organizations that give scholarships to needy students.