1Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
2act relating to the public school system, including certain
3provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
4schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
5laws relating thereto," in preliminary provisions, providing
6for religious educational facilities.

7The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
8hereby enacts as follows:

9Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
10as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a
11section to read:

12Section 1338.3. Religious Educational Facilities.--(a) It
13is the policy of the Commonwealth to preserve the primary right
14and the obligation of the parent or parents, or person or
15persons in loco parentis to a child, to choose the education and
16training for such child. It is likewise the policy of the
17Commonwealth to avoid imposing substantial burdens on the
18religious liberties of educational ministries without compelling

20(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, nothing

1contained in this act or in any law of this Commonwealth shall
2empower the Commonwealth, any of its officers, agencies or
3subdivisions to mandate or approve the course or program
4content, curriculum, faculty, staff, training or principles of
5religious development or spiritual formation of any religious
6educational facility.

7(c) A religious educational facility shall be subject to the
8applicable background check and child abuse reporting
9requirements of this act and 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to
10child protective services).

11(d) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the
12Commonwealth from:

13(1) Adopting or enforcing any regulations which prevent
14threats to the physical health or safety of individuals or
15unsanitary or dangerous conditions in religious educational
16facilities or which prohibit any form of child abuse as defined
17in 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63.

18(2) Imposing any staff-child ratio requirements or staff
19training requirements that are necessary to prevent threats to
20the physical health or safety of individuals or unsanitary or
21dangerous conditions in religious educational facilities,
22provided that no minimum staffing requirements shall be imposed
23on any before-school program or after-school program that is
24operated on the premises of a religious school, that is staffed
25by the regular classroom teachers or staff members at that
26school and that maintains staff-child ratios that are
27substantially the same as those maintained during the regular
28school day.

29(3) Requiring that a religious educational facility submit
30to annual or emergency inspections as authorized by statute.

1(4) Requiring that a religious educational facility comply
2with all applicable requirements of any statute, regulation or
3program guidance under which governmental funding is provided to
4the facility, including, but not limited to, Head Start, Pre-K
5Counts, child care assistance or child care services or any
6other program funded by appropriations made by the General

8(e) A religious educational facility shall comply with
9generally applicable State statutes and regulations relating to
10health and safety promulgated by the Department of Agriculture,
11the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of
12Health, the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of
13Transportation or by any political subdivision, and with
14generally applicable health and safety requirements or generally
15applicable building and zoning requirements adopted by a
16political subdivision.

17(f) The terms in this section shall have the following

19"Before-school program" or "after-school program" means a
20program for pupils attending a religious kindergarten,
21elementary school or secondary school that is operated for no
22more than five (5) hours per day on the premises of the
23religious school attended by the pupils of that school during
24the regular academic year and is staffed by regular classroom
25teachers or staff members at that school.

26"Prekindergarten," "preschool," or "nursery school" means a
27school which maintains or conducts classes for the purpose of
28offering instruction and learning experiences to a minimum of
29five (5) pupils for not less than two (2) hours per day nor more
30than six (6) hours per day and for at least sixty (60) days per

1academic calendar year. A prekindergarten, preschool or nursery
2school that is affiliated with and is operated on the premises
3of a religious kindergarten, elementary school or secondary
4school may operate for up to seven (7) hours per day if its
5hours of operation coincide with the instructional day of the
6school with which it is affiliated. A religious prekindergarten,
7preschool or nursery school shall register with the Department
8of Education in the same manner as prescribed by regulation for
9religious schools that are described in section 1327(b).

10"Religious educational facility" means a prekindergarten,
11preschool, nursery school, before-school program or after-school
12program or school vacation program for children who have
13attained two (2) years and seven (7) months of age or older,
14operated by any church, association of churches or other
15religious order, body or institution which qualifies for
16exemption from taxation under section 501(c)(3) or (d) of the
17Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. §

19"School vacation program" means an instructional program
20operated by a religious elementary school or secondary school or
21a vacation Bible school or other similar program which
22incorporates religious instruction, training, learning
23experiences or principles of religious development or spiritual
24formation during the days when school is not open.

25Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.