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11/23/2017 12:46 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20170&cosponId=23119
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 1, 2017 03:07 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: School Residency Requirements
 
In the near future, I will be introducing a companion measure to Rep. Roebuck's House Bill 362 that amends the Public School Code, to further define and provide for school residency requirements in Pennsylvania.

I was spurred by events that occurred in Montgomery County in 2012 involving parents being charged with a “felony” (theft of services) offense for sending their child to a school outside of the school district of their residence.

Article XIII, Section 1302 of the Public School Code actually attempts to address this subject. However, the statute only addresses non-guardians and non-parents purporting to support children gratis in their homes and that have signed a sworn statement with a school district attesting to that fact along with a penalty for violations. The section does not address parents and guardians in similar situations. It is the ambiguity of the statute that allowed for a potential felony conviction.

To be clear, while the act of a parent misrepresenting the place of their residence in an effort to send their child to an outlying school district is patently wrong, irrespective of the parent’s intentions, the fact of the matter remains that such an act certainly does not warrant the imposition of a felony charge. Currently, with respect to non-guardians and non-parents who provide false information in sworn statements, Article XIII, Section 1302 of the Public School Code provides that such an act constitutes the commission of a summary offense and provides for the following penalties:
  • Repayment of restitution and related court costs to the affected school district;
  • A fine (Up to $300); and/or
  • Community Service (Up to 240 hours)

My bill proposes to provide a penalty for parents and guardians who live wholly outside the boundaries of a school district and send their children to schools within them, which would be identical to the penalty for non-guardians and non-parents, a summary offense. Secondly, in an effort to provide a reasonable deterrent for would be “boundary hoppers,” this measure would provide for the following additional penalties:
  • The commission of a misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense;
  • Repayment of restitution and related court costs to the affected school district;
  • A fine (Up to $1,000); and/or
  • Community Service (Up to 500 hours).

Lastly, prior to a child being removed from a school and a parent being subsequently charged as a result of an act of “boundary hopping,” the following must occur:
  • The school district’s board of directors, authorized board committee or designated hearing examiner must formally determine that an act of boundary hopping has occurred; and
  • The affected school district’s board of directors must determine that it does not wish to grant an exception to permit the child to attend the school pursuant to section 1316 of the Public School Code (relating to permitting the attendance of non-resident pupils).
If you have questions about this legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Jon Tew at jtew@pasenate.com or 610-768-4200.


Introduced as SB664