PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 1366

PRINTER'S NO.  1982

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

SENATE BILL

 

No.

1115

Session of

2011

  

  

INTRODUCED BY BROWNE, DINNIMAN, WASHINGTON, STACK, ERICKSON, RAFFERTY, SOLOBAY, COSTA, FERLO, VANCE, BRUBAKER, WAUGH, YUDICHAK, KASUNIC, HUGHES, SCHWANK, FARNESE, WILLIAMS, PIPPY, LEACH, FONTANA, GREENLEAF, ARGALL, SMUCKER, MENSCH, BOSCOLA, TOMLINSON, TARTAGLIONE, BAKER AND BLAKE, JUNE 16, 2011

  

  

SENATOR PICCOLA, EDUCATION, AS AMENDED, MARCH 6, 2012   

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

1

Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An

2

act relating to the public school system, including certain

3

provisions applicable as well to private and parochial

4

schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the

5

laws relating thereto," further providing for definitions;

6

and providing for the distribution of special education

7

funding for student achievement and instruction of eligible

8

students and for special education accountability.

9

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

10

hereby enacts as follows:

11

Section 1.  Section 2501(26) of the act of March 10, 1949

12

(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, added

13

July 9, 2008 (P.L.846, No.61), is amended and the section is

14

amended by adding clauses to read:

15

Section 2501.  Definitions.--For the purposes of this article

16

the following terms shall have the following meanings:

17

* * *

18

(26)  "Actual Spending." An amount equal to a school

19

district's total expenditures to include General Fund

 


1

expenditures in all functional classifications, as designated in

2

the Manual of Accounting and Related Financial Procedures for

3

Pennsylvania School Systems, except for:

4

(i)  actual special education spending;

5

(ii)  adult education;

6

(iii)  higher education;

7

(iv)  student transportation;

8

(v)  community services;

9

(vi)  scholarships and awards;

10

(vii)  facilities acquisition;

11

(viii)  construction and improvement services; and

12

[(ix)  other expenditures and financing uses; and]

13

(x)  tuition from patrons revenue.

14

* * *

15

(31)  "Actual Special Education Spending." An amount equal to

16

a school district's total annual expenditures for special

17

education as established by the Department of Education and

18

designated in the Manual of Accounting and Related Financial

19

Procedures for Pennsylvania School Systems. The amount shall not

20

include expenditures that are exclusively for gifted students

21

who do not receive special education pursuant to an

22

individualized education program.

23

(32)  "Base Cost Per Student." As determined under section

<--

24

2502.48.

25

(33) (32)  "Eligible Student." A student who has been

<--

26

identified as a student with a disability who is in need of

27

special education under Federal and State law.

28

(34) (33)  "Performance Indicators." Measurable annual

<--

29

objectives established by the Department of Education pursuant

30

to section 612(a)(15) of the Individuals with Disabilities

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1

Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(15)) to

2

assess progress toward achieving State goals for the performance

3

of eligible students.

4

(35) (34)  "Public Notice." Full and timely release of

<--

5

information and documents for public access at a minimum through

6

publication by the Department of Education:

7

(i)  in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

8

(ii)  on the department's publicly accessible Internet

9

website for no less than a duration of twelve (12) months; and

10

(iii)  through the department's timely issuance of a related

11

Statewide press release.

12

(36) (35)  "Regular Classroom." A classroom in a regular

<--

13

school operated primarily for students who have not been

14

identified as students with disabilities who are in need of

15

special education.

16

(37) (36)  "Regular School." A neighborhood school, magnet

<--

17

school or other public school operated for all students, not

18

solely eligible students, in a school district.

19

(38) (37)  "Special Education Plan." A comprehensive plan as

<--

20

well as revisions, updates and amendments for all special

21

education personnel, programs, services and supports provided by

22

each school district for eligible students, filed by each

23

district with the Department of Education under this act and

24

other applicable Federal and State law.

25

(39) (38)  "Commission." The Legislative Commission on

<--

26

Special Education Funding.

27

(40) (39)  "Base Year." Fiscal year 2008-2009 2010-2011 or

<--

28

another year designated by statute.

29

(41) (40)  "Special Education Allocation." The amount of

<--

30

special education funding received by a school district from the

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1

Commonwealth.

2

Section 2.  The act is amended by adding sections to read:

3

Section 2509.13.  Special Education Funding for Student

4

Achievement and Instruction of Eligible Students.--(a)  The

5

General Assembly shall, through the annual appropriations

6

process, determine the level of State funding for special

7

education and the amount of any change in funding. The

8

calculations special education formula developed under this

<--

9

section shall determine only the distribution of any increase in

10

the special education funding among the school districts of this

<--

11

Commonwealth above the amount of special education funding in

<--

12

the base year and shall not be used for any other purpose.

13

(b)  The Department of Education shall determine a special

<--

14

education allocation for each school district in the year for

15

which funds are being appropriated by calculating the sum of the

16

following:

17

(1)  the special education allocation in the base year for

18

the school district;

19

(2)  the absolute value of the difference between the special

20

education allocation in the base year for the school district

21

and the highest annual level of the special education allocation

22

for the school district in the years subsequent to the base year

23

except for the year for which funds are being appropriated; and

24

(3)  the special education increase in the year for which

25

funds are being appropriated for the school district as

26

determined under subsection (c).

27

(c)  The Department of Education shall determine the special

28

education increase in the year for which funds are being

29

appropriated for each school district by calculating the product

30

of:

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1

(1)  the difference between the total State appropriation for

2

special education aggregated for all school districts in the

3

year for which funds are being appropriated and the total State

4

appropriation for special education aggregated for all school

5

districts in the immediately preceding year, or zero, whichever

6

is greater; and

7

(2)  the special education distribution factor for the school

8

district determined under subsection (d).

9

(d)  The Department of Education shall determine the special

10

education distribution factor for each school district by

11

dividing the distribution subfactor for each school district

12

determined under subsection (e) by the sum of distribution

13

subfactors for all school districts.

14

(e)  The Department of Education shall determine the

15

distribution subfactor for each school district by calculating

16

the product of:

17

(1)  the difference between the school district's subfactor

18

quantity determined under subsection (f) and its actual special

19

education spending averaged for the three (3) most recent years,

20

or zero, whichever is greater;

21

(2)  the school district's market value/personal income aid

22

ratio averaged for the three (3) most recent years; and

23

(3)  the lesser of one (1) and the school district's

24

equalized millage averaged for the three (3) most recent years

25

divided by the equalized millage that represents the seventy-

26

fifth percentile of the equalized millage of all school

27

districts averaged for the three (3) most recent years.

28

(f)  The Department of Education shall determine the

29

subfactor quantity for each school district by calculating the

30

sum of:

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1

(1)  An amount for student cost categories determined by

2

calculating the sum of:

3

(i)  An amount on behalf of eligible students with category 3

4

disabilities determined by calculating the product of:

5

(A)  the number of eligible students, averaged for the three

6

(3) most recent years, residing or enrolled in the school

7

district classified as having category 3 disabilities as

8

provided under subsection (g), except that the number of

9

eligible students included in this calculation who are placed by

10

the school district and served in public or private separate

11

schools, residential placements or homebound or hospital

12

placements shall not exceed three and one-half percent (3.5%) of

13

all eligible students with individualized education programs

14

residing or enrolled in the school district or the target

15

established in the Part B State Annual Performance Plan filed by

16

the Department of Education under the Individuals with

17

Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400

18

et seq.), whichever is less;

19

(B)  the weighting factor for students with category 3

20

disabilities as provided under subsection (g); and

21

(C)  the base cost per student.

22

(ii)  An amount on behalf of eligible students with category

23

2 disabilities determined by calculating the product of:

24

(A)  the number of eligible students in the school district,

25

averaged for the three (3) most recent years;

26

(B)  the Statewide percentage of eligible students designated

27

for category 2 disabilities as provided under subsection (g);

28

(C)  the weighting factor for eligible students with category

29

2 disabilities as provided under subsection (g); and

30

(D)  the base cost per student.

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1

(iii)  An amount on behalf of eligible students with category

2

1 disabilities determined by calculating the product of:

3

(A)  the school district's modified average daily membership,

4

averaged for the three (3) most recent years;

5

(B)  the Statewide percentage of modified average daily

6

membership designated for category 1 disabilities as provided

7

under subsection (g);

8

(C)  the weighting factor for eligible students with category

9

1 disabilities as provided under subsection (g); and

10

(D)  the base cost per student.

11

(2)  An adjustment for geographic price differences

12

calculated as follows:

13

(i)  Multiply the amount under clause (1) by the school

14

district's location cost metric or one (1), whichever is

15

greater.

16

(ii)  Subtract the amount under clause (1) from the product

17

under subclause (i).

18

(g)  The Legislative Commission on Special Education Funding

19

is established and shall develop special education formula

20

components as follows:

21

(1)  The Statewide percentages of modified average daily

22

membership which shall be designated as category 1 and of

23

eligible students which shall be designated as category 2 for

24

purposes of subsection (f)(1), except that the designated

25

percentage for each category shall not exceed the actual

26

proportion of students in this Commonwealth classified as having

27

such disabilities in the most recent year for which data is

28

available.

29

(2)  The weighting factors for students with category 1,

30

category 2 and category 3 disabilities for purposes of

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1

subsection (f)(1).

2

(3)  A description of and parameters for category 1, category

3

2 and category 3 disabilities for purposes of subsection (f)(1),

4

except that the categories shall be established such that

5

disabilities typically requiring the least intensive range of

6

services be categorized in category 1 and disabilities typically

7

requiring the most intensive range of services be categorized in

8

category 3.

9

(b)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,

<--

10

for the 2012-2013 school year and each school year thereafter,

11

any State funding for special education in an amount that does

12

not exceed the amount of State funding for special education in

13

the base year shall be allocated in the same manner as the State

14

funding was allocated in the base year.

15

(c)  The Department of Education shall distribute special

16

education funding according to the calculations under

17

subsections (a) and (b).

18

(d)  The Legislative Commission on Special Education Funding

19

is established and shall develop a special education formula

20

that will be used to determine the distribution of any change in

21

special education funding among the school districts of this

22

Commonwealth. The formula shall include all of the following:

23

(1)  Three (3) cost categories of eligible students,

24

established such that students with disabilities typically

25

requiring the least intensive range of services shall comprise

26

category 1, students with disabilities typically requiring a

27

middle range of services shall comprise category 2 and students

28

with disabilities typically requiring the most intensive range

29

of services shall comprise category 3. The commission shall

30

determine a description of and parameters for each of the three

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1

(3) categories.

2

(2)  A student count for each school district averaged for

3

the three (3) most recent years for each category of eligible

4

students to be calculated as follows:

5

(i)  For category 3, calculate the number of eligible

6

students residing or enrolled in the school district and

7

classified in category 3, except that the number of eligible

8

students included in this calculation who are placed by the

9

school district and served in public or private separate

10

schools, residential placements or homebound or hospital

11

placements shall not exceed three and one-half percent (3.5%) of

12

all eligible students with individualized education programs

13

residing or enrolled in the school district or the target

14

established in the Part B State Annual Performance Plan filed by

15

the Department of Education under the Individuals with

16

Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400

17

et seq.), whichever is less.

18

(ii)  For category 2, calculate the number of eligible

19

students classified in category 2 determined by taking the

20

product of:

21

(A)  the number of eligible students in the school district;

22

and

23

(B)  the Statewide percentage of eligible students classified

24

in category 2.

25

(iii)  For category 1, calculate the number of eligible

26

students classified in category 1 determined by taking the

27

product of:

28

(A)  the school district's modified average daily membership;

29

and

30

(B)  the Statewide percentage of modified average daily

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1

membership classified in category 1.

2

(iv)  The two (2) Statewide percentages of modified average

3

daily membership which shall be designated as category 1 and of

4

eligible students which shall be designated as category 2 shall

5

not exceed the actual proportion of students in this

6

Commonwealth classified in categories 1 and 2 in the most recent

7

year for which data is available.

8

(3)  A weighting factor that differs for each of the three

9

(3) categories of students with disabilities and that accurately

10

reflects the costs of educating students in each category.

11

(4)  Adjustments for:

12

(i)  The market value/personal income aid ratio averaged for

13

the three (3) most recent years for each school district.

14

(ii)  The equalized millage rate averaged for the three (3)

15

most recent years for each school district.

16

(iii)  Geographic price differences identified for each

17

school district.

18

(5)  A distribution ratio based on the factors listed in

19

paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4), in which the calculated total

20

for each school district is divided by the aggregation of

21

calculated totals for all school districts in this Commonwealth.

22

(6)  A calculation of the change in special education funding

23

to be provided for each school district, in which the

24

distribution ratio under paragraph (5) is multiplied by the

25

Statewide total change in special education funding.

26

(7)  Other factors related to an accurate distribution of

27

special education funding.

28

(h) (e)  Prior to the development of the special education

<--

29

formula components specified required under subsection (g) by 

<--

30

(d), the commission shall:

<--

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1

(1)  The commission shall consider Consider nationally

<--

2

accepted accounting and budgeting standards in determining the

<--

3

special education formula components specified under subsection

4

(g).

5

(2)  The commission shall, in In a timely manner, hold no

<--

6

fewer than three (3) public hearings in different regions of

7

this Commonwealth to receive input and testimony from

8

stakeholders interested parties, which may include the Secretary

<--

9

of Education and other individuals representing the Department

10

of Education, parents of eligible students, teachers, school

11

administrators, school board members, higher education faculty

12

and existing State committees, advisory panels and task forces

13

established under Federal or State law, regulations or court

14

orders.

15

(3) (f)  (1)  Membership of the commission shall include

<--

16

three (3) twelve (12) members, consisting of the chairman and

<--

17

minority chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate, the

18

chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of the

19

House of Representatives and two (2) legislators from each of

20

the four (4) legislative caucuses, to be determined by the

21

leadership of each caucus and to be replaced at the discretion

22

of the leadership of each caucus. The commission may perform its

23

duties regardless of whether all four (4) legislative caucuses

24

have actually appointed members to the commission. The

25

commission shall choose a chairperson and utilize legislative

26

staff for assistance in developing the special education formula

<--

27

components. The Department of Education shall provide the

<--

28

commission with data, research and other relevant information,

29

upon request by the commission.

30

(4) (2)  Members of the commission shall be appointed within

<--

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1

forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this section. The

2

commission shall hold its first meeting within ninety (90) days

3

of the effective date of this section. The commission shall

4

develop the special education formula components specified 

<--

5

required under subsection (g) (d) within one hundred twenty

<--

6

(120) days of the effective date of this section, and shall

7

issue a report of its findings to the Governor, the President

8

pro tempore of the Senate and Minority Leader of the Senate, the

9

Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader

10

of the House of Representatives, the chairman and minority

<--

11

chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and the

<--

12

chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of the

13

House of Representatives, the Secretary of Education and the

14

State Board of Education.

15

(5) (g)  Upon completion of the commission's report, the

<--

16

State Board of Education shall draft proposed regulations to

17

implement the special education funding provisions of this

18

section using, without alteration, the special education formula

19

components specified under subsection (g) as developed by the

<--

20

commission. If the commission does not issue the required report

21

within the required time period or if the commission's report

22

does not designate the special education formula components

<--

23

specified required under subsection (g) (d), the State Board of

<--

24

Education shall in a timely manner promulgate proposed

25

regulations to designate the special education formula

26

components specified under subsection (g) through the regulatory

<--

27

review process.

28

(6) (h)  In every fifth year subsequent to the initial

<--

29

promulgation of the regulations implementing the formula

<--

30

components special education formula, the commission shall be

<--

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1

reconstituted pursuant to subsection (f)(1), shall meet and hold

2

public hearings to review the operation of the special education

3

funding provisions of this section, shall make a further report

4

and shall issue the report to the bodies and individuals listed

5

under clause (4) subsection (f)(2). When in receipt of a further

<--

6

report recommending changes to the special education formula

7

components specified under subsection (g), the State Board of

<--

8

Education shall promulgate proposed regulations through the

9

regulatory review process to implement, without alteration, any

10

changes developed by the commission in the special education

11

formula components specified under subsection (g).

<--

12

(7) (i)  The commission shall receive input and gather

<--

13

information on charter and cyber school funding reimbursements

<--

14

regarding special education students. The commission shall draft

15

proposed regulations and proposed legislation based on their

16

findings.

17

(i)  The provisions of this section represent the General

<--

18

Assembly's commitment to provide adequate special education

19

funding that will ensure equitable Federal, State and local

20

investments in special education in public schools in order to

21

enable eligible students to attain applicable Federal and State

22

academic standards.

23

(j)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if

24

insufficient funds are appropriated for purposes of this section

25

for the 2011-2012 school year, each school district shall be

26

paid the amount it received during the 2008-2009 school year

27

under section 2509.5(zz).

28

(k) (j)  (1)  The Department of Education shall set aside one

<--

29

percent (1%) of the total State special education appropriation

30

in each year for extraordinary special education program

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1

expenses under section 2509.8. The department shall utilize the

2

funds under section 2509.8(e) in order to meet, to the extent

3

that funds are available, extraordinary special education

4

expenses not anticipated through the special education funding

5

formula. School districts and charter schools may apply for

6

resources through the fund under procedures established by the

7

department. The department shall make payments from the fund in

8

response to the applications.

9

(2)  The Department of Education shall issue a comprehensive

10

annual report documenting use of the fund to the General

11

Assembly and shall give public notice about the report.

12

(3)  As used in this subsection, "extraordinary special

13

education expenses" shall mean expenses that result from needs

14

and circumstances of an eligible student with significant

15

disabilities which are not ordinarily present in a typical

16

special education service and program delivery system and which

17

have costs exceeding the school district or charter school

18

funding for special education, in order to provide the student

19

with an appropriate education in the least restrictive

20

environment.

21

(l) (k)  (1)  To the extent that funds are appropriated by

<--

22

the General Assembly, the Department of Education shall

23

establish a competitive grant program for school districts or

24

charter schools meeting the following criteria:

25

(1) (i)  Providing instruction within the regular classroom

<--

26

at least eighty percent (80%) of the school day for at least

27

sixty-five percent (65%) of eligible students, as averaged for

28

the two (2) most recent school years for which data are

29

available or increasing the number of eligible students

30

receiving instruction within the regular classroom by at least

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1

fifteen percent (15%) in the most recent school year for which

2

data are available.

3

(2) (ii)  In the most recent school year for which data are

<--

4

available, performance by eligible students on State academic

5

assessments in reading and math, averaged for the entire

6

district, meeting State standards for adequate yearly progress

7

by any method approved by the Federal and State governments,

8

such as meeting the annual target, the confidence interval, the

9

safe harbor target or by appeal.

10

(3) (iii)  Implementing programs or services that serve as a

<--

11

model of excellence for meeting high standards for inclusion and

12

student achievement through quality special education.

13

(m) (2)  The Department of Education shall develop guidelines

<--

14

for the administration of the grant program established under

<--

15

this subsection, which shall be allocated to school districts on

16

a competitive basis.

17

(n) (3)  The Department of Education shall issue an annual

<--

18

report to the General Assembly documenting use of the grants

19

issued under subsection (l) paragraph (1) and shall give public

<--

20

notice about the report.

21

(o) (4)  Nothing under subsection (l) paragraph (1) or any

<--

22

other provision of this act shall alter Federal or State law

23

regarding the right of an eligible student to receive 

<--

24

protections provided to an eligible student for receiving 

<--

25

education in the least restrictive environment or shall alter

26

the legal authority of individualized education program teams to

27

make appropriate program and placement decisions for eligible

28

students in accordance with the individualized education program

29

developed for each eligible student.

30

Section 2509.14.  Special Education Funding for Eligible

<--

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1

Students with Disabilities in Category 3.--(a)  For the

2

2014-2015 school year and each school year thereafter, the

3

Department of Education shall set aside an amount equal to one

4

percent (1%) of the State special education appropriation above

5

the level of the appropriation in the base year. The Department

6

of Education shall distribute this amount as provided in

7

subsection (b).

8

(b)  For the 2014-2015 school year and each school year

9

thereafter, each school district in this Commonwealth shall

10

receive a pro rata share of the amount set aside under

11

subsection (a) based upon the number of eligible students

12

residing or enrolled in each school district and classified in

13

category 3 during the immediately preceding school year.

14

(c)  The funding provided under this section shall be

15

accounted for as part of actual special education spending and

16

as part of the special education allocation received by a school

17

district, according to the definitions in section 2501. School

18

districts shall also account for the funding provided under this

19

section and the resulting services and supports for eligible

20

students through the special education plans, revisions, updates

21

and amendments required by section 2509.15.

22

Section 2509.14 2509.15.  Special Education Accountability.--

<--

23

(a)  (1)  The Department of Education shall determine the form

24

and manner in which school districts shall submit a special

25

education plan and revisions, updates and amendments to the

26

special education plan under this section. The special education

27

plan shall be consistent with other existing plans and reports

28

required by the department to the greatest extent possible.

29

Special education plans shall be written in a manner that is

30

easy to use and understand by parents and the public, including

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1

a general summary.

2

(2)  The Department of Education shall:

3

(i)  review the special education plans and revisions,

4

updates and amendments;

5

(ii)  provide recommendations and technical assistance to

6

school districts;

7

(iii)  approve or disapprove the plan within ninety (90)

8

calendar days of receipt; and

9

(iv)  provide a written explanation when disapproving a plan.

10

(3)  The Department of Education shall approve a special

11

education plan and revisions, updates and amendments that in the

12

determination of the department:

13

(i)  meet the requirements of this section;

14

(ii)  address the academic and developmental challenges for

15

eligible students identified in the school district's most

16

recent student achievement results and pursuant to performance

17

indicators, with specific focus on individual schools, grade

18

levels and populations of students that demonstrate inadequate

19

levels of student outcomes and with student achievement for

20

eligible students as measured by academic performance whenever

21

possible in the general education curriculum, acquisition of

22

knowledge and skills, progress toward graduation, accomplishment

23

of individualized education program goals, including appropriate

24

functional skills, and other factors;

25

(iii)  describe programs and strategies that are most likely

26

to improve student outcomes in the school district;

27

(iv)  describe any programs offered by the school district

28

and strategies of the school district for children from birth

29

through five (5) years of age and five (5) years of age through

30

seven (7) years of age designed to reduce the need for special

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1

education services; and

2

(v)  describe policies of the school district to ensure that

3

a student identified as having a disability is no longer

4

identified as such if the student no longer qualifies under 22

5

Pa. Code Ch. 14 (relating to special education services and

6

programs), or any successor regulation.

7

(4)  Upon disapproving a school district's special education

8

plan, update or revision submitted under this section, the

9

Department of Education shall withhold the portion of the annual

10

State increase in special education funding which exceeds the

11

index until a written special education plan, update or revision

12

is approved.

13

(5)  The Secretary of Education shall involve as appropriate

14

in special education monitoring, support, intervention,

15

technical assistance and special education plan review by the

16

Department of Education, the staff in relevant offices, bureaus

17

and divisions of the department, as well as staff in

18

intermediate units and consultants, and shall neither delegate

19

nor limit these functions solely to the Bureau of Special

20

Education. The Secretary of Education shall have the authority

21

to contract for additional assistance with intermediate units

22

and consultants for these purposes, if the contracts do not

23

create a conflict of interest or supplant existing service or

24

program obligations.

25

(b)  (1)  By April 15, 2012, and by April 15 of each year

26

thereafter, each school district receiving an increase in its

27

State special education funding allocation of more than the

28

index shall update its special education plan based on overall

29

circumstances, shall also revise the special education plan to

30

show in detail how the increase above the index will be used and

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1

shall submit the updates and revisions to the Department of

2

Education for approval under subsection (a). Unless a school

3

district decides to amend its special education plan more

4

broadly to reflect the receipt of new funding, the department

5

shall allow a district to meet the requirements of this section

6

by adding the mandated information as an appendix to the

7

existing plan.

8

(2)  School districts shall use State funds for programs and

9

supports that expressly benefit eligible students educated in

10

the least restrictive environment in accordance with Federal and

11

State law and contribute to achievement of performance

12

indicators.

13

(3)  The Department of Education shall issue guidelines for

14

the suggested use of State funds for programs and supports that

15

benefit eligible students and contribute to achievement of

16

performance indicators and address the following areas or

17

related areas:

18

(i)  curricula adaptation;

19

(ii)  coteaching;

20

(iii)  assistive technology;

21

(iv)  school-wide positive behavior supports;

22

(v)  supplementary aids and services;

23

(vi)  professional development;

24

(vii)  reading specialist services and supports;

25

(viii)  reducing caseloads for special education teachers and

26

related services personnel; and

27

(ix)  placing and serving eligible students in regular

28

classrooms with supports in accordance with the individualized

29

education program developed for each eligible student.

30

(4)  Nothing under this subsection shall be construed to

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1

require school districts to implement only the programs and

2

supports included in the guidelines issued by the Department of

3

Education.

4

(c)  Accountability for the effective use of resources to

5

meet student needs shall also be provided in the following ways:

6

(1)  The Department of Education shall issue to the General

7

Assembly a comprehensive annual report on special education

8

funding, special education plans, the implementation of 22 Pa.

9

Code § 14.104 (relating to special education plans) and other

10

special education accountability issues for public school

11

entities serving eligible students and this Commonwealth.

12

(2)  Upon disapproving a school district's special education

13

plan, update or revision, the Department of Education shall

14

withhold the portion of the annual State increase in special

15

education funding which exceeds the index until a written

16

special education plan, update or revision is approved.

17

(3)  (i)  The Department of Education shall:

18

(A)  review and monitor implementation of all special

19

education plans, such as compliance with subsection (b) and 22

20

Pa. Code § 14.104;

21

(B)  provide support, intervention and technical assistance

22

in school districts failing to meet student needs based on

23

performance indicators or failing to comply with subsection (b);

24

(C)  identify at any time and at least annually all school

25

districts failing to adequately implement their special

26

education plans in compliance with Federal and State law,

27

failing to comply with subsection (b) or not making annual

28

progress to meet student needs based on performance indicators;

29

and

30

(D)  determine whether to withhold up to five percent (5%) of

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1

all State special education funding for school districts

2

identified under this clause while the identified problems

3

remain unresolved.

4

(ii)  If the Department of Education determines that a school

5

district is making substantial progress toward resolving the

6

identified problems, it shall restore the withheld funding

7

retroactively and continue to monitor the district for an

8

additional two (2) years.

9

(4)  To discourage the inappropriate over-identification of

10

children for special education, the Department of Education

11

shall automatically conduct a thorough review of the special

12

education plan of any school district with a substantially

13

higher ratio of eligible students in the district to its average

14

daily membership for all students than the State average, as

15

established by the department and of any district where the

16

ratio of eligible students in the school district to its average

17

daily membership for all students in the most recent school year

18

for which data is available has increased by more than ten

19

percent (10%) over the previous year or of any district where

20

the ratio has increased by an annual average of more than five

21

percent (5%) during the most recent five-year period.

22

Appropriate remedial action, including withholding up to five

23

percent (5%) of all State special education funding, may be

24

taken, unless the ratio or increase is determined to be

25

justified by the department after consultation with the school

26

district.

27

(d)  The Department of Education shall issue to any affected

28

school district a notice specifying the department's decisions

29

and actions under this section and the rationale for the

30

decisions and actions. A school district may file a written

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1

response to the department about the department's decisions and

2

actions regarding the district made under this section. The

3

written response must be submitted to the department within

4

thirty (30) calendar days of the department's notice or within

5

thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the notice, whichever is

6

greater. The department shall consider the written response,

7

consult with the school district and, within thirty (30)

8

calendar days after receiving the written response, issue a

9

written decision addressing the concerns and claims made in the

10

written response, explaining the judgment of the department in

11

response to these concerns and claims, and specifying the

12

opportunity to appeal this matter to the Secretary of Education

13

for a hearing under 2 Pa.C.S. Chs. 5 Subch. A (relating to

14

practice and procedure of Commonwealth agencies) and 7 Subch. A

15

(relating to judicial review of Commonwealth agency action) and

16

1 Pa. Code Pt. II (relating to general rules of administrative

17

practice and procedure). If requested, the Secretary of

18

Education shall convene a hearing within thirty (30) calendar

19

days after receipt of a school district's hearing request. The

20

Secretary of Education shall render a written hearing decision

21

within thirty (30) calendar days following the hearing.

22

(e)  The Department of Education shall give public notice of

23

the decisions, actions and reports made under this section.

24

(f)  Nothing under this section shall supersede or preempt

25

any provisions of a collective bargaining agreement between a

26

school entity and an employe organization in effect on the

27

effective date of this section.

28

(g)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if

29

insufficient funds are appropriated for purposes of section

30

2509.13 for the 2011-2012 school year, the requirements of this

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1

section shall be waived.

2

Section 2509.16.  Data Collection.--Using existing resources

<--

3

and data systems as well as nationally accepted accounting and

4

modeling standards, the Department of Education shall collect

5

data necessary for accurate functioning of the special education

6

formula developed under section 2509.13, including, but not

7

limited to, data necessary for the calculations related to

8

category 1, category 2 and category 3 as part of the formula

9

developed by the commission. The Department of Education shall

10

begin collecting such data upon the effective date of this

11

section.

12

Section 2509.17.  Restructuring.--(a)  The commission shall

13

study whether and the manner in which State and regional

14

administration of special education programs and services may be

15

restructured to reduce the cost of administering special

16

education programs and services by at least ten percent (10%) of

17

the cost of administering special education programs and

18

services in the base year and shall report its findings and

19

recommendations, including recommended legislation and options

20

to redirect administrative cost savings to school districts

21

through the formula developed under section 2509.13(d), to the

22

Governor and the General Assembly in the report required under

23

section 2509.13(f)(2).

24

(b)  Nothing under subsection (a) or any other provision of

25

this act shall alter Federal or State law regarding the

26

protections provided to an eligible student for receiving

27

education in the least restrictive environment or shall alter

28

the legal authority of individualized education program teams to

29

make appropriate program and placement decisions for eligible

30

students in accordance with the individualized education program

- 23 -

 


1

developed for each eligible student.

2

Section 3.  The Secretary of Education shall propose

3

regulations for promulgation by the State Board of Education

4

which implement this act.

5

Section 4.  This act shall take effect immediately.

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