HOUSE AMENDED

 

PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 1366, 1982, 2203, 2337

PRINTER'S NO.  2354

  

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

  

  

AS AMENDED ON THIRD CONSIDERATION, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JUNE 30, 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," in preliminary provisions,

<--

6

establishing the Special Education Funding Commission; and

7

imposing duties on the Department of Education; in duties and

<--

8

powers of boards of school directors, further providing for

9

elementary schools; in terms and courses of study, further

10

providing for agreements with institutions of higher

11

education; in opportunities for educational excellence,

12

further providing for definitions and for concurrent

13

enrollment agreements; extensively revising charter school

14

provisions; in reimbursements by the Commonwealth and between

15

school districts, further providing for definitions; and

16

providing for the distribution of special education funding

17

for student achievement and instruction of eligible students

18

and for special education accountability.

19

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

20

hereby enacts as follows:

21

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

<--

22

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

23

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

 


1

amended by adding clauses to read:

2

Section 1.  The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known

<--

3

as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a

4

section to read:

5

Section 120.  Special Education Funding Commission.--(a)

6

There is hereby established a Special Education Funding

7

Commission.

8

(b)  The Special Education Funding Commission shall review

9

and make recommendations related to special education funding as

10

provided in this section.

11

(c)  (1)  The commission shall consist of the following

12

members:

13

(i)  The chairman and minority chairman of the Education

14

Committee of the Senate and the chairman and minority chairman

15

of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives, or

16

their designees.

17

(ii)  Two (2) legislators from each of the four (4)

18

legislative caucuses, to be appointed by the President pro

19

tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of

20

Representatives, with the consent of in consultation with the

<--

21

Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the Majority and

22

Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives.

23

(iii)  The Secretary of Education, or a designee.

24

(iv)  The Secretary of the Budget, or a designee.

25

(v)  The Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary

26

Education, or a designee.

27

(2)  The commission shall appoint a member to serve as

28

chairperson of the commission.

29

(d)  The commission shall hold its first meeting within

30

thirty (30) days of the effective date of this section.

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1

Regardless of whether the Governor or all legislative caucuses

2

have actually approved members to the commission.

3

(e)  The commission shall hold meetings at the call of the

4

chairman.

5

(f)  The members may not receive compensation for their

6

services, but must be reimbursed for all necessary travel and

7

other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the

8

performance of their duties as members of the commission.

9

(g)  The General Assembly shall provide administrative

10

support, meeting space and any other assistance required by the

11

commission to carry out its duties under this section in

12

cooperation with the Governor's Budget Office and the

13

department. The department shall provide the commission with

14

data, research and other information upon request by the

15

commission.

16

(h)  The commission shall identify factors that may be used

17

to determine the distribution of a change in special education

18

funding among the school districts in this Commonwealth.

19

(i)  The commission shall have all of the following powers

20

and duties:

21

(1)  Review and make recommendations related to special

22

education funding in this Commonwealth.

23

(2)  Consult with and utilize experts to assist in carrying

24

out the duties under this subsection.

25

(3)  Receive input from interested parties, including, but

26

not limited to, charter school and cyber charter school

27

operators.

28

(4)  Hold public hearings in different regions of this

29

Commonwealth.

30

(5)  Issue a report of its findings to the Governor, the

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1

President pro tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader and

2

Minority Leader of the Senate, the Education Committee of the

3

Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the

4

Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the House of

5

Representatives, the Education Committee of the House of

6

Representatives, the Secretary of Education and the State Board

7

of Education not later than November 30, 2012.

8

(6)  Determine the factors under this paragraph that may

9

include all of the following:

10

(i)  Three (3) categories of eligible students, established

11

so that students with disabilities typically requiring the

12

least-intensive range of services would compromise category 1,

13

students with disabilities typically requiring a middle range of

14

services would compromise category 2 and students with

15

disabilities typically requiring the most intensive range of

16

services would compromise category 3. The commission shall

17

determine a description of and parameters for each of the three

18

(3) categories.

19

(ii)  A student count for each school district for each of

20

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

21

students. For category 3, the number of eligible students

22

residing or enrolled in the school district and classified in

23

category 3, except that the number of eligible students included

24

who are placed by the school district and served in public or

25

private separate schools, residential placements or homebound or

26

hospital placements must be identified separately.

27

(iii)  A weighting factor that differs from each of the three

28

(3) categories of students with disabilities based on the

29

typical range of services for each category. The weighting may

30

include adjustments for any of the following:

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1

(A)  The market value/personal income aid ratio for each of

2

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

3

(B)  The equalized millage rate averaged for each of the

4

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

5

(C)  Geographic price differences identified for each school

6

district of the department.

7

(D)  A proportional system for distributing the changes in

8

special education funding among the school districts, based on

9

factors listed in this subparagraph.

10

(iv)  Development and implementation by the department of

11

improved systems for collecting and documenting student

12

enrollment and membership in public schools, including revised

13

methods for calculating average daily membership.

14

(v)  Other factors related to the distribution of special

15

education funding.

16

(7)  Review and consider special education funding factors

17

utilized in operation throughout the United States.

18

(8)  In developing the special education funding factors

19

under subsection (h) and in completing the report required under

20

this subsection, consider the impact these factors may have on

21

the distribution of special education funding among the school

22

districts.

23

(9)  Review the administration of State and regional special

24

education programs and services to determine if cost savings may

25

be achieved and make recommendations to implement the savings.

26

(10)  Consult with and utilize experts to assist them in

27

carrying out the duties under this subsection.

28

(11)  Prior to recommending a special education formula under

29

this section, consider nationally accepted accounting and

30

budgeting standards.

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1

(j)  The special education formula developed by the

2

commission shall not go into effect unless the formula is

3

approved by an act of the General Assembly enacted after the

4

effective date of this section.

5

(k)  Every five years the commission shall be reconstituted

6

under subsection (c) and shall meet and hold public hearings to

7

review the operations of the special education funding provision

8

of this section, shall make a further report and issue the

9

report to the recipients listed in subsection (i)(5). When in

10

receipt of a further report recommending changes to the special

11

education funding formula, the General Assembly shall consider

12

and take action to enact the formula into law in accordance with

13

subsection (j).

14

(l)  The General Assembly shall, through the annual

<--

15

appropriations process, determine the level of State funding for

16

special education and the amount of any change in funding. The

17

special education formula developed under this section shall

18

determine only the distribution of any increase in special

19

education funding among the school districts of this

20

Commonwealth above the amount of special education funding in

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

any State funding for special education in an amount that does

25

not exceed the amount of State funding for special education in

26

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

27

funding was allocated in the base year.

28

(l) (n)  As used in this section, the following words and

<--

29

phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection

30

unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

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1

 "Commission."  The Special Education Funding Commission

2

established under this section.

3

"Department."  The Department of Education of the

4

Commonwealth.

5

Section 1.1.  Section 501 of the act is amended to read:

<--

6

Section 501.  Elementary Schools.--(a)  The board of school

7

directors in every school district shall establish, equip,

8

furnish, and maintain a sufficient number of elementary public

9

schools, in compliance with the provisions of this act, to

10

educate every person, residing in such district, between the

11

ages of six and twenty-one years, who may attend.

12

(b)  A local board of school directors may satisfy the

13

requirement set forth in subsection (a) by any of the following:

14

(1)  Operating a school building.

15

(2)  Contracting with any individual or entity authorized to

16

establish a charter school entity under section 1717-A(a).

17

(3)  Paying tuition for students residing in the school

18

district to attend school in another school district.

19

Section 1.2.  Section 1525 of the act, added July 4, 2004

20

(P.L.536, No.70), is amended to read:

21

Section 1525.  Agreements with Institutions of Higher

22

Education.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the

23

contrary, a school district, charter school, regional charter

24

school, cyber charter school or an area vocational-technical

25

school may enter into an agreement with one or more institutions

26

of higher education approved to operate in this Commonwealth in

27

order to allow [resident] students to attend such institutions

28

of higher education while the [resident] students are enrolled

29

in the school district, charter school, regional charter school,

30

cyber charter school or an area vocational-technical school. The

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1

agreement may be structured so that high school students may

2

receive credits toward completion of courses at the school

3

district, charter school, regional charter school, cyber charter

4

school or an area vocational-technical school and at

5

institutions of higher education approved to operate in this

6

Commonwealth.

7

Section 1.3.  The definitions of "concurrent student" and

8

"school entity" in section 1602-B of the act, added July 13,

9

2005 (P.L.226, No.46), are amended to read:

10

Section 1602-B.  Definitions.

11

The following words and phrases when used in this article

12

shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

13

context clearly indicates otherwise:

14

* * *

15

"Concurrent student."  A student who is enrolled in a school

16

district, a charter school, a regional charter school, a cyber

17

charter school, an area vocational-technical school, a nonpublic

18

school, a private school or a home education program under

19

section 1327.1 and who takes a concurrent course through a

20

concurrent enrollment program.

21

* * *

22

"School entity."  A school district, a charter school, a

23

regional charter school, a cyber charter school or an area

24

vocational-technical school.

25

* * *

26

Section 1.4.  Section 1613-B of the act is amended by adding

27

a subsection to read:

28

Section 1613-B.  Concurrent enrollment agreements.

29

* * *

30

(c)  Charter school entities.--A charter school, regional

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1

charter school, cyber charter school or an area vocational-

2

technical school shall have the power and authority to enter

3

into a concurrent enrollment agreement with an institution of

4

higher education, and appropriate credit shall be awarded to

5

students concurrently enrolled under the agreement.

6

Section 1.5.  Section 1703-A of the act, amended June 29,

7

2002 (P.L.524, No.88), is amended to read:

8

Section 1703-A.  Definitions.--As used in this article,

9

"Account" shall mean the State Charter School Entities

10

Assessment Account.

11

"Administrator" shall include an employe of a charter school

12

entity, including the chief administrator of a charter school

13

entity and any other employe, who by virtue of the employe's

14

position is responsible for taking official action of a

15

nonministerial nature with regard to contracting or procurement,

16

administering or monitoring grants or subsidies, managing or

17

regulating staff, student and school activities or any activity

18

where the official action has an economic impact of greater than

19

a de minimis nature on the interests of any person.

20

["Appeal board" shall mean the State Charter School Appeal

21

Board established by this article.]

22

"Assessment" shall mean the Pennsylvania System of School

23

Assessment test, the Keystone Exam or another test established

24

by the State board to meet the requirements of section 2603-

25

B(d)(10)(i) and required under the No Child Left Behind Act of

26

2001 (Public Law 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425) or its successor

27

Federal statute.

28

"At-risk student" shall mean a student at risk of educational

29

failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty,

30

community factors, truancy, academic difficulties or economic

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1

disadvantage.

2

"Board" shall mean the State Charter School Entities Board

3

established by this article.

4

"Charter school" shall mean an independent public school

5

established and operated under a charter from [the local board

6

of school directors] a grantor and in which students are

7

enrolled or attend. A charter school must be organized as a

8

public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to

9

any for-profit entity.

10

"Charter school entity" shall mean a charter school, regional

11

charter school or cyber charter school.

12

"Charter school foundation" shall mean a nonprofit

13

organization, as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal

14

Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)),

15

that provides funding, resources or otherwise serves to support

16

a charter school entity, either directly or through an

17

affiliated entity.

18

"Chief administrator" shall mean an individual appointed by a

19

board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of a

20

charter school entity. The term shall not include a professional

21

staff member under this article.

22

["Chief executive officer" shall mean an individual appointed

23

by the board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of

24

the charter school, but who shall not be deemed a professional

25

staff member under this article.]

26

"Committee" shall mean the Charter School Entities Funding

27

Advisory Committee.

28

"Cyber charter school" shall mean an independent public

29

school established and operated under a charter from the

30

[Department of Education] board and in which the school uses

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1

technology in order to provide a significant portion of its

2

curriculum and to deliver a significant portion of instruction

3

to its students through the Internet or other electronic means.

4

A cyber charter school must be organized as a public, nonprofit

5

corporation. A charter may not be granted to a for-profit

6

entity.

7

"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the

8

Commonwealth.

9

"Educational management service provider" shall mean a for-

10

profit education management organization, nonprofit charter

11

management organization, school design provider, business

12

manager or any other partner entity with which a board of

13

trustees of a charter school entity contracts to provide

14

educational design, business services, comprehensive management

15

or personnel functions or to implement the charter. The term

16

shall not include a charter school foundation.

17

"Grantor" shall mean one of the following:

18

(1)  a local board of school directors; or

19

(2)  the board in accordance with section 1721-A(h)(2),

20

(2.1), (3), (3.1) and (4).

21

"Immediate family member" shall mean a parent, spouse, child,

22

brother or sister.

23

"Local board of school directors" shall mean the board of

24

directors of a school district in which a proposed or an

25

approved charter school is located. The term shall include a

26

special board of control or a school reform commission.

27

"Nonrelated" shall mean an individual who is not an immediate

28

family member.

29

"Regional charter school" shall mean an independent public

30

school established and operated under a charter from more than

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1

one local board of school directors or the board and in which

2

students are enrolled or attend. A regional charter school must

3

be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may

4

not be granted to any for-profit entity.

5

"Right-to-Know Law" shall mean the act of February 14, 2008

6

(P.L.6, No.3), known as the "Right-to-Know Law."

7

"School district of residence" shall mean the school district

8

in this Commonwealth in which [the parents or guardians of a

9

child reside] a child resides as determined under section 1302.

10

"School entity" shall mean a school district, intermediate

11

unit, joint school or area vocational-technical school.

12

"School Reform Commission" shall mean the School Reform

13

Commission established under section 696.

14

"Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of Education of the

15

Commonwealth.

16

"Special board of control" shall mean a special board of

17

control established under section 692.

18

"State board" shall mean the State Board of Education of the

19

Commonwealth.

20

Section 1.6.  The act is amended by adding sections to read:

21

Section 1705-A.  State Charter School Entities Assessment

22

Account.--(a)  The State Charter School Entities Assessment

23

Account is established as a restricted account within the

24

General Fund. Money in the account is hereby appropriated on a

25

continuing basis to the board upon approval of the Governor to

26

carry out its duties as set forth under this article.

27

(b)  Board funding shall be as follows:

28

(1)  The board shall annually seek Federal and nonprofit

29

grants to support its operations and deposit the funding into

30

the account.

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1

(2)  The following apply:

2

(i)  Until the board establishes a fee structure under

3

paragraph (3), the board shall be funded by an assessment fee,

4

based upon the State and local revenues as reported on a charter

5

school entity's most recent available annual financial report as

6

published on the department's publicly accessible Internet

7

website.

8

(ii)  Existing cyber charter schools shall pay an amount not

9

more than three-tenths of one per centum to the board.

10

(iii)  Existing charter schools and regional charter schools

11

shall pay not more than fifteen-hundredths of one per centum to

12

the board.

13

(iv)  Fees collected under this section shall be deposited in

14

the account.

15

(3)  The board shall develop a fee structure in accordance

16

with the act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as the

17

"Regulatory Review Act," for all charter school entities, which

18

may include a sliding fee schedule, fee reduction incentives for

19

performance, cost efficiencies and rebates.

20

Section 1706-A.  Charter School Entities Funding Advisory

21

Committee.--(a)  The following shall apply:

22

(1)  The Governor shall convene a Statewide advisory

23

committee, to be known as the Charter School Entities Funding

24

Advisory Committee, to examine the financing of charter school

25

entities in the public education system. The committee shall

26

examine how charter school entity finances affect opportunities

27

for teachers, parents, pupils and community members to establish

28

and maintain schools that operate independently from the

29

existing school district structure as a method to accomplish the

30

requirements of section 1702-A. The Office of the Budget and the

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1

department shall provide administrative support, meeting space

2

and any other assistance required by the committee to carry out

3

its duties under this section.

4

(2)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

5

(i)  One member of the Senate appointed by the President pro

6

tempore of the Senate.

7

(ii)  One member of the Senate appointed by the Majority

8

Leader of the Senate.

9

(iii)  One member of the Senate appointed by the Minority

10

Leader of the Senate.

11

(iv)  One member of the House of Representatives appointed by

12

the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

13

(v)  One member of the House of Representatives appointed by

14

the Majority Leader of the House of Representative.

15

(vi)  One member of the minority party of the House of

16

Representatives appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of

17

Representatives.

18

(vii)  The secretary or a designee.

19

(viii)  The chairman of the State board or a designee.

20

(ix)  The following members who shall be appointed by the

21

Governor:

22

(A)  One member who shall represent charter schools.

23

(B)  One member who shall represent regional charter schools.

24

(C)  One member who shall represent cyber charter schools.

25

(D)  One member who shall represent teachers, who may be a

26

public school teacher, a charter school teacher, a regional

27

charter school teacher, a cyber charter school teacher or a

28

nonpublic school teacher.

29

(E)  One member who shall represent school administrators.

30

(F)  One member who shall represent school board members.

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1

(G)  One member who shall represent a business manager of a

2

school district.

3

(H)  One member who shall represent a parent of a child

4

attending a charter school entity.

5

(I)  One member who shall represent an institution of higher

6

education with experience in operating a charter school entity.

7

(3)  Members of the committee shall be appointed within

8

twenty (20) days of the effective date of this section. Any

9

vacancy on the committee shall be filled by the original

10

appointing officer or agency. The committee shall select a

11

chairman and vice chairman from among its membership at an

12

organizational meeting. The organizational meeting must take

13

place no later than thirty (30) days following the effective

14

date of this section.

15

(4)  The committee shall hold meetings at the call of the

16

chairman. The committee may hold public hearings on the matters

17

to be considered by the committee at locations throughout this

18

Commonwealth. All meetings and public hearings of the committee

19

shall be deemed public meetings for the purpose of 65 Pa.C.S.

20

Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings). Nine members of the committee

21

shall constitute a quorum at any meeting. Each member of the

22

committee may designate another person to represent that member

23

at meetings of the committee.

24

(5)  Committee members shall receive no compensation for

25

their services but shall be reimbursed for all necessary travel

26

and other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the

27

performance of their duties as members. Whenever possible, the

28

committee shall utilize the services and expertise of existing

29

personnel and staff of State government. The department may

30

utilize undistributed funds not expended, encumbered or

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1

committed from appropriations for grants and subsidies made to

2

the department, not to exceed $300,000, to carry out this

3

section.

4

(6)  The committee shall have the following powers and

5

duties:

6

(i)  Meet with current charter school entity operators within

7

this Commonwealth, including cyber charter schools with blended

8

programs.

9

(ii)  Review charter school entity financing laws in

10

operation throughout the United States.

11

(iii)  Evaluate and make recommendations on the following:

12

(A)  Powers and duties extended to charter school entities as

13

they relate to financing.

14

(B)  Funding formulas for charter school entities, including

15

reimbursement procedures and funding under Title I of the

16

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law

17

89-10, 20 U.S.C. Ch. 63 et seq.).

18

(C)  The process by which charter schools entities are funded

19

under section 1725-A.

20

(D)  Student residency as it relates to funding.

21

(E)  Special education and other special program funding.

22

(F)  Charter school entity transportation.

23

(G)  Charter school entity eligibility to receive grants and

24

funding.

25

(H)  Appropriate assessment fees on charter school entities.

26

(I)  Consideration of recognizing charter school entities for

27

additional designations as a local education agency.

28

(iv)  The committee shall, no later than November 30, 2012,

29

issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the

30

Governor, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Minority

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1

Leader of the Senate, the chairman and minority chairman of the

2

Education Committee of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of

3

Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of

4

Representatives and the chairman and minority chairman of the

5

Education Committee of the House of Representatives.

6

(b)  (Reserved).

7

Section 1.7.  Section 1715-A of the act, amended or added

8

June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, No.22) and July 9, 2008 (P.L.846,

9

No.61), is amended to read:

10

Section 1715-A.  Charter School Requirements.--(a)  Charter

11

schools shall be required to comply with the following

12

provisions:

13

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this article, a charter

14

school is exempt from statutory requirements established in this

15

act, from regulations of the State board and the standards of

16

the secretary not specifically applicable to charter schools.

17

Charter schools are not exempt from statutes applicable to

18

public schools other than this act.

19

(2)  A charter school shall be accountable to the parents,

20

the public and the Commonwealth, with the delineation of that

21

accountability reflected in the charter. Strategies for

22

meaningful parent and community involvement shall be developed

23

and implemented by each school.

24

(3)  A charter school shall not unlawfully discriminate in

25

admissions, hiring or operation.

26

(4)  A charter school shall be nonsectarian in all

27

operations.

28

(5)  (i)  A charter school shall not provide any religious

29

instruction, nor shall it display religious objects and symbols

30

on the premises of the charter school. The charter school entity

- 17 -

 


1

shall provide for discrete and separate entrances to buildings

2

utilized for school purposes only.

3

(ii)  It shall not be a violation of this section for a

4

charter school entity to utilize a sectarian facility:

5

(A)  if the religious objects and symbols within the portions

6

of the facility utilized by the school are covered or removed to

7

the extent reasonably feasible; or

8

(B)  in which the unused portion of the facility or its

9

common areas contain religious symbols and objects.

10

(6)  A charter school shall not advocate unlawful behavior.

11

(7)  A charter school shall only be subject to the laws and

12

regulations as provided for in section 1732-A, or as otherwise

13

provided for in this article.

14

(8)  (i)  A charter school shall participate in [the

15

Pennsylvania State Assessment System as provided for in 22 Pa.

16

Code Ch. 5 (relating to curriculum), or subsequent regulations

17

promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 5,] assessments in the

18

manner in which the school district in which the charter school

19

is located is scheduled to participate.

20

(ii)  A charter school entity shall be treated in the same

21

manner as a school district for the purposes of measuring the

22

charter entity's adequate yearly progress under the No Child

23

Left Behind Act of 2001 or any successor statute.

24

(9)  A charter school shall provide a minimum of one hundred

25

eighty (180) days of instruction or nine hundred (900) hours per

26

year of instruction at the elementary level, or nine hundred

27

ninety (990) hours per year of instruction at the secondary

28

level. Nothing in this clause shall preclude the use of computer

29

and satellite linkages for delivering instruction to students.

30

(10)  Boards of trustees and contractors of charter schools

- 18 -

 


1

shall be subject to the following statutory requirements

2

governing construction projects and construction-related work:

3

(i)  The following provisions of this act:

4

(A)  Sections 751 and 751.1.

5

(B)  Sections 756 and 757 insofar as they are consistent with

6

the act of December 20, 1967 (P.L.869, No.385), known as the

7

"Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."

8

(ii)  Section 1 of the act of May 1, 1913 (P.L.155, No.104),

9

entitled "An act regulating the letting of certain contracts for

10

the erection, construction, and alteration of public buildings."

11

(iii)  The act of August 11, 1961 (P.L.987, No.442), known as

12

the "Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act."

13

(iv)  The "Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."

14

(v)  The act of March 3, 1978 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the

15

"Steel Products Procurement Act."

16

(11)  Trustees of a charter school entity shall be public

17

officials[.] for the purposes of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to

18

ethics standards and financial disclosure) and shall file a

19

statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year

20

with the State Ethics Commission and the grantor not later than

21

May 1 of each year that members hold the position and of the

22

year after a member leaves the position. All members of the

23

board of trustees of a charter school entity shall take the oath

24

of office as required under section 321 before entering upon the

25

duties of their office.

26

[(12)  A person who serves as an administrator for a charter

27

school shall not receive compensation from another charter

28

school or from a company that provides management or other

29

services to another charter school. The term "administrator"

30

shall include the chief executive officer of a charter school

- 19 -

 


1

and all other employes of a charter school who by virtue of

2

their positions exercise management or operational oversight

3

responsibilities. A person who serves as an administrator for a

4

charter school shall be a public official under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch.

5

11 (relating to ethics standards and financial disclosure). A

6

violation of this clause shall constitute a violation of 65

7

Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) (relating to restricted activities), and the

8

violator shall be subject to the penalties imposed under the

9

jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.]

10

(b)  An individual who serves as an administrator for a

11

charter school entity shall be a public employe for the purposes

12

of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 and shall file a statement of financial

13

interests for the preceding calendar year with the board of

14

trustees not later than May 1 of each year that the individual

15

holds the position and of the year after the individual leaves

16

the position.

17

(c)  (1)  No individual who serves as an administrator for a

18

charter school entity may receive compensation from another

19

charter school entity or from an educational management service

20

provider, unless:

21

(i)  The administrator has submitted a sworn statement to the

22

charter school entity board of trustees and the sworn statement

23

details the work for the other entity and includes the projected

24

number of hours, rate of compensation and projected duration.

25

(ii)  The board of trustees has reviewed the sworn statement

26

under subclause (i) and agreed by resolution to grant permission

27

to the administrator.

28

(2)  A copy of the sworn statement under clause (1)(i) and

29

the resolution by the board of trustees granting the permission

30

shall be kept on file with the charter school entity and the

- 20 -

 


1

grantor.

2

(3)  No administrator of a charter school entity or immediate

3

family member may serve as a voting member of the board of

4

trustees of that individual's charter school entity.

5

(4)  (i)  No administrator of a charter school entity may

6

participate in the selection, award or administration of a

7

contract if the individual has a conflict of interest as that

8

term is defined in 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating to definitions).

9

(ii)  An administrator who knowingly violates this clause

10

commits a violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) (relating to

11

restricted activities) and shall be subject to the penalties

12

imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.

13

(iii)  Any contract made in violation of this clause shall be

14

voidable by the board of trustees of the charter school entity.

15

(5)  An administrator shall be immediately dismissed upon

16

conviction for an offense graded as a felony, an infamous crime,

17

an offense pertaining to fraud, theft or mismanagement of public

18

funds or any crime involving moral turpitude.

19

(d)  The board of trustees of a charter school entity shall

20

supply the grantor of the charter school entity and the

21

secretary a list of the amount of rental payments, which are

22

guarantees for school building debt or bonds that become due

23

during the fiscal year together with the amount paid on each

24

item of indebtedness. Any charter school entity that elects to

25

issue debt shall hold in escrow an amount sufficient to pay the

26

annual amount of the sum of the principal maturing or subject to

27

mandatory redemption and interest owing by the charter school

28

entity or sinking fund deposit due by the charter school entity.

29

(e)  Fund balance limit shall be as follows:

30

(1)  For the 2013-2014 school year and each school year

- 21 -

 


1

thereafter, a charter school entity shall not accumulate an

2

unassigned fund balance greater than the charter school entity

3

fund balance limit, which will be determined as follows:

4

5

6

  

Charter School Entity

Total Budgeted Expenditures

Maximum Unassigned Fund Balance as Percentage of Total Budgeted Expenditures

7

Less than or equal to $11,999,999

  12%

8

Between $12,000,000 and $12,999,999

11.5%

9

Between $13,000,000 and $13,999,999

  11%

10

Between $14,000,000 and $14,999,999

10.5%

11

Between $15,000,000 and $15,999,999

  10%

12

Between $16,000,000 and $16,999,999

 9.5%

13

Between $17,000,000 and $17,999,999

   9%

14

Between $18,000,000 and $18,999,999

 8.5%

15

Greater Than or Equal to $19,000,000

   8%

16

(2)  Any unassigned fund balance in place on June 30, 2013,

17

that exceeds the charter school entity fund balance limit shall

18

be refunded on a pro rata basis within 90 days to all school

19

districts that paid tuition to the charter school entity on

20

behalf of students enrolled in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

21

school years. The funds may not be used to pay bonuses to any

22

administrator, board of trustee member, employe, staff or

23

contractor and may not be transferred to a charter school

24

foundation.

25

(3)  For the 2013-2014 school year and each school year

26

thereafter, any unassigned fund balance in excess of the charter

27

school entity fund balance limit shall be refunded on a pro rata

28

basis to all school districts that paid tuition to the charter

29

school entity in the prior school year.

30

(4)  By August 15, 2013, and August 15 of each year

- 22 -

 


1

thereafter, each charter school entity shall provide its grantor

2

and the board with information certifying compliance with this

3

section. The information shall be provided in a form and manner

4

prescribed by the board and shall include information on the

5

charter school entity's estimated ending unassigned fund balance

6

expressed as a dollar amount and as a percentage of the charter

7

school entity's total budgeted expenditures for that school

8

year.

9

Section 1.8.  Section 1716-A(c) of the act, added June 19,

10

1997 (P.L.225, No.22), is amended and the section is amended by

11

adding subsections to read:

12

Section 1716-A.  Powers of Board of Trustees.--* * *

13

(b.1)  (1)  For a charter school entity chartered after the

14

effective date of this subsection, an individual shall be

15

prohibited from serving as a voting member of the board of

16

trustees of the charter school entity if the individual or an

17

immediate family member receives compensation from or is

18

employed by or is a member of the grantor who participated in

19

the initial review, approval, oversight, evaluation or renewal

20

process of the charter school entity.

21

(2)  An employe of the grantor that chartered the charter

22

school entity may serve as a member of the board of trustees

23

without voting privileges.

24

(b.2)  (1)  No member of the board of trustees of a charter

25

school entity may participate in the selection, award or

26

administration of any contract if the member has a conflict of

27

interest as that term is defined in 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating

28

to definitions).

29

(2)  Any member of the board of trustees who in the discharge

30

of the person's official duties would be required to vote on a

- 23 -

 


1

matter that would result in a conflict of interest shall abstain

2

from voting and follow the procedures required under 65 Pa.C.S.

3

§ 1103(j) (relating to restricted activities).

4

(3)  A member of the board of trustees who knowingly violates

5

this subsection commits a violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) and

6

shall be subject to the penalties imposed under the jurisdiction

7

of the State Ethics Commission.

8

(4)  A contract made in violation of this subsection shall be

9

voidable by a court of competent jurisdiction, if the suit is

10

commenced within ninety (90) days of the making of the contract.

11

(5)  No member of the board of trustees of a charter school

12

entity shall be compensated for duties on the board.

13

(b.3)  A member of the board of trustees of a charter school

14

entity shall be automatically disqualified and immediately

15

removed from the board upon conviction for an offense graded as

16

a felony, an infamous crime, an offense pertaining to fraud,

17

theft or mismanagement of public funds, any offense pertaining

18

to his official capacity as a board member or any crime

19

involving moral turpitude.

20

(c)  The board of trustees and all meetings of the board of

21

trustees shall comply with [the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388,

22

No.84), known as the "Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating

23

to open meetings).

24

(d)  (1)  (i)  The board of trustees of a charter school

25

entity shall consist of a minimum of five (5) nonrelated voting

26

members.

27

(ii)  If a charter school entity has fewer than five (5)

28

nonrelated voting members serving on its board on the effective

29

date of this subsection, the charter school entity shall, within

30

sixty (60) days, appoint additional members to its board to meet

- 24 -

 


1

the minimum requirements of this section.

2

(2)  Within one (1) year of the effective date of this

3

subsection, at least one (1) member of the board of trustees of

4

a charter school entity shall be a parent of a child currently

5

attending the charter school entity. The board member shall be

6

eligible to serve only so long as the child attends the charter

7

school entity.

8

(e)  (1)  A majority of the voting members of the board of

9

trustees shall constitute a quorum. If less than a majority is

10

present at any meeting, no business may be transacted at the

11

meeting.

12

(2)  The affirmative vote of a majority of all the voting

13

members of the board of trustees, duly recorded, shall be

14

required in order to take action on the subjects enumerated

15

under subsection (a).

16

(f)  (1)  In any case where the board of trustees of a

17

charter school fails to pay or to provide for for the payment

18

of:

19

(i)  any indebtedness at date of maturity or date of

20

mandatory redemption or on any sinking fund deposit date; or

21

(ii)  any interest due on such indebtedness on any interest

22

payment date or on any sinking fund deposit date in accordance

23

with the schedule under which the bonds were issued.

24

The bank or trustee for the bonds shall notify the board of

25

charter school trustees of its obligation and shall immediately

26

notify the grantor of the charter school and the secretary.

27

(2)  The secretary shall withhold any appropriation due the

28

charter school in any amount necessary to fully fund the amount

29

held in escrow by the charter school which shall be equal to the

30

sum of the principal amount maturing or subject to mandatory

- 25 -

 


1

redemption and interest owing by the charter school or sinking

2

fund deposit due by such charter school and shall require

3

payover of the amount withheld to the bank or trustee acting as

4

the sinking fund depositary for the bond issue from the escrow

5

account.

6

(3)  Payments made pursuant to this article shall not be

7

given priority over payments required pursuant to sections 633

8

and 785 and 53 Pa.C.S. § 8125(b) (relating to security for tax

9

anticipation notes and sinking fund), or an agreement pursuant

10

to which the board is required to make payment to a holder of

11

debt issued by or on behalf of a school entity.

12

Section 1.9.  Sections 1717-A, 1718-A and 1719-A of the act,

13

added June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, No.22), are amended to read:

14

Section 1717-A.  Establishment of Charter School.--(a)  A

15

charter school may be established by an individual; one or more

16

teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents

17

or guardians of students who will attend the charter school; any

18

nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this

19

Commonwealth; any nonsectarian corporation not-for-profit, as

20

defined in 15 Pa.C.S. (relating to corporations and

21

unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or

22

partnership; or any combination thereof. [A charter school may

23

be established by creating a new school or by converting an

24

existing public school or a portion of an existing public

25

school.] A charter school must be organized as a public,

26

nonprofit corporation. A charter may not be granted to a for-

27

profit entity. No charter school shall be established or funded

28

by and no charter shall be granted to any sectarian school,

29

institution or other entity. No funds allocated or disbursed

30

under this article shall be used to directly support instruction

- 26 -

 


1

pursuant to section 1327.1.

2

(b)  (1)  The conversion of an existing public school or

3

portion of an existing public school to a charter school may be

4

initiated by any individual or entity authorized to establish a

5

charter school under subsection (a).

6

(2)  In order to convert an existing public school to a

7

charter school, the applicants must show that:

8

(i)  More than fifty per centum of the teaching staff in the

9

public school have signed a petition in support of the public

10

school becoming a charter school; and

11

(ii)  More than fifty per centum of the parents or guardians

12

of pupils attending that public school have signed a petition in

13

support of the school becoming a charter school.

14

(3)  In no event shall the board of school directors serve as

15

the board of trustees of an existing school which is converted

16

to a charter school pursuant to this subsection.

17

(4)  (Reserved).

18

(5)  (Reserved).

19

(6)  This article shall apply to an existing public school

20

building or a portion of an existing public school building

21

converted to a charter school.

22

(7)  In the case of an existing school being converted to a

23

charter school, the local board of school directors, the special

24

board of control or the School Reform Commission shall establish

25

the alternative arrangements for current students who choose not

26

to attend the charter school.

27

(8)  In the case of an existing school being converted to a

28

charter school, preference for enrollment shall be given to

29

students residing within the former attendance boundary of that

30

school.

- 27 -

 


1

(c)  An application to establish a charter school shall be

2

submitted to the [local board of school directors of the

3

district where the charter school will be located] grantor by

4

[November 15] October 1 of the school year preceding the school

5

year in which the charter school will be established except that

6

for a charter school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, an

7

application must be received by July 15, 1997. In the 1997-1998

8

school year only, applications shall be limited to recipients of

9

fiscal year 1996-1997 Department of Education charter school

10

planning grants.

11

(c.1)  Grantors shall be as follows:

12

(1)  The following entities shall be grantors of charter

13

schools and regional charter schools:

14

(i)  The board in accordance with section 1721-A(h)(2.1),

15

(3), (3.1) and (4).

16

(ii)  A local board of school directors.

17

(2)  The board shall be the grantor of cyber charter schools

18

and regional charter schools.

19

(c.2)  Grantor powers and duties shall be as follows:

20

(1)  The board shall have the following powers and duties:

21

(i)  Receive, review and act on applications for the creation

22

of a charter school entity in accordance with section

23

1721-A(h)(2), (2.1), (3), (3.1) and (4), obtain input from

24

interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

25

applications.

26

(ii)  Execute a charter with an approved charter school

27

entity applicant.

28

(iii)  Monitor and evaluate the operation of each charter

29

school entity granted by the board on an annual basis in order

30

to determine whether the charter school entity is in compliance

- 28 -

 


1

with the terms of its charter and all applicable laws and

2

regulations, and identify and implement corrective action to

3

remedy issues of noncompliance.

4

(iv)  Renew, revoke or deny renewal of a charter school

5

entity's charter under section 1729-A.

6

(2)  The local board of school directors shall have the

7

following powers and duties:

8

(i)  Receive, review and act on applications for the creation

9

of a charter school or regional charter school, obtain input

10

from interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

11

applications.

12

(ii)  Execute a charter with an approved charter school or

13

regional charter school applicant.

14

(iii)  Monitor and evaluate the operation of each charter

15

school or regional charter school granted by the local board of

16

school directors on an annual basis in order to determine

17

whether the charter school or regional charter school is in

18

compliance with the terms of its charter and all applicable laws

19

and regulations, and identify and implement corrective action to

20

remedy issues of noncompliance.

21

(iv)  Renew, revoke or deny renewal of a charter school or

22

regional charter school's charter under section 1729-A.

23

(d)  Within forty-five (45) days of receipt of an

24

application, the [local board of school directors in which the

25

proposed charter school is to be located] grantor shall hold at

26

least one public hearing on the provisions of the charter

27

application, under [the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84),

28

known as the "Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

29

meetings). At least forty-five (45) days must transpire between

30

the first public hearing and the final decision of the [board]

- 29 -

 


1

grantor on the charter application except that for a charter

2

school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, only thirty (30)

3

days must transpire between the first public hearing and the

4

final decision of the board.

5

(e)  (1)  Not later than seventy-five (75) days after the

6

first public hearing on the application, the [local board of

7

school directors] grantor shall grant or deny the application.

8

For a charter school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, the

9

local board of school directors shall grant or deny the

10

application no later than sixty (60) days after the first public

11

hearing.

12

(2)  A charter school application submitted under this

13

article shall be evaluated by the [local board of school

14

directors] grantor based on criteria, including, but not limited

15

to, the following:

16

(i)  The demonstrated, sustainable support for the charter

17

school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and

18

students, including comments received at the public hearing held

19

under subsection (d).

20

(ii)  The capability of the charter school applicant, in

21

terms of support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning

22

experiences to students pursuant to the adopted charter.

23

(iii)  The extent to which the application considers the

24

information requested in section 1719-A and conforms to the

25

legislative intent outlined in section 1702-A.

26

[(iv)  The extent to which the charter school may serve as a

27

model for other public schools.]

28

(3)  The local board of school directors, in the case of an

29

existing school being converted to a charter school, shall

30

establish the alternative arrangements for current students who

- 30 -

 


1

choose not to attend the charter school.

2

(4)  A charter application shall be deemed approved by the

3

[local board of school directors of a school district] grantor 

4

upon affirmative vote by a majority of all the [directors]

5

members. Formal action approving or denying the application

6

shall be taken by the [local board of school directors] grantor 

7

at a public meeting, with notice or consideration of the

8

application given by the [board] grantor, under [the "Sunshine

9

Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.

10

(5)  Written notice of the [board's] grantor's action shall

11

be sent to the applicant, the department and the [appeal] board.

12

If the application is denied, the reasons for the denial,

13

including a description of deficiencies in the application,

14

shall be clearly stated in the notice sent by the [local board

15

of school directors] grantor to the charter school applicant.

16

(f)  (1)  At the option of the charter school applicant, a

17

denied application may be revised and resubmitted to the [local

18

board of school directors. Following the appointment and

19

confirmation of the Charter School Appeal Board under section

20

1721-A, the decision of the local board of school directors may

21

be appealed to the appeal board.] grantor that initially denied

22

the application.

23

(2)  At the option of the charter school applicant, a denied

24

application by a local board of school directors may be appealed

25

directly to the board.

26

(3)  When an application is revised and resubmitted to the

27

local board of school directors, or the board under this

28

section, either may schedule additional public hearings on the

29

revised application. The board or local board of school

30

directors shall consider the revised and resubmitted application

- 31 -

 


1

at the first [board] meeting occurring at least forty-five (45)

2

days after receipt of the revised application [by the board. For

3

a revised application resubmitted for the 1997-1998 school year,

4

the board shall consider the application at the first board

5

meeting occurring at least thirty (30) days after its receipt].

6

The board shall provide notice of consideration of the revised

7

application under [the "Sunshine Act." No appeal from a decision

8

of a local school board may be taken until July 1, 1999.] 65

9

Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.

10

(g)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (e)(5),

11

failure by the local board of directors to hold a public hearing

12

and to grant or deny the application for a charter school within

13

the time periods specified in subsections (d), (e) and (f) shall

14

permit the applicant for a charter to file its application as an

15

appeal to the [appeal] board. In such case, the [appeal] board

16

shall review the application and make a decision to grant or

17

deny a charter based on the criteria established in subsection

18

(e)(2). The board shall review the application de novo. The

19

board shall not be bound by, but may consider, the factual or

20

legal conclusions of the local board of school directors.

21

(h)  In the case of a review by the [appeal] board of an

22

application that is revoked or is not renewed, the [appeal]

23

board shall make its decision based on the criteria established

24

in subsection (e)(2). [A decision by the appeal board under this

25

subsection or subsection (g) to grant, to renew or not to revoke

26

a charter shall serve as a requirement for the local board of

27

directors of a school district or school districts, as

28

appropriate, to sign the written charter of the charter school

29

as provided for in section 1720-A. Should the local board of

30

directors fail to grant the application and sign the charter

- 32 -

 


1

within ten (10) days of notice of reversal of the decision of

2

the local board of directors, the charter shall be deemed to be

3

approved and shall be signed by the chairman of the appeal

4

board.]

5

(i)  (1)  The [appeal] board shall have the exclusive review

6

of an appeal by a charter school applicant, or by the board of

7

trustees of an existing charter school, of a decision made by a

8

local board of directors not to grant a charter as provided in

9

this section.

10

(2)  In order for a charter school applicant to be eligible

11

to appeal the denial of a charter by the local board of

12

directors, the applicant must obtain the signatures of at least

13

two per centum of the residents of the school district or of one

14

thousand (1,000) residents, whichever is less, who are over

15

eighteen (18) years of age. For a regional charter school, the

16

applicant must obtain the signatures of at least two per centum

17

of the residents of each school district granting the charter or

18

of one thousand (1,000) residents from each of the school

19

districts granting the charter, whichever is less, who are over

20

eighteen (18) years of age. The signatures shall be obtained

21

within sixty (60) days of the denial of the application by the

22

local board of directors in accordance with clause (3).

23

(3)  Each person signing a petition to appeal denial of a

24

charter under clause (2) shall declare that he or she is a

25

resident of the school district which denied the charter

26

application and shall include his or her printed name;

27

signature; address, including city, borough or township, with

28

street and number, if any; and the date of signing. All pages

29

shall be bound together. Additional pages of the petition shall

30

be numbered consecutively. There shall be appended to the

- 33 -

 


1

petition a statement that the local board of directors rejected

2

the petition for a charter school, the names of all applicants

3

for the charter, the date of denial by the board and the

4

proposed location of the charter school. No resident may sign

5

more than one petition relating to the charter school

6

application within the sixty (60) days following denial of the

7

application. The department shall develop a form to be used to

8

petition for an appeal.

9

(4)  Each petition shall have appended thereto the affidavit

10

of some person, not necessarily a signer, setting forth all of

11

the following:

12

(i)  That the affiant is a resident of the school district

13

referred to in the petition.

14

(ii)  The affiant's residence, giving city, borough or

15

township, with street and number, if any.

16

(iii)  That the signers signed with full knowledge of the

17

purpose of the petition.

18

(iv)  That the signers' respective residences are correctly

19

stated in the petition.

20

(v)  That the signers all reside in the school district.

21

(vi)  That each signer signed on the date set forth opposite

22

the signer's name.

23

(vii)  That to the best of the affiant's knowledge and

24

belief, the signers are residents of the school district.

25

(5)  If the required number of signatures are obtained within

26

sixty (60) days of the denial of the application, the applicant

27

may present the petition to the court of common pleas of the

28

county in which the charter school would be situated. The court

29

shall hold a hearing only on the sufficiency of the petition.

30

The applicant and local board of school directors shall be given

- 34 -

 


1

seven (7) days' notice of the hearing. The court shall issue a

2

decree establishing the sufficiency or insufficiency of the

3

petition. If the petition is sufficient, the decree shall be

4

transmitted to the State Charter School Appeal Board for review

5

in accordance with this section. Notification of the decree

6

shall be given to the applicant and the local board of

7

directors.

8

[(6)  In any appeal, the decision made by the local board of

9

directors shall be reviewed by the appeal board on the record as

10

certified by the local board of directors. The appeal board

11

shall give due consideration to the findings of the local board

12

of directors and specifically articulate its reasons for

13

agreeing or disagreeing with those findings in its written

14

decision. The appeal board shall have the discretion to allow

15

the local board of directors and the charter school applicant to

16

supplement the record if the supplemental information was

17

previously unavailable.]

18

(7)  Not later than thirty (30) days after the date of notice

19

of the acceptance of the appeal, the [appeal] board shall meet

20

to officially review the certified record.

21

(8)  Not later than sixty (60) days following the review

22

conducted pursuant to clause (6), the [appeal] board shall issue

23

a written decision affirming or denying the appeal. If the

24

[appeal] board has affirmed the decision of the local board of

25

directors, notice shall be provided to both parties.

26

(9)  [A] If the decision of the [appeal] board is to reverse

27

the decision of the local board of directors [shall serve as a

28

requirement for the local board of directors of a school

29

district or school districts, as appropriate, to grant the

30

application and sign the written charter of the charter school

- 35 -

 


1

as provided for in section 1720-A. Should the local board of

2

directors fail to grant the application and sign the charter

3

within ten (10) days of notice of the reversal of the decision

4

of the local board of directors, the charter shall be deemed to

5

be approved and shall be signed by the chairman of the appeal

6

board.], the board shall grant the application and sign the

7

written charter of the charter school as the grantor as provided

8

for in section 1720-A.

9

(10)  If the board is reviewing an appeal of a revocation or

10

nonrenewal decision, the board shall review the record and shall

11

have the discretion to supplement the record if the supplemental

12

information was previously unavailable. The board may consider

13

the charter school entity's plan, annual reports, student

14

performance and employe and community support for the charter

15

school entity in addition to the record. The board shall review

16

the appeal de novo. The board shall not be bound by, but may

17

consider, the factual or legal conclusions of the local board of

18

school directors.

19

(11)  If the board determines that the charter should not be

20

revoked or should be renewed, the board shall issue an order

21

reversing the decision of the local board of school directors

22

and shall initiate charter transfer proceedings under section

23

1733-A(c)(5).

24

(12)  Except as provided in clause (13), the charter shall

25

remain in effect until final disposition by the board.

26

(13)  In cases where the health or safety of the school's

27

students, staff or both is at serious risk, the grantor may take

28

immediate action to revoke a charter.

29

(14)  When a charter is revoked, not renewed, forfeited,

30

surrendered or otherwise ceases to operate, the charter school

- 36 -

 


1

entity shall be dissolved. After the disposition of any

2

liabilities and obligations of the charter school entity, any

3

remaining assets of the charter school entity, both real and

4

personal, shall be distributed on a proportional basis to the

5

school entities with students enrolled in the charter school

6

entity for the last full or partial school year of the charter

7

school entity. In no event shall such school entities or the

8

Commonwealth be liable for any outstanding liabilities or

9

obligations of the charter school entity.

10

(15)  When a charter is revoked or is not renewed, a student

11

who attended the charter school entity shall apply to another

12

public school in the student's school district of residence.

13

Normal application deadlines will be disregarded under these

14

circumstances. All student records maintained by the charter

15

school entity shall be forwarded to the student's district of

16

residence.

17

[(10)] (16)  All decisions of the [appeal] board shall be

18

subject to appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.

19

Section 1718-A.  Regional Charter School.--(a)  [A regional

20

charter school may be established by an individual, one or more

21

teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents

22

or guardians of students who will attend the charter school; any

23

nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this

24

Commonwealth; any nonsectarian corporation not-for-profit, as

25

defined in 15 Pa.C.S. (relating to corporations and

26

unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or

27

partnership; or any combination thereof. A regional charter

28

school may be established by creating a new school or by

29

converting an existing public school or a portion of an existing

30

public school. Conversion of an existing public school to a

- 37 -

 


1

regional charter school shall be accomplished in accordance with

2

section 1714-A(b). No regional charter school shall be

3

established or funded by and no charter shall be granted to any

4

sectarian school, institution or other entity.

5

(b)  The boards of school directors of one or more school

6

districts may act jointly to receive and consider an application

7

for a regional charter school, except that any action to approve

8

an application for a charter or to sign a written charter of an

9

applicant shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of all

10

the directors of each of the school districts involved. The

11

applicant shall apply for a charter to the board of directors of

12

any school district in which the charter school will be located.

13

(c)  The provisions of this article as they pertain to

14

charter schools and the powers and duties of the local board of

15

school directors of a school district and the appeal board shall

16

apply to regional charter schools, except as provided in

17

subsections (a) and (b) or as otherwise clearly stated in this

18

article.] The following apply:

19

(1)  A regional charter school may be established by any

20

individual or entity allowed under section 1717-A(a).

21

(2)  A regional charter school may be established by creating

22

a new school under subsection (b) or by converting an existing

23

public school building or a portion of an existing public school

24

building. Conversion of an existing public school building or a

25

portion of an existing public school building to a regional

26

charter school shall be accomplished in accordance with section

27

1717-A(b).

28

(3)  No regional charter school may be established or funded

29

by, and no charter shall be granted to, any sectarian school,

30

institution or other entity.

- 38 -

 


1

(4)  A regional charter school must be organized as a public,

2

nonprofit corporation. A charter may not be granted to any for-

3

profit entity.

4

(b)  The following apply to applications:

5

(1)  The local boards of school directors of one or more

6

school districts may act jointly to receive and consider an

7

application for a regional charter school, except that any

8

action to approve an application for a charter or to sign a

9

written charter of an applicant shall require an affirmative

10

vote of a majority of all the directors of each of the school

11

districts involved. The applicant shall apply for a charter to

12

the local board of school directors of any school district in

13

which the regional charter school will be located.

14

(2)  If students from five or more school districts will be

15

enrolled in a regional charter school, the board may receive and

16

consider an application for a regional charter school. Any

17

action to approve an application for a charter or to sign a

18

written charter of an applicant under this section shall require

19

an affirmative vote of a majority of all board members.

20

(c)  The provisions of this article relating to charter

21

schools and the powers and duties of grantors shall apply to

22

regional charter schools, except as provided under this article.

23

Section 1719-A.  Contents of Application.--[An] (a)  The

24

board shall create a standard application for charter school

25

applicants to establish a charter school. The form shall include

26

all of the following information:

27

(1)  The identification of the charter school entity

28

applicant.

29

(2)  The name of the proposed charter school entity.

30

(3)  The grade or age levels served by the school.

- 39 -

 


1

(4)  [The proposed governance structure of the charter

2

school, including a description and method for the appointment

3

or election of members of the board of trustees.] An

4

organization chart clearly presenting the proposed governance

5

structure of the school, including lines of authority and

6

reporting between the board of trustees, administrators, staff

7

and any educational management service provider that will

8

provide management services to the charter school.

9

(4.1)  A clear description of the roles and responsibilities

10

for the board of trustees, administrators and any other

11

entities, including a charter school foundation, shown in the

12

organization chart.

13

(4.2)  A clear description and method for the appointment or

14

election of members of the board of trustees.

15

(4.3)  Standards for board performance, including compliance

16

with all applicable laws, regulations and terms of the charter.

17

(4.4)  If the charter school intends to contract with an

18

educational management service provider for services, all of the

19

following:

20

(i)  Evidence of the education management service provider's

21

record in serving student populations, including demonstrated

22

academic achievement and demonstrated management of nonacademic

23

school functions, including proficiency with public school-based

24

accounting, if applicable.

25

(ii)  A draft contract stating all of the following:

26

(A)  The officers, chief administrator and administrators of

27

the education management service provider.

28

(B)  The proposed duration of the service contract.

29

(C)  Roles and responsibilities of the governing board, the

30

school staff and the educational management service provider.

- 40 -

 


1

(D)  The scope of services, personnel and resources to be

2

provided by the educational management service provider.

3

(E)  Performance evaluation measures and timelines.

4

(F)  The compensation structure, including clear

5

identification of all fees to be paid to the educational

6

management service provider.

7

(G)  Methods of contract oversight and enforcement.

8

(H)  Investment disclosure or the advance of moneys by the

9

educational management service provider on behalf of the charter

10

school entity.

11

(I)  Conditions for renewal and termination of the contract.

12

(iii)  Disclosure and explanation of any existing or

13

potential conflicts of interest between the members of the board

14

of trustees and the proposed educational management service

15

provider or any affiliated business entities, including a

16

charter school foundation qualified as a support organization

17

under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26

18

U.S.C. § 1 et seq.).

19

(5)  The mission and education goals of the charter school,

20

the curriculum to be offered and the methods of assessing

21

whether students are meeting educational goals.

22

(6)  The admission policy and criteria for evaluating the

23

admission of students which shall comply with the requirements

24

of section 1723-A.

25

(7)  Procedures which will be used regarding the suspension

26

or expulsion of pupils. Said procedures shall comply with

27

section 1318.

28

(8)  Information on the manner in which community groups will

29

be involved in the charter school planning process.

30

(9)  The financial plan for the charter school and the

- 41 -

 


1

provisions which will be made for auditing the school under

2

[section] sections 437 and 1728-A, including the role of any

3

charter school foundation.

4

(10)  Procedures which shall be established to review

5

complaints of parents regarding the operation of the charter

6

school.

7

(11)  A description of and address of the physical facility

8

in which the charter school entity will be located and the

9

ownership thereof and any lease arrangements.

10

(12)  Information on the proposed school calendar for the

11

charter school entity, including the length of the school day

12

and school year consistent with the provisions of section 1502.

13

(13)  The proposed faculty, if already determined, and a

14

professional development and continuing education plan for the

15

faculty and professional staff of [a] the charter school.

16

(14)  Whether any agreements have been entered into or plans

17

developed with the local school district regarding participation

18

of the charter school students in extracurricular activities

19

within the school district. Notwithstanding any provision to the

20

contrary, no school district of residence shall prohibit a

21

student of a charter school from participating in any

22

extracurricular activity of that school district of residence:

23

Provided, That the student is able to fulfill all of the

24

requirements of participation in such activity and the charter

25

school does not provide the same extracurricular activity.

26

(15)  A report of criminal history record, pursuant to

27

section 111, for all individuals identified in the application 

28

who shall have direct contact with students and a plan for

29

satisfying the proper criminal history record clearances

30

required for all other staff.

- 42 -

 


1

(16)  An official clearance statement regarding child injury

2

or abuse from the Department of Public Welfare as required by 23

3

Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 Subch. C.2 (relating to background checks for

4

employment in schools) for all individuals identified in the

5

application who shall have direct contact with students and a

6

plan for satisfying the proper official clearance statement

7

regarding child injury or abuse required for all other staff.

8

(17)  How the charter school will provide adequate liability

9

and other appropriate insurance for the charter school, its

10

employes and the board of trustees of the charter school.

11

(18)  Policies regarding truancy, absences and withdrawal of

12

students, including the manner in which the charter school

13

entity will monitor attendance consistent with section 1715-A(a)

14

(9). 

15

(19)  How the charter school entity will meet the standards

16

included in the performance matrix developed by the board under

17

section 1721-A(h)(11).

18

(20)  Indicate whether or not the charter school will seek

19

accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation agency,

20

including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

21

or another regional institutional accrediting agency recognized

22

by the United States Department of Education or an equivalent

23

federally recognized body for charter school education.

24

(b)  A grantor may not impose additional terms, develop a

25

separate application or require additional information outside

26

the standard application form required under subsection (a).

27

Section 1.10.  Section 1720-A of the act, amended July 9,

28

2008 (P.L.846, No.61), is amended to read:

29

Section 1720-A.  Term and Form of Charter.--(a)  Upon

30

approval of a charter application under section 1717-A, a

- 43 -

 


1

written charter shall be developed which shall contain the

2

provisions of the standardized charter application under section

3

1719-A and which shall be signed by the [local board of school

4

directors of a school district, by the local boards of school

5

directors of a school district in the case of a regional charter

6

school or by the chairman of the appeal board pursuant to

7

section 1717-A(i)(5)] grantor and the board of trustees of the

8

charter school entity. This written charter, when duly signed by

9

the [local board of school directors of a school district, or by

10

the local boards of school directors of a school district in the

11

case of a regional charter school,] grantor and the charter

12

[school's] school entity's board of trustees, shall act as legal

13

authorization for the establishment of a charter school entity.

14

This written charter shall be legally binding on both the [local

15

board of school directors of a school district] grantor and the

16

charter [school's] school entity's board of trustees. [Except as

17

otherwise provided in subsection (b), the] If the charter school

18

entity contracts with an educational management service

19

provider, an executed contract shall be signed once the charter

20

is approved. The charter shall be for a period of [no less than

21

three (3) nor more than] five (5) years and may be renewed for

22

[five (5)] ten (10) year periods upon [reauthorization] renewal 

23

by the [local board of school directors of a school district or

24

the appeal board] grantor. A charter will be granted only for a

25

school organized as a public, nonprofit corporation.

26

(b)  [(1)  Notwithstanding subsection (a), a governing board

27

of a school district of the first class may renew a charter for

28

a period of one (1) year if the board of school directors

29

determines that there is insufficient data concerning the

30

charter school's academic performance to adequately assess that

- 44 -

 


1

performance and determines that an additional year of

2

performance data would yield sufficient data to assist the

3

governing board in its decision whether to renew the charter for

4

a period of five (5) years.

5

(2)  A one-year renewal pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not

6

be considered an adjudication and may not be appealed to the

7

State Charter School Appeal Board.

8

(3)  A governing board of a school district of the first

9

class does not have the authority to renew a charter for

10

successive one (1) year periods] (Reserved).

11

(c)  (1)  A charter school may request amendments to its

12

approved written charter by filing a written document describing

13

the requested amendment to the grantor.

14

(2)  Within twenty (20) days of its receipt of the request

15

for an amendment, the grantor shall hold a public hearing on the

16

requested amendment under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

17

meetings).

18

(3)  Within twenty (20) days after the hearing, the grantor

19

shall grant or deny the requested amendment. Failure by the

20

grantor to hold a public hearing and to grant or deny the

21

amendments within the time period specified shall be deemed an

22

approval.

23

(4)  An applicant for an amendment shall have the right to

24

appeal the denial of a requested amendment to the board provided

25

for under section 1721-A. The board shall review the appeal de

26

novo. The board shall not be bound by, but may consider, the

27

factual or legal conclusion of the local board of school

28

directors.

29

Section 1.11.  Section 1721-A of the act, added June 19, 1997

30

(P.L.225, No.22), is amended to read:

- 45 -

 


1

Section 1721-A.  State Charter School [Appeal] Entities 

2

Board.--(a)  The State Charter School [Appeal] Entities Board is

3

hereby established as an independent administrative board and 

4

shall consist of the [Secretary of Education and six (6)]

5

following members who shall be appointed by the Governor by and

6

with the consent of a majority of all the members of the Senate.

7

[Appointments by the Governor shall not occur prior to January

8

1, 1999.] The Governor shall select the chairman of the [appeal]

9

board to serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The members

10

shall include:

11

(1)  A parent of a school-aged child enrolled at a charter

12

school entity.

13

(2)  A school board member.

14

(3)  A certified teacher actively employed in a public

15

school.

16

(4)  A faculty member or administrative employe of an

17

institution of higher education.

18

(5)  A member of the business community.

19

(6)  A member of the State Board of Education.

20

(7)  An administrator of a charter school entity.

21

(8)  A member of the board of trustees of a charter school

22

entity.

23

(9)  A member with expertise in school business

24

administration or financing.

25

The term of office of members of the [appeal] board[, other than

26

the secretary,] shall be for a period of four (4) years or until

27

a successor is appointed and qualified, except that, of the

28

initial appointees, the Governor shall designate two (2) members

29

to serve terms of two (2) years, two (2) members to serve terms

30

of three (3) years and two (2) members to serve terms of four

- 46 -

 


1

(4) years. A parent member appointed under clause (1) shall

2

serve a term of four (4) years, provided the member's child

3

remains enrolled in the charter school entity. Any appointment

4

to fill any vacancy shall be for the period of the unexpired

5

term or until a successor is appointed and qualified.

6

(b)  The [appeal] board shall meet [as needed] at least

7

monthly to fulfill the purposes provided in this [subsection] 

8

section. A majority of the members of the [appeal] board shall

9

constitute a quorum, and a majority of the members of the

10

[appeal] board shall have authority to act upon any matter

11

properly before the [appeal] board. The [appeal] board is

12

authorized to establish rules for its operation.

13

(c)  The members shall receive no payment for their services.

14

Members who are not employes of State government shall be

15

reimbursed for expenses incurred in the course of their official

16

duties [from funds appropriated for the general government

17

operations of the department].

18

[(d)  The department shall provide assistance and staffing

19

for the appeal board. The Governor, through the Governor's

20

General Counsel, shall provide such legal advice and assistance

21

as the appeal board may require.]

22

(e)  Meetings of the [appeal] board shall be conducted under

23

[the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the

24

"Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings). 

25

Documents of the [appeal] board shall be subject to the [act of

26

June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred to as the Right-to-

27

Know Law.] "Right-to-Know Law."

28

(f)  An executive director shall be appointed by the members

29

of the board. The executive director shall be paid compensation

30

as determined by the board. The executive director may employ

- 47 -

 


1

personnel and contract for consulting services as necessary and

2

may carry out the purposes of this article if the services are

3

procured through a competitive bidding process.

4

(g)  All board hearings shall be conducted in accordance with

5

2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 Subch. A (relating to practice and procedure of

6

Commonwealth agencies).

7

(h)  The board shall have the following powers and duties:

8

(1)  Implement this article and promulgate regulations.

9

(2)  Serve as a grantor for cyber charter schools.

10

(2.1)  Serve as a grantor for regional charter schools as

11

provided under section 1718-A(b)(2).

12

(3)  Serve as a grantor for charter schools who elect to

13

transfer their charter under section 1733-A(c).

14

(3.1)  Serve as a grantor for charter schools it approves

15

under section 1717-A(i)(11).

16

(4)  Serve as a grantor for charter schools it approves under

17

section 1717-A(i)(9).

18

(5)  Develop and issue standardized forms and reports that

19

shall be used by all applicants, grantors and charter school

20

entities under sections 1717-A, 1718-A, 1719-A, 1728-A, 1733-A,

21

1734-A, 1741-A, 1743-A and 1747-A. The board may receive input

22

from the department, grantors and charter school entity

23

operators to develop the standardized forms.

24

(6)  Receive, review and act on applications for the creation

25

of a charter school entity as provided for under section

26

1721-A(h)(2), (2.1), (3), (3.1) and (4), obtain input from

27

interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

28

applications.

29

(7)  Monitor and evaluate on an annual basis the operation of

30

each charter school entity the board serves as a grantor in

- 48 -

 


1

order to determine whether the school is in compliance with the

2

terms of its charter and applicable statutes and regulations,

3

and identify and implement corrective action to remedy any

4

issues of noncompliance.

5

(8)  Set assessment fees through the promulgation of

6

regulations, subject to the act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633,

7

No.181), known as the "Regulatory Review Act," on charter school

8

entities as provided under section 1705-A.

9

(9)  For all charter school entities that the board serves as

10

a grantor, renew, revoke or deny renewal of a school's charter

11

under section 1729-A.

12

(10)  Receive, review and act on multiple charter school

13

organization transfers under sections 1733-A(d) and 1734-A.

14

(11)  Develop a standard performance matrix as follows:

15

(i)  Within one year of the effective date of this subclause,

16

the board shall develop a standard performance matrix to

17

evaluate charter school entity performance and shall promulgate

18

regulations pursuant to the "Regulatory Review Act" to implement

19

this section.

20

(ii)  The performance matrix may assess performance by

21

utilizing objective criteria, including:

22

(A)  Student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School

23

Assessment test, the Keystone Exam or another test established

24

by the State board to meet the requirements of section

25

2603-B(d)(10)(i) and required under the No Child Left Behind Act

26

of 2001 (Public Law 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425) or its successor

27

Federal statute.

28

(B)  Annual growth as measured by the Pennsylvania Value-

29

Added Assessment System.

30

(C)  Attendance.

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1

(D)  Attrition rates.

2

(E)  Graduation rates.

3

(F)  Other standardized test scores.

4

(G)  School safety.

5

(H)  Parent satisfaction.

6

(I)  Accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation

7

agency, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and

8

Schools or another regional institutional accrediting agency

9

recognized by the United States Department of Education or an

10

equivalent federally recognized body for charter school

11

eduction.

12

(J)  Other measures of school quality.

13

(iii)  The board shall develop the performance matrix with

14

input from charter school entity operators and may contract for

15

consulting services with an entity that has experience in

16

developing performance matrices if the services are procured

17

through a competitive bidding process.

18

(iv)  Grantors shall utilize the standard performance matrix

19

as a primary factor in evaluating new and renewal charter school

20

entity applicants, and in the annual monitoring and evaluation

21

of charter school entities.

22

(v)  The standard performance matrix shall be distributed by

23

the board to all known grantors and shall be published on the

24

board's publicly accessible Internet website.

25

(vi)  Grantors shall utilize the standard performance matrix

26

as a primary factor in evaluating new and renewal charter school

27

entity applicants, and in the annual monitoring and evaluation

28

of charter school entities.

29

(12)  Provide a list of nationally recognized accreditation

30

agencies, including the Middle States Association of Colleges

- 50 -

 


1

and Schools or other regional institutional accrediting agencies

2

recognized by the United States Department of Education or an

3

equivalent federally recognized body for charter school

4

education, that a charter school entity may use to seek

5

accreditation.

6

(13)  Develop a hearing process for consideration of charter

7

school and regional charter school appeals of denied amendments

8

under section 1720-A(c) and for cyber charter amendments under

9

section 1745-A(f).

10

(14)  Develop policies, procedures and regulations pertaining

11

to cyber charter school student truancy.

12

(15)  Employ personnel and contract for consulting services

13

as may be necessary and carry out the purposes of this article

14

if the services are procured through a competitive bidding

15

process.

16

(16)  Refer to the district attorney with jurisdiction or to

17

the Office of Attorney General for prosecution if the board

18

discovers or receives information about possible violations of

19

law by any person affiliated with or employed by a grantor or a

20

charter school entity.

21

Section 1.12.  Section 1722-A of the act, amended November

22

17, 2010 (P.L.996, No.104), is amended to read:

23

Section 1722-A.  Facilities.--(a)  A charter school may be

24

located in an existing public school building, in a part of an

25

existing public school building, in space provided on a

26

privately owned site, in a public building or in any other

27

suitable location.

28

(b)  The charter school facility shall be exempt from public

29

school facility regulations except those pertaining to the

30

health or safety of [the pupils] students.

- 51 -

 


1

(d)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, [a

2

school district of the first class] a grantor may, in its

3

discretion, permit a charter school to operate its school at

4

more than one location.

5

(e)  (1)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 204 of

6

the act of May 22, 1933 (P.L.853, No.155), known as The General

7

County Assessment Law, all school property, real and personal,

8

owned by any charter school, cyber charter school or an

9

associated nonprofit foundation, or owned by a nonprofit

10

corporation, associated nonprofit corporation or nonprofit

11

foundation and leased to a charter school[, cyber charter

12

school] entity [or], associated nonprofit foundation or

13

associated nonprofit corporation at or below fair market value,

14

that is occupied and used by any charter school or cyber charter

15

school for public school, recreation or any other purposes

16

provided for by this act, shall be made exempt from every kind

17

of State, county, city, borough, township or other real estate

18

tax, including payments in lieu of taxes established through

19

agreement with the Commonwealth or any local taxing authority,

20

as well as from all costs or expenses for paving, curbing,

21

sidewalks, sewers or other municipal improvements, Provided,

22

That any charter school or cyber charter school or owner of

23

property leased to a charter school [or cyber charter school]

24

entity may make a municipal improvement in a street on which its

25

school property abuts or may contribute a sum toward the cost of

26

the improvement.

27

(2)  Any agreement entered into by a charter school[, cyber

28

charter school or] entity, associated nonprofit foundation or

29

associated nonprofit corporation with the Commonwealth or a

30

local taxing authority for payments in lieu of taxes prior to

- 52 -

 


1

December 31, 2009, shall be null and void.

2

(3)  This subsection shall apply retroactively to all charter

3

[schools, cyber charter schools and] school entities, associated

4

nonprofit foundations and associated nonprofit corporations that

5

filed an appeal from an assessment, as provided in Article V of

6

The General County Assessment Law, prior to the effective date

7

of this subsection and until such time as a final order has been

8

entered.

9

(4)  For purposes of this subsection, "local taxing

10

authority" shall include, but not be limited to, a county, city,

11

borough, incorporated town, township or school district.

12

(f)  (1)  Alcoholic beverages shall not be available for

13

consumption, purchase or sale in any charter school entity

14

facility.

15

(2)  If the grantor reasonably believes that alcoholic

16

beverages have been made available for consumption, purchase or

17

sale in any charter school entity facility, the grantor shall

18

notify the department, and the secretary shall order the

19

following forfeitures against the charter school entity:

20

(i)  A fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the first

21

violation.

22

(ii)  A fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the second

23

or subsequent violation.

24

(3)  The charter school entity may appeal the order of the

25

secretary under 2 Pa.C.S. Chs. 5 (relating to practice and

26

procedure) and 7 (relating to judicial review).

27

Section 1.13.  Section 1723-A(a) and (d) of the act, amended

28

June 26, 1999 (P.L.394, No.36) and July 9, 2008 (P.L.846,

29

No.61), are amended to read:

30

Section 1723-A.  Enrollment.--(a)  All resident children in

- 53 -

 


1

this Commonwealth qualify for admission to a charter school

2

entity within the provisions of subsection (b). If more students

3

apply to the charter school entity than the number of attendance

4

slots available in the school, then students must be selected on

5

a random basis from a pool of qualified applicants meeting the

6

established eligibility criteria and submitting an application

7

by the deadline established by the charter school, except that

8

the charter school entity may give preference in enrollment to a

9

child of a parent who has actively participated in the

10

development of the charter school [and], to siblings of students

11

presently enrolled in the charter school and to siblings of

12

students selected for enrollment during the lottery process.

13

First preference shall be given to students who reside in the

14

district or districts.

15

* * *

16

(d)  (1)  Enrollment of students in a charter school [or

17

cyber charter school] entity shall not be subject to a cap or

18

otherwise limited by any past or future action of a board of

19

school directors, a board of control established under Article

20

XVII-B, a special board of control established under section 692

21

or any other governing authority[, unless agreed to by the

22

charter school or cyber charter school as part of a written

23

charter pursuant to section 1720-A].

24

(2)  The provisions of this subsection shall apply to a

25

charter school [or cyber charter school] entity regardless of

26

whether the charter was approved prior to or is approved

27

subsequent to the effective date of this subsection.

28

Section 1.14.  Section 1724-A(d) of the act, added June 19,

29

1997 (P.L.225, No.22) is amended to read:

30

Section 1724-A.  School Staff.--* * *

- 54 -

 


1

(d)  Every employe of a charter school shall be provided the

2

[same] similar health care benefits as the employe would be

3

provided if he or she were an employe of the local district. The

4

local board of school directors may require the charter school

5

to provide the [same] similar terms and conditions with regard

6

to health insurance as the collective bargaining agreement of

7

the school district to include employe contributions to the

8

district's health benefits plan. The charter school shall make

9

any required employer's contribution to the district's health

10

plan to an insurer, a local board of school directors or a

11

contractual representative of school employes, whichever is

12

appropriate to provide the required coverage.

13

* * *

14

Section 1.15.  Section 1725-A of the act, amended or added

15

June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, No.22), June 22, 2001 (P.L.530, No.35)

16

and June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88), is amended to read:

17

Section 1725-A.  Funding for Charter Schools.--(a)  [Funding

18

for a charter school shall be provided in the following manner:

19

(1)  There shall be no tuition charge for a resident or

20

nonresident student attending a charter school.

21

(2)  For non-special education students, the charter school

22

shall receive for each student enrolled no less than the

23

budgeted total expenditure per average daily membership of the

24

prior school year, as defined in section 2501(20), minus the

25

budgeted expenditures of the district of residence for nonpublic

26

school programs; adult education programs; community/junior

27

college programs; student transportation services; for special

28

education programs; facilities acquisition, construction and

29

improvement services; and other financing uses, including debt

30

service and fund transfers as provided in the Manual of

- 55 -

 


1

Accounting and Related Financial Procedures for Pennsylvania

2

School Systems established by the department. This amount shall

3

be paid by the district of residence of each student.

4

(3)  For special education students, the charter school shall

5

receive for each student enrolled the same funding as for each

6

non-special education student as provided in clause (2), plus an

7

additional amount determined by dividing the district of

8

residence's total special education expenditure by the product

9

of multiplying the combined percentage of section 2509.5(k)

10

times the district of residence's total average daily membership

11

for the prior school year. This amount shall be paid by the

12

district of residence of each student.

13

(4)  A charter school may request the intermediate unit in

14

which the charter school is located to provide services to

15

assist the charter school to address the specific needs of

16

exceptional students. The intermediate unit shall assist the

17

charter school and bill the charter school for the services. The

18

intermediate unit may not charge the charter school more for any

19

service than it charges the constituent districts of the

20

intermediate unit.

21

(5)  Payments shall be made to the charter school in twelve

22

(12) equal monthly payments, by the fifth day of each month,

23

within the operating school year. A student enrolled in a

24

charter school shall be included in the average daily membership

25

of the student's district of residence for the purpose of

26

providing basic education funding payments and special education

27

funding pursuant to Article XXV. If a school district fails to

28

make a payment to a charter school as prescribed in this clause,

29

the secretary shall deduct the estimated amount, as documented

30

by the charter school, from any and all State payments made to

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1

the district after receipt of documentation from the charter

2

school.

3

(6)  Within thirty (30) days after the secretary makes the

4

deduction described in clause (5), a school district may notify

5

the secretary that the deduction made from State payments to the

6

district under this subsection is inaccurate. The secretary

7

shall provide the school district with an opportunity to be

8

heard concerning whether the charter school documented that its

9

students were enrolled in the charter school, the period of time

10

during which each student was enrolled, the school district of

11

residence of each student and whether the amounts deducted from

12

the school district were accurate.

13

(b)  The Commonwealth shall provide temporary financial

14

assistance to a school district due to the enrollment of

15

students in a charter school who attended a nonpublic school in

16

the prior school year in order to offset the additional costs

17

directly related to the enrollment of those students in a public

18

charter school. The Commonwealth shall pay the school district

19

of residence of a student enrolled in a nonpublic school in the

20

prior school year who is attending a charter school an amount

21

equal to the school district of residence's basic education

22

subsidy for the current school year divided by the district's

23

average daily membership for the prior school year. This payment

24

shall occur only for the first year of the attendance of the

25

student in a charter school, starting with school year

26

1997-1998. Total payments of temporary financial assistance to

27

school districts on behalf of a student enrolling in a charter

28

school who attended a nonpublic school in the prior school year

29

shall be limited to funds appropriated for this program in a

30

fiscal year. If the total of the amount needed for all students

- 57 -

 


1

enrolled in a nonpublic school in the prior school year who

2

enroll in a charter school exceeds the appropriation for the

3

temporary financial assistance program, the amount paid to a

4

school district for each qualifying student shall be pro rata

5

reduced. Receipt of funds under this subsection shall not

6

preclude a school district from applying for a grant under

7

subsection (c).

8

(c)  The Commonwealth shall create a grant program to provide

9

temporary transitional funding to a school district due to the

10

budgetary impact relating to any student's first-year attendance

11

at a charter school. The department shall develop criteria which

12

shall include, but not be limited to, the overall fiscal impact

13

on the budget of the school district resulting from students of

14

a school district attending a charter school. The criteria shall

15

be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This subsection shall

16

not apply to a public school converted to a charter school under

17

section 1717-A(b). Grants shall be limited to funds appropriated

18

for this purpose.

19

(d)  It shall be lawful for any charter school to receive,

20

hold, manage and use, absolutely or in trust, any devise,

21

bequest, grant, endowment, gift or donation of any property,

22

real or personal and/or mixed, which shall be made to the

23

charter school for any of the purposes of this article.

24

(e)  It shall be unlawful for any trustee of a charter school

25

or any board of trustees of a charter school or any other person

26

affiliated in any way with a charter school to demand or

27

request, directly or indirectly, any gift, donation or

28

contribution of any kind from any parent, teacher, employe or

29

any other person affiliated with the charter school as a

30

condition for employment or enrollment and/or continued

- 58 -

 


1

attendance of any pupil. Any donation, gift or contribution

2

received by a charter school shall be given freely and

3

voluntarily.] Funding for a charter school entity shall be

4

provided in the following manner and shall not be in violation

5

of any applicable Federal or State law, regulation or agreement:

6

(1)  There shall be no tuition charge for a resident or

7

nonresident student attending a charter school entity.

8

(2)  The following apply:

9

(i)  For nonspecial education students, the charter school

10

entity shall receive for each student enrolled no less than the

11

budgeted total expenditure per average daily membership of the

12

prior school year, as defined in section 2501(20), minus the

13

budgeted expenditures of the district of residence for all of

14

the following:

15

(A)  Nonpublic school programs.

16

(B)  Adult education programs.

17

(C)  Community and junior college programs.

18

(D)  Student transportation services.

19

(E)  Special education programs.

20

(F)  Facilities acquisition, construction and improvement

21

services.

22

(G)  Other financing uses, including debt service and fund

23

transfers as provided in the Manual of Accounting and Related

24

Financial Procedures for Pennsylvania School Systems established

25

by the department.

26

(i.1)  The amount under subclause (i) shall be calculated by

27

each school district on a form prescribed by the secretary in

28

accordance with this section. The secretary, upon receipt of a

29

district's calculation, shall review the district's calculation

30

and may request supporting documentation from the district

- 59 -

 


1

regarding its calculation. If the secretary finds an error or

2

discrepancy in a district's calculation, the secretary shall

3

require the district to correct the calculation and require the

4

school district to notify affected charter school entities.

5

(ii)  The following apply:

6

(A)  The amount under subclause (i) shall be paid by the

7

school district of residence of each student by deduction and

8

transfer from all State payments due to the district as provided

9

under clause (5).

10

(B)  If a charter school entity disputes the accuracy of a

11

district's calculation under this clause, the charter school

12

entity shall file a notice of the dispute with the secretary,

13

who shall hold a hearing to determine the accuracy of the

14

district's calculation within thirty (30) days of the notice.

15

(C)  The secretary shall determine the accuracy of the

16

district's calculation within thirty (30) days of the hearing.

17

(D)  The district shall bear the burden of production and

18

proof with respect to its calculation under this clause.

19

(E)  The district shall be liable for the reasonable legal

20

fees incurred by a charter school entity if the charter school

21

entity is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

22

under this section. The charter school entity shall be liable

23

for the reasonable legal fees incurred by the district if the

24

district is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

25

under this section.

26

(F)  All decisions of the secretary under this clause shall

27

be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

28

(3)  The following apply:

29

(i)  For special education students, the charter school

30

entity shall receive for each student enrolled the same funding

- 60 -

 


1

as for each nonspecial education student as provided under

2

clause (2), plus an additional amount determined by dividing the

3

total special education expenditure of the school district of

4

residence by the product of:

5

(A)  the combined percentage of section 2509.5(k) applicable

6

to the school year; and

7

(B)  the total average daily membership of the school

8

district of residence for the prior school year.

9

(ii)  The amount under subclause (i) shall be paid by the

10

school district of residence of each student by deduction and

11

transfer from all State payments due to the district as provided

12

under clause (5).

13

(iii)  If a charter school entity disputes the accuracy of a

14

district's calculation under this clause, the charter school

15

entity shall file a notice of the dispute with the secretary,

16

who shall hold a hearing to determine the accuracy of the

17

district's calculation within thirty (30) days of the notice.

18

(iv)  The secretary shall determine the accuracy of the

19

district's calculation within thirty (30) days of the hearing.

20

(v)  The district shall bear the burden of production and

21

proof with respect to its calculation under this clause.

22

(vi)  The district shall be liable for the reasonable legal

23

fees incurred by a charter school entity if the charter school

24

entity is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

25

under this section. The charter school entity shall be liable

26

for the reasonable legal fees incurred by the school district if

27

the district is the substantially prevailing party after a

28

hearing under this section.

29

(vii)  All decisions of the secretary under this section

30

shall be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

- 61 -

 


1

(4)  A charter school entity may request the intermediate

2

unit or school district in which the school is located to

3

provide services to assist the school to address the specific

4

needs of nonspecial education and exceptional students. The

5

intermediate unit or school district shall assist the charter

6

school entity and bill the school for the services. The

7

intermediate unit may not charge the charter school entity more

8

for any service than it charges the constituent districts of the

9

intermediate unit. Nothing under this clause shall preclude an

10

intermediate unit or school district from contracting with a

11

charter school entity to provide the intermediate unit or school

12

district with services to assist the intermediate unit or school

13

district to address specific needs of nonspecial education and

14

special education students.

15

(5)  The following apply:

16

(i)  Payments shall be made to the charter school entity in

17

twelve (12) equal monthly payments, according to the established

18

monthly unipay schedule within the operating school year.

19

(ii)  Except as provided for in subclause (v), payments shall

20

be made directly by the secretary deducting and paying to the

21

charter school entity the estimated amount, as documented by the

22

charter school entity, from all State payments due to the

23

district or, if no payments are due to the district from all

24

State payments reasonably expected to be due in the next

25

established monthly unipay schedule, after receipt of

26

documentation from the charter school entity as to its

27

enrollment.

28

(iii)  The secretary's obligation to make payments under this

29

section is mandatory and ministerial.

30

(iv)  If there are insufficient State payments due to a

- 62 -

 


1

district in the established monthly unipay schedule to cover all

2

charter school entity deductions and transfers, the district

3

shall be responsible for paying the unpaid balance directly to

4

the charter school entity not more than seven (7) days following

5

the established monthly unipay schedule.

6

(v)  The board of trustees of a charter school entity may

7

elect on an annual basis to be paid directly from the school

8

district of residence. Any board of trustees of a charter school

9

entity that elects to be paid directly by the school district of

10

residence shall notify the department in accordance with the

11

timelines established in the department guidelines. The school

12

district of residence shall provide for payment to the charter

13

school entity as follows:

14

(A)  Payments shall be made to the charter school entity in

15

twelve (12) equal monthly payments, according to the established

16

monthly unipay schedule, within the operating school year.

17

(B)  Payments shall be made directly by the school district

18

of residence paying to the charter school entity the estimated

19

amount, as documented by the charter school entity, after

20

receipt of documentation from the charter school entity as to

21

its enrollment.

22

(vi)  A student enrolled in a charter school entity shall be

23

included in the average daily membership of the student's school

24

district of residence for the purpose of providing basic

25

education funding payments and special education funding under

26

Article XXV.

27

(6)  The following apply:

28

(i)  Within thirty (30) days after the payment is made to the

29

charter school entity as described under clause (5), a school

30

district may notify the secretary that the estimated amount, as

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1

documented by the charter school entity, is inaccurate.

2

(ii)  The secretary shall provide the school district with an

3

opportunity to be heard concerning whether the charter school

4

entity documented that its students were enrolled in the charter

5

school entity, the period of time during which each student was

6

enrolled, the school district of residence of each student and

7

whether the amounts deducted from or paid by the school district

8

were accurate.

9

(iii)  The burden of proof and production at the hearing

10

shall be on the school district. A hearing shall not be held

11

before the secretary deducts and transfers to the charter school

12

entity the amount estimated by the charter school entity.

13

(iv)  The district shall be liable for the reasonable legal

14

fees incurred by a charter school entity if the charter school

15

entity is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

16

under this section. The charter school entity shall be liable

17

for the reasonable legal fees incurred by the district if the

18

district is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

19

under this section.

20

(v)  All decisions of the secretary under this section shall

21

be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

22

(vi)  Supersedeas shall not be granted to the secretary or

23

any party to the proceeding on an appeal from the decision of

24

the secretary under this section; and, absent a court order, the

25

secretary shall not hold any payments in escrow.

26

(b)  It shall be lawful for any charter school entity to

27

receive, hold, manage and use, absolutely or in trust, any

28

devise, bequest, grant, endowment, gift or donation of any

29

property, real or personal and mixed, which shall be made to the

30

charter school entity for any purpose of this article.

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1

(c)  It shall be unlawful for any trustee of a charter school

2

entity or any board of trustees of a charter school entity or

3

any other person affiliated in any way with a charter school

4

entity to demand or request, directly or indirectly, any gift,

5

donation or contribution of any kind from any parent, teacher,

6

employe or any other person affiliated with the school as a

7

condition for employment or enrollment and continued attendance

8

of any pupil. Any donation, gift or contribution received by a

9

charter school entity must be given freely and voluntarily.

10

(d)  A cyber charter school may not provide discounts to a

11

school district or waive payments under this section for any

12

student.

13

(e)  The department shall develop a transition procedure to

14

be able to recoup in subsequent fiscal years any payments made

15

in error to a charter school entity as a result of direct

16

payment by the department to the charter school entity.

17

Section 1.16.  Sections 1727-A and 1728-A of the act, added

18

June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, No.22), are amended to read:

19

Section 1727-A.  Tort Liability.--For purposes of tort

20

liability, employes of the charter school shall be considered

21

public employes and the board of trustees shall be considered

22

the public employer in the same manner as political subdivisions

23

and local agencies. The board of trustees of a charter school

24

and the charter school shall be solely liable for any and all

25

damages of any kind resulting from any legal challenge involving

26

the operation of a charter school. Notwithstanding this

27

requirement, the [local board of directors of a school entity]

28

grantor shall not be held liable for any activity or operation

29

related to the program of the charter school.

30

Section 1728-A.  Annual Reports and Assessments.--(a)  (1)  

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1

The [local board of school directors] grantor shall annually

2

assess whether each charter school is meeting the goals of its

3

charter and shall conduct a comprehensive review prior to

4

granting a [five (5)] ten (10) year renewal of the charter. The

5

[local board of school directors] grantor shall have ongoing

6

access to the records and facilities of the charter school to

7

ensure that the charter school is in compliance with its charter

8

and this act and that requirements for testing, civil rights and

9

student health and safety are being met.

10

(2)  Ongoing reasonable access to a charter school entity's

11

records shall mean that the grantor shall have access to records

12

such as financial reports, financial audits, aggregate

13

standardized test scores without student-identifying information

14

and teacher certification and personnel records.

15

(3)  Charter school entities and their grantors shall comply

16

fully with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and

17

Privacy Act of 1974 (Public Law 90-247, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g) and

18

associated regulations. No personally identifiable information

19

from education records shall be provided by the charter school

20

entity to the school district except in compliance with the

21

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

22

(b)  In order to facilitate the [local board's review and

23

secretary's report] grantor's review, each charter school shall

24

submit an annual report no later than August 1 of each year to

25

the [local board of school directors and the secretary] grantor 

26

in the form prescribed by the [secretary] board.

27

[(c)  Five (5) years following the effective date of this

28

article, the secretary shall contract with an independent

29

professional consultant with expertise in public and private

30

education. The consultant shall receive input from members of

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1

the educational community and the public on the charter school

2

program. The consultant shall submit a report to the secretary,

3

the Governor and the General Assembly and an evaluation of the

4

charter school program, which shall include a recommendation on

5

the advisability of the continuation, modification, expansion or

6

termination of the program and any recommendations for changes

7

in the structure of the program.]

8

(c.1)  For fiscal year 2013-2014 and each fiscal year

9

thereafter, all grantors other than the board shall submit to

10

the board an annual financial report on a standard form

11

developed by the board by October 1. The financial report shall

12

list all oversight activities performed by the grantor in the

13

previous year, as well as a financial accounting of all staff

14

and resources used for oversight activities for each charter

15

school entity chartered by the grantor. The annual financial

16

report under this subsection shall be a public document under

17

the "Right-to-Know Law" and shall be made available on the

18

board's publicly accessible Internet website.

19

(c.2)  In order to facilitate the grantor's review, each

20

charter school entity shall submit an annual report on a

21

standard form developed by the board no later than September 1

22

of each year to the authorizer. Within ten days of receipt of

23

the annual report, the grantor shall certify to the charter

24

school entity that the annual report has been received with an

25

indication of the date of receipt. Within 30 days of the date of

26

receipt, the grantor shall certify to the charter school entity

27

that the annual report has been reviewed and is complete or

28

alternatively, has been reviewed and is missing specific

29

information referenced in the certification.

30

(d)  A charter school entity shall form an independent audit

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1

committee of its board members which shall review at the close

2

of each fiscal year a complete certified audit of the operations

3

of the charter school entity. The audit shall be conducted by a

4

qualified independent certified public accountant. The audit

5

shall be conducted under generally accepted audit standards of

6

the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and shall include

7

the following:

8

(1)  An enrollment test to verify the accuracy of student

9

enrollment and reporting to the State.

10

(2)  Full review of expense reimbursements for board members

11

and administrators, including sampling of all reimbursements.

12

(3)  Review of internal controls, including review of

13

receipts and disbursements.

14

(4)  Review of annual Federal and State tax filings,

15

including the Internal Revenue Service Code Form 990, Return of

16

Organization Exempt from Income Tax and all related schedules

17

and appendices for the charter school entity and charter school

18

foundation, if applicable.

19

(5)  Review of the financial statements of any charter school

20

foundation, which shall be included in the independent audit.

21

(6)  Review the selection and acceptance process of all

22

contracts publicly bid pursuant to section 751.

23

(7)  Review of all board policies and procedures with regard

24

to internal controls, code of ethics, conflicts of interest,

25

whistle-blower protections, complaints from parents or the

26

public, compliance with 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

27

meetings), compliance with the "Right-to-Know Law," finances,

28

budgeting, audits, public bidding and bonding.

29

(e)  The certified audit under subsection (d) and the annual

30

budget under subsection (g) are public documents under the

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1

"Right-to-Know Law," and shall be made available on the

2

grantor's publicly accessible Internet website and the charter

3

school entity's publicly accessible Internet website, if

4

applicable.

5

(f)  A charter school entity may be subject to an annual

6

audit by the Auditor General, in addition to any other audits

7

required by Federal law or this article.

8

(g)  A charter school entity shall annually provide the

9

grantor and the department with a copy of the annual budget for

10

the operation of the school that identifies the following:

11

(1)  The source of funding for all expenditures as part of

12

its reporting under subsection (a).

13

(2)  If funding is provided by a charter school foundation,

14

the amount of funds and a description of the use of the funds.

15

(3)  The salaries of all administrators of the charter school

16

entity.

17

(4)  All expenditures to an educational management service

18

provider.

19

(h)  (1)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a

20

charter school entity and any affiliated charter school

21

foundation shall make copies of its annual Federal and State tax

22

filings available upon request and on the foundation's or

23

school's publicly accessible Internet website, if applicable,

24

including Internal Revenue Service Code Form 990, Return of

25

Organization Exempt from Income Tax and all related schedules

26

and appendices.

27

(2)  The charter school foundation shall also make copies of

28

its annual budget available upon request and on the foundation's

29

or the school's publicly accessible Internet website within

30

thirty (30) days of the close of the foundation's fiscal year.

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1

(3)  The annual budget shall include the salaries of all

2

employes of the charter school foundation.

3

Section 1.17.  Section 1729-A of the act, amended or added

4

June 19, 1997 (P.L.225, No.22), July 4, 2004 (P.L.536, No.70)

5

and July 9, 2008 (P.L.846, No.61), is amended to read:

6

Section 1729-A.  Causes for Nonrenewal or Termination.--(a)

7

During the term of the charter or at the end of the term of the

8

charter, the [local board of school directors] grantor may

9

choose to revoke or not to renew the charter based on any of the

10

following:

11

(1)  One or more material violations of any of the

12

conditions, standards or procedures contained in the written

13

charter signed pursuant to section 1720-A.

14

(2)  Failure to meet the requirements for student performance

15

[set forth in 22 Pa. Code Ch. 5 (relating to curriculum) or

16

subsequent regulations promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 5]

17

assessments or failure to meet any performance standard set

18

forth in the written charter signed pursuant to section 1716-A.

19

(3)  Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal

20

management or audit requirements.

21

(4)  Violation of provisions of this article.

22

(5)  Violation of any provision of law from which the charter

23

school has not been exempted, including Federal laws and

24

regulations governing children with disabilities.

25

[(6)  The charter school has been convicted of fraud.]

26

(a.1)  When a charter school located in a school district of

27

the first class is in corrective action status and seeks renewal

28

of its charter, if the governing body of the school district of

29

the first class renews the charter, it may place specific

30

conditions in the charter that require the charter school to

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1

meet specific student performance targets within stated periods

2

of time subject to the following:

3

(i)  The performance targets and the periods of time in which

4

the performance targets must be met shall be reasonable.

5

(ii)  The placement of conditions in a charter as specified

6

in this subsection shall not be considered an adjudication and

7

may not be appealed to the [State Charter School Appeal Board]

8

board.

9

(iii)  If the charter school fails to meet the performance

10

targets within the stated period of time, such failure shall be

11

sufficient cause for revocation of the charter.

12

(a.2)  In making a determination under subsection (a), a

13

grantor may consider failure to satisfactorily meet the

14

performance standards set forth in the performance matrix

15

developed by the board under section 1721-A(h)(11).

16

(b)  [A member of the board of trustees who is convicted of a

17

felony or any crime involving moral turpitude shall be

18

immediately disqualified from serving on the board of trustees.]

19

If, after a hearing under this section, a grantor proves by a

20

preponderance of the evidence that an administrator or board

21

member of a charter school entity has violated this article, the

22

terms and conditions of the charter or any other violation of

23

law, the grantor may require the charter school entity to

24

replace the administrator or board member in order to obtain

25

renewal of the charter. The grantor may refer its findings to

26

the district attorney with jurisdiction or to the Office of

27

Attorney General for prosecution if the grantor discovers or

28

receives information about possible violations of law by any

29

person affiliated with or employed by a charter school entity.

30

(c)  Any notice of revocation or nonrenewal of a charter

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1

given by the [local board of school directors] grantor of a

2

school district shall state the grounds for such action with

3

reasonable specificity and give reasonable notice to the

4

governing board of the charter school entity of the date on

5

which a public hearing concerning the revocation or nonrenewal

6

will be held. The [local board of school directors] grantor 

7

shall conduct such hearing, present evidence in support of the

8

grounds for revocation or nonrenewal stated in its notice and

9

give the charter school entity reasonable opportunity to offer

10

testimony before taking final action. Formal action revoking or

11

not renewing a charter shall be taken by the [local board of

12

school directors] grantor at a public meeting pursuant to [the

13

act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the "Sunshine

14

Act,"] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) after the

15

public has had thirty (30) days to provide comments to the

16

board. All proceedings of the local board pursuant to this

17

subsection shall be subject to 2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 Subch. B

18

(relating to practice and procedure of local agencies). Except

19

as provided in subsection (d), the decision of the local board

20

shall not be subject to 2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 Subch. B (relating to

21

judicial review of local agency action).

22

[(d)  Following the appointment and confirmation of the

23

appeal board, but not before July 1, 1999, the charter school

24

may appeal the decision of the local board of school directors

25

to revoke or not renew the charter to the appeal board. The

26

appeal board shall have the exclusive review of a decision not

27

to renew or revoke a charter. The appeal board shall review the

28

record and shall have the discretion to supplement the record if

29

the supplemental information was previously unavailable. The

30

appeal board may consider the charter school plan, annual

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1

reports, student performance and employe and community support

2

for the charter school in addition to the record. The appeal

3

board shall give due consideration to the findings of the local

4

board of directors and specifically articulate its reasons for

5

agreeing or disagreeing with those findings in its written

6

decision.

7

(e)  If the appeal board determines that the charter should

8

not be revoked or should be renewed, the appeal board shall

9

order the local board of directors to rescind its revocation or

10

nonrenewal decision.

11

(f)  Except as provided in subsection (g), the charter shall

12

remain in effect until final disposition by the appeal board.

13

(g)  In cases where the health or safety of the school's

14

pupils, staff or both is at serious risk, the local board of

15

school directors may take immediate action to revoke a charter.

16

(h)  All decisions of the charter school appeal board shall

17

be subject to appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.

18

(i)  When a charter is revoked, not renewed, forfeited,

19

surrendered or otherwise ceases to operate, the charter school

20

shall be dissolved. After the disposition of any liabilities and

21

obligations of the charter school, any remaining assets of the

22

charter school, both real and personal, shall be distributed on

23

a proportional basis to the school entities with students

24

enrolled in the charter school for the last full or partial

25

school year of the charter school. In no event shall such school

26

entities or the Commonwealth be liable for any outstanding

27

liabilities or obligations of the charter school.

28

(j)  When a charter is revoked or is not renewed, a student

29

who attended the charter school shall apply to another public

30

school in the student's school district of residence. Normal

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1

application deadlines will be disregarded under these

2

circumstances. All student records maintained by the charter

3

school shall be forwarded to the student's district of

4

residence.]

5

Section 1.18.  Section 1732-A of the act, amended June 29,

6

2002 (P.L.524, No.88), is amended to read:

7

Section 1732-A.  Provisions Applicable to Charter Schools.--

8

(a)  Charter schools shall be subject to the following:

9

(1)  Sections 108, 110, 111, 321, 325, 326, 327, 431, 436,

10

443, 510, 518, 527, 708, 736, 737, 738, 739, 740, 741, 752, 753,

11

[755,] 771, 776, 777, 808, 809, 810, 1109, 1111, 1112(a),

12

1205.3, 1205.4, 1205.5, 1301, 1302, 1303, 1310, 1317, 1317.1,

13

1317.2, 1317.3, 1318, 1327, 1330, 1332, 1303-A, 1513, 1517,

14

1518, 1521, 1523, 1531, 1547, 2014-A, Article XIII-A and Article

15

XIV.

16

(2)  Act of July 19, 1957 (P.L.1017, No.451), known as the

17

"State Adverse Interest Act."

18

(3)  Act of July 17, 1961 (P.L.776, No.341), known as the

19

"Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act."

20

(4)  Act of July 19, 1965 (P.L.215, No.116), entitled "An act

21

providing for the use of eye protective devices by persons

22

engaged in hazardous activities or exposed to known dangers in

23

schools, colleges and universities."

24

(5)  Section 4 of the act of January 25, 1966 (1965 P.L.1546,

25

No.541), entitled "An act providing scholarships and providing

26

funds to secure Federal funds for qualified students of the

27

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who need financial assistance to

28

attend postsecondary institutions of higher learning, making an

29

appropriation, and providing for the administration of this

30

act."

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1

(6)  Act of July 12, 1972 (P.L.765, No.181), entitled "An act

2

relating to drugs and alcohol and their abuse, providing for

3

projects and programs and grants to educational agencies, other

4

public or private agencies, institutions or organizations."

5

(7)  Act of December 15, 1986 (P.L.1595, No.175), known as

6

the "Antihazing Law."

7

(8)  The "Right-to-Know Law," except records of vendors of

8

local agencies shall not be accessible.

9

(9)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).

10

(10)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to ethics standards and

11

financial disclosure).

12

(b)  Charter schools shall be subject to the following

13

provisions of 22 Pa. Code:

14

[Section 5.216 (relating to ESOL).

15

Section 5.4 (relating to general policies).]

16

(1)  Chapter 4 (relating to academic standards and

17

assessments).

18

(2)  Chapter 11 (relating to pupil attendance).

19

(3)  Chapter 12 (relating to students).

20

(4)  Section 32.3 (relating to assurances).

21

(5)  Section 121.3 (relating to discrimination prohibited).

22

(6)  Section 235.4 (relating to practices).

23

(7)  Section 235.8 (relating to civil rights).

24

(8)  Chapter 711 (relating to charter school services and

25

programs for children with disabilities).

26

(c)  (1)  The [secretary] board may promulgate additional

27

regulations relating to charter schools.

28

(2)  The secretary shall have the authority and the

29

responsibility to ensure that charter schools comply with

30

Federal laws and regulations governing children with

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1

disabilities. The secretary shall promulgate regulations to

2

implement this provision.

3

(3)  Grantors may not exercise the power and duties of the

4

department as provided under Federal or State laws or

5

regulations.

6

Section 1.19.  The act is amended by adding sections to read:

7

Section 1733-A.  Effect on Certain Existing Charter

8

Schools.--(a)  A charter school or regional charter school

9

approved by a local board of school directors, a special board

10

of control or a School Reform Commission prior to the effective

11

date of this section shall continue to operate under the current

12

charter. A charter school or regional charter school approved

13

after the effective date of this section shall be in full

14

compliance with this article.

15

(b)  Upon expiration of its charter, a charter school or

16

regional charter school approved under section 1717-A or 1718-A

17

shall seek renewal of its charter from its grantor. The charter

18

shall be amended as needed to reflect the requirements of this

19

article. Any renewal that takes effect after June 30, 2013,

20

shall be for the term specified under section 1720-A(a).

21

(c)  The following shall apply to transfers of charter:

22

(1)  A charter school or regional charter school approved by

23

a local board of school directors, a special board of control or

24

a School Reform Commission prior to the effective date of this

25

section may transfer its charter to the oversight of the board

26

at any time after June 30, 2013.

27

(2)  The board of trustees of the charter school or regional

28

charter school may submit the school's current charter and

29

annual reports to the board and request that the board become

30

the grantor of the charter school or regional charter school.

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1

The board shall develop the transfer request form and procedures

2

for charter school or regional charter schools to follow.

3

(3)  Upon receipt of a transfer request and all necessary

4

documentation as required by the board, the request shall be

5

deemed approved unless, within thirty (30) days of that date,

6

the board schedules a public hearing concerning the transfer

7

request. The transfer shall be presumed approved and may be

8

denied only if the board determines that the charter school or

9

regional charter school would otherwise be subject to revocation

10

or nonrenewal under section 1729-A. The board shall conduct the

11

hearing, present evidence in support of the transfer denial

12

stated in its notice and give the charter school or regional

13

charter school reasonable opportunity to offer testimony before

14

taking final action. If a hearing does occur relating to a

15

school's transfer request, formal action approving or denying

16

the transfer shall be taken by the board at a public meeting

17

under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) after the

18

public has had thirty (30) days to provide comments to the

19

members of the board.

20

(4)  If the board denies the transfer, the following shall

21

apply:

22

(i)  The decision may not act as revocation or nonrenewal of

23

the current charter.

24

(ii)  The proceedings and board decision related to the

25

transfer may not be used as evidence in any revocation or non-

26

renewal proceedings conducted by an grantor.

27

(5)  If the board approves the transfer, the board shall

28

provide notification by certified board resolution to the local

29

board of school directors, the special board of control or the

30

School Reform Commission which initially approved the charter.

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1

No later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the certified

2

board resolution, the local board of school directors, the

3

special board of control or the School Reform Commission which

4

initially approved the charter shall transfer to the board all

5

records regarding oversight of the charter school or regional

6

charter school.

7

(6)  The school's charter term shall remain in effect until

8

the time of expiration, at which time the board shall undertake

9

a comprehensive review prior to granting a ten (10) year charter

10

renewal.

11

(7)  The Commonwealth Court shall have exclusive review of an

12

appeal by a charter school or regional charter school of a

13

decision made by the board to deny a charter transfer.

14

(d)  The following apply to merger:

15

(1)  A charter school that, prior to the effective date of

16

this section, was approved by a local board of school directors,

17

a special board of control or a School Reform Commission and

18

that chooses to merge into a multiple charter school

19

organization under section 1734-A, may apply to the board to

20

consolidate all affiliated school charters into a single

21

charter.

22

(2)  Consolidation and merger are restricted as follows:

23

(i)  Except as set forth in subclause (ii), a charter school

24

shall not be eligible to consolidate or merge with another

25

charter school that:

26

(A)  within either of the most recent two (2) school years,

27

has failed to meet the requirements for student performance set

28

forth in 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4 (relating to academic standards and

29

assessment);

30

(B)  does not meet accepted standards of fiscal management or

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1

audit requirements; or

2

(C)  does not meet the standards set forth by the matrix

3

established under section 1721-A(h)(11).

4

(ii)  Subclause (i) shall not apply if the merger or

5

consolidation includes a charter school which is not in

6

violation of subclause (i) over the most recent two (2) school

7

years.

8

(3)  The board of trustees of each charter school shall

9

jointly submit their charter school's current charter and annual

10

report to the board and request that the board become the

11

grantor of the multiple charter school organization.

12

(4)  Upon receipt of the consolidation and transfer request

13

and all necessary documentation as required by the board, the

14

board shall have thirty (30) days to approve or deny the

15

consolidation and transfer request by a majority vote. If the

16

board approves the consolidation and transfer, the board shall

17

provide notification by certified board resolution to the local

18

board of school directors, the special board of control or the

19

School Reform Commission which initially approved the charter.

20

(5)  No later than thirty (30) days after the receipt of the

21

certified board resolution, the local board of school directors,

22

the special board of control or the School Reform Commission

23

which initially approved the charter shall transfer to the board

24

all records regarding oversight of the charter school.

25

(6)  The school's charter term shall remain in effect until

26

the time of expiration, at which time the board will undertake a

27

comprehensive review prior to granting a ten-year charter

28

renewal.

29

Section 1734-A.  Multiple Charter School Organization.--(a)

30

Establishment shall be as follows:

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1

(1)  Subject to the requirements of section 1733-A(d), two or

2

more charter schools may merge or consolidate under 15 Pa.C.S.

3

Pt. II Subpt. C (relating to nonprofit corporations) into a

4

multiple charter school organization.

5

(2)  The multiple charter school organization shall be:

6

(i)  granted a single charter to operate two or more

7

individual charter schools under the oversight of a single board

8

of trustees and a chief administrator who shall oversee and

9

manage the operation of the individual charter schools under its

10

organization;

11

(ii)  considered a charter school; and

12

(iii)  subject to all of the requirements of this article

13

unless otherwise provided for under this section.

14

(3)  Nothing under this subsection shall be construed to

15

affect or change the terms or conditions of any individual

16

charter previously granted that is consolidated under this

17

section.

18

(b)  The board shall develop and issue a standard application

19

form for multiple charter school organization applicants, which

20

shall contain the following information:

21

(1)  The identification of the multiple charter school

22

organization.

23

(2)  The names of the charter schools seeking merger or

24

consolidation under subsection (a).

25

(3)  A copy of the approved charters of each charter school

26

agreeing to merge or consolidate administrative functions with

27

the board under subsection (a).

28

(4)  An organizational chart clearly presenting the proposed

29

governance structure of the multiple charter school

30

organization, including lines of authority and reporting between

- 80 -

 


1

the board of trustees, chief administrator, administrators,

2

staff and any educational management service provider that will

3

play a role in providing management services to the charter

4

schools under its jurisdiction.

5

(5)  A clear description of the roles and responsibilities

6

for the board of trustees, chief administrator, administrators

7

and any other entities, including a charter school foundation,

8

shown in the organizational chart.

9

(6)  A clear description and method for the appointment or

10

election of members of the board of trustees.

11

(7)  Standards for board performance, including compliance

12

with all applicable laws, regulations and terms of the charter.

13

(8)  Enrollment procedures for each individual charter school

14

included in its charter.

15

(9)  Any other information as deemed necessary by the board.

16

(c)  The board shall serve as the grantor of a multiple

17

charter school organization.

18

(d)  A multiple charter school organization may:

19

(1)  Participate in the assessment systems in the same manner

20

in which a school district participates and its individual

21

charter schools shall participate in the assessment systems in

22

the same manner as individual schools in school districts. All

23

data gathered for purposes of evaluation shall be gathered in a

24

like manner.

25

(2)  Add new charter schools to its organization by the

26

application process through the local school board included

27

under section 1717-A.

28

(3)  Add existing charter schools to its organization or

29

amend the individual charters of each charter school under its

30

organization by the amendment process included under section

- 81 -

 


1

1720-A.

2

(4)  Allow students enrolled in an individual charter school

3

to matriculate to another individual charter school under its

4

oversight so as to complete a course of instruction in an

5

educational institution from kindergarten through grade 12.

6

(e)  The annual report required under section 1728-A shall be

7

provided by the board of trustees and chief administrator of the

8

multiple charter school organization and shall include all

9

information required to provide a basis for evaluation for

10

renewal of each individual charter school under the

11

organization's oversight.

12

(f)  A multiple charter school organization shall be regarded

13

as the holder of the charter of each individual charter school

14

under its oversight and each previously or subsequently awarded

15

charter shall be subject to nonrenewal or revocation in

16

accordance with this act. The nonrenewal or revocation shall not

17

affect the status of a charter awarded for any other individual

18

charter school under its oversight.

19

Section 1.20.  Sections 1741-A, 1742-A and 1743-A(b), (f),

20

(g) and (h) of the act, added June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88),

21

are amended to read:

22

Section 1741-A.  Powers and duties of [department] board.

23

(a)  Powers and duties.--The [department] board shall:

24

(1)  Receive, review and act on applications for the

25

creation of a cyber charter school and have the power to

26

request further information from applicants, obtain input

27

from interested persons or entities and hold hearings

28

regarding applications.

29

(2)  Renew the charter of cyber charter school and renew

30

the charter of a charter school approved under section 1717-A

- 82 -

 


1

or 1718-A which provides instruction through the Internet or

2

other electronic means. Upon renewal of a charter of a

3

charter school approved under section 1717-A or 1718-A, the

4

charter school shall qualify as a cyber charter school under

5

this subdivision and shall be subject to the provisions of

6

this subdivision.

7

(3)  Revoke or deny renewal of a cyber charter school's

8

charter under the provisions of section 1729-A.

9

(i)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1729-

10

A(i), when the [department] board has revoked or denied

11

renewal of a charter, the cyber charter school shall be

12

dissolved. After the disposition of the liabilities and

13

obligations of the cyber charter school, any remaining

14

assets of the cyber charter school shall be given over to

15

the intermediate unit in which the cyber charter school's

16

administrative office was located for distribution to the

17

school districts in which the students enrolled in the

18

cyber charter school reside at the time of dissolution.

19

(ii)  Notwithstanding any laws to the contrary, the

20

[department] board may, after notice and hearing, take

21

immediate action to revoke a charter if:

22

(A)  a material component of the student's

23

education as required under this subdivision is not

24

being provided; or

25

(B)  the cyber charter school has failed to

26

maintain the financial ability to provide services as

27

required under this subdivision.

28

(4)  Execute charters after approval.

29

(5)  Develop forms, including the notification form under

30

section 1748-A(b), necessary to carry out the provisions of

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1

this subdivision.

2

(b)  Hearings.--Hearings conducted by the [department] board 

3

shall be conducted under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

4

meetings).

5

(c)  Documents.--Documents of the [appeal] board shall be

6

subject to the act of [June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred

7

to] February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know

8

Law. 

9

Section 1742-A.  Assessment and evaluation.

10

The [department] board shall:

11

(1)  Annually assess whether each cyber charter school is

12

meeting the goals of its charter and is in compliance with

13

the provisions of the charter and conduct a comprehensive

14

review prior to granting a [five-year] ten-year renewal of

15

the charter.

16

(2)  Annually review each cyber charter school's

17

performance on [the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment

18

test, standardized tests and other performance indicators to

19

ensure compliance with 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4 (relating to

20

academic standards and assessment) or subsequent regulations

21

promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4] assessments.

22

(3)  Have ongoing access to all records, instructional

23

materials and student and staff records of each cyber charter

24

school and to every cyber charter school facility to ensure

25

the cyber charter school is in compliance with its charter

26

and this subdivision.

27

Section 1743-A.  Cyber charter school requirements and

28

prohibitions.

29

* * *

30

[(b)  Enrollment.--A cyber charter school shall report to the

- 84 -

 


1

department an increase or a decrease of 30% or more in its

2

anticipated enrollment set forth in the application under

3

section 1747-A(11).]

4

* * *

5

(f)  Annual report.--A cyber charter school shall submit an

6

annual report no later than August 1 of each year to the

7

[department] board in the form prescribed by the [department]

8

board.

9

(g)  Records and facilities.--A cyber charter school shall

10

provide the [department] board with ongoing access to all

11

records and facilities necessary for the department to assess

12

the cyber charter school in accordance with the provisions of

13

this subdivision.

14

(h)  Offices and facilities.--A cyber charter school shall

15

maintain an administrative office within this Commonwealth where

16

all student records shall be maintained at all times and shall

17

provide the [department] board with the addresses of all offices

18

and facilities of the cyber charter school, the ownership

19

thereof and any lease arrangements. The administrative office of

20

the cyber charter school shall be considered as the principal

21

place of business for service of process for any action brought

22

against the cyber charter school or cyber charter school staff

23

members. The cyber charter school shall notify the [department]

24

board of any changes in this information within ten days of the

25

change.

26

* * *

27

Section 1.21.  Section 1745-A(d), (e), (f), (g) and (h) of

28

the act, added June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88), are amended and

29

the section is amended by adding a subsection to read:

30

Section 1745-A.  Establishment of cyber charter school.

- 85 -

 


1

* * *

2

(b.1)  Local board of school directors or intermediate

3

unit.--The following shall apply to a local board of school

4

directors or intermediate unit:

5

(1)  A local board of school directors or an intermediate

6

unit may seek to establish a cyber charter school if it follows

7

the procedures and requirements of this article.

8

(2)  Nothing under this article shall be construed to

9

preclude a school district or an intermediate unit seeking to

10

establish a cyber charter school from offering instruction via

11

the Internet or other electronic means, except that the

12

instruction may not be recognized as a cyber charter school

13

under this article.

14

* * *

15

(d)  Application.--An application to establish a cyber

16

charter school shall be submitted to the [department] board by

17

October 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which

18

the cyber charter school proposes to commence operation.

19

(e)  Grant or denial.--Within 120 days of receipt of an

20

application, the [department] board shall grant or deny the

21

application. The [department] board shall review the application

22

and shall hold at least one public hearing under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch.

23

7 (relating to open meetings). At least 30 days prior to the

24

hearing, the [department] board shall publish in the

25

Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the [department's World Wide Web

26

site] board's publicly accessible Internet website notice of the

27

hearing and the purpose of the application.

28

(f)  Evaluation criteria.--

29

(1)  A cyber charter school application submitted under

30

this subdivision shall be evaluated by the [department] board 

- 86 -

 


1

based on the following criteria:

2

(i)  The demonstrated, sustainable support for the

3

cyber charter school plan by teachers, parents or

4

guardians and students.

5

(ii)  The capability of the cyber charter school

6

applicant, in terms of support and planning, to provide

7

comprehensive learning experiences to students under the

8

charter.

9

(iii)  The extent to which the programs outlined in

10

the application will enable students to meet the academic

11

standards under 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4 (relating to academic

12

standards and assessment) or subsequent regulations

13

promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4.

14

(iv)  The extent to which the application meets the

15

requirements of section 1747-A.

16

[(v)  The extent to which the cyber charter school

17

may serve as a model for other public schools.]

18

(2)  Written notice of the action of the [department]

19

board shall be sent by certified mail to the applicant and

20

published on the [department's World Wide Web site] board's

21

publicly accessible Internet website. If the application is

22

denied, the reasons for denial, including a description of

23

deficiencies in the application, shall be clearly stated in

24

the notice.

25

(3)  Upon approval of a cyber charter school application,

26

a written charter shall be developed which shall contain the

27

provisions of the charter application and be signed by the

28

[secretary] board's chairperson and each member of the board

29

of trustees of the cyber charter school. The charter, when

30

duly signed, shall act as legal authorization of the

- 87 -

 


1

establishment of a cyber charter school. The charter shall be

2

legally binding on the [department] board, the cyber charter

3

school and its board of trustees. The charter shall be for a

4

period of [no less than three] five years [nor more than five

5

years] and may be renewed for a period of [five] ten years by

6

the [department] board.

7

(4)  The decision of the [department] board to deny an

8

application may be appealed to the [appeal board]

9

Commonwealth Court.

10

(5)  (i)  A cyber charter school may request amendments

11

to its approved written charter by filing a written document

12

describing the requested amendment to the board.

13

(ii)  Within 20 days of its receipt of the request for an

14

amendment, the board shall hold a public hearing on the

15

requested amendment under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

16

meetings).

17

(iii)  Within 20 days after the hearing, the board must

18

grant or deny the requested amendment. Failure by the board

19

to hold a public hearing and to grant or deny the amendments

20

within the time period specified shall be deemed a denial.

21

(iv)  An applicant for an amendment shall have the right

22

to appeal the denial of a requested amendment to the

23

Commonwealth Court.

24

(g)  Denied application.--A cyber charter school applicant

25

may revise and resubmit a denied application to the [department]

26

board. The [department] board shall grant or deny the revised

27

application within 60 days after its receipt.

28

(h)  Appeal.--If the [department] board fails to hold the

29

required public hearing or to approve or disapprove the charter,

30

the applicant may file its application as an appeal to the

- 88 -

 


1

[appeal board. The appeal board shall review the application and

2

make a decision to approve or disapprove the charter based on

3

the criteria in subsection (f)] Commonwealth Court.

4

Section 1.22.  Sections 1746-A, 1749-A(a), 1750-A and 1751-A

5

of the act, added June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88), are amended to

6

read:

7

Section 1746-A.  [State Charter School Appeal Board review]

8

Cyber charter school appeal.

9

[(a)  Jurisdiction.--The appeal board shall have the

10

exclusive review of an appeal by a cyber charter school

11

applicant or by the board of trustees of a cyber charter school

12

on the decisions of the department, including:

13

(1)  The denial of an application for a charter.

14

(2)  The denial of a renewal of a charter.

15

(3)  The revocation of a charter.

16

(4)  An appeal under section 1745-A(h).

17

(b)  Procedure.--The appeal board shall:

18

(1)  Review the decision made by the department  under

19

subsection (a) on the record as certified by the department.

20

The secretary shall recuse himself from all cyber charter

21

school appeals and shall not participate in a hearing,

22

deliberation or vote on a cyber charter school appeal. The

23

appeal board may allow the department, the cyber charter

24

school applicant or the board of trustees of a cyber charter

25

school to supplement the record if the supplemental

26

information was previously unavailable.

27

(2)  Meet to officially review the certified record no

28

later than 30 days after the date of filing the appeal.

29

(3)  Issue a written decision affirming or denying the

30

appeal no later than 60 days following its review.

- 89 -

 


1

(4)  In the case of a decision by the department to deny

2

a cyber charter application, make its decision based on

3

section 1745-A(f)(1). A decision by the appeal board to

4

reverse the decision of the department and grant a charter

5

shall serve as a requirement for the secretary to sign the

6

written charter of the cyber charter school.

7

(5)  In the case of a decision by the department to

8

revoke or deny renewal of a cyber school charter in

9

accordance with section 1741-A(a)(3), make its decision based

10

on section 1729-A(a). A decision of the appeal board to

11

reverse the decision of the department to not revoke or deny

12

renewal of a charter shall serve as a requirement of the

13

department to not revoke or to not deny renewal of the

14

charter of the cyber charter school.

15

(c)  Stay.--If the department appeals the decision of the

16

appeal board, the appeal board's decision shall be stayed only

17

upon order of the appeal board, the Commonwealth Court or the

18

Pennsylvania Supreme Court.]

19

(d)  Review.--All decisions of the [appeal] board shall be

20

subject to appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.

21

Section 1749-A.  Applicability of other provisions of this act

22

and of other acts and regulations.

23

(a)  General requirements.--Cyber charter schools shall be

24

subject to the following:

25

(1)  Sections 108, 110, 111, 321, 325, 326, 327, 431,

26

436, 443, 510, 518, 527, 708, 736, 737, 738, 739, 740, 741,

27

752, 753, [755,] 771, 776, 777, 808, 809, 810, 1109, 1111,

28

1112(a), 1205.1, 1205.2, 1301, 1302, 1310, 1317, 1317.2,

29

1318, 1327, 1330, 1332, 1303-A, 1513, 1517, 1518, 1521, 1523,

30

1531, 1547, 1702-A, 1703-A, 1714-A, 1715-A, 1716-A, 1719-A,

- 90 -

 


1

1721-A, 1722-A, 1723-A(a) and (b), 1724-A, 1725-A, 1727-A,

2

1728-A(d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), 1729-A, 1730-A, 1731-A(a)

3

(1) and (b) and 2014-A and Articles XII-A, XIII-A and XIV.

4

(1.1)  The act of July 19, 1957 (P.L.1017, No.451), known

5

as the State Adverse Interest Act.

6

(2)  The act of July 17, 1961 (P.L.776, No.341), known as

7

the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act.

8

(3)  The act of July 19, 1965 (P.L.215, No.116), entitled

9

"An act providing for the use of eye protective devices by

10

persons engaged in hazardous activities or exposed to known

11

dangers in schools, colleges and universities."

12

(4)  Section 4 of the act of January 25, 1966 (1965

13

P.L.1546, No.541), entitled "An act providing scholarships

14

and providing funds to secure Federal funds for qualified

15

students of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who need

16

financial assistance to attend postsecondary institutions of

17

higher learning, making an appropriation, and providing for

18

the administration of this act."

19

(5)  The act of July 12, 1972 (P.L.765, No.181) entitled

20

"An act relating to drugs and alcohol and their abuse,

21

providing for projects and programs and grants to educational

22

agencies, other public or private agencies, institutions or

23

organizations."

24

(6)  The act of December 15, 1986 (P.L.1595, No.175),

25

known as the Antihazing Law.

26

(7)  The Right-to-Know Law, except records of vendors of

27

local agencies shall not be accessible.

28

(8)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).

29

(9)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to ethics standards and

30

financial disclosure).

- 91 -

 


1

* * *

2

Section 1750-A.  Effect on certain existing cyber charter

3

schools.

4

(a)  Determination.--For a charter school approved under

5

section 1717-A or 1718-A which provides instruction through the

6

Internet or other electronic means, prior to August 15, 2002,

7

the department shall determine:

8

(1)  whether the charter school is in compliance with

9

this subdivision;

10

(2)  whether the charter school has provided notification

11

of the enrollment of each existing student to the school

12

district of residence; and

13

(3)  how the charter school plans to comply with section

14

1743-A(d).

15

(b)  Notification of compliance.--Prior to August 15, 2002,

16

the department shall:

17

(1)  Notify each charter school and the chartering school

18

district of the department's determination under subsection

19

(a). The notification shall include specific requirements

20

with which the charter school has failed to comply.

21

(2)  Publish a copy of the notification on the

22

department's World Wide Web site.

23

(c)  Charter school requirement.--A charter school subject to

24

the requirements of this section shall, either in writing or

25

electronically, provide the parent or guardian of any student

26

enrolled in the charter school a copy of the department's

27

determination under subsection (b).

28

(d)  School districts.--A school district shall not renew the

29

charter of a charter school approved under section 1717-A or

30

1718-A which provides instruction through the Internet or other

- 92 -

 


1

electronic means or approve a charter for a cyber charter

2

school.

3

[(e)  Renewal of charter for certain existing charter

4

schools.--Upon the expiration of its charter, a charter school

5

approved under section 1717-A or 1718-A which provides

6

instruction through the Internet or other electronic means shall

7

seek renewal of its charter from the department under this

8

subdivision. The charter shall be amended as needed to reflect

9

the requirements of this subdivision.]

10

(f)  Continued operation.--A cyber charter school approved by

11

the department prior to the effective date of this subsection

12

shall continue to operate under the current charter, except that

13

all oversight shall transfer to the board beginning July 1,

14

2013.

15

(g)  Expiration of existing cyber charter school charters.--

16

Upon expiration of its charter, a cyber charter school approved

17

prior to the effective date of this subsection shall seek

18

renewal of its charter from the board under this article. The

19

charter shall be amended as needed to reflect the requirements

20

of this article. All cyber charter schools approved or renewed

21

on or after the effective date of this subsection must be in

22

full compliance with this article.

23

Section 1751-A.  Regulations.

24

The [department] board may issue regulations to implement

25

this subdivision.

26

Section 2.  Section 2501(26) of the act, added July 9, 2008

27

(P.L.846, No.61), is amended and the section is amended by

28

adding clauses to read:

29

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

30

the following terms shall have the following meanings:

- 93 -

 


1

* * *

2

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

3

district's total expenditures to include General Fund

4

expenditures in all functional classifications, as designated in

5

the Manual of Accounting and Related Financial Procedures for

6

Pennsylvania School Systems, except for:

7

(i)  actual special education spending;

8

(ii)  adult education;

9

(iii)  higher education;

10

(iv)  student transportation;

11

(v)  community services;

12

(vi)  scholarships and awards;

13

(vii)  facilities acquisition;

14

(viii)  construction and improvement services; and

15

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

16

(x)  tuition from patrons revenue.

17

* * *

18

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

19

a school district's total annual expenditures for special

20

education as established by the Department of Education and

21

designated in the Manual of Accounting and Related Financial

22

Procedures for Pennsylvania School Systems. The amount shall not

23

include expenditures that are exclusively for gifted students

24

who do not receive special education pursuant to an

25

individualized education program.

26

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

27

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

28

education under Federal and State law.

29

(33)  "Performance Indicators." Measurable annual objectives

30

established by the Department of Education pursuant to section

- 94 -

 


1

612(a)(15) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

2

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

3

toward achieving State goals for the performance of eligible

4

students.

5

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

6

and documents for public access at a minimum through publication

7

by the Department of Education:

8

(i)  in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

9

(ii)  on the department's publicly accessible Internet

10

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

11

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

12

Statewide press release.

13

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

14

operated primarily for students who have not been identified as

15

students with disabilities who are in need of special education.

16

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

17

or other public school operated for all students, not solely

18

eligible students, in a school district.

19

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

20

as revisions, updates and amendments for all special education

21

personnel, programs, services and supports provided by each

22

school district for eligible students, filed by each district

23

with the Department of Education under this act and other

24

applicable Federal and State law.

25

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

<--

26

Education Funding.

27

(39) (38)  "Base Year." Fiscal year 2010-2011 or another year

<--

28

designated by statute.

29

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

<--

30

special education funding received by a school district from the

- 95 -

 


1

Commonwealth.

2

Section 2 3.  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 special

8

education formula developed under this section shall determine

9

only the distribution of any increase in special education 

10

funding among the school districts of this Commonwealth above

11

the amount of special education funding in the base year and

12

shall not be used for any other purpose.

13

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

14

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

15

any State funding for special education in an amount that does

16

not exceed the amount of State funding for special education in

17

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

18

funding was allocated in the base year.

19

(c)  The Department of Education shall distribute special

20

education funding according to the calculations under

21

subsections (a) and (b).

22

(d)  The Legislative Commission on Special Education Funding

23

is established and shall develop a special education formula

24

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

25

special education funding among the school districts of this

26

Commonwealth. The formula shall include all of the following:

27

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

28

established such that students with disabilities typically

29

requiring the least intensive range of services shall comprise

30

category 1, students with disabilities typically requiring a

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1

middle range of services shall comprise category 2 and students

2

with disabilities typically requiring the most intensive range

3

of services shall comprise category 3. The commission shall

4

determine a description of and parameters for each of the three

5

(3) categories.

6

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

7

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

8

students to be calculated as follows:

9

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

10

students residing or enrolled in the school district and

11

classified in category 3, except that the number of eligible

12

students included in this calculation who are placed by the

13

school district and served in public or private separate

14

schools, residential placements or homebound or hospital

15

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

16

all eligible students with individualized education programs

17

residing or enrolled in the school district or the target

18

established in the Part B State Annual Performance Plan filed by

19

the Department of Education under the Individuals with

20

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

21

et seq.), whichever is less. The reference in this paragraph to

22

the target established in the Part B State Annual Performance

23

Plan shall be used solely for the purpose of determining the

24

student count for category 3, without limiting the use of this

25

target for other purposes pursuant to the Part B State Annual

26

Performance Plan. Eligible students exceeding this target shall

27

be part of the other cost categories within the special

28

education formula. Neither the reference to the target nor any

29

other provision of this act shall be construed to alter Federal

30

or State law regarding the protections provided to an eligible

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1

student for receiving education in the least restrictive

2

environment or alter the legal authority of individualized

3

education program teams to make appropriate program and

4

placement decisions for eligible students in accordance with the

5

individualized education program developed for each eligible

6

student.

7

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

8

students classified in category 2 determined by taking the

9

product of:

10

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

11

and

12

(B)  the Statewide percentage of eligible students classified

13

in category 2.

14

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

15

students classified in category 1 determined by taking the

16

product of:

17

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

18

and

19

(B)  the Statewide percentage of modified average daily

20

membership classified in category 1.

21

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

22

daily membership which shall be designated as category 1 and of

23

eligible students which shall be designated as category 2 shall

24

not exceed the actual proportion of students in this

25

Commonwealth classified in categories 1 and 2 in the most recent

26

year for which data is available.

27

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

28

(3) categories of students with disabilities based on the

29

typical range of services for each category.

30

(4)  Adjustments for:

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1

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

2

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

3

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

4

most recent years for each school district.

5

(iii)  Geographic price differences identified for each

6

school district.

7

(5)  A proportional system for distributing the change in

8

special education funding among the school districts, based on

9

the factors listed in paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4).

10

(6)  Other factors related to an accurate distribution of

11

special education funding.

12

(e)  Prior to development of the special education formula  

13

required under subsection (d), the commission shall:

14

(1)  Consider nationally accepted accounting and budgeting

15

standards.

16

(2)  In a timely manner, hold no fewer than three (3) public

17

hearings in different regions of this Commonwealth to receive

18

input and testimony from interested parties, which may include

19

the Secretary of Education and other individuals representing

20

the Department of Education, parents of eligible students,

21

teachers, school administrators, school board members, higher

22

education faculty and existing State committees, advisory panels

23

and task forces established under Federal or State law,

24

regulations or court orders.

25

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

26

(12) members, consisting of the chairman and minority chairman

27

of the Education Committee of the Senate, the chairman and

28

minority chairman of the Education Committee of the House of

29

Representatives and two (2) legislators from each of the four

30

(4) legislative caucuses, to be determined by the leadership of

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1

each caucus and to be replaced at the discretion of the

2

leadership of each caucus. The commission may perform its duties

3

regardless of whether all four (4) legislative caucuses have

4

actually appointed members to the commission. The commission

5

shall choose a chairperson and utilize legislative staff for

6

assistance in developing the special education formula. The

7

Department of Education shall provide the commission with data,

8

research and other relevant information, upon request by the

9

commission.

10

(2)  Members of the commission shall be appointed within

11

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

12

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

13

of the effective date of this section. The commission shall

14

develop the special education formula required under subsection 

15

(d) within one hundred twenty (120) days of the effective date

16

of this section, and shall issue a report of its findings to the

17

Governor, the President pro tempore of the Senate and Minority

18

Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of

19

Representatives and the Minority Leader of the House of

20

Representatives, the Education Committee of the Senate and the

21

Education Committee of the House of Representatives, the

22

Secretary of Education and the State Board of Education.

23

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

24

Board of Education shall draft proposed regulations to implement

25

the special education funding provisions of this section using,

26

without alteration, the special education formula as develope