PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 1366, 1982, 2203, 2337, 2354

PRINTER'S NO.  2474

  

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

  

  

SENATE AMENDMENTS TO HOUSE AMENDMENTS, IN SENATE, OCTOBER 15, 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

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

22

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

23

section to read:

 


1

Section 120 122.  Special Education Funding Commission.--(a)

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2

There is hereby established a Special Education Funding

3

Commission.

4

(b)  The Special Education Funding Commission shall review

5

and make recommendations related to special education funding as

6

provided in this section.

7

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

8

members:

9

(i)  The chairman and minority chairman of the Education

10

Committee of the Senate and the chairman and minority chairman

11

of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives, or

12

their designees.

13

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

14

legislative caucuses, to be appointed by the President pro

15

tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of

16

Representatives, in consultation with the Majority and Minority

17

Leaders of the Senate and the Majority and Minority Leaders of

18

the House of Representatives.

19

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

20

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

21

(v)  The Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary

22

Education, or a designee.

23

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

24

chairperson of the commission.

25

(d)  The commission shall hold its first meeting within

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

27

Regardless after January 1, 2013, regardless of whether the

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28

Governor or all legislative caucuses have actually approved

29

members to the commission.

30

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

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chairman chairperson.

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(f)  The members may not receive compensation for their

3

services, but must be reimbursed for all necessary travel and

4

other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the

5

performance of their duties as members of the commission.

6

(g)  The General Assembly shall provide administrative

7

support, meeting space and any other assistance required by the

8

commission to carry out its duties under this section in

9

cooperation with the Governor's Budget Office and the

10

department. The department shall provide the commission with

11

data, research and other information upon request by the

12

commission.

13

(h)  The commission shall develop a special education formula

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and identify factors that may be used to determine the

15

distribution of a change in special education funding among the

16

school districts in this Commonwealth.

17

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

18

and duties:

19

(1)  Review and make findings and recommendations related to

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special education funding in this Commonwealth.

21

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

22

out the duties under this subsection.

23

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

24

not limited to, charter school and cyber charter school

25

operators.

26

(4)  Hold public hearings in different regions of this

27

Commonwealth.

28

(5)  Issue a report of its findings and recommendations to

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29

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

30

Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Education

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1

Committee of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of

2

Representatives, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the

3

House of Representatives, the Education Committee of the House

4

of Representatives, the Secretary of Education and the State

5

Board of Education not later than November 30, 2012 April 30,

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6

2013.

7

(6)  Determine the factors under this paragraph that may

8

include all of the following:

9

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

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established so that students with disabilities typically

11

requiring the least-intensive range of services would compromise 

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12

comprise cost Category 1, students with disabilities typically

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requiring a middle range of services would compromise comprise

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cost Category 2 and students with disabilities typically

15

requiring the most intensive range of services would compromise 

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comprise cost Category 3. The commission shall determine a

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17

description of and parameters for each of the three (3)

18

categories.

19

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

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

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21

of eligible students. For cost Category 3, the number of

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22

eligible students residing or enrolled in the school district

23

and classified in category 3 cost Category 3 shall be calculated

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24

in a manner that limits the potential incentive for school

25

districts to overidentify, except that for the number of

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26

eligible students included who are placed by the school district

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27

and served in public or private separate schools, residential

28

placements or homebound or hospital placements must be

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29

identified separately.

30

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

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three (3) cost categories of students with disabilities based on

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2

the typical range of services for each cost category. The

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3

weighting may include adjustments for any of the following:

4

(iv)  Adjustments for any of the following:

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

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each of the three (3) most recent years for each school

7

district.

8

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

9

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

10

(C)  Geographic price differences identified for each school

11

district of the department.

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(D) (v)  A proportional system for distributing the changes

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13

in special education funding among the school districts, based

14

on factors listed in this subparagraph section.

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(iv) (vi)  Development and implementation by the department

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of improved systems for collecting and documenting student

17

enrollment and membership in public schools, including revised

18

methods for calculating average daily membership.

19

(v) (vii)  Other factors related to the distribution of

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20

special education funding.

21

(7)  Review and consider special education funding factors

22

utilized in operation throughout the United States.

23

(8)  In developing the special education funding factors

24

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

25

this subsection, consider the impact these factors may have on

26

the distribution of special education funding among the school

27

districts.

28

(9)  Review the administration of State and regional special

29

education programs and services to determine if cost savings may

30

be achieved and make recommendations to implement the savings.

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1

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

2

carrying out the duties under this subsection.

3

(11)  Prior to recommending a special education formula under

4

this section, consider nationally accepted accounting and

5

budgeting standards.

6

(j)  The special education formula developed by the

7

commission shall not go into effect unless the formula is

8

approved by an act of the General Assembly enacted after the

9

effective date of this section.

10

(k)  Every five years the commission shall be reconstituted

11

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

12

review the operations operation of the special education funding

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13

provision provisions of this section, shall make a further

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14

report and issue the report to the recipients listed in

15

subsection (i)(5). When in receipt of a further report

16

recommending changes to the special education funding formula,

17

the General Assembly shall consider and take action to enact the

18

formula into law in accordance with subsection (j).

19

(l)  The General Assembly shall, through the annual

20

appropriations process, determine the level of State funding for

21

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

22

special education formula developed under this section shall

23

determine only the distribution of any increase in special

24

education funding among the school districts of this

25

Commonwealth above the amount of special education funding in

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

any State funding for special education in an amount that does

30

not exceed the amount of State funding for special education in

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1

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

2

funding was allocated in the base year.

3

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

4

shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless

5

the context clearly indicates otherwise:

6

"Base year."  Fiscal year 2010-2011.

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7

"Commission."  The Special Education Funding Commission

8

established under this section.

9

"Department."  The Department of Education of the

10

Commonwealth.

11

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

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12

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

13

directors in every school district shall establish, equip,

14

furnish, and maintain a sufficient number of elementary public

15

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

16

educate every person, residing in such district, between the

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

(1)  Operating a school building.

21

(2)  Contracting with any individual or entity authorized to

22

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

23

(3)  Paying tuition for students residing in the school

24

district to attend school in another school district.

25

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

26

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

27

Section 1525.  Agreements with Institutions of Higher

28

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

29

contrary, a school district, charter school, regional charter

30

school, cyber charter school or an area vocational-technical

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1

school may enter into an agreement with one or more institutions

2

of higher education approved to operate in this Commonwealth in

3

order to allow [resident] students to attend such institutions

4

of higher education while the [resident] students are enrolled

5

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

6

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

7

agreement may be structured so that high school students may

8

receive credits toward completion of courses at the school

9

district, charter school, regional charter school, cyber charter

10

school or an area vocational-technical school and at

11

institutions of higher education approved to operate in this

12

Commonwealth.

13

Section 1.3.  The definitions of "concurrent student" and

14

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

15

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

16

Section 1602-B.  Definitions.

17

The following words and phrases when used in this article

18

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

19

context clearly indicates otherwise:

20

* * *

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

school, a private school or a home education program under

25

section 1327.1 and who takes a concurrent course through a

26

concurrent enrollment program.

27

* * *

28

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

29

regional charter school, a cyber charter school or an area

30

vocational-technical school.

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1

* * *

2

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

3

a subsection to read:

4

Section 1613-B.  Concurrent enrollment agreements.

5

* * *

6

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

7

charter school, cyber charter school or an area vocational-

8

technical school shall have the power and authority to enter

9

into a concurrent enrollment agreement with an institution of

10

higher education, and appropriate credit shall be awarded to

11

students concurrently enrolled under the agreement.

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

"Account" shall mean the State Charter School Entities

16

Assessment Account.

17

"Administrator" shall include an employe of a charter school

18

entity, including the chief administrator of a charter school

19

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

20

position is responsible for taking official action of a

21

nonministerial nature with regard to contracting or procurement,

22

administering or monitoring grants or subsidies, managing or

23

regulating staff, student and school activities or any activity

24

where the official action has an economic impact of greater than

25

a de minimis nature on the interests of any person.

26

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

27

Board established by this article.]

28

"Assessment" shall mean the Pennsylvania System of School

29

Assessment test, the Keystone Exam or another test established

30

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

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1

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

2

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

3

Federal statute.

4

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

5

failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty,

6

community factors, truancy, academic difficulties or economic

7

disadvantage.

8

"Board" shall mean the State Charter School Entities Board

9

established by this article.

10

"Charter school" shall mean an independent public school

11

established and operated under a charter from [the local board

12

of school directors] a grantor and in which students are

13

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

14

public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to

15

any for-profit entity.

16

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

17

charter school or cyber charter school.

18

"Charter school foundation" shall mean a nonprofit

19

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

20

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

21

that provides funding, resources or otherwise serves to support

22

a charter school entity, either directly or through an

23

affiliated entity.

24

"Chief administrator" shall mean an individual appointed by a

25

board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of a

26

charter school entity. The term shall not include a professional

27

staff member under this article.

28

["Chief executive officer" shall mean an individual appointed

29

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

30

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

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1

staff member under this article.]

2

"Committee" shall mean the Charter School Entities Funding

3

Advisory Committee.

4

"Cyber charter school" shall mean an independent public

5

school established and operated under a charter from the

6

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

7

technology in order to provide a significant portion of its

8

curriculum and to deliver a significant portion of instruction

9

to its students through the Internet or other electronic means.

10

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

11

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

12

entity.

13

"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the

14

Commonwealth.

15

"Educational management service provider" shall mean a for-

16

profit education management organization, nonprofit charter

17

management organization, school design provider, business

18

manager or any other partner entity with which a board of

19

trustees of a charter school entity contracts to provide

20

educational design, business services, comprehensive management

21

or personnel functions or to implement the charter. The term

22

shall not include a charter school foundation.

23

"Grantor" shall mean one of the following:

24

(1)  a local board of school directors; or

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

brother or sister.

29

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

30

directors of a school district in which a proposed or an

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1

approved charter school is located. The term shall include a

2

special board of control or a school reform commission.

3

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

4

family member.

5

"Regional charter school" shall mean an independent public

6

school established and operated under a charter from more than

7

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

8

students are enrolled or attend. A regional charter school must

9

be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may

10

not be granted to any for-profit entity.

11

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

12

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

13

"School district of residence" shall mean the school district

14

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

15

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

16

"School entity" shall mean a school district, intermediate

17

unit, joint school or area vocational-technical school.

18

"School Reform Commission" shall mean the School Reform

19

Commission established under section 696.

20

"Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of Education of the

21

Commonwealth.

22

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

23

control established under section 692.

24

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

25

Commonwealth.

26

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

27

Section 1705-A.  State Charter School Entities Assessment

28

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

29

Account is established as a restricted account within the

30

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

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1

continuing basis to the board upon approval of the Governor to

2

carry out its duties as set forth under this article.

3

(b)  Board funding shall be as follows:

4

(1)  The board shall annually seek Federal and nonprofit

5

grants to support its operations and deposit the funding into

6

the account.

7

(2)  The following apply:

8

(i)  Until the board establishes a fee structure under

9

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

10

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

11

school entity's most recent available annual financial report as

12

published on the department's publicly accessible Internet

13

website.

14

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

15

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

16

(iii)  Existing charter schools and regional charter schools

17

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

18

the board.

19

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

20

the account.

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

may include a sliding fee schedule, fee reduction incentives for

25

performance, cost efficiencies and rebates.

26

Section 1706-A.  Charter School Entities Funding Advisory

27

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

28

(1)  The Governor shall convene a Statewide advisory

29

committee, to be known as the Charter School Entities Funding

30

Advisory Committee, to examine the financing of charter school

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1

entities in the public education system. The committee shall

2

examine how charter school entity finances affect opportunities

3

for teachers, parents, pupils and community members to establish

4

and maintain schools that operate independently from the

5

existing school district structure as a method to accomplish the

6

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

7

department shall provide administrative support, meeting space

8

and any other assistance required by the committee to carry out

9

its duties under this section.

10

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

11

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

12

tempore of the Senate.

13

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

14

Leader of the Senate.

15

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

16

Leader of the Senate.

17

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

18

the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

19

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

20

the Majority Leader of the House of Representative.

21

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

22

Representatives appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of

23

Representatives.

24

(vii)  The secretary or a designee.

25

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

26

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

27

Governor:

28

(A)  One member who shall represent charter schools.

29

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

30

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

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1

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

2

public school teacher, a charter school teacher, a regional

3

charter school teacher, a cyber charter school teacher or a

4

nonpublic school teacher.

5

(E)  One member who shall represent school administrators.

6

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

7

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

8

school district.

9

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

10

attending a charter school entity.

11

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

12

education with experience in operating a charter school entity.

13

(3)  Members of the committee shall be appointed within

14

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

15

vacancy on the committee shall be filled by the original

16

appointing officer or agency. The committee shall select a

17

chairman and vice chairman from among its membership at an

18

organizational meeting. The organizational meeting must take

19

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

20

date of this section.

21

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

22

chairman. The committee may hold public hearings on the matters

23

to be considered by the committee at locations throughout this

24

Commonwealth. All meetings and public hearings of the committee

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

committee may designate another person to represent that member

29

at meetings of the committee.

30

(5)  Committee members shall receive no compensation for

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1

their services but shall be reimbursed for all necessary travel

2

and other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the

3

performance of their duties as members. Whenever possible, the

4

committee shall utilize the services and expertise of existing

5

personnel and staff of State government. The department may

6

utilize undistributed funds not expended, encumbered or

7

committed from appropriations for grants and subsidies made to

8

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

9

section.

10

(6)  The committee shall have the following powers and

11

duties:

12

(i)  Meet with current charter school entity operators within

13

this Commonwealth, including cyber charter schools with blended

14

programs.

15

(ii)  Review charter school entity financing laws in

16

operation throughout the United States.

17

(iii)  Evaluate and make recommendations on the following:

18

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

19

they relate to financing.

20

(B)  Funding formulas for charter school entities, including

21

reimbursement procedures and funding under Title I of the

22

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law

23

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

24

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

25

under section 1725-A.

26

(D)  Student residency as it relates to funding.

27

(E)  Special education and other special program funding.

28

(F)  Charter school entity transportation.

29

(G)  Charter school entity eligibility to receive grants and

30

funding.

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(H)  Appropriate assessment fees on charter school entities.

2

(I)  Consideration of recognizing charter school entities for

3

additional designations as a local education agency.

4

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

5

issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of

10

Representatives and the chairman and minority chairman of the

11

Education Committee of the House of Representatives.

12

(b)  (Reserved).

13

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

14

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

15

No.61), is amended to read:

16

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

17

schools shall be required to comply with the following

18

provisions:

19

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

20

school is exempt from statutory requirements established in this

21

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

22

the secretary not specifically applicable to charter schools.

23

Charter schools are not exempt from statutes applicable to

24

public schools other than this act.

25

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

26

the public and the Commonwealth, with the delineation of that

27

accountability reflected in the charter. Strategies for

28

meaningful parent and community involvement shall be developed

29

and implemented by each school.

30

(3)  A charter school shall not unlawfully discriminate in

- 17 -

 


1

admissions, hiring or operation.

2

(4)  A charter school shall be nonsectarian in all

3

operations.

4

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

5

instruction, nor shall it display religious objects and symbols

6

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

7

shall provide for discrete and separate entrances to buildings

8

utilized for school purposes only.

9

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

10

charter school entity to utilize a sectarian facility:

11

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

12

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

13

the extent reasonably feasible; or

14

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

15

common areas contain religious symbols and objects.

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

provided for in this article.

20

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

21

Pennsylvania State Assessment System as provided for in 22 Pa.

22

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

23

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

24

manner in which the school district in which the charter school

25

is located is scheduled to participate.

26

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

27

manner as a school district for the purposes of measuring the

28

charter entity's adequate yearly progress under the No Child

29

Left Behind Act of 2001 or any successor statute.

30

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

- 18 -

 


1

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

2

year of instruction at the elementary level, or nine hundred

3

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

4

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

5

and satellite linkages for delivering instruction to students.

6

(10)  Boards of trustees and contractors of charter schools

7

shall be subject to the following statutory requirements

8

governing construction projects and construction-related work:

9

(i)  The following provisions of this act:

10

(A)  Sections 751 and 751.1.

11

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

12

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

13

"Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."

14

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

15

entitled "An act regulating the letting of certain contracts for

16

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

17

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

18

the "Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act."

19

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

20

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

21

"Steel Products Procurement Act."

22

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

23

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

24

ethics standards and financial disclosure) and shall file a

25

statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year

26

with the State Ethics Commission and the grantor not later than

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

of office as required under section 321 before entering upon the

- 19 -

 


1

duties of their office.

2

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

3

school shall not receive compensation from another charter

4

school or from a company that provides management or other

5

services to another charter school. The term "administrator"

6

shall include the chief executive officer of a charter school

7

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

8

their positions exercise management or operational oversight

9

responsibilities. A person who serves as an administrator for a

10

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

11

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

12

violation of this clause shall constitute a violation of 65

13

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

14

violator shall be subject to the penalties imposed under the

15

jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.]

16

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

17

charter school entity shall be a public employe for the purposes

18

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

19

interests for the preceding calendar year with the board of

20

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

21

holds the position and of the year after the individual leaves

22

the position.

23

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

24

charter school entity may receive compensation from another

25

charter school entity or from an educational management service

26

provider, unless:

27

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

28

charter school entity board of trustees and the sworn statement

29

details the work for the other entity and includes the projected

30

number of hours, rate of compensation and projected duration.

- 20 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

to the administrator.

4

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

5

the resolution by the board of trustees granting the permission

6

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

7

grantor.

8

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

9

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

10

trustees of that individual's charter school entity.

11

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

12

participate in the selection, award or administration of a

13

contract if the individual has a conflict of interest as that

14

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

15

(ii)  An administrator who knowingly violates this clause

16

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

17

restricted activities) and shall be subject to the penalties

18

imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.

19

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

20

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

21

(5)  An administrator shall be immediately dismissed upon

22

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

23

an offense pertaining to fraud, theft or mismanagement of public

24

funds or any crime involving moral turpitude.

25

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

26

supply the grantor of the charter school entity and the

27

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

28

guarantees for school building debt or bonds that become due

29

during the fiscal year together with the amount paid on each

30

item of indebtedness. Any charter school entity that elects to

- 21 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

mandatory redemption and interest owing by the charter school

4

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

5

(e)  Fund balance limit shall be as follows:

6

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

7

thereafter, a charter school entity shall not accumulate an

8

unassigned fund balance greater than the charter school entity

9

fund balance limit, which will be determined as follows:

10

11

12

  

Charter School Entity

Total Budgeted Expenditures

Maximum Unassigned Fund Balance as Percentage of Total Budgeted Expenditures

13

Less than or equal to $11,999,999

  12%

14

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

11.5%

15

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

  11%

16

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

10.5%

17

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

  10%

18

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

 9.5%

19

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

   9%

20

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

 8.5%

21

Greater Than or Equal to $19,000,000

   8%

22

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

23

that exceeds the charter school entity fund balance limit shall

24

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

25

districts that paid tuition to the charter school entity on

26

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

27

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

28

administrator, board of trustee member, employe, staff or

29

contractor and may not be transferred to a charter school

30

foundation.

- 22 -

 


1

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

2

thereafter, any unassigned fund balance in excess of the charter

3

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

4

basis to all school districts that paid tuition to the charter

5

school entity in the prior school year.

6

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

7

thereafter, each charter school entity shall provide its grantor

8

and the board with information certifying compliance with this

9

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

10

prescribed by the board and shall include information on the

11

charter school entity's estimated ending unassigned fund balance

12

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

13

school entity's total budgeted expenditures for that school

14

year.

15

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

16

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

17

adding subsections to read:

18

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

19

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

20

effective date of this subsection, an individual shall be

21

prohibited from serving as a voting member of the board of

22

trustees of the charter school entity if the individual or an

23

immediate family member receives compensation from or is

24

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

25

the initial review, approval, oversight, evaluation or renewal

26

process of the charter school entity.

27

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

28

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

29

without voting privileges.

30

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

- 23 -

 


1

school entity may participate in the selection, award or

2

administration of any contract if the member has a conflict of

3

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

4

to definitions).

5

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

6

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

7

matter that would result in a conflict of interest shall abstain

8

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

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

shall be subject to the penalties imposed under the jurisdiction

13

of the State Ethics Commission.

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

entity shall be compensated for duties on the board.

19

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

20

entity shall be automatically disqualified and immediately

21

removed from the board upon conviction for an offense graded as

22

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

23

theft or mismanagement of public funds, any offense pertaining

24

to his official capacity as a board member or any crime

25

involving moral turpitude.

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

to open meetings).

30

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

- 24 -

 


1

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

2

members.

3

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

4

nonrelated voting members serving on its board on the effective

5

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

6

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

7

the minimum requirements of this section.

8

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

9

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

10

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

11

attending the charter school entity. The board member shall be

12

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

13

school entity.

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

meeting.

18

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

19

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

20

required in order to take action on the subjects enumerated

21

under subsection (a).

22

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

23

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

24

of:

25

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

26

mandatory redemption or on any sinking fund deposit date; or

27

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

28

payment date or on any sinking fund deposit date in accordance

29

with the schedule under which the bonds were issued.

30

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

- 25 -

 


1

charter school trustees of its obligation and shall immediately

2

notify the grantor of the charter school and the secretary.

3

(2)  The secretary shall withhold any appropriation due the

4

charter school in any amount necessary to fully fund the amount

5

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

6

sum of the principal amount maturing or subject to mandatory

7

redemption and interest owing by the charter school or sinking

8

fund deposit due by such charter school and shall require

9

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

10

the sinking fund depositary for the bond issue from the escrow

11

account.

12

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

13

given priority over payments required pursuant to sections 633

14

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

15

anticipation notes and sinking fund), or an agreement pursuant

16

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

17

debt issued by or on behalf of a school entity.

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents

23

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

24

nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this

25

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

26

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

27

unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or

28

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

29

be established by creating a new school or by converting an

30

existing public school or a portion of an existing public

- 26 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

profit entity. No charter school shall be established or funded

4

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

5

institution or other entity. No funds allocated or disbursed

6

under this article shall be used to directly support instruction

7

pursuant to section 1327.1.

8

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

9

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

10

initiated by any individual or entity authorized to establish a

11

charter school under subsection (a).

12

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

13

charter school, the applicants must show that:

14

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

15

public school have signed a petition in support of the public

16

school becoming a charter school; and

17

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

18

of pupils attending that public school have signed a petition in

19

support of the school becoming a charter school.

20

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

21

the board of trustees of an existing school which is converted

22

to a charter school pursuant to this subsection.

23

(4)  (Reserved).

24

(5)  (Reserved).

25

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

26

building or a portion of an existing public school building

27

converted to a charter school.

28

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

29

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

30

board of control or the School Reform Commission shall establish

- 27 -

 


1

the alternative arrangements for current students who choose not

2

to attend the charter school.

3

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

4

charter school, preference for enrollment shall be given to

5

students residing within the former attendance boundary of that

6

school.

7

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

8

submitted to the [local board of school directors of the

9

district where the charter school will be located] grantor by

10

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

11

year in which the charter school will be established except that

12

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

13

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

14

school year only, applications shall be limited to recipients of

15

fiscal year 1996-1997 Department of Education charter school

16

planning grants.

17

(c.1)  Grantors shall be as follows:

18

(1)  The following entities shall be grantors of charter

19

schools and regional charter schools:

20

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

21

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

22

(ii)  A local board of school directors.

23

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

24

and regional charter schools.

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

of a charter school entity in accordance with section

29

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

30

interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

- 28 -

 


1

applications.

2

(ii)  Execute a charter with an approved charter school

3

entity applicant.

4

(iii)  Monitor and evaluate the operation of each charter

5

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

6

to determine whether the charter school entity is in compliance

7

with the terms of its charter and all applicable laws and

8

regulations, and identify and implement corrective action to

9

remedy issues of noncompliance.

10

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

11

entity's charter under section 1729-A.

12

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

13

following powers and duties:

14

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

15

of a charter school or regional charter school, obtain input

16

from interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

17

applications.

18

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

19

regional charter school applicant.

20

(iii)  Monitor and evaluate the operation of each charter

21

school or regional charter school granted by the local board of

22

school directors on an annual basis in order to determine

23

whether the charter school or regional charter school is in

24

compliance with the terms of its charter and all applicable laws

25

and regulations, and identify and implement corrective action to

26

remedy issues of noncompliance.

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

- 29 -

 


1

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

2

least one public hearing on the provisions of the charter

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

grantor on the charter application except that for a charter

8

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

9

days must transpire between the first public hearing and the

10

final decision of the board.

11

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

12

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

13

school directors] grantor shall grant or deny the application.

14

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

15

local board of school directors shall grant or deny the

16

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

17

hearing.

18

(2)  A charter school application submitted under this

19

article shall be evaluated by the [local board of school

20

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

21

to, the following:

22

(i)  The demonstrated, sustainable support for the charter

23

school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and

24

students, including comments received at the public hearing held

25

under subsection (d).

26

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

27

terms of support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning

28

experiences to students pursuant to the adopted charter.

29

(iii)  The extent to which the application considers the

30

information requested in section 1719-A and conforms to the

- 30 -

 


1

legislative intent outlined in section 1702-A.

2

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

3

model for other public schools.]

4

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

5

existing school being converted to a charter school, shall

6

establish the alternative arrangements for current students who

7

choose not to attend the charter school.

8

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

9

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

10

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

11

members. Formal action approving or denying the application

12

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

13

at a public meeting, with notice or consideration of the

14

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

15

Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

including a description of deficiencies in the application,

20

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

21

of school directors] grantor to the charter school applicant.

22

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

23

denied application may be revised and resubmitted to the [local

24

board of school directors. Following the appointment and

25

confirmation of the Charter School Appeal Board under section

26

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

27

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

28

the application.

29

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

30

application by a local board of school directors may be appealed

- 31 -

 


1

directly to the board.

2

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

3

local board of school directors, or the board under this

4

section, either may schedule additional public hearings on the

5

revised application. The board or local board of school

6

directors shall consider the revised and resubmitted application

7

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

8

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

9

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

10

the board shall consider the application at the first board

11

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

12

The board shall provide notice of consideration of the revised

13

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

14

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

15

Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

shall review the application and make a decision to grant or

23

deny a charter based on the criteria established in subsection

24

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

25

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

26

legal conclusions of the local board of school directors.

27

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

28

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

29

board shall make its decision based on the criteria established

30

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

- 32 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

directors of a school district or school districts, as

4

appropriate, to sign the written charter of the charter school

5

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

6

directors fail to grant the application and sign the charter

7

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

8

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

9

approved and shall be signed by the chairman of the appeal

10

board.]

11

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

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

this section.

16

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

17

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

18

directors, the applicant must obtain the signatures of at least

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

applicant must obtain the signatures of at least two per centum

23

of the residents of each school district granting the charter or

24

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

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

- 33 -

 


1

resident of the school district which denied the charter

2

application and shall include his or her printed name;

3

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

4

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

5

shall be bound together. Additional pages of the petition shall

6

be numbered consecutively. There shall be appended to the

7

petition a statement that the local board of directors rejected

8

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

9

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

10

proposed location of the charter school. No resident may sign

11

more than one petition relating to the charter school

12

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

13

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

14

petition for an appeal.

15

(4)  Each petition shall have appended thereto the affidavit

16

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

17

the following:

18

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

19

referred to in the petition.

20

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

21

township, with street and number, if any.

22

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

23

purpose of the petition.

24

(iv)  That the signers' respective residences are correctly

25

stated in the petition.

26

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

27

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

28

the signer's name.

29

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

30

belief, the signers are residents of the school district.

- 34 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

The applicant and local board of school directors shall be given

7

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

8

decree establishing the sufficiency or insufficiency of the

9

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

10

transmitted to the State Charter School Appeal Board for review

11

in accordance with this section. Notification of the decree

12

shall be given to the applicant and the local board of

13

directors.

14

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

15

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

16

certified by the local board of directors. The appeal board

17

shall give due consideration to the findings of the local board

18

of directors and specifically articulate its reasons for

19

agreeing or disagreeing with those findings in its written

20

decision. The appeal board shall have the discretion to allow

21

the local board of directors and the charter school applicant to

22

supplement the record if the supplemental information was

23

previously unavailable.]

24

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

25

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

26

to officially review the certified record.

27

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

28

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

29

a written decision affirming or denying the appeal. If the

30

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

- 35 -

 


1

directors, notice shall be provided to both parties.

2

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

3

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

4

requirement for the local board of directors of a school

5

district or school districts, as appropriate, to grant the

6

application and sign the written charter of the charter school

7

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

8

directors fail to grant the application and sign the charter

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

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

13

written charter of the charter school as the grantor as provided

14

for in section 1720-A.

15

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

16

nonrenewal decision, the board shall review the record and shall

17

have the discretion to supplement the record if the supplemental

18

information was previously unavailable. The board may consider

19

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

20

performance and employe and community support for the charter

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

school directors.

25

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

26

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

27

reversing the decision of the local board of school directors

28

and shall initiate charter transfer proceedings under section

29

1733-A(c)(5).

30

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

- 36 -

 


1

remain in effect until final disposition by the board.

2

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

3

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

4

immediate action to revoke a charter.

5

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

6

surrendered or otherwise ceases to operate, the charter school

7

entity shall be dissolved. After the disposition of any

8

liabilities and obligations of the charter school entity, any

9

remaining assets of the charter school entity, both real and

10

personal, shall be distributed on a proportional basis to the

11

school entities with students enrolled in the charter school

12

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

13

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

14

Commonwealth be liable for any outstanding liabilities or

15

obligations of the charter school entity.

16

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

17

who attended the charter school entity shall apply to another

18

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

19

Normal application deadlines will be disregarded under these

20

circumstances. All student records maintained by the charter

21

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

22

residence.

23

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

24

subject to appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.

25

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

26

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

27

teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents

28

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

29

nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this

30

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

- 37 -

 


1

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

2

unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or

3

partnership; or any combination thereof. A regional charter

4

school may be established by creating a new school or by

5

converting an existing public school or a portion of an existing

6

public school. Conversion of an existing public school to a

7

regional charter school shall be accomplished in accordance with

8

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

9

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

10

sectarian school, institution or other entity.

11

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

12

districts may act jointly to receive and consider an application

13

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

14

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

15

applicant shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of all

16

the directors of each of the school districts involved. The

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

school directors of a school district and the appeal board shall

22

apply to regional charter schools, except as provided in

23

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

24

article.] The following apply:

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

public school building or a portion of an existing public school

30

building. Conversion of an existing public school building or a

- 38 -

 


1

portion of an existing public school building to a regional

2

charter school shall be accomplished in accordance with section

3

1717-A(b).

4

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

5

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

6

institution or other entity.

7

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

8

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

9

profit entity.

10

(b)  The following apply to applications:

11

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

12

school districts may act jointly to receive and consider an

13

application for a regional charter school, except that any

14

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

15

written charter of an applicant shall require an affirmative

16

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

17

districts involved. The applicant shall apply for a charter to

18

the local board of school directors of any school district in

19

which the regional charter school will be located.

20

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

21

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

22

consider an application for a regional charter school. Any

23

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

24

written charter of an applicant under this section shall require

25

an affirmative vote of a majority of all board members.

26

(c)  The provisions of this article relating to charter

27

schools and the powers and duties of grantors shall apply to

28

regional charter schools, except as provided under this article.

29

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

30

board shall create a standard application for charter school

- 39 -

 


1

applicants to establish a charter school. The form shall include

2

all of the following information:

3

(1)  The identification of the charter school entity

4

applicant.

5

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

6

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

7

(4)  [The proposed governance structure of the charter

8

school, including a description and method for the appointment

9

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

10

organization chart clearly presenting the proposed governance

11

structure of the school, including lines of authority and

12

reporting between the board of trustees, administrators, staff

13

and any educational management service provider that will

14

provide management services to the charter school.

15

(4.1)  A clear description of the roles and responsibilities

16

for the board of trustees, administrators and any other

17

entities, including a charter school foundation, shown in the

18

organization chart.

19

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

20

election of members of the board of trustees.

21

(4.3)  Standards for board performance, including compliance

22

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

23

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

24

educational management service provider for services, all of the

25

following:

26

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

27

record in serving student populations, including demonstrated

28

academic achievement and demonstrated management of nonacademic

29

school functions, including proficiency with public school-based

30

accounting, if applicable.

- 40 -

 


1

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

2

(A)  The officers, chief administrator and administrators of

3

the education management service provider.

4

(B)  The proposed duration of the service contract.

5

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

6

school staff and the educational management service provider.

7

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

8

provided by the educational management service provider.

9

(E)  Performance evaluation measures and timelines.

10

(F)  The compensation structure, including clear

11

identification of all fees to be paid to the educational

12

management service provider.

13

(G)  Methods of contract oversight and enforcement.

14

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

15

educational management service provider on behalf of the charter

16

school entity.

17

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

18

(iii)  Disclosure and explanation of any existing or

19

potential conflicts of interest between the members of the board

20

of trustees and the proposed educational management service

21

provider or any affiliated business entities, including a

22

charter school foundation qualified as a support organization

23

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

24

U.S.C. § 1 et seq.).

25

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

26

the curriculum to be offered and the methods of assessing

27

whether students are meeting educational goals.

28

(6)  The admission policy and criteria for evaluating the

29

admission of students which shall comply with the requirements

30

of section 1723-A.

- 41 -

 


1

(7)  Procedures which will be used regarding the suspension

2

or expulsion of pupils. Said procedures shall comply with

3

section 1318.

4

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

5

be involved in the charter school planning process.

6

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

7

provisions which will be made for auditing the school under

8

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

9

charter school foundation.

10

(10)  Procedures which shall be established to review

11

complaints of parents regarding the operation of the charter

12

school.

13

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

14

in which the charter school entity will be located and the

15

ownership thereof and any lease arrangements.

16

(12)  Information on the proposed school calendar for the

17

charter school entity, including the length of the school day

18

and school year consistent with the provisions of section 1502.

19

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

20

professional development and continuing education plan for the

21

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

22

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

23

developed with the local school district regarding participation

24

of the charter school students in extracurricular activities

25

within the school district. Notwithstanding any provision to the

26

contrary, no school district of residence shall prohibit a

27

student of a charter school from participating in any

28

extracurricular activity of that school district of residence:

29

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

30

requirements of participation in such activity and the charter

- 42 -

 


1

school does not provide the same extracurricular activity.

2

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

3

section 111, for all individuals identified in the application 

4

who shall have direct contact with students and a plan for

5

satisfying the proper criminal history record clearances

6

required for all other staff.

7

(16)  An official clearance statement regarding child injury

8

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

9

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

10

employment in schools) for all individuals identified in the

11

application who shall have direct contact with students and a

12

plan for satisfying the proper official clearance statement

13

regarding child injury or abuse required for all other staff.

14

(17)  How the charter school will provide adequate liability

15

and other appropriate insurance for the charter school, its

16

employes and the board of trustees of the charter school.

17

(18)  Policies regarding truancy, absences and withdrawal of

18

students, including the manner in which the charter school

19

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

20

(9). 

21

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

22

included in the performance matrix developed by the board under

23

section 1721-A(h)(11).

24

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

25

accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation agency,

26

including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

27

or another regional institutional accrediting agency recognized

28

by the United States Department of Education or an equivalent

29

federally recognized body for charter school education.

30

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

- 43 -

 


1

separate application or require additional information outside

2

the standard application form required under subsection (a).

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

written charter shall be developed which shall contain the

8

provisions of the standardized charter application under section

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

school or by the chairman of the appeal board pursuant to

13

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

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

authorization for the establishment of a charter school entity.

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

entity contracts with an educational management service

25

provider, an executed contract shall be signed once the charter

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

- 44 -

 


1

school organized as a public, nonprofit corporation.

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

determines that there is insufficient data concerning the

6

charter school's academic performance to adequately assess that

7

performance and determines that an additional year of

8

performance data would yield sufficient data to assist the

9

governing board in its decision whether to renew the charter for

10

a period of five (5) years.

11

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

12

be considered an adjudication and may not be appealed to the

13

State Charter School Appeal Board.

14

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

15

class does not have the authority to renew a charter for

16

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

17

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

18

approved written charter by filing a written document describing

19

the requested amendment to the grantor.

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

meetings).

24

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

25

shall grant or deny the requested amendment. Failure by the

26

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

27

amendments within the time period specified shall be deemed an

28

approval.

29

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

30

appeal the denial of a requested amendment to the board provided

- 45 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

factual or legal conclusion of the local board of school

4

directors.

5

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

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

hereby established as an independent administrative board and 

10

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

11

following members who shall be appointed by the Governor by and

12

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

13

[Appointments by the Governor shall not occur prior to January

14

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

15

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

16

shall include:

17

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

18

school entity.

19

(2)  A school board member.

20

(3)  A certified teacher actively employed in a public

21

school.

22

(4)  A faculty member or administrative employe of an

23

institution of higher education.

24

(5)  A member of the business community.

25

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

26

(7)  An administrator of a charter school entity.

27

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

28

entity.

29

(9)  A member with expertise in school business

30

administration or financing.

- 46 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

remains enrolled in the charter school entity. Any appointment

10

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

11

term or until a successor is appointed and qualified.

12

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

13

monthly to fulfill the purposes provided in this [subsection] 

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

authorized to establish rules for its operation.

19

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

20

Members who are not employes of State government shall be

21

reimbursed for expenses incurred in the course of their official

22

duties [from funds appropriated for the general government

23

operations of the department].

24

[(d)  The department shall provide assistance and staffing

25

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

26

General Counsel, shall provide such legal advice and assistance

27

as the appeal board may require.]

28

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

29

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

30

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

- 47 -

 


1

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

2

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

3

Know Law.] "Right-to-Know Law."

4

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

5

of the board. The executive director shall be paid compensation

6

as determined by the board. The executive director may employ

7

personnel and contract for consulting services as necessary and

8

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

9

procured through a competitive bidding process.

10

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

11

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

12

Commonwealth agencies).

13

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

14

(1)  Implement this article and promulgate regulations.

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

section 1717-A(i)(9).

24

(5)  Develop and issue standardized forms and reports that

25

shall be used by all applicants, grantors and charter school

26

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

27

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

28

from the department, grantors and charter school entity

29

operators to develop the standardized forms.

30

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

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1

of a charter school entity as provided for under section

2

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

3

interested persons or entities and hold hearings regarding

4

applications.

5

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

6

each charter school entity the board serves as a grantor in

7

order to determine whether the school is in compliance with the

8

terms of its charter and applicable statutes and regulations,

9

and identify and implement corrective action to remedy any

10

issues of noncompliance.

11

(8)  Set assessment fees through the promulgation of

12

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

13

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

14

entities as provided under section 1705-A.

15

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

16

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

17

under section 1729-A.

18

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

19

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

20

(11)  Develop a standard performance matrix as follows:

21

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

22

the board shall develop a standard performance matrix to

23

evaluate charter school entity performance and shall promulgate

24

regulations pursuant to the "Regulatory Review Act" to implement

25

this section.

26

(ii)  The performance matrix may assess performance by

27

utilizing objective criteria, including:

28

(A)  Student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School

29

Assessment test, the Keystone Exam or another test established

30

by the State board to meet the requirements of section

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1

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

2

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

3

Federal statute.

4

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

5

Added Assessment System.

6

(C)  Attendance.

7

(D)  Attrition rates.

8

(E)  Graduation rates.

9

(F)  Other standardized test scores.

10

(G)  School safety.

11

(H)  Parent satisfaction.

12

(I)  Accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation

13

agency, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and

14

Schools or another regional institutional accrediting agency

15

recognized by the United States Department of Education or an

16

equivalent federally recognized body for charter school

17

eduction.

18

(J)  Other measures of school quality.

19

(iii)  The board shall develop the performance matrix with

20

input from charter school entity operators and may contract for

21

consulting services with an entity that has experience in

22

developing performance matrices if the services are procured

23

through a competitive bidding process.

24

(iv)  Grantors shall utilize the standard performance matrix

25

as a primary factor in evaluating new and renewal charter school

26

entity applicants, and in the annual monitoring and evaluation

27

of charter school entities.

28

(v)  The standard performance matrix shall be distributed by

29

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

30

board's publicly accessible Internet website.

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1

(vi)  Grantors shall utilize the standard performance matrix

2

as a primary factor in evaluating new and renewal charter school

3

entity applicants, and in the annual monitoring and evaluation

4

of charter school entities.

5

(12)  Provide a list of nationally recognized accreditation

6

agencies, including the Middle States Association of Colleges

7

and Schools or other regional institutional accrediting agencies

8

recognized by the United States Department of Education or an

9

equivalent federally recognized body for charter school

10

education, that a charter school entity may use to seek

11

accreditation.

12

(13)  Develop a hearing process for consideration of charter

13

school and regional charter school appeals of denied amendments

14

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

15

section 1745-A(f).

16

(14)  Develop policies, procedures and regulations pertaining

17

to cyber charter school student truancy.

18

(15)  Employ personnel and contract for consulting services

19

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

20

if the services are procured through a competitive bidding

21

process.

22

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

23

the Office of Attorney General for prosecution if the board

24

discovers or receives information about possible violations of

25

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

26

charter school entity.

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

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1

existing public school building, in space provided on a

2

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

3

suitable location.

4

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

5

school facility regulations except those pertaining to the

6

health or safety of [the pupils] students.

7

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

8

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

9

discretion, permit a charter school to operate its school at

10

more than one location.

11

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

12

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

13

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

14

owned by any charter school, cyber charter school or an

15

associated nonprofit foundation, or owned by a nonprofit

16

corporation, associated nonprofit corporation or nonprofit

17

foundation and leased to a charter school[, cyber charter

18

school] entity [or], associated nonprofit foundation or

19

associated nonprofit corporation at or below fair market value,

20

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

21

school for public school, recreation or any other purposes

22

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

23

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

24

tax, including payments in lieu of taxes established through

25

agreement with the Commonwealth or any local taxing authority,

26

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

27

sidewalks, sewers or other municipal improvements, Provided,

28

That any charter school or cyber charter school or owner of

29

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

30

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

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1

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

2

the improvement.

3

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

4

charter school or] entity, associated nonprofit foundation or

5

associated nonprofit corporation with the Commonwealth or a

6

local taxing authority for payments in lieu of taxes prior to

7

December 31, 2009, shall be null and void.

8

(3)  This subsection shall apply retroactively to all charter

9

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

10

nonprofit foundations and associated nonprofit corporations that

11

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

12

The General County Assessment Law, prior to the effective date

13

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

14

entered.

15

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

16

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

17

borough, incorporated town, township or school district.

18

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

19

consumption, purchase or sale in any charter school entity

20

facility.

21

(2)  If the grantor reasonably believes that alcoholic

22

beverages have been made available for consumption, purchase or

23

sale in any charter school entity facility, the grantor shall

24

notify the department, and the secretary shall order the

25

following forfeitures against the charter school entity:

26

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

27

violation.

28

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

29

or subsequent violation.

30

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

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1

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

2

procedure) and 7 (relating to judicial review).

3

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

4

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

5

No.61), are amended to read:

6

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

7

this Commonwealth qualify for admission to a charter school

8

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

9

apply to the charter school entity than the number of attendance

10

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

11

a random basis from a pool of qualified applicants meeting the

12

established eligibility criteria and submitting an application

13

by the deadline established by the charter school, except that

14

the charter school entity may give preference in enrollment to a

15

child of a parent who has actively participated in the

16

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

17

presently enrolled in the charter school and to siblings of

18

students selected for enrollment during the lottery process.

19

First preference shall be given to students who reside in the

20

district or districts.

21

* * *

22

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

23

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

24

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

25

school directors, a board of control established under Article

26

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

27

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

28

charter school or cyber charter school as part of a written

29

charter pursuant to section 1720-A].

30

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

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1

charter school [or cyber charter school] entity regardless of

2

whether the charter was approved prior to or is approved

3

subsequent to the effective date of this subsection.

4

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

5

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

6

Section 1724-A.  School Staff.--* * *

7

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

8

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

9

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

10

local board of school directors may require the charter school

11

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

12

to health insurance as the collective bargaining agreement of

13

the school district to include employe contributions to the

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

contractual representative of school employes, whichever is

18

appropriate to provide the required coverage.

19

* * *

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

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

25

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

26

nonresident student attending a charter school.

27

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

28

shall receive for each student enrolled no less than the

29

budgeted total expenditure per average daily membership of the

30

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

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1

budgeted expenditures of the district of residence for nonpublic

2

school programs; adult education programs; community/junior

3

college programs; student transportation services; for special

4

education programs; facilities acquisition, construction and

5

improvement services; and other financing uses, including debt

6

service and fund transfers as provided in the Manual of

7

Accounting and Related Financial Procedures for Pennsylvania

8

School Systems established by the department. This amount shall

9

be paid by the district of residence of each student.

10

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

11

receive for each student enrolled the same funding as for each

12

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

13

additional amount determined by dividing the district of

14

residence's total special education expenditure by the product

15

of multiplying the combined percentage of section 2509.5(k)

16

times the district of residence's total average daily membership

17

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

18

district of residence of each student.

19

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

20

which the charter school is located to provide services to

21

assist the charter school to address the specific needs of

22

exceptional students. The intermediate unit shall assist the

23

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

24

intermediate unit may not charge the charter school more for any

25

service than it charges the constituent districts of the

26

intermediate unit.

27

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

28

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

29

within the operating school year. A student enrolled in a

30

charter school shall be included in the average daily membership

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1

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

2

providing basic education funding payments and special education

3

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

4

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

5

the secretary shall deduct the estimated amount, as documented

6

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

7

the district after receipt of documentation from the charter

8

school.

9

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

10

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

11

the secretary that the deduction made from State payments to the

12

district under this subsection is inaccurate. The secretary

13

shall provide the school district with an opportunity to be

14

heard concerning whether the charter school documented that its

15

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

16

during which each student was enrolled, the school district of

17

residence of each student and whether the amounts deducted from

18

the school district were accurate.

19

(b)  The Commonwealth shall provide temporary financial

20

assistance to a school district due to the enrollment of

21

students in a charter school who attended a nonpublic school in

22

the prior school year in order to offset the additional costs

23

directly related to the enrollment of those students in a public

24

charter school. The Commonwealth shall pay the school district

25

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

26

prior school year who is attending a charter school an amount

27

equal to the school district of residence's basic education

28

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

29

average daily membership for the prior school year. This payment

30

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

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1

student in a charter school, starting with school year

2

1997-1998. Total payments of temporary financial assistance to

3

school districts on behalf of a student enrolling in a charter

4

school who attended a nonpublic school in the prior school year

5

shall be limited to funds appropriated for this program in a

6

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

7

enrolled in a nonpublic school in the prior school year who

8

enroll in a charter school exceeds the appropriation for the

9

temporary financial assistance program, the amount paid to a

10

school district for each qualifying student shall be pro rata

11

reduced. Receipt of funds under this subsection shall not

12

preclude a school district from applying for a grant under

13

subsection (c).

14

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

15

temporary transitional funding to a school district due to the

16

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

17

at a charter school. The department shall develop criteria which

18

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

19

on the budget of the school district resulting from students of

20

a school district attending a charter school. The criteria shall

21

be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This subsection shall

22

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

23

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

24

for this purpose.

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

charter school for any of the purposes of this article.

30

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

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1

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

2

affiliated in any way with a charter school to demand or

3

request, directly or indirectly, any gift, donation or

4

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

5

any other person affiliated with the charter school as a

6

condition for employment or enrollment and/or continued

7

attendance of any pupil. Any donation, gift or contribution

8

received by a charter school shall be given freely and

9

voluntarily.] Funding for a charter school entity shall be

10

provided in the following manner and shall not be in violation

11

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

12

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

13

nonresident student attending a charter school entity.

14

(2)  The following apply:

15

(i)  For nonspecial education students, the charter school

16

entity shall receive for each student enrolled no less than the

17

budgeted total expenditure per average daily membership of the

18

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

19

budgeted expenditures of the district of residence for all of

20

the following:

21

(A)  Nonpublic school programs.

22

(B)  Adult education programs.

23

(C)  Community and junior college programs.

24

(D)  Student transportation services.

25

(E)  Special education programs.

26

(F)  Facilities acquisition, construction and improvement

27

services.

28

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

29

transfers as provided in the Manual of Accounting and Related

30

Financial Procedures for Pennsylvania School Systems established

- 59 -

 


1

by the department.

2

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

3

each school district on a form prescribed by the secretary in

4

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

5

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

6

and may request supporting documentation from the district

7

regarding its calculation. If the secretary finds an error or

8

discrepancy in a district's calculation, the secretary shall

9

require the district to correct the calculation and require the

10

school district to notify affected charter school entities.

11

(ii)  The following apply:

12

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

13

school district of residence of each student by deduction and

14

transfer from all State payments due to the district as provided

15

under clause (5).

16

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

17

district's calculation under this clause, the charter school

18

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

19

who shall hold a hearing to determine the accuracy of the

20

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

21

(C)  The secretary shall determine the accuracy of the

22

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

23

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

24

proof with respect to its calculation under this clause.

25

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

26

fees incurred by a charter school entity if the charter school

27

entity is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

28

under this section. The charter school entity shall be liable

29

for the reasonable legal fees incurred by the district if the

30

district is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

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1

under this section.

2

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

3

be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

4

(3)  The following apply:

5

(i)  For special education students, the charter school

6

entity shall receive for each student enrolled the same funding

7

as for each nonspecial education student as provided under

8

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

9

total special education expenditure of the school district of

10

residence by the product of:

11

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

12

to the school year; and

13

(B)  the total average daily membership of the school

14

district of residence for the prior school year.

15

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

16

school district of residence of each student by deduction and

17

transfer from all State payments due to the district as provided

18

under clause (5).

19

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

20

district's calculation under this clause, the charter school

21

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

22

who shall hold a hearing to determine the accuracy of the

23

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

24

(iv)  The secretary shall determine the accuracy of the

25

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

26

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

27

proof with respect to its calculation under this clause.

28

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

29

fees incurred by a charter school entity if the charter school

30

entity is the substantially prevailing party after a hearing

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1

under this section. The charter school entity shall be liable

2

for the reasonable legal fees incurred by the school district if

3

the district is the substantially prevailing party after a

4

hearing under this section.

5

(vii)  All decisions of the secretary under this section

6

shall be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

7

(4)  A charter school entity may request the intermediate

8

unit or school district in which the school is located to

9

provide services to assist the school to address the specific

10

needs of nonspecial education and exceptional students. The

11

intermediate unit or school district shall assist the charter

12

school entity and bill the school for the services. The

13

intermediate unit may not charge the charter school entity more

14

for any service than it charges the constituent districts of the

15

intermediate unit. Nothing under this clause shall preclude an

16

intermediate unit or school district from contracting with a

17

charter school entity to provide the intermediate unit or school

18

district with services to assist the intermediate unit or school

19

district to address specific needs of nonspecial education and

20

special education students.

21

(5)  The following apply:

22

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

23

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

24

monthly unipay schedule within the operating school year.

25

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

26

be made directly by the secretary deducting and paying to the

27

charter school entity the estimated amount, as documented by the

28

charter school entity, from all State payments due to the

29

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

30

State payments reasonably expected to be due in the next

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1

established monthly unipay schedule, after receipt of

2

documentation from the charter school entity as to its

3

enrollment.

4

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

5

section is mandatory and ministerial.

6

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

7

district in the established monthly unipay schedule to cover all

8

charter school entity deductions and transfers, the district

9

shall be responsible for paying the unpaid balance directly to

10

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

11

the established monthly unipay schedule.

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

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

16

residence shall notify the department in accordance with the

17

timelines established in the department guidelines. The school

18

district of residence shall provide for payment to the charter

19

school entity as follows:

20

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

21

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

22

monthly unipay schedule, within the operating school year.

23

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

24

of residence paying to the charter school entity the estimated

25

amount, as documented by the charter school entity, after

26

receipt of documentation from the charter school entity as to

27

its enrollment.

28

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

29

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

30

district of residence for the purpose of providing basic

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1

education funding payments and special education funding under

2

Article XXV.

3

(6)  The following apply:

4

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

5

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

6

district may notify the secretary that the estimated amount, as

7

documented by the charter school entity, is inaccurate.

8

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

9

opportunity to be heard concerning whether the charter school

10

entity documented that its students were enrolled in the charter

11

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

12

enrolled, the school district of residence of each student and

13

whether the amounts deducted from or paid by the school district

14

were accurate.

15

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

16

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

17

before the secretary deducts and transfers to the charter school

18

entity the amount estimated by the charter school entity.

19

(iv)  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

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

27

be subject to appellate review by Commonwealth Court.

28

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

29

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

30

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

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1

secretary shall not hold any payments in escrow.

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

charter school entity for any purpose of this article.

7

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

8

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

9

any other person affiliated in any way with a charter school

10

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

11

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

12

employe or any other person affiliated with the school as a

13

condition for employment or enrollment and continued attendance

14

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

15

charter school entity must be given freely and voluntarily.

16

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

17

school district or waive payments under this section for any

18

student.

19

(e)  The department shall develop a transition procedure to

20

be able to recoup in subsequent fiscal years any payments made

21

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

22

payment by the department to the charter school entity.

23

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

24

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

25

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

26

liability, employes of the charter school shall be considered

27

public employes and the board of trustees shall be considered

28

the public employer in the same manner as political subdivisions

29

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

30

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

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1

damages of any kind resulting from any legal challenge involving

2

the operation of a charter school. Notwithstanding this

3

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

4

grantor shall not be held liable for any activity or operation

5

related to the program of the charter school.

6

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

7

The [local board of school directors] grantor shall annually

8

assess whether each charter school is meeting the goals of its

9

charter and shall conduct a comprehensive review prior to

10

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

11

[local board of school directors] grantor shall have ongoing

12

access to the records and facilities of the charter school to

13

ensure that the charter school is in compliance with its charter

14

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

15

student health and safety are being met.

16

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

17

records shall mean that the grantor shall have access to records

18

such as financial reports, financial audits, aggregate

19

standardized test scores without student-identifying information

20

and teacher certification and personnel records.

21

(3)  Charter school entities and their grantors shall comply

22

fully with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and

23

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

24

associated regulations. No personally identifiable information

25

from education records shall be provided by the charter school

26

entity to the school district except in compliance with the

27

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

28

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

29

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

30

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

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1

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

2

in the form prescribed by the [secretary] board.

3

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

4

article, the secretary shall contract with an independent

5

professional consultant with expertise in public and private

6

education. The consultant shall receive input from members of

7

the educational community and the public on the charter school

8

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

9

the Governor and the General Assembly and an evaluation of the

10

charter school program, which shall include a recommendation on

11

the advisability of the continuation, modification, expansion or

12

termination of the program and any recommendations for changes

13

in the structure of the program.]

14

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

15

thereafter, all grantors other than the board shall submit to

16

the board an annual financial report on a standard form

17

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

18

list all oversight activities performed by the grantor in the

19

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

20

and resources used for oversight activities for each charter

21

school entity chartered by the grantor. The annual financial

22

report under this subsection shall be a public document under

23

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

24

board's publicly accessible Internet website.

25

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

26

charter school entity shall submit an annual report on a

27

standard form developed by the board no later than September 1

28

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

29

the annual report, the grantor shall certify to the charter

30

school entity that the annual report has been received with an

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1

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

2

receipt, the grantor shall certify to the charter school entity

3

that the annual report has been reviewed and is complete or

4

alternatively, has been reviewed and is missing specific

5

information referenced in the certification.

6

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

7

committee of its board members which shall review at the close

8

of each fiscal year a complete certified audit of the operations

9

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

10

qualified independent certified public accountant. The audit

11

shall be conducted under generally accepted audit standards of

12

the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and shall include

13

the following:

14

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

15

enrollment and reporting to the State.

16

(2)  Full review of expense reimbursements for board members

17

and administrators, including sampling of all reimbursements.

18

(3)  Review of internal controls, including review of

19

receipts and disbursements.

20

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

21

including the Internal Revenue Service Code Form 990, Return of

22

Organization Exempt from Income Tax and all related schedules

23

and appendices for the charter school entity and charter school

24

foundation, if applicable.

25

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

26

foundation, which shall be included in the independent audit.

27

(6)  Review the selection and acceptance process of all

28

contracts publicly bid pursuant to section 751.

29

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

30

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

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1

whistle-blower protections, complaints from parents or the

2

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

3

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

4

budgeting, audits, public bidding and bonding.

5

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

6

budget under subsection (g) are public documents under the

7

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

8

grantor's publicly accessible Internet website and the charter

9

school entity's publicly accessible Internet website, if

10

applicable.

11

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

12

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

13

required by Federal law or this article.

14

(g)  A charter school entity shall annually provide the

15

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

16

the operation of the school that identifies the following:

17

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

18

its reporting under subsection (a).

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

entity.

23

(4)  All expenditures to an educational management service

24

provider.

25

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

26

charter school entity and any affiliated charter school

27

foundation shall make copies of its annual Federal and State tax

28

filings available upon request and on the foundation's or

29

school's publicly accessible Internet website, if applicable,

30

including Internal Revenue Service Code Form 990, Return of

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1

Organization Exempt from Income Tax and all related schedules

2

and appendices.

3

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

4

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

5

or the school's publicly accessible Internet website within

6

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

7

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

8

employes of the charter school foundation.

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

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

16

following:

17

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

18

conditions, standards or procedures contained in the written

19

charter signed pursuant to section 1720-A.

20

(2)  Failure to meet the requirements for student performance

21

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

22

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

23

assessments or failure to meet any performance standard set

24

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

25

(3)  Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal

26

management or audit requirements.

27

(4)  Violation of provisions of this article.

28

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

29

school has not been exempted, including Federal laws and

30

regulations governing children with disabilities.

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1

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

2

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

3

the first class is in corrective action status and seeks renewal

4

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

5

the first class renews the charter, it may place specific

6

conditions in the charter that require the charter school to

7

meet specific student performance targets within stated periods

8

of time subject to the following:

9

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

10

the performance targets must be met shall be reasonable.

11

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

12

in this subsection shall not be considered an adjudication and

13

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

14

board.

15

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

16

targets within the stated period of time, such failure shall be

17

sufficient cause for revocation of the charter.

18

(a.2)  In making a determination under subsection (a), a

19

grantor may consider failure to satisfactorily meet the

20

performance standards set forth in the performance matrix

21

developed by the board under section 1721-A(h)(11).

22

(b)  [A member of the board of trustees who is convicted of a

23

felony or any crime involving moral turpitude shall be

24

immediately disqualified from serving on the board of trustees.] 

25

If, after a hearing under this section, a grantor proves by a

26

preponderance of the evidence that an administrator or board

27

member of a charter school entity has violated this article, the

28

terms and conditions of the charter or any other violation of

29

law, the grantor may require the charter school entity to

30

replace the administrator or board member in order to obtain

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1

renewal of the charter. The grantor may refer its findings to

2

the district attorney with jurisdiction or to the Office of

3

Attorney General for prosecution if the grantor discovers or

4

receives information about possible violations of law by any

5

person affiliated with or employed by a charter school entity.

6

(c)  Any notice of revocation or nonrenewal of a charter

7

given by the [local board of school directors] grantor of a

8

school district shall state the grounds for such action with

9

reasonable specificity and give reasonable notice to the

10

governing board of the charter school entity of the date on

11

which a public hearing concerning the revocation or nonrenewal

12

will be held. The [local board of school directors] grantor 

13

shall conduct such hearing, present evidence in support of the

14

grounds for revocation or nonrenewal stated in its notice and

15

give the charter school entity reasonable opportunity to offer

16

testimony before taking final action. Formal action revoking or

17

not renewing a charter shall be taken by the [local board of

18

school directors] grantor at a public meeting pursuant to [the

19

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

20

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

21

public has had thirty (30) days to provide comments to the

22

board. All proceedings of the local board pursuant to this

23

subsection shall be subject to 2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 Subch. B

24

(relating to practice and procedure of local agencies). Except

25

as provided in subsection (d), the decision of the local board

26

shall not be subject to 2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 Subch. B (relating to

27

judicial review of local agency action).

28

[(d)  Following the appointment and confirmation of the

29

appeal board, but not before July 1, 1999, the charter school

30

may appeal the decision of the local board of school directors

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1

to revoke or not renew the charter to the appeal board. The

2

appeal board shall have the exclusive review of a decision not

3

to renew or revoke a charter. The appeal board shall review the

4

record and shall have the discretion to supplement the record if

5

the supplemental information was previously unavailable. The

6

appeal board may consider the charter school plan, annual

7

reports, student performance and employe and community support

8

for the charter school in addition to the record. The appeal

9

board shall give due consideration to the findings of the local

10

board of directors and specifically articulate its reasons for

11

agreeing or disagreeing with those findings in its written

12

decision.

13

(e)  If the appeal board determines that the charter should

14

not be revoked or should be renewed, the appeal board shall

15

order the local board of directors to rescind its revocation or

16

nonrenewal decision.

17

(f)  Except as provided in subsection (g), the charter shall

18

remain in effect until final disposition by the appeal board.

19

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

20

pupils, staff or both is at serious risk, the local board of

21

school directors may take immediate action to revoke a charter.

22

(h)  All decisions of the charter school appeal board shall

23

be subject to appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.

24

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

25

surrendered or otherwise ceases to operate, the charter school

26

shall be dissolved. After the disposition of any liabilities and

27

obligations of the charter school, any remaining assets of the

28

charter school, both real and personal, shall be distributed on

29

a proportional basis to the school entities with students

30

enrolled in the charter school for the last full or partial

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1

school year of the charter school. In no event shall such school

2

entities or the Commonwealth be liable for any outstanding

3

liabilities or obligations of the charter school.

4

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

5

who attended the charter school shall apply to another public

6

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

7

application deadlines will be disregarded under these

8

circumstances. All student records maintained by the charter

9

school shall be forwarded to the student's district of

10

residence.]

11

Section 1.18.  Section 1732-A of the act, amended June 29,

12

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

13

Section 1732-A.  Provisions Applicable to Charter Schools.--

14

(a)  Charter schools shall be subject to the following:

15

(1)  Sections 108, 110, 111, 321, 325, 326, 327, 431, 436,

16

443, 510, 518, 527, 708, 736, 737, 738, 739, 740, 741, 752, 753,

17

[755,] 771, 776, 777, 808, 809, 810, 1109, 1111, 1112(a),

18

1205.3, 1205.4, 1205.5, 1301, 1302, 1303, 1310, 1317, 1317.1,

19

1317.2, 1317.3, 1318, 1327, 1330, 1332, 1303-A, 1513, 1517,

20

1518, 1521, 1523, 1531, 1547, 2014-A, Article XIII-A and Article

21

XIV.

22

(2)  Act of July 19, 1957 (P.L.1017, No.451), known as the

23

"State Adverse Interest Act."

24

(3)  Act of July 17, 1961 (P.L.776, No.341), known as the

25

"Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act."

26

(4)  Act of July 19, 1965 (P.L.215, No.116), entitled "An act

27

providing for the use of eye protective devices by persons

28

engaged in hazardous activities or exposed to known dangers in

29

schools, colleges and universities."

30

(5)  Section 4 of the act of January 25, 1966 (1965 P.L.1546,

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1

No.541), entitled "An act providing scholarships and providing

2

funds to secure Federal funds for qualified students of the

3

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who need financial assistance to

4

attend postsecondary institutions of higher learning, making an

5

appropriation, and providing for the administration of this

6

act."

7

(6)  Act of July 12, 1972 (P.L.765, No.181), entitled "An act

8

relating to drugs and alcohol and their abuse, providing for

9

projects and programs and grants to educational agencies, other

10

public or private agencies, institutions or organizations."

11

(7)  Act of December 15, 1986 (P.L.1595, No.175), known as

12

the "Antihazing Law."

13

(8)  The "Right-to-Know Law," except records of vendors of

14

local agencies shall not be accessible.

15

(9)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).

16

(10)  65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to ethics standards and

17

financial disclosure).

18

(b)  Charter schools shall be subject to the following

19

provisions of 22 Pa. Code:

20

[Section 5.216 (relating to ESOL).

21

Section 5.4 (relating to general policies).]

22

(1)  Chapter 4 (relating to academic standards and

23

assessments).

24

(2)  Chapter 11 (relating to pupil attendance).

25

(3)  Chapter 12 (relating to students).

26

(4)  Section 32.3 (relating to assurances).

27

(5)  Section 121.3 (relating to discrimination prohibited).

28

(6)  Section 235.4 (relating to practices).

29

(7)  Section 235.8 (relating to civil rights).

30

(8)  Chapter 711 (relating to charter school services and

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1

programs for children with disabilities).

2

(c)  (1)  The [secretary] board may promulgate additional

3

regulations relating to charter schools.

4

(2)  The secretary shall have the authority and the

5

responsibility to ensure that charter schools comply with

6

Federal laws and regulations governing children with

7

disabilities. The secretary shall promulgate regulations to

8

implement this provision.

9

(3)  Grantors may not exercise the power and duties of the

10

department as provided under Federal or State laws or

11

regulations.

12

Section 1.19.  The act is amended by adding sections to read:

13

Section 1733-A.  Effect on Certain Existing Charter

14

Schools.--(a)  A charter school or regional charter school

15

approved by a local board of school directors, a special board

16

of control or a School Reform Commission prior to the effective

17

date of this section shall continue to operate under the current

18

charter. A charter school or regional charter school approved

19

after the effective date of this section shall be in full

20

compliance with this article.

21

(b)  Upon expiration of its charter, a charter school or

22

regional charter school approved under section 1717-A or 1718-A

23

shall seek renewal of its charter from its grantor. The charter

24

shall be amended as needed to reflect the requirements of this

25

article. Any renewal that takes effect after June 30, 2013,

26

shall be for the term specified under section 1720-A(a).

27

(c)  The following shall apply to transfers of charter:

28

(1)  A charter school or regional charter school approved by

29

a local board of school directors, a special board of control or

30

a School Reform Commission prior to the effective date of this

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1

section may transfer its charter to the oversight of the board

2

at any time after June 30, 2013.

3

(2)  The board of trustees of the charter school or regional

4

charter school may submit the school's current charter and

5

annual reports to the board and request that the board become

6

the grantor of the charter school or regional charter school.

7

The board shall develop the transfer request form and procedures

8

for charter school or regional charter schools to follow.

9

(3)  Upon receipt of a transfer request and all necessary

10

documentation as required by the board, the request shall be

11

deemed approved unless, within thirty (30) days of that date,

12

the board schedules a public hearing concerning the transfer

13

request. The transfer shall be presumed approved and may be

14

denied only if the board determines that the charter school or

15

regional charter school would otherwise be subject to revocation

16

or nonrenewal under section 1729-A. The board shall conduct the

17

hearing, present evidence in support of the transfer denial

18

stated in its notice and give the charter school or regional

19

charter school reasonable opportunity to offer testimony before

20

taking final action. If a hearing does occur relating to a

21

school's transfer request, formal action approving or denying

22

the transfer shall be taken by the board at a public meeting

23

under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) after the

24

public has had thirty (30) days to provide comments to the

25

members of the board.

26

(4)  If the board denies the transfer, the following shall

27

apply:

28

(i)  The decision may not act as revocation or nonrenewal of

29

the current charter.

30

(ii)  The proceedings and board decision related to the

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1

transfer may not be used as evidence in any revocation or non-

2

renewal proceedings conducted by an grantor.

3

(5)  If the board approves the transfer, the board shall

4

provide notification by certified board resolution to the local

5

board of school directors, the special board of control or the

6

School Reform Commission which initially approved the charter.

7

No later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the certified

8

board resolution, the local board of school directors, the

9

special board of control or the School Reform Commission which

10

initially approved the charter shall transfer to the board all

11

records regarding oversight of the charter school or regional

12

charter school.

13

(6)  The school's charter term shall remain in effect until

14

the time of expiration, at which time the board shall undertake

15

a comprehensive review prior to granting a ten (10) year charter

16

renewal.

17

(7)  The Commonwealth Court shall have exclusive review of an

18

appeal by a charter school or regional charter school of a

19

decision made by the board to deny a charter transfer.

20

(d)  The following apply to merger:

21

(1)  A charter school that, prior to the effective date of

22

this section, was approved by a local board of school directors,

23

a special board of control or a School Reform Commission and

24

that chooses to merge into a multiple charter school

25

organization under section 1734-A, may apply to the board to

26

consolidate all affiliated school charters into a single

27

charter.

28

(2)  Consolidation and merger are restricted as follows:

29

(i)  Except as set forth in subclause (ii), a charter school

30

shall not be eligible to consolidate or merge with another

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1

charter school that:

2

(A)  within either of the most recent two (2) school years,

3

has failed to meet the requirements for student performance set

4

forth in 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4 (relating to academic standards and

5

assessment);

6

(B)  does not meet accepted standards of fiscal management or

7

audit requirements; or

8

(C)  does not meet the standards set forth by the matrix

9

established under section 1721-A(h)(11).

10

(ii)  Subclause (i) shall not apply if the merger or

11

consolidation includes a charter school which is not in

12

violation of subclause (i) over the most recent two (2) school

13

years.

14

(3)  The board of trustees of each charter school shall

15

jointly submit their charter school's current charter and annual

16

report to the board and request that the board become the

17

grantor of the multiple charter school organization.

18

(4)  Upon receipt of the consolidation and transfer request

19

and all necessary documentation as required by the board, the

20

board shall have thirty (30) days to approve or deny the

21

consolidation and transfer request by a majority vote. If the

22

board approves the consolidation and transfer, the board shall

23

provide notification by certified board resolution to the local

24

board of school directors, the special board of control or the

25

School Reform Commission which initially approved the charter.

26

(5)  No later than thirty (30) days after the receipt of the

27

certified board resolution, the local board of school directors,

28

the special board of control or the School Reform Commission

29

which initially approved the charter shall transfer to the board

30

all records regarding oversight of the charter school.

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1

(6)  The school's charter term shall remain in effect until

2

the time of expiration, at which time the board will undertake a

3

comprehensive review prior to granting a ten-year charter

4

renewal.

5

Section 1734-A.  Multiple Charter School Organization.--(a)

6

Establishment shall be as follows:

7

(1)  Subject to the requirements of section 1733-A(d), two or

8

more charter schools may merge or consolidate under 15 Pa.C.S.

9

Pt. II Subpt. C (relating to nonprofit corporations) into a

10

multiple charter school organization.

11

(2)  The multiple charter school organization shall be:

12

(i)  granted a single charter to operate two or more

13

individual charter schools under the oversight of a single board

14

of trustees and a chief administrator who shall oversee and

15

manage the operation of the individual charter schools under its

16

organization;

17

(ii)  considered a charter school; and

18

(iii)  subject to all of the requirements of this article

19

unless otherwise provided for under this section.

20

(3)  Nothing under this subsection shall be construed to

21

affect or change the terms or conditions of any individual

22

charter previously granted that is consolidated under this

23

section.

24

(b)  The board shall develop and issue a standard application

25

form for multiple charter school organization applicants, which

26

shall contain the following information:

27

(1)  The identification of the multiple charter school

28

organization.

29

(2)  The names of the charter schools seeking merger or

30

consolidation under subsection (a).

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1

(3)  A copy of the approved charters of each charter school

2

agreeing to merge or consolidate administrative functions with

3

the board under subsection (a).

4

(4)  An organizational chart clearly presenting the proposed

5

governance structure of the multiple charter school

6

organization, including lines of authority and reporting between

7

the board of trustees, chief administrator, administrators,

8

staff and any educational management service provider that will

9

play a role in providing management services to the charter

10

schools under its jurisdiction.

11

(5)  A clear description of the roles and responsibilities

12

for the board of trustees, chief administrator, administrators

13

and any other entities, including a charter school foundation,

14

shown in the organizational chart.

15

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

16

election of members of the board of trustees.

17

(7)  Standards for board performance, including compliance

18

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

19

(8)  Enrollment procedures for each individual charter school

20

included in its charter.

21

(9)  Any other information as deemed necessary by the board.

22

(c)  The board shall serve as the grantor of a multiple

23

charter school organization.

24

(d)  A multiple charter school organization may:

25

(1)  Participate in the assessment systems in the same manner

26

in which a school district participates and its individual

27

charter schools shall participate in the assessment systems in

28

the same manner as individual schools in school districts. All

29

data gathered for purposes of evaluation shall be gathered in a

30

like manner.

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1

(2)  Add new charter schools to its organization by the

2

application process through the local school board included

3

under section 1717-A.

4

(3)  Add existing charter schools to its organization or

5

amend the individual charters of each charter school under its

6

organization by the amendment process included under section

7

1720-A.

8

(4)  Allow students enrolled in an individual charter school

9

to matriculate to another individual charter school under its

10

oversight so as to complete a course of instruction in an

11

educational institution from kindergarten through grade 12.

12

(e)  The annual report required under section 1728-A shall be

13

provided by the board of trustees and chief administrator of the

14

multiple charter school organization and shall include all

15

information required to provide a basis for evaluation for

16

renewal of each individual charter school under the

17

organization's oversight.

18

(f)  A multiple charter school organization shall be regarded

19

as the holder of the charter of each individual charter school

20

under its oversight and each previously or subsequently awarded

21

charter shall be subject to nonrenewal or revocation in

22

accordance with this act. The nonrenewal or revocation shall not

23

affect the status of a charter awarded for any other individual

24

charter school under its oversight.

25

Section 1.20.  Sections 1741-A, 1742-A and 1743-A(b), (f),

26

(g) and (h) of the act, added June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88),

27

are amended to read:

28

Section 1741-A.  Powers and duties of [department] board.

29

(a)  Powers and duties.--The [department] board shall:

30

(1)  Receive, review and act on applications for the

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1

creation of a cyber charter school and have the power to

2

request further information from applicants, obtain input

3

from interested persons or entities and hold hearings

4

regarding applications.

5

(2)  Renew the charter of cyber charter school and renew

6

the charter of a charter school approved under section 1717-A

7

or 1718-A which provides instruction through the Internet or

8

other electronic means. Upon renewal of a charter of a

9

charter school approved under section 1717-A or 1718-A, the

10

charter school shall qualify as a cyber charter school under

11

this subdivision and shall be subject to the provisions of

12

this subdivision.

13

(3)  Revoke or deny renewal of a cyber charter school's

14

charter under the provisions of section 1729-A.

15

(i)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1729-

16

A(i), when the [department] board has revoked or denied

17

renewal of a charter, the cyber charter school shall be

18

dissolved. After the disposition of the liabilities and

19

obligations of the cyber charter school, any remaining

20

assets of the cyber charter school shall be given over to

21

the intermediate unit in which the cyber charter school's

22

administrative office was located for distribution to the

23

school districts in which the students enrolled in the

24

cyber charter school reside at the time of dissolution.

25

(ii)  Notwithstanding any laws to the contrary, the

26

[department] board may, after notice and hearing, take

27

immediate action to revoke a charter if:

28

(A)  a material component of the student's

29

education as required under this subdivision is not

30

being provided; or

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1

(B)  the cyber charter school has failed to

2

maintain the financial ability to provide services as

3

required under this subdivision.

4

(4)  Execute charters after approval.

5

(5)  Develop forms, including the notification form under

6

section 1748-A(b), necessary to carry out the provisions of

7

this subdivision.

8

(b)  Hearings.--Hearings conducted by the [department] board 

9

shall be conducted under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open

10

meetings).

11

(c)  Documents.--Documents of the [appeal] board shall be

12

subject to the act of [June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred

13

to] February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know

14

Law. 

15

Section 1742-A.  Assessment and evaluation.

16

The [department] board shall:

17

(1)  Annually assess whether each cyber charter school is

18

meeting the goals of its charter and is in compliance with

19

the provisions of the charter and conduct a comprehensive

20

review prior to granting a [five-year] ten-year renewal of

21

the charter.

22

(2)  Annually review each cyber charter school's

23

performance on [the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment

24

test, standardized tests and other performance indicators to

25

ensure compliance with 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4 (relating to

26

academic standards and assessment) or subsequent regulations

27

promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4] assessments.

28

(3)  Have ongoing access to all records, instructional

29

materials and student and staff records of each cyber charter

30

school and to every cyber charter school facility to ensure

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1

the cyber charter school is in compliance with its charter

2

and this subdivision.

3

Section 1743-A.  Cyber charter school requirements and

4

prohibitions.

5

* * *

6

[(b)  Enrollment.--A cyber charter school shall report to the

7

department an increase or a decrease of 30% or more in its

8

anticipated enrollment set forth in the application under

9

section 1747-A(11).]

10

* * *

11

(f)  Annual report.--A cyber charter school shall submit an

12

annual report no later than August 1 of each year to the

13

[department] board in the form prescribed by the [department] 

14

board.

15

(g)  Records and facilities.--A cyber charter school shall

16

provide the [department] board with ongoing access to all

17

records and facilities necessary for the department to assess

18

the cyber charter school in accordance with the provisions of

19

this subdivision.

20

(h)  Offices and facilities.--A cyber charter school shall

21

maintain an administrative office within this Commonwealth where

22

all student records shall be maintained at all times and shall

23

provide the [department] board with the addresses of all offices

24

and facilities of the cyber charter school, the ownership

25

thereof and any lease arrangements. The administrative office of

26

the cyber charter school shall be considered as the principal

27

place of business for service of process for any action brought

28

against the cyber charter school or cyber charter school staff

29

members. The cyber charter school shall notify the [department] 

30

board of any changes in this information within ten days of the

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1

change.

2

* * *

3

Section 1.21.  Section 1745-A(d), (e), (f), (g) and (h) of

4

the act, added June 29, 2002 (P.L.524, No.88), are amended and

5

the section is amended by adding a subsection to read:

6

Section 1745-A.  Establishment of cyber charter school.

7

* * *

8

(b.1)  Local board of school directors or intermediate

9

unit.--The following shall apply to a local board of school

10

directors or intermediate unit:

11

(1)  A local board of school directors or an intermediate

12

unit may seek to establish a cyber charter school if it follows

13

the procedures and requirements of this article.

14

(2)  Nothing under this article shall be construed to

15

preclude a school district or an intermediate unit seeking to

16

establish a cyber charter school from offering instruction via

17

the Internet or other electronic means, except that the

18

instruction may not be recognized as a cyber charter school

19

under this article.

20

* * *

21

(d)  Application.--An application to establish a cyber

22

charter school shall be submitted to the [department] board by

23

October 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which

24

the cyber charter school proposes to commence operation.

25

(e)  Grant or denial.--Within 120 days of receipt of an

26

application, the [department] board shall grant or deny the

27

application. The [department] board shall review the application

28

and shall hold at least one public hearing under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch.

29

7 (relating to open meetings). At least 30 days prior to the

30

hearing, the [department] board shall publish in the

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1

Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the [department's World Wide Web

2

site] board's publicly accessible Internet website notice of the

3

hearing and the purpose of the application.

4

(f)  Evaluation criteria.--

5

(1)  A cyber charter school application submitted under

6

this subdivision shall be evaluated by the [department] board 

7

based on the following criteria:

8

(i)  The demonstrated, sustainable support for the

9