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SENATE AMENDED
A08913
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1448
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY CUTLER, MILLARD, GREINER, PICKETT, B. MILLER,
SOLOMON, HICKERNELL, JAMES, TOPPER, FEE, V. BROWN, KAUFFMAN,
PEIFER, OBERLANDER, PHILLIPS-HILL, WARD, SAYLOR, ROEBUCK,
HILL-EVANS, ZIMMERMAN, MICCARELLI AND KORTZ, MAY 25, 2017
AS AMENDED ON THIRD CONSIDERATION, IN SENATE, JANUARY 23, 2018
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," providing for higher education
accountability and transparency. in preliminary provisions,
further providing for Keystone Exams; in organization
meetings and officers of boards of school directors,
providing for executive sessions; in duties and powers of
boards of school directors, providing for third-party
services; in grounds and buildings, further providing for
limitation on new applications for Department of Education
approval of public school building projects and providing for
lead testing; in books, furniture and supplies, further
providing for time and manner of adopting and furnishing
textbooks and supplementary books; in professional employees,
further providing for persons to be suspended; in
certification of teachers, further providing for provisional
vocational education certificate; in pupils and attendance,
further providing for definitions, providing for attendance
policy at nonpublic schools and further providing for excuses
from attending school, for penalties for violating compulsory
school attendance requirements and for nonprofit school food
program; in Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot
Program, further providing for term of program and for
reporting; in terms and courses of study, further providing
for fire and emergency evacuation drills; in community
colleges, further providing for financial program and
reimbursement of payments; in educational tax credits,
further providing for definitions, for qualification and
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application by organizations, for application by business
firms, for tax credits and for limitations; providing for
higher education accountability and transparency; in funding
for public libraries, providing for State aid for fiscal year
2018-2019; and, in reimbursements by Commonwealth and between
school districts, further providing for payments to
intermediate units, for assistance to school districts
declared to be in financial recovery status or identified for
financial watch status and for Ready-to-Learn Block Grant.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding an
article to read:
Section 1. Section 121(b)(1) of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949,
amended November 6, 2017 (P.L.1142, No.55), is amended to read:
Section 121. Keystone Exams.--* * *
(b) The following shall apply:
(1) Notwithstanding section 2604-B(b)(2)(v), 22 Pa. Code §
4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements), 4.51
(relating to State assessment system) or 4.51c (relating to
project-based assessment) or any statute or regulation to the
contrary, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation
requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in
a project-based assessment shall be delayed until the [2019-
2020] 2020-2021 school year.
* * *
Section 2. The act is amended by adding sections to read:
Section 425. Executive Sessions.--(a) Notwithstanding 65
Pa.C.S. § 708(a) (relating to executive sessions), a school
entity may hold an executive session to plan, review or discuss
matters related to school safety, the disclosure of which, if
conducted in public, would:
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(1) be reasonably likely to impair the effectiveness of such
measures; or
(2) create a reasonable likelihood of jeopardizing the
safety or security of an individual or a school, including a
building, public utility, resource, infrastructure, facility or
information storage system.
(b) The executive session may be held during an open meeting
or at the conclusion of an open meeting or may be announced for
a future time. The reason for holding the executive session must
be announced at the open meeting occurring immediately prior or
subsequent to the executive session. If the executive session is
not announced for a specific time in the future, members of the
agency shall be notified twenty-four (24) hours in advance of
the time of the convening of the meeting specifying the date,
time, location and purpose of the executive session.
(c) Official action on discussions held pursuant to
subsection (a) shall be taken at an open meeting. Nothing in
this section shall be construed to require that any meeting be
closed to the public, nor shall any executive session be used as
a subterfuge to defeat the purposes of 65 Pa.C.S. § 704
(relating to open meetings).
(d) As used in this section, the following words and phrases
shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
"Executive session" shall have the meaning given to the term
under 65 Pa.C.S. § 703 (relating to definitions).
"School entity" shall mean a school district, intermediate
unit, joint school, area vocational-technical school, charter
school, regional charter school or cyber charter school.
Section 528. Third-Party Services.-- (a) In addition to the
requirements of any other law or regulation, a school employer
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shall not enter into a contract with a third party for non-
instructional services unless the following conditions are met:
(1) The school employer shall solicit applications from
third parties.
(2) The school employer's solicitation shall require each
third party to provide in the application:
(i) A minimum three-year cost projection to the school
employer, using generally accepted accounting principles.
(ii) Information concerning any violation of Federal or
State law or regulation by the third party, composite
information about the criminal and disciplinary records of
current employes of the third party who may perform the non-
instructional services and information concerning any traffic
violation or chargeable accident that occurred during the course
of employment by an individual employe of the third party.
(iii) Any additional information that the school employer
deems appropriate.
(3) The school employer shall conduct a minimum of one
public hearing prior to a regularly scheduled board meeting to
present to the public the selected proposal of a third party to
perform the non-instructional services and to receive public
comment. The school employer shall provide notice to the public
of the date, time and location of the first public hearing:
(i) on or before the initial date that bids to provide the
non-instructional services are solicited; or
(ii) a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the public board
meeting, whichever provides a greater period of notice.
(b) For a school employe whose employment is terminated due
to a third party entering into a contract with the school
employer for non-instructional services and who seeks employment
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from the third party during the effective date of the contract,
the following shall apply:
(1) The third party shall give consideration to the school
employe, which shall include an interview, when hiring any new
employe for the same or a substantially similar position which
the school employe held with the school employer.
(2) If requested by the third party, the school employer
shall provide to the third party information regarding the
performance and employment duties of the school employe.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to:
(1) Supersede 7 CFR Pt. 210 (relating to National School
Lunch Program) where applicable.
(2) Supersede or preempt the rights, remedies and procedures
afforded to school employes or labor organizations under Federal
or State law, including the act of July 23, 1970 (P.L.563,
No.195), known as the "Public Employe Relations Act," or any
provision of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated
between a school employer and an exclusive representative of the
employes in accordance with that act.
(d) As used in this section, the following words and phrases
shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless
the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Non-instructional services" shall mean services provided by
a school employee whose terms and conditions of employment are
governed by a collective bargaining agreement negotiated between
the school employer and the exclusive representative of the
employe and excluding services provided by a professional
employe, a substitute or a temporary professional employe as
those terms are defined under section 1101.
"School employer" shall mean a board of school directors, an
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intermediate unit board of directors or an area vocational-
technical board of directors.
"Third party" shall mean a for-profit service provider,
including a business or corporation, that contracts with a
school employer to provide non-instructional services. The term
shall not include an individual.
Section 3. Section 732.1(a) of the act, amended November 6,
2017 (P.L.1142, No.55), is amended to read:
Section 732.1. Limitation on New Applications for Department
of Education Approval of Public School Building Projects.--(a)
For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, 2013-2014 fiscal year [and],
2017-2018 fiscal year and 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Department
of Education shall not accept or approve new school building
construction or reconstruction project applications.
* * *
Section 3.1. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 742. Lead Testing.--(a) Beginning in the 2018-2019
school year, and every school year thereafter, school facilities
where children attend school may be tested for lead levels in
the drinking water and any school facility whose testing shows
lead levels in excess of the maximum contaminant level goal or
milligrams per liter as set by the United States Environmental
Protection Agency's National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
shall immediately implement a plan to ensure no child or adult
is exposed to lead contamination drinking water and that
alternative sources of drinking water are made available.
(b) If a school entity does not test lead levels under
paragraph (a) the school entity shall, at a public meeting,
discuss lead issues in the school facilities.
(c) If a test of lead levels under subsection (a) is
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elevated the level shall be reported to the Department of
Education and posted on the department's publicly accessible
Internet website.
Section 4. Section 803 of the act is amended to read:
Section 803. Time and Manner of Adopting and Furnishing
Textbooks and Supplementary Books.--All school textbooks, in
school districts of the second, third and fourth class, shall be
adopted by the board of school directors at any regular meeting
[between the first day of April and the first day of August
following]. Such books, so adopted, shall be provided for the
use of the schools at the beginning of the school terms next
following. If in said school districts there shall be a district
superintendent, such district superintendent shall report in
which subjects new textbooks are needed, and after consultation
with the teachers under his supervision, what textbooks should
be adopted or changed. No adoption or change of textbooks shall
be made without his recommendation, except by a two-thirds vote
of the board. Books, supplementary to textbooks regularly
adopted, may be adopted and purchased for use in the schools at
any time. Such supplementary books shall be adopted in the same
manner as textbooks are herein required to be adopted.
Section 5. Section 1125.1 of the act is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
Section 1125.1. Persons to be Suspended.--* * *
(c.1) A school entity shall realign its professional staff
so as to ensure that more senior employes are provided with the
opportunity to fill any positions within the school entity for
which they are certificated and which are being filled by less
senior employes, subject to the order specified in subsection
(a).
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* * *
Section 6. Section 1204.2 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1204.2. [Provisional] Vocational [Education]
Instructional Certificate.--(a) The Secretary of Education may
grant a [provisional vocational education] certificate under
this section to every person who presents to the Department of
Education satisfactory evidence of good moral character and who
has completed such work in vocational education as may be
required by the standards of the State Board of Education[,
which certificate shall entitle the individual to teach for
eight annual school terms].
(b) In addition to other requirements promulgated by the
State Board of Education, the State Board of Education shall
require an applicant to present evidence of at least four (4)
years of wage-earning experience in the occupation to be taught
in order for the Secretary of Education to grant the applicant a
Vocational Intern Certificate under 22 Pa. Code § 49.151
(relating to eligibility and criteria).
(c) Notwithstanding any other requirement promulgated by the
State Board of Education, the State Board of Education shall not
require an applicant to have completed more than eighteen (18)
credit hours in an approved program of vocational teacher
education in order for the Secretary of Education to grant the
applicant a Vocational Instructional I Certificate under 22 Pa.
Code § 49.142 (relating to Vocational Instructional I), which
certificate shall entitle the individual to teach for eight (8)
annual school terms.
(d) Notwithstanding any other requirement promulgated by the
State Board of Education, the State Board of Education shall not
require an applicant to have completed more than sixty (60)
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total credit hours in an approved program of vocational teacher
education in order for the Secretary of Education to grant the
applicant a Vocational Instructional II Certificate under 22 Pa.
Code § 49.143 (relating to Vocational Instructional II). Credit
hours in an approved program of vocational teacher education
completed by the applicant toward the fulfillment of the
requirements for a Vocational Instructional I Certificate shall
be counted toward the total credit hours required for a
Vocational Instructional II Certificate.
(e) The Department of Education shall form a professional
advisory committee for the purposes of reviewing vocational
instructional certification program guidelines every five (5)
years to ensure that the requirements for program design and
delivery pertain to the professional responsibilities of a
vocational educator. The professional advisory committee shall,
at a minimum, include representatives whose primary
responsibility is teaching occupational skills in State-approved
vocational education programs.
Section 7. The definition of "educational entity" in section
1326 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1326. Definitions.--When used in this article, the
following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
* * *
"Educational entity" shall mean a public school district,
[nonpublic school] charter school, regional charter school,
cyber charter school or area vocational-technical school.
* * *
Section 8. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1327.3. Attendance Policy at Nonpublic Schools.--(a)
Each nonpublic school shall establish an attendance policy
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designed to accurately determine when a child who is enrolled in
a nonpublic school has an unexcused absence, which may differ
from the policy of the school district in which the child
resides. The policy shall, at a minimum, conform to the
provisions of this act relating to compulsory attendance but may
contain additional criteria for determining when a student is
determined to be deemed truant or habitually truant. The policy
shall also contain actions prescribed by the nonpublic school in
response to a determination of truant or habitually truant which
may include expulsion.
(b) At such time that the child is deemed habitually truant
as defined in section 1326, the venue for the filing of a
citation or referral under section 1333.1 shall be based upon
the residence of the child and executed by the school district
of residence. A nonpublic school may participate in a proceeding
under sections 1333.1, 1333.2 and 1333.3 in person, by phone
conferencing, by video conferencing or by any other electronic
means.
(c) The following sections shall apply to nonpublic schools:
(1) Section 1326.
(2) Section 1327.
(3) This section.
(4) Section 1329.
(5) Section 1330.
(6) Section 1332.
(7) Section 1333.
(8) Section 1333.1.
(9) Section 1333.2.
(10) Section 1333.3.
Section 9. Section 1329 of the act is amended by adding a
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subsection to read:
Section 1329. Excuses from Attending School.--* * *
(a.2) (1) A school district may excuse a student from
school attendance to participate in a musical performance in
conjunction with a national veterans' organization or
incorporated unit for an event or funeral. The national
veterans' organization or incorporated unit must provide the
student with a signed excuse, which shall include the date,
location and time of the event or funeral. The student shall
furnish the signed excuse to the school district prior to being
excused from school.
(2) As used in this subsection, the following words and
phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this paragraph:
"Incorporated unit." An incorporated post, branch, camp,
detachment, lodge or other subordinate unit of a national
veterans' organization.
"National veterans' organization." A veterans' organization
having a national charter.
* * *
Section 10. Section 1333.3(d)(2) of the act is amended to
read:
Section 1333.3. Penalties for Violating Compulsory School
Attendance Requirements.--* * *
(d) No citation may be filed against a child or a person in
parental relation with the child who resides in the same
household as the child for a subsequent violation of compulsory
school attendance if any of the following circumstances apply:
* * *
(2) A referral for services has been made to the county
children and youth agency under this subdivision [and], the
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agency has not closed the case and the educational entity has
not consulted with the county children and youth agency prior to
filing the petition.
* * *
Section 11. Sections 1337(d)(4) and (5), 1406-A and 1407-
A(b) and 1517(a.1) introductory paragraph and (1) of the act,
amended November 6, 2017 (P.L.1142, No.55), are amended to read:
Section 1337. Nonprofit School Food Program.--* * *
(d) Boards of School Directors.
* * *
(4) Each board of school directors shall:
(i) Require schools under its jurisdiction to direct
communications regarding money owed by a student for school
meals to the student's parent or guardian and not to the
student[.] if the student is enrolled in kindergarten through
grade eight. For a student enrolled in grade nine through grade
twelve, the board of school directors may require the schools to
direct communications regarding a low balance or money owed by a
student for school meals to the student if the communications
are made individually to the student by appropriate school
personnel and are made discreetly.
(ii) Permit schools under its jurisdiction to contact the
student's parent or guardian by means of a letter addressed to
the parent or guardian that is delivered by the student.
(5) Each board of school directors shall prohibit schools
under its jurisdiction from implementing the following:
(i) Publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student who
cannot pay for a school meal or who owes money for school meals.
It shall not constitute public identification or stigmatization
of a student for a school to restrict privileges and activities
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of students who owe money for school meals if those same
restrictions apply to students who owe money for other school-
related purposes.
(ii) Requiring a student who cannot pay for a school meal to
perform chores or other work to pay for the school meal. This
subclause shall not apply if chores or other work are required
of all students regardless of the student's inability to pay for
the school meal.
(iii) Requiring a student to discard a school meal after it
was served to the student due to the student's inability to pay
for the school meal or the amount of money owed by the student
for earlier school meals.
* * *
Section 1406-A. Term of Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School
Pilot Program.
(a) Enrollment of new students.--Unless the program is
permanently established by action of the General Assembly, the
recovery high school shall not enroll new students under the
program after June 30, [2021] 2022.
(b) Continued enrollment.--If the program is not permanently
established by action of the General Assembly on or before June
30, [2021] 2022, a student enrolled in the recovery high school
under the program as of June 30, [2021] 2022, may remain
enrolled in the recovery high school under the program until the
earlier of the following:
(1) The student's graduation from the recovery high
school.
(2) The student's withdrawal from the recovery high
school.
(3) The student's completion of four years of enrollment
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in the recovery high school under the program.
Section 1407-A. Reporting.
* * *
(b) Report by Department of Education and Department of Drug
and Alcohol Programs.--By December 31, [2020] 2021, the
Department of Education and the Department of Drug and Alcohol
Programs, jointly, shall submit to the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Education Committee of the Senate, the
chairperson and minority chairperson of the Education Committee
of the House of Representatives, the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Public Health and Welfare Committee of the
Senate and the chairperson and minority chairperson of the
Health Committee of the House of Representatives a written
report assessing the success of the program and making
recommendations regarding the possible extension and expansion
of the program, including a proposed timeline for any potential
expansion.
Section 1517. Fire and Emergency Evacuation Drills.--* * *
(a.1) Within ninety (90) days of the commencement of the
school year after the effective date of this subsection and
within ninety (90) days of the commencement of each school year
thereafter, each school entity [may] shall conduct one school
security drill per school year in each school building in place
of a fire drill required under subsection (a). After ninety (90)
days from the commencement of each school year, each school
entity may conduct two school security drills per school year in
each school building in place of two fire drills required under
subsection (a). All of the following shall apply:
(1) The school security drill [may] shall be conducted while
the school entity is in session and students are present under
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policies adopted by the chief school administrator.
* * *
Section 12. Section 1913-A(b)(1.6) of the act is amended by
adding a subclause to read:
Section 1913-A. Financial Program; Reimbursement of
Payments.--* * *
(b) * * *
(1.6) For the 2006-2007 fiscal year and each fiscal year
thereafter, the payment for a community college shall consist of
the following:
* * *
(xi) For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, each community college
shall receive an amount equal to the following:
(A) An amount equal to the reimbursement for operating costs
received in fiscal year 2017-2018 under subclause (x)(A).
(B) An amount equal to the economic development stipend
received in fiscal year 2017-2018 under subclause (x)(B).
(C) For each community college that receives funding under
units (A) and (B), an additional amount for operating costs
determined for each community college as follows:
(I) Multiply the audited full-time equivalent enrollment as
verified under subsection (k.1) for the most recent year
available for the community college by the difference between
the appropriation for payment of approved operating expenses of
community colleges in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and the sum of
the amounts in units (A) and (B).
(II) Divide the product in subunit (I) by the sum of the
audited full-time equivalent enrollment as verified under
subsection (k.1) for the most recent year available for all
community colleges.
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* * *
Section 13. The definition of "maximum annual household
income," in section 2002-B of the act is amended to read:
Section 2002-B. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Maximum annual household income."
(1) Subject to adjustment under paragraphs (2) and (3),
the amount of [$75,000] $85,000, plus the applicable income
allowance.
(2) With respect to an eligible student with a
disability, as calculated by multiplying:
(i) the applicable amount under paragraph (1); by
(ii) the applicable support level factor according
to the following table:
Support Level Support Level Factor
1 1.50
2 2.993
(3) Beginning July 1, 2014, the department shall
annually adjust the income amounts under paragraphs (1) and
(2) to reflect any upward changes in the Consumer Price Index
for All Urban Consumers for the Pennsylvania, New Jersey,
Delaware and Maryland area in the preceding 12 months and
shall immediately submit the adjusted amounts to the
Legislative Reference Bureau for publication as a notice in
the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
* * *
Section 14. Section 2003-B(c) introductory paragraph and
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(2), (d), (d.1)(2) introductory paragraph and (3) and (e) of the
act are amended and the section is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
Section 2003-B. Qualification and application by organizations.
* * *
(c) Scholarship organizations and pre-kindergarten
scholarship organizations.--A scholarship organization or pre-
kindergarten scholarship organization must certify to the
department that the organization is eligible to participate in
the educational improvement tax credit program established under
this article and must agree to annually report the following
information to the department by [September] November 1 of each
year:
* * *
(2) The information required under paragraph (1) shall
be submitted on a form provided by the department. No later
than [May] September 1 of each year, the department shall
annually distribute such sample forms, together with the
forms on which the reports are required to be made, to each
listed scholarship organization and pre-kindergarten
scholarship organization.
* * *
(d) Educational improvement organization.--
(1) An application submitted by an educational
improvement organization must describe its proposed
innovative educational program or programs in a form
prescribed by the department. The department shall consult
with the Department of Education as necessary. The department
shall review and approve or disapprove the application. In
order to be eligible to participate in the educational
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improvement tax credit program established under this
article, an educational improvement organization must agree
to annually report the following information to the
department by [September] November 1 of each year:
(i) The name of the innovative educational program
or programs and the total amount of the grant or grants
made to those programs during the immediately preceding
school year.
(ii) A description of how each grant was utilized
during the immediately preceding school year and a
description of any demonstrated or expected innovative
educational improvements.
(iii) The names of the public schools and school
districts where innovative educational programs that
received grants during the immediately preceding school
year were implemented.
(iv) Where the educational improvement organization
collects information on a county-by-county basis, the
total number and the total amount of grants made during
the immediately preceding school year for programs at
public schools in each county in which the educational
improvement organization made grants.
(v) The organization's Federal Form 990 or other
Federal form indicating the tax status of the
organization for Federal tax purposes, if any, and a copy
of a compilation, review or audit of the organization's
financial statements conducted by a certified public
accounting firm.
(2) The information required under paragraph (1) shall
be submitted on a form provided by the department. No later
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than [May] September 1 of each year, the department shall
annually distribute such sample forms, together with the
forms on which the reports are required to be made, to each
listed educational improvement organization.
(3) The department may not require any other information
to be provided by educational improvement organizations,
except as expressly authorized in this article.
(d.1) Opportunity scholarship organizations.--
* * *
(2) An opportunity scholarship organization must agree
to report the following information on a form provided by the
department by [September] November 1 of each year:
* * *
(3) No later than [May] September 1 of each year, the
department shall annually distribute such sample forms,
together with the forms on which the reports are required to
be made, to each listed opportunity scholarship organization.
* * *
(d.2) Verification of income.--Each scholarship
organization, pre-kindergarten scholarship organization and
opportunity scholarship organization shall provide for an
application and review process for scholarship applicants that
includes a means of verification of household income, which may
include submission of the household members' most recently
available Federal or State tax returns, if required to be filed
by the household members.
(e) Notification.--The department shall notify the
scholarship organization, pre-kindergarten scholarship
organization, educational improvement organization or
opportunity scholarship organization that the organization meets
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the requirements of and is qualified under this article [for
that fiscal year] no later than 60 days after the organization
has submitted the information required under this section.
* * *
Section 15. Sections 2004-B(d) and 2005-B(g) and (g.1) of
the act are amended to read:
Section 2004-B. Application by business firms.
* * *
(d) Contributions.--A contribution by a business firm to a
scholarship organization, pre-kindergarten scholarship
organization, opportunity scholarship organization or
educational improvement organization shall be made no later than
60 days following the approval of an application under
subsection (a) or (b). In the event a business firm does not
make a minimum of 50% of the full amount of the approved
contribution and has not notified the department of the amount
of unused contributions within 14 days of approval, the business
firm's application may not be approved in the immediately
succeeding fiscal year for more than 150% of the actual amount
contributed in the previous fiscal year.
* * *
Section 2005-B. Tax credits.
* * *
(g) Time of application for credits.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the department
may accept applications for tax credits available during a
fiscal year no earlier than July 1 of each fiscal year.
(2) The application of any business firm for tax credits
available during a fiscal year as part of the second year of
a two-year commitment or as a renewal of a two-year
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commitment which was fulfilled in the previous fiscal year
may be accepted no earlier than May 15 preceding the fiscal
year. In order to be eligible for the early application date
under this paragraph, the contributions included in the
second year of a two-year commitment or renewal of a two-year
commitment must be made to the same type of organization.
(g.1) Approval of tax credits.--Unless otherwise requested
by the business firm and agreed to by both the business firm and
the department, and unless all authorized credits have already
been awarded:
(1) For fiscal year 2016-2017, and each fiscal year
thereafter, the department shall give written notice of its
approval to each business firm that submitted a completed
application under subsection (g) by August 15, or 30 days
following receipt of the completed application, whichever is
later.
(2) For fiscal year 2016-2017, and each fiscal year
thereafter, the department shall give written notice of its
approval to each business firm that submitted a completed
application under subsection (j)(2) within 30 days following
receipt of the completed application.
(3) Should the department fail, for a period of at least
10 days, to timely transmit any of the written notices
required by this subsection, the affected business may bring
an action for injunction or other appropriate relief in
Commonwealth Court.
* * *
Section 15.1. Section 2006-B(a) of the act, amended November
6, 2017 (P.L.1142, No.55), is amended to read:
Section 2006-B. Limitations.
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(a) Amount.--
(1) The total aggregate amount of all tax credits
approved for contributions from business firms to scholarship
organizations, educational improvement organizations and pre-
kindergarten scholarship organizations shall not exceed
[$135,000,000] $160,000,000 in a fiscal year.
(i) No less than [$85,000,000] $110,000,000 of the
total aggregate amount shall be used to provide tax
credits for contributions from business firms to
scholarship organizations.
(ii) No less than $37,500,000 of the total aggregate
amount shall be used to provide tax credits for
contributions from business firms to educational
improvement organizations.
(iii) The total aggregate amount of all tax credits
approved for contributions from business firms to pre-
kindergarten scholarship organizations shall not exceed
$12,500,000 in a fiscal year.
(2) The total aggregate amount of all tax credits
approved for contributions from business firms to opportunity
scholarship organizations shall not exceed $50,000,000 in a
fiscal year.
* * *
Section 16. The act is amended by adding an article to read:
ARTICLE XX-H
HIGHER EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY
AND TRANSPARENCY
Section 2001-H. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
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context clearly indicates otherwise:
"College Navigator website." The College Navigator website
or its successor website operated by the United States
Department of Education and required pursuant to 20 U.S.C. §
1015a (relating to transparency in college tuition for
consumers).
"Department." The Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"Graduation rates." The percentages of full-time
undergraduate students enrolled for credit toward a degree,
diploma, certificate or other formal credential who are awarded
a degree, diploma or certificate within each of the following:
(1) 100% of the normal completion time for the student's
program.
(2) 125% of the normal completion time for the student's
program.
(3) 150% of the normal completion time for the student's
program.
"Institution of higher education." The term includes any of
the following:
(1) A community college operating under Article XIX-A.
(2) A university within the State System of Higher
Education.
(3) The Pennsylvania State University, the University of
Pittsburgh, Temple University, Lincoln University or any
other institution designated as State-related by the
Commonwealth.
(4) The Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
(5) A COLLEGE ESTABLISHED UNDER ARTICLE XIX-G.
(5) (6) An institution of higher education which is
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operated not for profit, located in and incorporated or
chartered by the Commonwealth and entitled to confer degrees
as set forth in 24 Pa.C.S. § 6505 (relating to power to
confer degrees) and is designated as a "college" or
"university" as provided for by the standards and
qualifications prescribed by the State Board of Education
under 24 Pa.C.S. Ch. 65 (relating to private colleges,
universities and seminaries).
(6) (7) A private school licensed under the act of
December 15, 1986 (P.L.1585, No.174), known as the Private
Licensed Schools Act.
(8) A FOREIGN CORPORATION APPROVED TO OPERATE AN
EDUCATIONAL ENTERPRISE UNDER 22 PA. CODE CH. 36 (RELATING TO
FOREIGN CORPORATION STANDARDS).
"Net tuition and fees." The average total cost of attendance
minus the average amount of grant or scholarship aid awarded to
a first-time, full-time undergraduate student enrolled for
credit toward a degree, diploma, certificate or other formal
credential from the Federal Government, the Commonwealth or the
institution of higher education.
"PHEAA." The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance
Agency.
"Retention rate." The percentage of first-year, full-time
undergraduate students enrolled for credit toward a degree,
diploma, certificate or other formal credential who continue to
be enrolled at an institution of higher education in the
following school year.
"School entity." A school district, intermediate unit, area
vocational-technical school, charter school, cyber charter
school, or regional charter school.
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"Total debt." The average per-student cumulative principal
borrowed from a loan program, including Federal and State loan
programs, institutional loans and private alternate loans made
by a bank or lender.
Section 2002-H. College Navigator and High Priority
Occupations.
(a) Duties of department.--The department shall make
available on the department's publicly accessible Internet
website, in a single location, information that includes, at a
minimum, the following:
(1) A direct link to the College Navigator website with
a description of the uses and features of the College
Navigator website.
(2) A direct link to the High Priority Occupations
publicly accessible Internet website of the Department of
Labor and Industry with a description of what high priority
occupations are and how they are identified.
(b) Duty of PHEAA.--PHEAA shall include a link on its
publicly accessible Internet website to information contained on
the department's website under subsection (a).
(c) Duty of school entities.--Each school entity shall
annually provide the information required under subsection (a)
to students in grades nine through twelve.
Section 2003-H . Comparison tool.
(a) Duty of department.-- If the United States Department of
Education discontinues the publication of the College Navigator
website, the department shall make available on the department's
publicly accessible Internet website a search tool that allows
an individual to compare institutions of higher education that
meet certain criteria selected by the individual, including the
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offering of a particular major or program of study.
(b) Requirements.--The comparison tool required under this
section must:
(1) Be accessible from the department's publicly
accessible Internet website.
(2) Allow a user to identify and compare institutions of
higher education by the following :
(i) Programs of study available.
(ii) Name.
(iii) Physical address.
(iv) Total enrollment for the previous academic
year.
(v) Net tuition and fees per year based on the
previous academic year.
(vi) Percentages of students receiving:
(A) Pell grants.
(B) Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity
grants.
(C) Academic Competitiveness grants.
(D) National Science and Mathematics Access to
Retain Talent grants.
(E) Teacher Education Assistance for College and
Higher Education grants.
(vii) Average total debt borrowed for undergraduate
study.
(viii) Graduation and retention rates, including
information on average time, in years, to attainment of a
degree, diploma, certificate or other formal credential
for a full-time student.
(ix) Percentage of undergraduate students who have
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defaulted on their Federal student loans within three
years of entering repayment.
(x) Status as a nonprofit institution or for-profit
institution.
(3) Be accessible to the public without requiring
registration or use of a user name, password or other user
identification.
(4) I nclude a link to the publicly accessible Internet
website of the Department of Labor and Industry and a link to
the publicly accessible Internet website of each of the
institutions of higher education selected .
(5) Include a direct link to the High Priority
Occupations publicly accessible Internet website of the
Department of Labor and Industry with a description of what
high priority occupations are and how they are identified.
(c) Chart.--The comparison tool required under this section
must generate a comparison chart in a grid format that:
(1) Lists the institutions of higher education that
match a user's search criteria.
(2) Provides information for each institution of higher
education listed as outlined in subsection (b)(2).
(d) Duty of institutions.-- If the department is required to
develop the comparison tool under subsection (a), each
institution of higher education shall provide the information
listed in this section, as available, to the department not
later than January 1 of each year. If the information required
under this subsection is available in an institution of higher
education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
report, the institution of higher education may comply with the
reporting requirements of this subsection by sending an
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electronic copy of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data
System report to the department. The department shall update the
comparison tool as soon as practicable after receiving
information from each institution of higher education.
(e) Websi te.-- PHEAA shall include a link on its publicly
accessible Internet website to the comparison tool required
under this section.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
Section 17. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 2322. State aid for fiscal year 2018-2019.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,
each library subject to 24 Pa.C.S. Ch. 93 (relating to public
library code), shall be eligible for State aid for fiscal year
2018-2019, as follows:
(1) Funds appropriated for libraries shall be
distributed to each library under the following formula:
(i) Divide the amount of funding that the library
received in fiscal year 2017-2018 under section 2321 by
the total State-aid subsidy for fiscal year 2017-2018.
(ii) Multiply the quotient under subparagraph (i) by
the total State-aid subsidy for fiscal year 2018-2019.
(2) Following distribution of funds appropriated for
State aid to libraries under paragraph (1), any remaining
funds may be distributed at the discretion of the State
Librarian.
(3) If funds appropriated for State aid to libraries in
fiscal year 2018-2019 are less than funds appropriated in
fiscal year 2002-2003, the State Librarian may waive
standards as prescribed in 24 Pa.C.S. Ch. 93.
(4) Each library system receiving State aid under this
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section may distribute the local library share of that aid in
a manner as determined by the board of directors of the
library system.
(5) In the case of a library system that contains a
library operating in a city of the second class, changes to
the distribution of State aid to the library shall be made by
mutual agreement between the library and the library system.
(6) In the event of a change in district library center
population prior to the effective date of this section as a
result of:
(i) a city, borough, town, township, school district
or county moving from one library center to another; or
(ii) a transfer of district library center status to
a county library system;
funding of district library center aid shall be paid based on
the population of the newly established or reconfigured
district library center.
(7) In the event of a change in direct service area from
one library to another, the State Librarian, upon agreement
of the affected libraries, may redistribute the local library
share of aid to the library currently servicing the area.
Section 18. Sections 2509.1(c.2), 2510.3(a)(2) and 2599.6(a)
of the act, amended November 6, 2017 (P.L.1142, No.55), are
amended to read:
Section 2509.1. Payments to Intermediate Units.--* * *
(c.2) The following apply:
(1) For the 2016-2017 [and], 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school
years, five and five-tenths percent (5.5%) of the State special
education appropriation shall be paid to intermediate units on
account of special education services.
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(2) Thirty-five percent (35%) of the amount under paragraph
(1) shall be distributed equally among all intermediate units.
(3) Sixty-five percent (65%) of the amount under paragraph
(1) shall be distributed to each intermediate unit in proportion
to the number of average daily membership of the component
school districts of each intermediate unit as compared to the
Statewide total average daily membership.
* * *
Section 2510.3. Assistance to School Districts Declared to
be in Financial Recovery Status or Identified for Financial
Watch Status.--(a) The following apply:
* * *
(2) For the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 fiscal [year] years, the
Department of Education may utilize up to five million dollars
($5,000,000) of undistributed funds not expended, encumbered or
committed from appropriations for grants and subsidies made to
the Department of Education to assist school districts declared
to be in financial recovery status under section 621-A,
identified for financial watch status under section 611-A or
identified for financial watch status under section 694-A;
except that the funds must be first utilized to accomplish the
provisions contained in section 695-A. The funds shall be
transferred by the Secretary of the Budget to a restricted
account as necessary to make payments under this section and,
when transferred, are hereby appropriated to carry out the
provisions of this section.
* * *
Section 2599.6. Ready-to-Learn Block Grant.--(a) For the
2016-2017 [and], 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, each
school entity shall receive a Ready-to-Learn Block Grant [as
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follows] in an amount not less than the sum of:
(1) An amount equal to the amount the school entity received
during the 2013-2014 school year under section 2599.2.
(2) An amount equal to the amount the school entity received
during the 2014-2015 school year under section 1722-J(21)(ii) of
the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal
Code.
(3) An amount equal to the amount the school entity received
during the 2015-2016 school year under section 1722-L(21)(i)(C)
of The Fiscal Code.
* * *
Section 19. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018, or
immediately, whichever is later.
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