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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 20, 2017 01:16 PM
From: Representative Rosemary M. Brown
To: All House members
Subject: County Wide School Board of Directors Pilot Program
 
I am preparing to introduce legislation that will create a pilot program under which a school board in a fourth class county designated by the Secretary of Education will be consolidated at the county-wide level.

Local school boards bear critical responsibilities, including establishing local educational programs and policies, maintaining school buildings, developing and approving school district budgets, and imposing local property taxes. With such important duties, school directors must be well-informed and we must enhance collaboration to pursue creative solutions to educational challenges. Further, neighboring school boards should be encouraged to work collaboratively, in order to leverage ideas and resources.

Under my legislation, the Secretary will consider local tax effort in designating a fourth-class county to serve as the region for a ten-year pilot program. Under the program, all powers and duties of the local school boards in the designated county will be vested in a county-wide board of school directors. The county-wide board will consist of two elected members representing each school district located in whole or in part within the county, and will cast votes with respect to the affairs of all school districts that are governed by the board. Where the election of two members per school district would result in an even number of board members, voters will elect an at-large member as well. The office of county-wide school director will be a full-time, paid position, with compensation in an amount determined by the Secretary but paid jointly by the school districts that are part of the pilot. County-wide school directors will not be eligible to elect membership in the Public School Employees’ Retirement System or the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System.

By consolidating local school boards at the county level, and by providing for full-time, paid school board members, my legislation will both foster enhanced collaborative decision-making among local school boards and ensure that school directors have the time to devote to the issues facing local school districts. Moreover, by creating a ten-year pilot program, my bill will allow sufficient time to determine whether the program is effective and whether such a structure could serve as a Statewide model.

Thank you for your consideration.