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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 14, 2013 10:25 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Charter and Cyber Charter Limits on Unassigned Fund Balances
I plan to introduce legislation that will amend the Public School Code of 1949 to impose limits on charter and cyber charter schools for the amount of funds that it may hold as an unassigned fund balance.
Currently, school districts are limited in the amount of monies that can accrue in its ending unreserved, undesignated fund balance, but charter and cyber charter schools do not have the same limitation on its unassigned fund balance. This provides an opportunity for a charter or cyber charter to horde large sums of monies while continuing annually to collect from school districts monies for upcoming budgets without a need to expend the excess unreserved, undesignated monies to help mitigate the cost.
My bill will add language to the provisions of the school code governing charter schools and cyber charter schools similar to language already in effect for school district that caps their surplus funds to correct this inequity and unfair accounting that affects Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.
The legislature viewed it wise to limit the excess monies that school districts could accumulate so that taxpayers wouldn’t be required to continually experience an increase in taxes while a school district had at its disposal excess monies it chose to let sit to accrue while asking the taxpayers to provide more funds for its upcoming cost. Not imposing a similar limitation on charter and cyber charter schools creates a situation that erodes this protection that the legislature deemed necessary for taxpayers.
Further, my bill adds language to require that any of the unassigned fund balance exceeding the limitation imposed on the charter and cyber charter schools shall be refunded on a per student pro rata basis to each school district that provided funds to it in the prior school year. Additionally, the charter and cyber charter schools will need to make additional annual certifications to the Department stating compliance to the limitation on the unassigned fund balance that will include specific balance and budget percentage information.
If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Lisa M. Felix at lfelix@pasenate.com or at 705-5849.

Introduced as SB993