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PRINTER'S NO. 655
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
641
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY FITZGERALD, KINSEY, DERMODY, HARRIS, McCLINTON,
YOUNGBLOOD, ROEBUCK, HARKINS, SCHLOSSBERG, HILL-EVANS,
CALTAGIRONE, ISAACSON, KENYATTA, FREEMAN, NEILSON, MURT,
DEASY, OTTEN, WARREN, BULLOCK, COMITTA, HOHENSTEIN,
DONATUCCI, SOLOMON, SAPPEY, SIMS, CEPHAS, KIM, RABB, WHEATLEY
AND KORTZ, MARCH 1, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, MARCH 1, 2019
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," in duties and powers of boards of
school directors, further providing for kindergartens; in
pupils and attendance, further providing for age limits and
temporary residence, for definitions and for when provided;
and providing for full-day kindergarten.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 503 and 1301 of the act of March 10,
1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949,
are amended to read:
Section 503. Kindergartens.--(a) The board of school
directors in [any] each school district [may] shall establish
and maintain kindergartens for children between the ages of
[four] three and [six] five years. When established, the
kindergartens shall be an integral part of the elementary school
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system of the district, and be kept open on a full-time basis
for [not less than two and one-half hours each day for] the full
school term as provided in section 1501.
(b) The number of full-day kindergartens in any one district
shall be fixed by the board of school directors, and shall be
open during the school year and made available to all children
residing in the district who are of the age fixed pursuant to
subsection (a).
[If the average attendance in any one kindergarten in any
district is ten or less for the school year, the school
directors shall, at the close of the school year, discontinue
the same.]
(c) The board of school directors shall appoint and assign a
sufficient number of teachers to such kindergartens, who shall
be certified in accordance with the rules and regulations
prescribed by the [Council of Basic Education] State Board of
Education.
Section 1301. Age Limits; Temporary Residence.--(1) Every
child, being a resident of any school district, between the ages
of six (6) and twenty-one (21) years, may attend the public
schools in his district, subject to the provisions of this act.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a
child who attains the age of twenty-one (21) years during the
school term and who has not graduated from high school may
continue to attend the public schools in his district free of
charge until the end of the school term. The board of school
directors of any school district may admit to the schools of the
district, with or without the payment of tuition, any non-
resident child temporarily residing in the district, and may
require the attendance of such non-resident child in the same
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manner and on the same conditions as it requires the attendance
of a resident child.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) or any other provision of
law or regulation to the contrary, a child, being a resident of
a school district, between the ages of three and five years may
attend full-day kindergarten in accordance with the provisions
of this subarticle and the rules, regulations or standards
prescribed by the State Board of Education without the payment
of tuition, provided:
(i) the school district of the non-resident child is
in the same intermediate unit; and
(ii) the school districts have entered an agreement
to offer full-day kindergarten jointly in accordance with
regulations of the State Board of Education.
Section 2. The definition of "compulsory school age" 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:
* * *
"Compulsory school age" shall mean the period of a child's
life from the time the child's parents elect to have the child
enter school and which shall be no later than [eight (8)] six
(6) years of age until the child reaches seventeen (17) years of
age. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude a
child's parents from electing to have the child attend full-day
kindergarten at the age of three (3) years. The term does not
include a child who holds a certificate of graduation from a
regularly accredited, licensed, registered or approved high
school.
* * *
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Section 3. Section 1361 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1361. When Provided.--(1) The board of school
directors in any school district may, out of the funds of the
district, provide for the free transportation of any resident
pupil to and from the kindergarten, including full-day
kindergarten, elementary school, or secondary school in which he
is lawfully enrolled, provided that such school is not operated
for profit and is located within the district boundaries or
outside the district boundaries at a distance not exceeding ten
miles by the nearest public highway, except that such ten-mile
limit shall not apply to area vocational technical schools which
regularly serve eligible district pupils or to special schools
and classes approved by the Department of Education, and to and
from any points within or without the Commonwealth in order to
provide field trips for any purpose connected with the
educational pursuits of the pupils. When provision is made by a
board of school directors for the transportation of public
school pupils to and from such schools or to and from any points
within or without the Commonwealth in order to provide field
trips as herein provided, the board of school directors shall
also make identical provision for the free transportation of
pupils who regularly attend nonpublic kindergarten, elementary
and high schools not operated for profit to and from such
schools or to and from any points within or without the
Commonwealth in order to provide field trips as herein provided.
Such transportation of pupils attending nonpublic schools shall
be provided during regular school hours on such dates and
periods that the nonpublic school not operated for profit is in
regular session, according to the school calendar officially
adopted by the directors of the same in accordance with
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provisions of law. The board of school directors shall provide
such transportation whenever so required by any of the
provisions of this act or of any other act of Assembly.
(1.1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit
a board of school directors from entering into an agreement with
another school district in the same intermediate unit to provide
for the free transportation of resident and nonresident pupils
enrolled in full-day kindergarten jointly in accordance with
regulations of the State Board of Education.
(2) The board of school directors in any school district
may, if the board deems it to the best interest of the school
district, for the purposes of transporting pupils as required or
authorized by any of the provisions of this act or of any other
act of the Assembly, appropriate funds for urban common carrier
mass transportation purposes from current revenues to urban
common carrier mass transportation authorities to assist the
authorities to meet costs of operation, maintenance, capital
improvements, and debt service. Said contributions shall not be
subject to reimbursement by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(3) The State Board of Education shall adopt regulations,
including qualifications of school bus drivers, to govern the
transportation of school pupils and transportation of pupils
enrolled in full-day kindergarten by and between school
districts in the same intermediate unit.
Section 4. Article XV-D of the act is amended by adding a
subarticle to read:
(c) Full-Day Kindergarten
Section 1520-D. Findings and purpose.
The General Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) Numerous national and international studies have
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found that high-quality early childhood education gives
children the best possible start in life.
(2) The studies conclude that early childhood education,
inherent in full-day kindergarten, is essential to supporting
the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of
young children.
(3) Kindergarten is essential to ensuring the school
readiness of children when they enter first grade.
(4) Full-day kindergarten should be established and
implemented as a formal, integral component of basic
education instruction in the public school system of this
Commonwealth.
(5) The purpose of this subarticle is to provide for the
development of a State plan to facilitate the establishment
and implementation of full-day kindergarten in this
Commonwealth.
Section 1521-D. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this subarticle
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Approved provider." A full-day kindergarten provider that
is:
(1) a school entity;
(2) a Head Start program as defined under section 1501-
D; or
(3) a private provider approved by the department.
"Charter school." As defined under section 1703-A.
"Committee." The Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation
Advisory Committee established under section 1523-D.
"Department." The Department of Education of the
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Commonwealth.
"Eligible student." A child between three and five years of
age who is a resident of a school district.
"Full-day kindergarten." A program of instruction for
children between three and five years of age that conforms to
the regulations, rules and standards adopted by the Department
of Education in accordance with the requirements of this
subarticle.
"Intermediate unit." The regional arrangements of school
districts to serve given geographic areas in accordance with
section 902-A.
"Program." A full-day kindergarten.
"School district." Includes school districts of all classes.
"School entity." Any public school district, intermediate
unit, area vocational-technical school or charter school.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
"State plan" or "plan." The plan developed by the Department
of Education for the establishment and implementation of full-
day kindergarten by school districts in this Commonwealth.
Section 1522-D. Authority, powers and duty of department.
(a) Authorization to develop plan.--
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or
regulation to the contrary, the department, in collaboration
with the committee, shall develop a State plan for the
establishment and implementation of full-day kindergarten for
eligible students in each school district in this
Commonwealth. The plan developed by the department shall be
based on the recommendations of the committee established
under section 1523-D(a).
(2) A school district may satisfy the requirements of
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this subarticle by offering full-day kindergarten jointly
with another school district in the same intermediate unit or
with an approved provider in accordance with regulations
adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education.
(3) The plan developed by the department in accordance
with paragraph (1) shall make full-day kindergarten available
to eligible students in this Commonwealth by the 2020-2021
school year.
(b) Duties of department.--The department shall have the
following powers and duties:
(1) To develop a State plan in collaboration with the
committee for the establishment and implementation of full-
day kindergarten in accordance with subsection (a).
(2) To adopt and promulgate rules and regulations
necessary to carry out the provisions of this subarticle.
Regulations promulgated by the department shall be subject to
the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L.769, No.240), referred to as
the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the act of June 25, 1982
(P.L.633, No.181), known as the Regulatory Review Act. The
regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the
following:
(i) Standards for full-day kindergarten.
(ii) The minimum number of instructional hours
required for full-day kindergarten.
(iii) Standards and procedures to govern the
operation of full-day kindergarten by a school district
jointly with another school district or school districts
in the same intermediate unit.
(iv) Standards and procedures a school district must
follow to contract with approved providers of full-day
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kindergarten.
Section 1523-D. Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Advisory
Committee.
(a) Establishment.--The Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation
Advisory Committee is established for the purpose of assisting
and advising the department in the development and
implementation of a State plan for full-day kindergarten in
school districts in this Commonwealth by the 2020-2021 school
year in accordance with section 1524-D(a). The committee shall
be staffed by employees of the department as designated by the
secretary.
(b) Membership of advisory committee.--
(1) Except as provided in subsection (c), the secretary
shall determine the public membership, terms of service and
organization of the committee and shall appoint the public
members of the committee in accordance with paragraph (2).
(2) In appointing the membership of the committee, the
secretary shall ensure geographic and demographic diversity
in membership, including individuals representing rural and
urban areas of this Commonwealth. The secretary shall ensure
that the composition of the committee includes the following:
(i) Three individuals representing boards of school
directors.
(ii) Two early childhood education teachers.
(iii) Two individuals who have expertise in early
childhood development.
(iv) One individual representing charter schools.
(v) Two individuals representing special education.
(vi) Three individuals, including at least two from
academia, who by reason of employment or profession, have
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proven expertise in early childhood education and one who
shall have expertise in English as a second language.
(vii) Two individuals representing the business
community.
(viii) Two parents or guardians.
(c) Legislative appointments.--
(1) The following shall apply:
(i) The Majority Leader of the Senate and the
Minority Leader of the Senate shall each appoint one
Senator to serve as a nonvoting member of the committee.
(ii) The Majority Leader of the House of
Representatives and the Minority Leader of the House of
Representatives shall each appoint one representative to
serve as a nonvoting member of the committee.
(2) Legislative appointees shall be nonvoting members of
the committee and shall serve in an advisory capacity only.
(d) Chairman.--The secretary shall serve as chairman of the
committee and may appoint a designee to serve as acting chairman
in his or her absence.
(e) Quorum, voting and meetings of committee.--
(1) A majority of the public members of the committee
shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
(2) Official action by the committee shall require the
approval of a majority of the voting members of the
committee.
(3) When a vacancy occurs in public membership for any
cause, the secretary shall make an appointment to fill the
vacancy to become effective immediately.
(4) The committee shall meet at times and places
specified by the call of the chair.
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(5) The committee may adopt rules as the committee
determines necessary and appropriate for the work and
operation of the committee.
(f) Compensation.--
(1) Members of the committee appointed in accordance
with subsection (b) shall not be entitled to compensation or
reimbursement for expenses and shall serve as volunteers on
the committee except that public members may be reimbursed
for expenses incurred in the official discharge of duties as
members of the committee in accordance with Commonwealth
policy governing executive agencies under the jurisdiction of
the Governor.
(2) Legislative appointees of the committee shall not be
entitled to a per diem for service on the committee.
Reimbursement for mileage expenses or any other expense
incurred due to the work of the committee shall be at the
discretion of the legislative appointees' appointing
authority.
(g) Cooperation required.--Notwithstanding any other law or
regulation to the contrary, all agencies of State government and
all school entities shall assist the committee in the
performance of the committee's duties and shall, to the extent
permitted by laws relating to confidentiality, furnish
assistance, advice and information as the members of the
committee consider necessary to perform the committee's duties.
(h) Duty to provide resources.--In addition to the
requirements of section 1524-D, the committee shall provide
school entities with resources, including technical expertise
related to capital needs, enrollment trends, funding
requirements, best practices for providing full-day kindergarten
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and other information a school entity may require to determine
the following:
(1) whether a school district should implement a full-
day kindergarten or contract with an approved provider;
(2) whether a full-day kindergarten should be
implemented jointly with another school district in the same
intermediate unit; and
(3) how to implement a full-day kindergarten.
Section 1524-D. Duties of committee and development of State
plan.
(a) Development of plan.--The committee shall assist the
department with the development of a plan to facilitate the
implementation of a full-day kindergarten by the board of school
directors in each school district in this Commonwealth.
(b) Content of plan.--The plan shall include, but not be
limited to, the following:
(1) A description of the full-day kindergarten that will
be developed and implemented and how it will:
(i) support students' cognitive, social, emotional
and physical development; and
(ii) ensure school readiness.
(2) A statement of the goals for the full-day
kindergarten and how the goals will be measured through
program outcomes and other means.
(3) A description of how the department will involve
representatives of approved providers that administer early
learning programs addressing children between three and five
years of age.
(4) A description of how the department will coordinate
with existing federally funded programs, including the Head
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Start program, State-funded prekindergarten, including the
Pre-K Counts Program as defined under section 1511-D, public
school programs and child care providers.
(5) A plan that would allow a school district or several
school districts in the same intermediate unit to partner
with philanthropic investors and private sector investors to
develop and implement strategies designed to secure private
sector capital to fund full-day kindergarten.
(6) A comprehensive financial analysis of:
(i) specific State taxes imposed under the act of
March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code
of 1971;
(ii) the rate at which taxes under subparagraph (i)
could be increased; and
(iii) an estimate of the revenue that could be
generated to fund full-day kindergarten.
(7) A plan to address the shortages of qualified early
childhood education teachers, including how to increase
compensation to that comparable to public school teachers.
(8) How the department will provide ongoing professional
development opportunities to help increase the number of
teachers in early childhood education programs who meet the
State's education or credential requirements for kindergarten
teachers.
(9) A plan to address how the programs will meet the
needs of children with disabilities, limited English
proficiency and other special needs.
(10) A plan to provide transportation for children to
and from the programs.
(11) A plan to ensure that parents and guardians of
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children enrolled in the program are actively involved with
and engaged in the child's education.
(c) Report.--The committee shall:
(1) Submit a comprehensive report of the committee's
findings to the department.
(2) Submit proposed legislation containing the
committee's statutory recommendation for full-day
kindergarten to the department, the chairman and minority
chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and the
chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of
the House of Representatives no later than January 1, 2020.
(d) Content of report.--The report and proposed legislation
shall:
(1) Establish a method for providing funding for full-
day kindergarten to school districts.
(2) Include options for implementation of full-day
kindergarten.
(3) Consider the feasibility of developing and
implementing pilot programs in geographically diverse school
districts in this Commonwealth.
(4) Consider options for phasing in funding described in
paragraph (1).
(5) Not consider any other issues or proposed
legislation that is not directly and specifically related to
the establishment and implementation of full-day
kindergarten.
Section 1525-D. Local requirements.
(a) Duties of school districts.--A school district shall
provide kindergarten facilities free of charge for eligible
students residing in the school district by operating the
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facilities either singly or jointly with other school districts
in the same intermediate unit or by contracting with an approved
provider in accordance with regulations of the State Board of
Education.
(b) General requirements; approved providers.--An approved
provider receiving funding under this subarticle shall:
(1) Maintain a maximum class size of no more than 18
children.
(2) Maintain a ratio of no more than 10 children for
each member of the teaching staff.
(3) Ensure that all kindergarten teachers meet State
certification requirements in accordance with the
requirements of this subarticle.
(4) Meet all health and safety standards as required by
the department.
(c) Duties of certain approved providers.--An approved
provider that is not a school entity under this subarticle shall
submit an application to the department. The application shall
contain all of the following:
(1) A description of the full-day kindergarten to be
provided.
(2) A statement demonstrating the need for a program or
an enhanced or expanded program in the area served by the
approved provider.
(3) A description of the age-appropriate educational
curriculum and student outcomes and developmentally
appropriate educational curriculum and student outcomes.
(4) A description of how the approved provider will
collaborate with existing community-based child care
providers, school entities, Head Start programs and other
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providers of early learning programs, as appropriate.
(5) A description of how students and families will be
assisted in obtaining any needed social and human services.
(6) A plan to promote and achieve parental and guardian
involvement in the program.
(7) A description of how teachers will receive ongoing
professional development in early childhood development and
early childhood education.
(8) Any other information the department may require.
Section 1526-D. Professional development.
(a) Availability of funding.--The department may provide a
portion of any funds made available under this subarticle for
ongoing professional development activities for kindergarten
teachers.
(b) Use of funds.--Any funds that may be made available to
approved providers under this section shall be used for ongoing
professional development to accomplish the following:
(1) Provide kindergarten teachers and staff with the
knowledge and skills for the application of recent research
on child cognitive, social, emotional and physical
development, including, but not limited to, language and
literacy development and early childhood pedagogy.
(2) Work with children enrolled in full-day kindergarten
who have limited English proficiency, disabilities and other
special needs.
(3) Select and use developmentally appropriate screening
and diagnostic assessments to improve teaching and learning
and make appropriate referrals for services to support the
development and learning of children in full-day
kindergarten.
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(4) Provide the cost of education needed to obtain a
credential or degree with specific training in early
childhood development or education, if approved through
regulation of the department.
Section 5. The amendment of sections 503, 1301, 1326 and
1361 of the act shall apply beginning with the 2022-2023 school
year.
Section 6. This act shall take effect immediately.
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