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PRINTER'S NO. 340
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
144
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY MARTIN, AUMENT, COSTA, BROWNE, K. WARD, MENSCH,
BLAKE, FONTANA, J. WARD, REGAN, YUDICHAK AND HAYWOOD,
MARCH 4, 2019
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, MARCH 4, 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," providing for the Keystone
Telepresence Education Grant Program.
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:
ARTICLE XV-J
KEYSTONE TELEPRESENCE EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM
Section 1501-J. Scope of article.
This article relates to the Keystone Telepresence Education
Grant Program.
Section 1502-J. 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:
"Department." The Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"Grant." A Keystone Telepresence Education Grant authorized
and awarded by the department under the program to intermediate
units in this Commonwealth.
"Homebound student." A student in this Commonwealth who:
(1) is unable to attend school for an extended period as
the result of a serious medical condition, including injuries
from an accident, recovery from a medical procedure, serious
illness or chronic illness; and
(2) satisfies the conditions for receipt of homebound
instruction under 22 Pa. Code ยง 11.25 (relating to temporary
excusals due to illness or other urgent reasons).
"Program." The Keystone Telepresence Education Grant Program
established under section 1503-J(a).
"Secretary." The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
"Telepresence equipment." Available technology that enables
homebound students to participate in daily educational
activities with the students' classmates and teachers, in real-
time, from a remote location. The technology shall include audio
and video capabilities that enable homebound students to
communicate with classmates and teachers.
"Telepresence equipment manufacturer." An entity that
manufactures telepresence equipment for the use of, among other
things, educating homebound students and provides technical
support and training for the equipment.
Section 1503-J. Keystone Telepresence Education Grant Program.
(a) Establishment.--The Keystone Telepresence Education
Grant Program is established for the purpose of awarding grants
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to intermediate units for the purchase of telepresence equipment
and related support services for the educational support of
homebound students. The department shall:
(1) Develop guidelines for the purchase of telepresence
equipment and services related to the utilization of the
equipment through the program, including department-approved
telepresence equipment manufacturers.
(2) Determine the form and manner in which an
application for a grant may be filed with the department.
(3) Provide notice of the program to intermediate units.
(4) Make grant applications available to all
intermediate units along with details relating to the
application process.
(5) Adopt guidelines for the approval of grant
applications.
(b) Eligibility.--Each intermediate unit shall be eligible
for a grant.
(c) Application.--An intermediate unit may apply for a grant
by submitting one annual application to the department. The
secretary shall determine in accordance with the guidelines of
the department the amount of a grant award to an intermediate
unit.
(d) Allocation.--To award grants under the program, the
department shall use up to $300,000 annually of undistributed
funds not expended, encumbered or committed from appropriations
for grants and subsidies made to the department to award grants.
The funds shall be transferred by the Secretary of the Budget to
a restricted account as necessary to award grants and, when
transferred, are appropriated to carry out the provisions of
this article.
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(e) Limitations.--An intermediate unit may not receive an
annual grant allocation that exceeds 10% of the funds available
under the grant program.
Section 1504-J. Intermediate unit policies.
(a) Telepresence equipment use.--An intermediate unit shall
develop an internal policy for the use of telepresence equipment
and related support services prior to applying for a grant. The
policy shall include guidelines for the process by which public
schools, nonpublic schools or other educational entities within
the intermediate unit may request the use of telepresence
equipment through an intermediate unit.
(b) Dissemination.--An intermediate unit shall, upon
request, provide the policy under subsection (a) to a public
school, nonpublic school or other educational entity within the
intermediate unit.
(c) Policy modification.--A public school, nonpublic school
or other educational entity within an intermediate unit may
request that the intermediate unit modify its policy for the use
of telepresence equipment and related support services to meet
the needs of a homebound student.
Section 1505-J. Use of grants.
(a) Equipment.--An intermediate unit which is awarded a
grant shall use the grant to purchase telepresence equipment.
(b) Service and training.--A grant may be used, in part, to
secure technical support, mechanical support and training
support related to the use of telepresence equipment.
Section 1506-J. Reports.
An intermediate unit which is awarded a grant shall submit to
the department a report detailing all expenditures related to
the use of the grant.
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Section 1507-J. Prohibition.
An intermediate unit that purchases telepresence equipment
with a grant may not charge a public school, nonpublic school or
other educational entity within the intermediate unit for the
use of the telepresence equipment when the equipment is used to
support the educational needs of a homebound student.
Section 1508-J. Construction.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to require or
create an entitlement to telepresence equipment as a component
of an individualized education plan for any student in this
Commonwealth.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 90 days.
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