Q & A
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Q : Generally , which students are entitled to receive special education
A : All students who satisfy the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act definition of a “ child with a disability ” are entitled to such services . Children meet that definition if they have been evaluated as having an intellectual disability , a hearing impairment ( including deafness ), a speech or language impairment , a visual impairment ( including blindness ), a serious emotional disturbance ( referred to as “ emotional disturbance ”), an orthopedic impairment , autism , traumatic brain injury , another health impairment , a specific learning disability , deaf-blindness , or multiple disabilities and , due to the disability , require special education . Additionally , under Early Intervention provisions , it includes children between the ages of 3 and 9 who are experiencing developmental delays that result in a need for special education . 20 U . S . C . § 1401 ( 3 ); 34 C . F . R . § 300.8 .
Q : Is there a timetable for the adoption of a school district ’ s annual
A : Yes . Act 1 requires school districts to
adopt a preliminary budget that includes any proposed tax rate increases , no later than 90 days prior to the primary election . 53 P . S . § 6926.311 ( a ). The preliminary budget must be submitted to the Department of Education . In lieu of adopting a preliminary budget , a district that does not intend to seek exceptions allowing tax rates to be increased by more than the Act 1 index established by the department may adopt a resolution indicating the rate of any tax will not be raised more than the index . The resolution must be adopted no later than 110 days prior to the primary election and submitted to the Department of Education . 53 P . S . § 6926.311 ( d ).
Once a district has taken either of the actions described above , the district must then comply with Sections 671 and 672 of the Public School Code . Those sections require school districts of the Second , Third and Fourth Class to adopt annual budgets no later than June 30 of each year . 24 P . S . §§ 6-671 , 6-672 . Section 687 requires adoption of a proposed budget at least 30 days before the passage of the final budget . The district must also make the proposed budget available for public inspection at least 20 days before passage of the final budget . Additionally , a vote on the final budget cannot be taken until notice is provided in a newspaper of general circulation that the proposed budget is available . 24 P . S . § 6-687 .
Q : How does a charter school differ
from a traditional public school ?
A : A charter school has its own
corporate existence , budget , employees and governance structure independent from a school district . Since a charter school is a public school , it has to comply with many of the same state and federal laws as a traditional public school , but here are some key differences :
• Charter school facilities are exempt from public school facility regulations , except those pertaining to the health and safety of the pupils . 24 P . S . § 17-1722-A ( b ).
• For purposes of state law , only 75 % of the professional staff members of a charter school must hold appropriate state certification to work . 24 P . S . § 17- 1724-A ( a ).
• Professional employees without appropriate Pennsylvania certification may teach students , if they meet certain eligibility criteria referred to within 24 P . S . § 17-1724-A ( b ).
• Charter schools are exempt from many of the provisions within the Public School Code ( statutes ) and regulations of the State Board of Education . See , 24 P . S . § 17-1732-A ( a ) - ( b ).
• Charter schools can limit admission to a particular grade level , a targeted population group composed of at-risk students , or areas of concentration of the school such as mathematics , science or the arts . 24 P . S . § 17-1723- A ( b )( 2 ).
• Charter schools have their own boards of trustees empowered to decide matters related to the operation of the school , including the budget , curriculum and operating procedures , subject to the school ’ s charter . 24 P . S . § 17-1716-A ( a ).
Q : Does Pennsylvania have its own law regarding the minimum wage
and overtime pay ?
A : Yes . The Minimum Wage Act of 1968
sets the state minimum hourly wage to an amount identical to that specified in the FLSA . 43 P . S . § 333.104 ( a . 1 ). Likewise , the law requires employers to pay overtime of one and one-half an employee ’ s regular rate when they work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek . 43 P . S . § 333.104 ( c ); 34 Pa . Code §§ 231.41- 231.43 .
Q : May the board treasurer be
A : Yes . The Public School Code allows ,
but does not require , the school board treasurer to receive compensation for performing that role . The school board sets the compensation of its treasurer . In school districts of the Second , Third and Fourth Class , the amount may not exceed 2 % of the amount annually paid out on school orders . Whatever compensation is set must be reported annually to the Pennsylvania Department of Education . 24 P . S . § 4-438 .
50 PSBA Bulletin January / February 2022