What is the Beyer Bill?Monday, December 03, 2007 By Talon Staff
What, exactly, is the Beyer Bill? Read on to find out. HB0446 PN0494 Amendment Summary A03964 Cyber Charter Schools Rep. Beyer This amendment does the following: Section 1703-A (Definitions) ? Adds definitions for “Cyber charter school fund balance limit”, “Cyber education real cost level”, “Cyber special education real cost level”, “Employment cost index”, “Statewide average weekly wage” Section 1724-A (School Staff) ? Requires criminal history checks for cyber charter school employees who will have electronic/Internet contact with students; Section 1725-A (Funding for Charter Schools) ? Creates a new single statewide cyber charter tuition rate based on the most efficient and effective cyber charters school’s actual expenditures; ? Requires school districts to pay a 3% penalty if the school district fails to make a payment and causes the cyber charter school to seek its monthly payment from PDE, however this does not apply to students who the school district is disputing their residency; the Secretary must rescind any penalty paid to the cyber charter on behalf of a student in the case where billing was inaccurate; ? Provides limitations on unreserved, undesignated fund balances consistent with school district requirements; ? Requires any unreserved, undesignated fund balances in place on June 30, 2008, that exceed the limits, be distributed by the cyber charter towards professional development, student supplies, technology, instructional activities to increase student performance, to provide discounts to school district of tuition rates for enrolled students or other approved activities by the Secretary, funds cannot be used for bonuses; ? Requires any remaining funds to be refunded on a pro rata basis within 90 days of the effective date to all school districts that paid tuition to the cyber charter school in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years; ? Requires any unreserved, undesignated fund balance in excess of the cyber charter fund balance limit for the 2008-2009 school year and each school year thereafter to be refunded on a pro rata basis to all school districts that paid tuition to the cyber charter school in the prior school year; ? Does not require School Districts to pay for students who enroll in a cyber charter school if they are younger than the entry age for students in the district of residence; ? Does not require a school district to pay for full-day kindergarten in a cyber charter school if the district of residence only offers half-day kindergarten (in that case, payment would be ½ the standard rate); Section 1729-A (Causes for Nonrenewal) ? Requires student records to be forwarded to the district of residence within 10 days after a charter is revoked or not renewed (current law does not specify a time frame); Section 1741-A (Powers and duties of department) ? Provides PDE the power and duty and requires them to promulgate regulations to ensure that cyber charter students are receiving the appropriate number of hours of education; and cyber charter schools must demonstrate in their annual report due August 1 of each year to PDE that the minimum number of online and offline hours have been attained by each student; Section 1742-A (Assessment and evaluation) ? Provides a timeline for PDE’s annual assessment of whether each cyber charter school is meeting the goals of its charter (current law does not include a date for the assessment to be issued) and require that it be posted online no later than October 1 of each year; PDE must provide each charter school with a written report of the results no later than November 1 of each year; Section 1743-A (Cyber charter school requirements and prohibitions) ? Requires approval if a cyber charter wishes to increase enrollment above the maximum approved in its charter; ? Requires PDE to provide a copy, upon request, of a cyber charter school’s charter, application and annual reports; ? Requires cyber charter schools to provide, upon request of a school district, a list of each student enrolled from that school district; ? Specifies that any hardware/software and internet connections purchased by the cyber charter remains the property of the cyber charter school and must be returned in usable condition upon discontinuance of enrollment in the cyber charter school or pay a civil penalty; ? Requires cyber charter boards of trustees to comply with the Public Officials Act (designed to ensure filing of financial interest statements); ? Prohibits conflict of interest (i.e. business dealings) between management and board of trustees of a cyber charter school; ? Prohibits any person affiliated with the management of the school from sitting on the board of trustees; ? Provides PDE discretion to decide whether a teacher’s service in a cyber charter school should give them credit toward earning the next level of certification (currently law give the discretion to the teacher); requires the teacher to petition PDE for such a request and for PDE to establish guidelines governing acceptable criteria for approval of a petition; ? Prohibits cyber charter schools from expending any funds provided by the Commonwealth or by a school district on the education of any non-resident of Pennsylvania; Section 1744-A (School district and intermediate unit responsibilities) ? Requires, upon request of services, an agreement between the cyber charter school and an IU or school district before the IU or school district is required to provide assistance to the cyber charter school in the delivery of services to cyber charter students with disabilities; Section 1747-A (Cyber charter school application) ? Requires a cyber charter schools application to include a maximum level of enrollment during each school year of the proposed charter (currently they provide an anticipated enrollment level); Section 17-48-A (Enrollment and notification) ? Requires the parent and cyber charter school to notify the school district of residence of a student’s enrollment within 10 days of the enrollment in a cyber charter school (current law requires notification by the parent and cyber charter school within 15 days of enrollment); ? Allows school districts 20 days to determine whether a cyber charter student is a resident of the district after the district has been notified of the student’s enrollment (current law allows 7 days); ? Requires school districts to notify cyber charter schools if a student who enrolls in the cyber charter is truant; requires the cyber charter to provide proof on a monthly basis that such student is receiving instruction during the first three months of enrollment, if the cyber charter school fails to provide proof, the school district is not required to make payments for that student during that time; require the cyber charter school (not the district of residence) to enforce truancy provision in the school code; Section 1749-A (Applicability of other provisions of this act and of other acts and regulations) ? Subject’s cyber charter schools to the same budget timeline and use of funds provisions as school districts; ? Subject’s cyber charter schools to the same bidding requirements as school districts; ? Requires cyber charter schools, not the district of residence, to be responsible for enforcing attendance requirements. ? Removes the applicability of section 755 of the school code, as this section was repealed by the General Assembly.