Important information from PDE on 363 calculations and immunizations
June 21, 2012
1. Some charter school have questioned school district backing out federal stimulus money from the Social Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) and the Education Jobs Fund (EduJobs) on their 363 calculation.
It is PDE’s position that ANY federal portion of BEF, including SFSF and EduJobs, should be considered state funds for the purpose of the 363 and should NOT be backed out of the 363 calculation.
If any charter school discovers that their districts are doing so, the charter should consider challenging the 363 calculation.
2. The following story on immunization requirements can be included in its entirety.
In a May 10, 2012 PennLink, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) provided recommendations for schools to consider when determining whether to exclude students from school who have not complied with the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (DOH) regulations regarding school immunization requirements. As stated, the determination whether to exclude a student is within the discretion of the school based on its review of particular facts and circumstances. However, PDE has received calls from charter schools stating that they are not subject to the immunization requirements.
PDE’s response is that charter schools are subject to the immunization requirements because Section 1715-A of the Charter School Law (CSL) specifically states that charter schools are not exempt from any laws that are applicable to public schools that are outside the School Code and regulations. Therefore, charter schools are subject to the DOH regulations that are applicable to public schools. In addition, under section 17-1732-A(b) of the CSL, charter schools are subject to chapter 11 of the State Board of Education regulations. Section 11.20 specifically incorporates the immunization requirements of 28 Pa. Code Chapter 23 (relating to immunization). Thus, the immunization requirements specifically do apply to charter schools.
In addition, PDE has been asked whether a charter school can withdraw a student who accrues 10 consecutive illegal absences based on not complying with immunization requirements.
In PDE’s PennLink, PDE states that if a school decides to exclude a student from attendance, PDE encourages the school to mark the student’s absence resulting from the exclusion as unexcused. Thus, any unexcused absences resulting from exclusion for failure to comply with the immunization requirements should be treated as any other unexcused absences with the consequences that follow. Also, as charter schools are aware, they must notify a student’s resident school district at the time the student has accumulated (not necessarily consecutive) 3 unexcused absences; thus, allowing the school district to initiate truancy proceeding for any subsequent unexcused absences.