PCPCS News

IMPORTANT NEWS!: Update on Meeting with PDE & Guidance to Charter Schools for Tuition Billing

April 26, 2018

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter SchoolsExcellent Schools PA, and the Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools met with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) this week to discuss the March 16, 2018, rescission of the PDE-363 guidelines and the April 19, 2018, clarification on calculating tuition rates.

The three organizations stressed to PDE that its recent announcements have created confusion throughout the public charter school community; however, PDE noted that due to the Commonwealth Court’s July 19, 2017, and February 22, 2018, opinions it was forced to remove itself from the PDE-363 process. PDE further noted that there is nothing in the Charter School Law that requires school districts to complete and calculate the PDE-363.

PCPCS, Excellent Schools PA, and KAPCS were successful at having PDE clarify the appropriate procedures public charter schools could use to ensure they continue to receive funding.

Based on what was discussed during the meeting PCPCS, Excellent Schools PA, and KAPCS recommend public charter schools to follow the below guidance until a permanent solution can be put into place:

IMPORTANT NOTE: PDE has extended the April 2018 deadline to submit redirection requests from Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to Friday, April 27, 2018.

 
For the Remainder of the 2017-18 School Year (if a school district does not provide a PDE-363)

  1. Charter schools should continue to bill at the 2016-17 tuition rates, which were calculated using 2015-16 data.
    1. If a sending school district does not pay as required by law and a charter school seeks redirection from PDE, be sure to note in the redirection request that the tuition rates are from the 2016-17 school year using 2015-16 data, which was already calculated and published by PDE.
  2. Following the conclusion of the 2017-18 fiscal year during the reconciliation process, charter schools should recalculate their sending school districts’ tuition rates using each district’s Annual Financial Report (AFR) and average daily membership (ADM) for 2016-17. This information is expected to be posted to PDE’s website by the end of May.
    1. Please note: during reconciliation, you are adjusting your billing for the full 2017-18 fiscal year using 2016-17 data.
For the 2018-19 School Year and Beyond (if a school districts does not provide a PDE-363 and/or until a permanent solution is put into place)

  1. Charter schools should bill at the 2017-18 tuition rates, which are calculated using 2016-17 data.
    1. If a sending school district does not pay as required by law and a charter school seeks redirection from PDE, be sure to note in the redirection request that the tuition rates are from the 2017-18 school year using 2016-17 data.
  2. Following the conclusion of the 2018-19 fiscal year during the reconciliation process, charter schools should recalculate their sending school districts’ tuition rates using each district’s AFR and ADM for 2017-18.
    1. Please note: during reconciliation, you are adjusting your billing for the full 2018-19 fiscal year using 2017-18 data.
Please note: If a school district does not provide a charter school with a completed PDE-363, the charter school can calculate its own PDE-363; however, PDE stressed that a sending school district’s federal expenditure, pre-kindergarten expenditures, and a portion of its Ready-to-Learn Block Grant expenditures must be deducted for any redirection request to be honored. Redirection requests submitted without the appropriate deductions will be rejected.

PCPCS, Excellence Schools PA, and KAPCS are exploring other opportunities to permanently correct the calculation of charter school tuition rates.

The above information is a stop-gap measure until a permanent solution is put into place.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.