March 30, 2020
To Our Valued Clients:
We received several requests for additional summaries regarding legislation enacted last week.
Two COVID-19 relief bills were signed into law last week that greatly impact schools, Act 13 of 2020 (previously referred to as Pennsylvania Senate Bill 751) and the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Below is a synopsis of the most relevant portions affecting charter schools:
Act 13 of 2020, applicable only to the 2019-2020 school year
- The minimum 180 instructional days requirement is waived.
- No school employee who was employed as of March 13, 2020 shall receive more or lesscompensation or credit or contribution pursuant to the PSERS (Public School Employees’ Retirement Code) than the employee would otherwise have received had the pandemic not occurred.
- Each school must provide written notice to the parent or guardian of a student who receives IEP (individualized education program) services under the IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act) of the school’s plan for ensuring that the student receives FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education).
- Each School must make a “good faith effort” to offer continuity of education to students and submit a continuity of education plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and post it on its website.
- Each school will continue to receive subsidy payments while the schools are closed; however, a charter or cyber charter school’s subsidy will be based upon enrollment as of March 13, 2020.
- Upon application by a school, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera may waive any provision of the Public-School Code or associated regulations related to the school’s staffing needs or operations impacted by the pandemic.
- The CARES Act clarified leave limits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, specifically, that emergency FMLA leave is $200 per day and an aggregate of $10,000 per employee and paid sick leave is $511 per day and an aggregate of $5,110 per employee.
- Schools may claim the family and sick leave credits against payroll taxes.
- The Education Stabilization Fund allots $13.75 billion toward the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which authorizes LEAs (Local Educational Agencies) to use the funds for activities, including any activity authorized by ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) and the IDEA and activities that are necessary to maintain continuity of education by LEAs (i.e. purchasing educational technology and providing online learning).
- The CARES Act affords an additional $100 million to Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), which provides support to LEAs disrupted by violence or traumatic incident for counseling and mental health service referrals.
- At the request of State educational agencies or LEAs, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos may waive provisions of the ESEA, including Title I requirements regarding assessments and accountability systems. However, the Secretary may not waive any statutory or regulatory requirements related to civil rights law at this time. The CARES Act requires the Secretary to prepare a report to members of Congress by April 26, 2010 (30 days from enactment) with recommendations on additional waivers that the Secretary believes are necessary under the IDEA and Rehabilitation Act, which includes Section 504.
Visit our Coronavirus Resources page for links for guidance during this pandemic. McKenna Snyder attorneys are closely following legal and regulatory occurrences to help clients solve their COVID-19 challenges.
Should you have any questions on the information provided, please contact our office.
McKenna Snyder LLC