PSBA is pleased to report that Senator Langerholc, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has introduced legislation to provide public schools flexibility and relief from costly and unnecessary mandates. Senate Bill 1286 would reinstitute the mandate waiver program similar to the program which operated from 2000 to 2010. PSBA worked with Senator Langerholc to draft the proposal and thanks him for his efforts to move this issue forward.
Under Senate Bill 1286, public schools may apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for a waiver of many state-imposed mandates. PDE can approve a waiver if the school can show that its instructional program will improve or the school will operate in a more effective, efficient, or economical manner.
Certain laws and regulations would not be waivable, such as those relating to student safety, academic standards and assessments, special education, protected handicapped students, gifted education, student attendance, professional educator conduct standards, among others.
PSBA notes that public school leaders fully supported including the temporary mandate waiver program as part of the emergency COVID-19 legislation in Act 13 of 2020. However, the waiver provisions in Act 13 are only available for the 2019-20 academic year. Public schools need a broad, permanent solution that will continue in future years.