Summary of Senate Bill 34: Cyber charter school tuition

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks)

Status: Senate Bill 34 was introduced on Jan. 11, 2019 and referred to the Senate Education Committee. The bill has not yet been considered by the committee.

Summary: Senate Bill 34 amends Section 1725-A of the School Code (Funding for Charter Schools) by adding a new subsection (a.1)

Under the bill, if a district offers a cyber-based program equal in scope and content to an existing publicly chartered cyber charter school and a student in that district attends a cyber charter school instead of the district’s cyber-based program, the district shall not be required to provide funding to pay for the student’s attendance at the cyber charter school.

The term “Equal in scope and content” used in the bill is not defined.

Effective date: Senate Bill 34 would become effective 60 days after the governor’s signature.

Summary of House Bill 526: Full-time Cyber Education Programs Offered by School Districts

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Curt Sonney (R- Erie)

Status: House Bill 526 was introduced on Feb. 19, 2019 and referred to the House Education Committee.  The bill has not yet been considered by the committee.

Note: The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Sonney, is the chairman of the House Education Committee.

Summary: House Bill 526 amends the School Code by creating a new Section 1723.1-A (Full-time Cyber Education Programs Offered by School District.)

Under the bill, the following shall apply to a student who resides in a school district that offers a full-time cyber education program:

(1)  If the student enrolls in the full-time cyber education program offered by the school district of residence, the student's enrollment in the cyber education program shall be subject to no tuition or fees other than fees that the school district imposes on its students generally.

(2)  If the student chooses to enroll in a cyber charter school, the student or the student's parent or guardian shall be responsible to pay the cyber charter school a per-student amount calculated in the manner set forth in Section 1725-A(a)(2) and (3). Such payments shall be made to the cyber charter school in 12 equal monthly payments, by the fifth day of each month, within the operating school year. A student enrolled in a cyber charter school shall not be included in the average daily membership of the student's school district of residence for the purpose of providing basic education funding payments and special education funding pursuant to Article XXV.

The term “full-time cyber education program” as used in this bill is defined as a complete course of study that is offered by a school district in which the school district uses technology in order to provide a significant portion of its curriculum and to deliver a significant portion of instruction to its students through the Internet or other electronic means and that is not a cyber charter school established under section 1745-A.

Effective date: House Bill 526 would become effective 60 days after the governor’s signature.