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​Redirection Transaction Fees FAQs

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What is the legal basis for the redirection fees?

Pennsylvania Statutes Title 71 P.S. State Government § 1011 provides:

“The superintendent of Public Instruction [now known as the Secretary of Education] may fix and collect reasonable fees for certain services rendered to persons or agencies other than departments of the State government by the Department of Public Instruction [now known as the Department of Education]. . . for other services rendered by such department, and may alter such fees from time to time as may be desirable: Provided, That the charge for such services shall not be in excess of the actual cost of such services: And provided further, That all fees collected under this act shall be paid into the State Treasury as part of the general fund.”

How and when will the fee be implemented?

In October 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will begin implementing a $15 fee for each individual school district subsidy redirection request made by each charter school and processed by PDE.  Each month, PDE will send invoices to charter schools via e-mail.

What is the schedule for implementing the redirection fee?

Redirection fees will be implemented beginning October 2019, as follows:

  • September 15 – September 25: Redirection requests submitted.
  • September 26 – October 15: Division of Subsidy Administration (DSA) will process October Unipay. Through that process, DSA will obtain a list of charter schools that submitted requests to redirect school district subsidies.
  • Mid- to late October: Fee payments will be calculated and invoices will be prepared and sent to charter school contacts electronically.

Why is the redirection fee being implemented?

​In 2011, PDE processed approximately 8,300 redirection requests from charter schools seeking tuition payments directly from the commonwealth, drawn from school district subsidy payments. In 2018, the number of redirection requests grew to nearly 13,500 — a more than 60 percent increase.
 
Redirection requests result from a multitude of factors and amounts range widely. In the most recent fiscal year, individual redirection requests ranged from $0.04 to more than $1.3 million. Some requests reflect a single tuition payment for a single student from a single school district; others involve hundreds of students over dozens of school districts, as in the case of cyber charter schools.

But the consequence is the same — the increasing volume of redirection requests requires the state to divert attention from other critical school-funding and data-quality projects to process payments that should be a purely local transaction.

What does the fee cover?

​The work required to process a claim is the same, regardless of whether the redirection request is for $0.04 or for $1.3 million.  As such, the amount of the fee is derived from the actual staffing costs associated with processing withholdings and redirections.

​Is the redirection fee dependent on the number of students for which a charter is requesting payment?

​No. The fee is applied per request — in other words, a request from a charter school for a specific school district.  For example, a charter school seeking redirections from 100 school districts would be invoiced $1,500 (100 redirection requests x $15 = $1,500).

​Will redirection fees be assessed when a school district does not make charter tuition payments?

​PDE has the authority to collect fees only for services rendered.  A redirection fee will be assessed only if a redirection request is submitted.


If a school district does not make tuition payments, will the fee be levied against the school district?

Under 71 P.S. § 1011, fees may be imposed only for services rendered.  Per section 1725-A, redirection is only provided to charter schools. Therefore, a fee can only be invoiced to the charter school.

Will the Department encourage school districts to make timely charter tuition payments?

Charter school tuition payments should be a local, cooperative process and PDE continues to encourage school districts to work directly with charter schools.  PDE has developed a variety of resources to promote accuracy and transparency in tuition rate calculations and tuition payment procedures.  These resources are available on the Division of Subsidy Administration’s Charter School Funding webpage.    

Where can I direct other questions concerning redirection fees?

​Questions concerning the implementation of fees may be directed to ra-CSFunding@pa.gov.