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Basic Education Circulars (BECs)

A Basic Education Circular (BEC) provides the Department of Education's guidance on the implementation of law, regulation and policy.
Name Reference Source Purpose
Access to Secondary Students 20 USC 790 US Code The Pennsylvania Department of Education interprets Public Law 107–110, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Section 9528 (Armed Forces Recruiter Access To Students and Student Recruiting Information), 20 USC §7908, and Pennsylvania law Act 10, 1991, 51 P.S. §§20221-20225 in the following manner:
​Act 168 of 2014 - Procedures and Forms ​24 P.S. 1-111 ​Purdon's Statutes ​This circular describes the process for completing the employment history review process related to Act 168, explains the use of forms for employment screening, and details the process for accessing "pending criminal charge" information as required by Act 168.
Admission to Kindergarten and Beginners 24 P.S. 5-503 Purdon's Statutes Local school board has the right and responsibility for establishing the age at which a child can begin the kindergarten program
Alteration and/or Curtailment of Programs 24 P.S. 11-1124 Purdon's Statutes Section 1124 of the School Code provides that: Any board of school directors may suspend the necessary number of professional employees, for any of the causes herein enumerated
Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth 24 P.S. 1901-1906 C Purdon's Statutes Provides guidance regarding placement of students in Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) Programs. It also provides guidance on AEDY program requirements to ensure that students in these programs are provided appropriate academic and behavioral support services
Assistive Technology 20 USC §1401(1-2) US Code Revised guidance regarding assistive technology to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004 and Chapters 14 and 711.
Background Checks 24 P.S. 1-111 Purdon's Statutes Provides guidance to school administrators concerning the duties resulting from Act 24, signed into law on June 30, 2011, requiring background checks for employees of public and private schools, IUs, and AVTSs, including independent contractors and their employees
Charter Schools 24 P.S. 17-1701-A Purdon's Statutes To serve as a guide for charter schools, school districts, parents, and students. The Charter School law, known as Act 22 of 1997, is part of the Pennsylvania School Code, cited as 24 P.S. Article XVII-A
24 P.S. 10-1078 and 9-963 Purdon's Statutes Identifies when a commission will be issued and what is necessary to be submitted to the Department for approval
Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Elimination Plan 24 P.S. 13-1327 Purdon's Statutes Department of Education and the schools of the Commonwealth are obligated to comply with state and federal requirements for student attendance and truancy
Copyright Laws 17 U.S.C. Section 107 US Code The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-553) became effective on January 1, 1978 . This legislation takes cognizance of technological advancements in communication and education and sets standards for "fair use" of printed, audiovisual, graphic and musical materials by teachers.
Cyber Charter Schools 24 P.S. 17-1741-A Purdon's Statutes Guidance for cyber charter schools, school districts, parents, and students.
Cyber Charter School Use of Physical Facilities 24 P.S. §§ 17-1741-A – 17-1751-A Purdon's Statutes Guidance to cyber charter applicants and operators relating to the requirements for delivery of curriculum and instruction to students through the internet and other electronic means and the proper use of a cyber charter school's physical facilities.
Cyclical Monitoring Schedule for Gifted Education ​22 Pa. Code Chapter 16 ​PA Code ​The purpose of this Circular is to outline the cyclical monitoring process for gifted
education and to publish a monitoring schedule.
Days Schools Not to be Kept Open 24 P.S. Section 15-1502 Purdon's Statutes This BEC identifies for the board of school directors when developing their school calendar which days may be used as instructional days and specific days of the week and holidays which may not be used for instruction under any circumstances
Department Approval of School Buildings, Equipment and Premises Leased for Educational Purposes by School Districts Except School Districts of the First Class 24 P.S. §7-775 24 PS 7-775 Purdon's Statutes All school districts have the authority to lease any part of their respective school buildings, equipment and premises, or any vacant building, for educational purposes. Except in school districts of the first class, these leases are subject to the approval of the Department of Education.
Department–Funded Slots for Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools 24 P.S. §§ 13-1302; 13-1372 Purdon's Statutes Provides guidance on how a school district can place a student in an approved private school pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and receive partial funding for the placement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, when such funding is available, pursuant to sections 1302 and 1372 of the Public School Code.
Determination of Residence of Children Living in Pennsylvania Institutions 24 PS 13-1308 Purdon's Statutes Circular describes the procedures for determining the place of residence of school-aged persons who live in institutions in Pennsylvania , but whose parents or legal guardians reside outside Pennsylvania
Disciplinary Exclusions of Students Who Are Eligible for Special Education 22 Pa. Code Section 14.143 PA Code Federal regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This BEC provides formal written guidance regarding disciplinary exclusions (suspension).
Drug and Alcohol Education, Counseling and Support Services 24 P.S. 15-1547 Purdon's Statutes Section 1547 of the PA School Code, enacted as Act 211 of 1990, requires school districts to implement a comprehensive tobacco, alcohol and other drugs program including instruction in the classroom
Early Intervention and Private Schools 11 P.S. 875-304 Purdon's Statutes This announcement provides guidance on funding policies for the evaluation and provision of Early Intervention services for children eligible to attend kindergarten
Early Intervention Transition: Infants and Toddlers to Preschool 11 P.S. 875-304 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this announcement is to provide guidance on transition procedures for: Toddlers transitioning from the Infant/Toddler Early Intervention (EI) program to the Preschool EI program or other community settings at age three Infants/Toddlers who are transitioning to other community services prior to age three
Early Intervention Transition: Preschool Programs to School-Aged Program 11 PS 875-101 to 875-502 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this announcement is to clarify the procedures concerning the transition of children from Preschool Early Intervention programs to the kindergarten or first grade programs of their school districts of residence or local charter school
Educating English Learners (ELs) 22 Pa. Code 4.26 PA Code The development and implementation of an instructional program designed to promote language growth and proficiency as well as academic achievement for English learners is the responsibility of every local education agency in the Commonwealth.
Education for Homeless Youth 42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq. US Code
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act  is an aid for homeless persons. It defines the term "homeless children and youths" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will remove those “awaiting foster care placement” as a category effective December 10, 2016.
Education Services for Students Incarcerated 24 P.S. Section 13-1306.2 Purdon's Statutes Authorizing the adjudication of school age individuals as adults, has increased the student population in local correction institutions
Educational Programs for Students in "Non-Educational" Placements 22 Pa. Code Section 14.102 (a)(2)(xiii) PA Code The joint policy of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education regarding educational services for students who receive non-educational placements
Educator Misconduct Complaint Procedures and Complaint Form 24 P.S. 2070.9 Purdon's Statutes Section 2070.9 authorizes any interested party to file a disciplinary complaint against a professional educator or charter school staff member with the Department of Education
Educator Misconduct – School Entity Mandatory Report Procedures and Form 24 P.S. 2070.9a Purdon's Statutes 24 P.S. § 2070.9a mandates school entity reporting of educator misconduct with specific timelines. The chief school administrator (school district supt, asst supt, IU exec), chief administrator of a CTC , charter school, or their designees must report the following to PDE : the dismissal for cause of a certified employee or charter school staff member; conduct that has resulted in a criminal indictment or conviction of a certified employee or charter school staff member; information which constitutes reasonable cause to believe the certified employee or charter school staff member has caused physical injury to a student or child through negligence or malice or has committed sexual abuse or exploitation involving a student or child.
Emergency School Closings 24 P.S. 25-2523 Purdon's Statutes Guidance and direction regarding public school emergency closing procedures
Employee Rating Form 24 P.S. Section 11-1123 Purdon's Statutes Section 1123 of the Public School Code of 1949 requires the Department of Education to prepare a rating system for use evaluate professional employees of school districts through a system that gives due consideration to personality, preparation, technique, and pupil reaction.
Enrollment of Students 24 P.S. 13-1301 – 13-1306 Purdon's Statutes This BEC provides guidance regarding public school enrollment procedures for resident and non-resident children.
Enrollment Q&A 24 P.S. 13-1301 – 13-1306 Purdon's Statutes The following Questions and Answers are provided to assist parents, school districts and charter schools in the student enrollment process. This information is based on applicable school law and regulation and reflects procedures outlined in the recently revised Basic Education Circular ( BEC ) on Student Enrollment
Extended School Year Eligibility 22 Pa. Code 14.132 PA Code Issues related to Extended School Year (ESY) services for children with disabilities
Extent and Duration of Early Intervention Programs for Preschoolers with Disabilities, Including Services during Breaks in Program 11 P.S. 875-304 Purdon's Statutes Guidance to clarify Departmental policy concerning the extent and duration of the program provided to eligible young children in early intervention programs, including the provision of services to eligible young children during scheduled breaks in their education program
Farm and Domestic Service Permits 24 P.S. 13-1329 - 13-1330 Purdon's Statutes This BEC will discuss two sections of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended. These sections address exceptions to the compulsory attendance provisions of the school code.
Federal Government Deparment and Suspensions 34 C.F.R Part 85 Federal Code This BEC alerts school entities to their responsibilities under the federal regulations regarding government-wide debarment and suspension. The regulations are intended to implement federal government policy to conduct business only with responsible persons.
Fire Drills and School Bus Evacuations 24 P.S. 15-1517 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this BEC is to set forth a process for public school reporting of fire drills and school bus evacuation drills to the Department of Education.
Foreign Students' Eligibility for Enrollment 22 Pa. Code 11.11(d) PA Code Students who apply for admission to Pennsylvania public schools and possess a visa of any type should comply with the terms and conditions of that visa. Enrollment in elementary and secondary courses of study may impact a student's legal non-immigration status
​Gifted Individual Education Plan Meeting ​22 Pa. Code Chapter 16 ​PA Code ​The purpose of this Circular is to clarify the function of the Gifted Individualized
Education Plan (GIEP) team.
Graduation of Seniors 24 P.S. Section 15-1501 Purdon's Statutes Section 1501 of the School Code, as amended, requires the Secretary to determine whether a school district made a "bona fide" effort to provide 180 days for seniors following severe weather conditions that caused school closings.
Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities 24 P.S. §1-102 - §13-1301 - §16-1614 Purdon's Statutes This BEC provides local education agencies (LEAs) with a summary of information regarding graduation requirements for students with disabilities.
Half-Day Sessions 24 P.S. 15-1504 Purdon's Statutes This BEC discusses the law and procedures for approval of half-day instructional sessions for school-age students.
Health Record and Questionnaire Sports Preparticipation and Recertification Forms 24 P.S. 5-511 Purdon's Statutes Section 5-511 of the School Code provides that the local school board "shall prescribe, adopt, and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations as it may deem proper, regarding (1) the management, supervision, control, or prohibition of exercises, athletics, or games of any kind…."
Home Education Program 24 P.S. 13-1327.1 Purdon's Statutes This BEC provides a listing of the requirements for the supervisor to establish a home education program, a list of acceptable tests to fulfill the law's requirements, and sample affidavit form for use by the supervisor.
Implementation of Chapter 15 22 Pa. Code Chapter 15 PA Code Regulations of the State Board of Education addresses the responsibility of school districts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations at 34 CFR Part 104
Instruction Conducted in the Home 34 CFR 300.39 and 115 Federal Code Reporting requirements for students with disabilities assigned to instruction conducted in the home by the IEP team and students with disabilities who may be assigned to homebound instruction
Instructional Time and Act 80 Exceptions 24 P.S. 15-1504 Purdon's Statutes All public schools are to be open each school year for at least one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction for pupils
Intensive Interagency Coordination 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(12) US Code The system of intensive interagency coordination is not intended to replace the local interagency process.
Intensive Interagency Definitions  (Attachment to BEC ) 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(12) US Code This is an attachment to the BEC on Intensive Interagency Coordination and provides the federal definition of "active students", at risk students", "past students", and "compensatory students.
Lapsed Certificates Section 24 P.S. 12-1201 Purdon's Statutes BEC explains the proper course of action when the public entity discovers that a professional employee may have an invalid certificate, and will address audits concerning such certificates.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and Educational Placement for Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) 22 Pa. Code 14.102 (a) (2) (xxiv) PA Code Primarily directed at school-age students with disabilities. Although components of this BEC apply as well to preschool-age children, PDE is developing specific guidance for preschool-age children.
Letter to Auditor General on Enrollments 24 P.S. §13-1301 – §13-1306 Purdon's Statutes The attached letter from Secretary of Education, Gerald Zahorchak, is a response to the Auditor General regarding student enrollment issues.
Missing Child Registration 35 P.S. 450.401-A – 450.404-A Purdon's Statutes It applies to any last known school which the missing child attended. Missing children include individuals under 18 years of age who are reported to a law enforcement agency as abducted, lost, missing or runaways.
Nonresident Students in Institutions 24 P.S. Section 13-1306 Purdon's Statutes Students who are residing in a "children's institution" whose parents are not residents of the school district in which the institution is located are identified as "1306" students.
Official Public School File 24 P.S. 10-1006 Purdon's Statutes Responsibility for maintenance of the Pennsylvania Department of Education ( PDE ) official public school computer file lies primarily with the Division of Data Services. This file serves all offices within PDE to provide information necessary for administration of educational programs requiring school level data. It contains the following information: name, address, and telephone of the school; name of principal or head teacher; and school category (e.g. elementary).
Placement Options for Special Education 22 Pa Code 14.102 PA Code review a variety of special education service and placement options available to school districts and charter schools through arrangement with other public agencies or private organizations
Pregnant and Parenting Students 24 P.S. Section 13-1327 Purdon's Statutes This Basic Education Circular is to address questions regarding the education of Pennsylvania students in public and private schools who are pregnant or parenting. Consequently, the following sections discuss such issues as attendance, homebound instruction and special education.
Private Residential Rehabilitative Institutions 24 P.S. Section 9-964.1 Purdon's Statutes The general authority of LEAs to contract with PRRIs is governed by Section 964.1 of the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. Section 9-964.1. Section 964.1 authorizes LEAs to contract with PRRIs which fall within the LEAs geographical boundary
Protection of Pupil Rights 20 USC 1232 h US Code The purpose of this BEC is to inform you of changes to the Protection of Pupil Rights Act as amended by Public Law 183-227, Title X, Section 1017, March 31, 1994, which revised 20 U.S.C. §1232h
Public School Employer Third-Party Contracting for Non-Instructional Services ​24 P.S.§ 5-528 PA Code​ ​This Basic Education Circular (BEC) provides brief guidance concerning the application of section 528 of the Public School Code, 24 P.S.§ 5-528, to a covered public school employer's contracting for non-instructional services with third-parties.  This section was added to the School Code by Act 39 of 2018.
Public School Entity Employer and Employee Collective Bargaining Organizations ​Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, No. 16-1466 (U.S. June 27, 2018) U.S. Supreme Court​ ​The purpose of this BEC is to provide brief guidance concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, No. 16-1466 (U.S. June 27, 2018).
Reimbursements for School Construction Bond Issues 24 P.S. 25-2574 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this BEC is to provide information concerning Commonwealth reimbursement on bond issues relating to school construction projects.
Sale or Lease of Unused and Unnecessary Lands and Buildings 24 P.S. 7-707 Purdon's Statutes This BEC concerns the sale or lease of school facilities that are receiving Commonwealth reimbursement for debt service or authority rental payments. When a building is sold by a school district, reimbursement by the Commonwealth ceases. The school district must notify the Department of Education ( PDE ) of any sale of school facilities
School Construction Reimbursement Criteria 24 P.S. 7-733 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this BEC is to clarify existing policies governing re­quests for school construction reimbursement
School Immunization Requirements 24 P.S. 13-1303a Purdon's Statutes The Pennsylvania Department of Health promulgates immunization regulations (28 Pa. Code §§23.81-87) which require parents of those students enrolled in grades K-12 to have their children immunized against various communicable diseases
Services From The Office of Chief Counsel Pennsylvania Department of Education 71 P.S. Section 732-301 Purdon's Statutes In certain circumstances, school districts and intermediate units may request an opinion from the Office of Chief Counsel
Services to Nonpublic School Students 22 Pa Code Chapter 15 PA Code Issues concerning the provision of Chapter 15 services to "protected handicapped students" enrolled in private, nonpublic schools
Special Education Compliance 22 Pa Code 14.102(a)(4) PA Code Responsibility for developing and maintaining a system that ensures that each student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education and that each family has access to a system of procedural safeguards.
Special Education FAPE and One-to-One Support Obligations for Students with Disabilities 34 CFR 300.101 and 104.33 ​Federal Code This BEC clarifies that the Local Educational Agency (LEA) is ultimately responsible for the provision of special education and related services for every student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It describes the responsibilities of the LEA to provide special education and related services including one-to-one support for students with disabilities.
Special Education Services to Nonpublic School Students 34 CFR 300.403 Federal Code Clarification concerning the provision of special education services to students enrolled in private, nonpublic schools
Student Records Being Retained by a Private School 22 Pa Code 12.31 PA Code Private school temporarily retains the student's records pending resolution of an infraction of the private school's policies or a contractual dispute with a parent or guardian
Subsidy Payments on Closed School Buildings 22 Pa Code 349.28 PA Code Upon receipt of justification, authorize the continuation of school construction reimbursement payments if the closed school building is used
Surrogate Parents 20 U.S.C. §141 US Code The purpose of this Basic Educational Circular is to provide guidance regarding the duty of the Local Education Agency (LEA) to appoint a surrogate parent. A surrogate parent is defined as a person who acts in the place of the parent to make educational decisions on behalf of a child with a disability in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
Transfer of Entities 24 PS 11-1113 Purdon's Statutes Questions about 1113 and 1418 and the Department's response to those questions.
Transfer of Records 24 P.S. 19-1926 Purdon's Statutes Educational programs in state-operated institutions for delinquent youth operate under the authority of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and are considered to be public schools
Transportation to Approved Private Schools 24 P.S. 13-1374 Purdon's Statutes Section 1374 of the Public School Code of 1949 governs transportation of exceptional students, including the transportation of eligible children to approved private schools
Use of Facsimile Signatures 65 P.S. 301 et seq Purdon's Statutes This BEC provides the procedure for the Department to recognize facsimile signature for school officials
​Use of Restraints for Students with Disabilities 22 Pa. Code §§ 14.133; 711.46; 10.25 ​PA Code This BEC provides guidance regarding the definition and use of restraints in special education regulations, the IEP, and reporting requirements related to the use of restraints.
Violations of Background Checks 24 P.S. 1-111 Purdon's Statutes The purpose of this circular is to inform you of procedures that will be followed by the Department of Education's School Services Unit when investigating alleged violations of 24 P.S. §1-111.
Voter Registration As Part Of Implementation of Chapter 15 25 Pa. C.S.A. 1101 et seq. Purdon's Statutes This BEC is designed to supplement BEC 22 Pa. Code Chapter 15 (relating to implementation of Chapter 15), which addresses the responsibility of school districts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations at 34 CFR Part 104 (relating to non-discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance).
Voter Registration As Part Of Transition To Adult Life 25 Pa. C.S.A. 1101 et seq. Purdon's Statutes This BEC is designed to provide additional direction for Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) regarding their duty to address voter registration opportunities as part of an eligible student's transition to adult life