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LEA Subsidy Payments in the Context of Act 13 of 2020

Topics: Charter Schools | General | Transportation

Page last updated: May 1, 2020 at 7PM 

General 

Must LEAs submit data for school year 2019-20 to receive their state subsidies? 

Yes. As in previous years, LEAs that receive subsidy must continue to submit statutorily required data. Any LEA that experiences connectivity or other issues that prevent required submissions may contact PDE for assistance. 

The state subsidy files submitted to PDE should reflect actual data for the 2019-20 school year, unless instructed otherwise. 

Will PDE continue to make state subsidy payments on its normal schedule during the COVID-19 response efforts and mandatory school closures? 

Yes. PDE staff are teleworking and able to remotely and securely access the information necessary to calculate and pay all subsidies. 

Will an LEA’s Basic Education Funding (BEF) and Special Education Funding (SEF) allocations be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 response efforts and mandatory school closures? 

No. The BEF and SEF state subsidies will not be negatively impacted in the 2019-20 payment year. 

Transportation 

How will subsidy payments for pupil transportation services work in the context of Act 13 of 2020? 

The current pupil transportation formula compares an amount determined by a vehicle-based calculation to what the school district actually paid either to a transportation contractor or in providing its own transportation service. For both contracted services and district-provided operations, the state pays the school district based on the lower of the vehicle-based calculation or the actual cost of services. On average, this subsidy typically covers about 40 percent of school district transportation costs. 

Under Act 13, PDE will pay Pupil Transportation Subsidy to school districts by comparing the amount determined by vehicle-based calculation to either: 1) actual costs associated with providing its own transportation service; 2) actual costs associated with the maintenance of a current contract; or 3) actual costs associated with a renegotiated contract. In all cases, payments will reflect a full school year. 

More specifically, as a result of COVID-19 response efforts, Pupil Transportation Subsidy reporting for the 2019-20 school year for the period beginning March 13, 2020 may reflect the days on which the school district paid for transportation even if students were not transported. This flexibility allows school districts to be more accurately credited for their actual costs. 

Will driving fewer miles or spending less on transportation services result in lower school district subsidy payments in fiscal year 2020-21? 

The impact on fiscal year 2020-21 transportation subsidy will depend on the actual costs incurred by the school district. 

Will renegotiated transportation contracts result in lower school district subsidy payments? 

The impact on fiscal year 2020-21 transportation subsidy will depend on the actual costs incurred by the school district. 

For school year 2019-20, what should school districts report as “Amount Paid Contractor” in the eTran application? 

As in previous years, the “Amount Paid Contractor” field should reflect the total actual amount paid to the contractor, based on any renegotiated contracts. However, Pupil Transportation Subsidy reporting for the 2019-20 school year, for the period beginning March 13, 2020, may reflect the Number of Days Transported on which the school district paid for transportation even if students were not transported. This flexibility allows school districts to be more accurately credited for actual costs. 

For school year 2019-20, what should school districts report as “Number of Days Transported" in the eTran application? 

School districts should continue to report the actual data for the school year. However, as a result of COVID-19 response efforts, Pupil Transportation Subsidy reporting for the 2019-20 school year for the period beginning March 13, 2020 may reflect the Number of Days Transported on which the school district paid for transportation even if students were not transported. This flexibility allows school districts to be more accurately credited for their actual costs. 

Charter Schools 

Are school districts required to pay tuition for new charter school enrollments after March 13, 2020? 

Pursuant to Act 13 of 2020, all charter tuition for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year will be based on the school district’s enrollment in each charter school as of March 13, 2020. 

Are school districts required to pay tuition for new charter school withdrawls after March 13, 2020? 

Pursuant to Act 13 of 2020, all charter tuition for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year will be based on the school district’s enrollment in each charter school as of March 13, 2020. 

Are there any changes to how charter school tuition is calculated as a result of Act 13 of 2020? 

No. Methods for determining regular and special education charter school tuition remain the same for the 2019-20 school year. 

Can a charter school continue to submit subsidy redirection requests to PDE? 

Yes. PDE staff can remotely receive and process appropriately submitted charter school subsidy redirection requests. 

Can a school district still object to the processing of subsidy redirection requests? 

Yes. Objections must be made within 30 days of the date of subsidy deduction. Since PDE staff are working remotely, all objections should be emailed to ra-CSFunding@pa.gov.