Act 13 of 2020 Mandate Waiver Request Process
Act 13 of 2020 permitted school entities to request that the Secretary of Education waive specific legal requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), in the event the waiver relates to the school entity's staffing needs or impacts its instructional program or operations for the 2019-20 school year as a result of the pandemic of 2020. Waiver requests submitted under Act 13 are not subject to an appeal. Because Act 13 waiver requests are limited to impacts related to the 2019-20 school year, the Mandate Waiver Request Process is being discontinued.
The final deadline for a school entity to submit an Act 13 Mandate Waiver Request Form was Monday, January 4, 2021.
Signed into law by Governor Wolf on March 27, Act 13 of 2020 (Act 13) allows the governing bodies of school entities to request that the Secretary of Education waive certain Pennsylvania School Code provisions, regulations of the State Board of Education, and standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), if the waiver directly relates to the school entity's staffing needs or impacts its instructional program or operations for the 2019-20 school year as a result of the Pandemic of 2020.
Waiver requests and approvals apply only to the 2019-20 school year.
Under Act 13, a school entity is defined as a school district, area career and technical center, intermediate unit, charter school, cyber charter school, or regional charter school. A postsecondary institution may not apply for a waiver under Act 13; requests on behalf of a postsecondary institution should be sent to the following PDE resource account:
School entities may NOT request waivers of:
- Federal statutes or regulations;
- The following School Code provisions: (1) section 528 (relating to school entity contracts with third parties), and (2) sections 1124 and 1125.1 (relating to professional employee furloughs);
- Existing collective bargaining agreements, other contracts, or court orders; or
- State statutes or regulations that, if waived, would negatively impact the health, safety or welfare of students, staff, families, or communities.
The following mandates are waived for all school entities for the 2019-20 school year – either through Act 13 or by action of the Secretary of Education – and DO NOT require a waiver request by a school entity:
- 180-day instructional day (or 990/900/450 instructional hours) requirement;
- Statewide assessments (PSSA, PASA, Keystone exams)
- NOCTI/NIMS assessments for career and technical students;
- Requirement to include performance data otherwise required under section 1123(b)(1)(ii) of the School Code in a professional employee's performance rating;
- Minimum number of days of prekindergarten instruction required under 22 Pa. Code § 405.41 (relating to school term); and
- Minimum total number of hours required for a career and technical education program under 22 Pa. Code § 339.22(a)(9)(i) (relating to program content).
Instructions for Submitting a Waiver Request for requirements not already waived as set forth above:
- Identify the specific state statute or regulation impacting staffing needs or instructional programming and operations.
- Secure approval by the local governing body of the school entity (i.e., school board, board of trustees, etc.) for each request.
- Attach a copy of the board resolution showing approval for each individual request and the date of board approval.
- Complete the PDE Waiver Request Form and submit to PDE.
Note: Waiver requests must be submitted in a form and manner prescribed by the Secretary; requests must adhere to the following form and must be complete upon submission to PDE.
PDE will review each request and issue a decision to the school entity within 30 days of receipt of the request. The Secretary's determination related to a waiver request is not appealable.
Issues related to PDE policy (e.g., Future Ready PA Index indicator calculations, PIMS submissions, etc.) do not require mandate waiver requests. Instead, inquiries in these areas may be submitted to the following PDE resource account: