AMENDMENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE AFFECTING FURLOUGHS

Recently Governor Corbett signed into law House Bill 1901, now known as Act 82 of 2012, which made various changes to the Public School Code of 1949. One of those amendments to the School Code now allows schools to suspend/furlough employees based on curtailments or alterations of educational programs without the department’s approval of the programmatic change.  The district must still notify the department and the information will be posted the PDE website.

Section 1124 of the Public School Code now contains an entirely new provision which states:

(b)        Notwithstanding an existing or future provision in a collective bargaining agreement or other similar employment contract to the contrary, suspension of a professional employe due to the curtailment or alteration of the educational program as set forth in subsection (a)(2) may be effectuated without the approval of the curtailment or alteration of the educational program by the Department of Education, provided that where an educational program is altered or curtailed as set forth in subsection (a)(2), the school district shall notify the Department of Education of the actions taken pursuant to subsection (a)(2). The Department of Education shall post all notifications received from a school district pursuant to this subsection on the Department of Education’s publicly accessible Internet website.

(Emphasis added.)

This change will afford school districts greater flexibility, regardless of contrary provision in a collective bargaining agreement or contract, in the furlough process particularly with the timing of Board action approving the curtailment or alteration of the program and the resulting suspensions/furlough such Districts will no longer have to receive the approval of the Department of Education and wait for confirmation from the Secretary of Education that the programmatic change has been approved and is a proper basis for the personnel action.  The only requirement is that the District notify the Department of Education regarding the action taken.

If you should have any questions regarding the above, please contact us to discuss this matter further. I would ask that you please distribute a copy of this letter to each of the School Directors and any members of Administration you deem appropriate, particularly Administrators involved in Human Resources. Please contact Michael Brungo for additional information on this matter at mlb@mbm-law.net or 412.242.4400.

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