RECENT LEGISLATION/COURT DECISIONS IMPACT SCHOOL DISTRICTS

While school districts are very familiar with the state budget’s impact on education appropriations (Act 1A of 2011), additional recent legislation and Court decisions have significantly impacted school district operations including: 

  • Omnibus School Code Amendments (Act 24 of 2011) regarding background checks – This Act expands the list of prohibited offenses and establishes a life-time ban from school employment for those convicted of serious violent offenses against children. Full article.
  • Act 1 Restrictions (Act 25 of 2011) – This Act reduces the backend referendum exceptions from 10 under Act 1 to only 4 and implements significant modifications to the remaining 4 exceptions. Full article.
  • Sunshine Law Penalties (Act 56 of 2011) – This Act amends the Sunshine Act to increase the penalty on public officials who participate in a meeting with the intent and purpose of violating the Sunshine Act and further provides that the fines cannot be paid by the public body. Full article.
  • Student Free Speech (Layshock/J.S. Federal Litigation) – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued recent decisions which found that both students’ First Amendment rights had been violated when they were disciplined by their school districts for creating fake myspace profiles off campus of their school principals. Full article.
  • Public Access to W-2 Records – In an appeal from an OOR decision, the Commonwealth Court determined that W-2 forms are confidential under the Internal Revenue Code and cannot be disclosed in response to an RTKL request. Full article.