Op-Ed: Constituent and Legislative Pressure Leads to Change (Act 13 Violation Follow-Up)

HARRISBURG – The week of August 17, I wrote an op-ed about the Governor and Department of Education’s violation of Act 13, which was signed into law by the Governor, to ensure that our schools were able to meet the challenges that came with the COVID-19 disaster emergency.

This legislation was to make certain that public schools would not be impacted financially because of the decision to close schools around the state on March 13. However, the Department of Education then changed the charter school reconciliation process to reduce funding for charter and cyber charter schools by not counting student days after March 13, 2020.

Later on that week, after many conversations with the department and Governor’s Budget Office, it was announced that the department had revised its process to ensure full payment for students enrolled as of March 13, 2020. I was pleased to hear that both the department and the Governor’s Budget Office agreed with the position myself, and many others, held on this matter and changed their guidance accordingly.

My office received numerous concerns and complaints about the Act 13 violation, stating that these students should be fully funded from the day that schools closed to the last full day of instruction. As always, I kept my constituents’ concerns in mind while drafting my previous op-ed and ensured that the department and Governor knew they must reverse their decision. This is just one clear example of how constituent and legislative pressure can bring about change in the Commonwealth.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388