PDE Announces Availability of CTE Grants (November 23, 2020)

Monday, November 23, 2020, Dr. Lee Burket, Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, disseminated a PennLink memo to all Area Vocational-Technical School/Career and Technical Center Directors and School District Superintendents titled Supplemental Equipment Grant Applications Available. The memo states that applications for the 2020-21 Supplemental Equipment Grants are now being accepted. Approximately $5,550,000 in state funds are available for the purchase of equipment and for the purchase of a complete set of tools for use in the hands-on instruction of students enrolled in Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved career and technical education programs. The equipment and set of tools must be a minimum of $3,000 per unit. The equipment must meet industry standards and the Occupational Advisory Committee must have recommended each piece of equipment. Each grant will be awarded based on the funding formula. A match of local funds is not required. The guidelines contain the application information and are available at Career and Technical Education Grants.

The deadline for applications is December 31, 2020 at 5 PM.

Questions should be directed to Janelle Smith, janelsmith@pa.gov717-783-6990 on the application process, and Ben Hanft, bhanft@pa.gov717-787-5423 on available funds.

PDE Memo Addresses Special Ed. Plan for Phase 3 Districts (November 20, 2020)

On Friday, November 20, 2020, Carole L. Clancy, Director of the Bureau of Special Education disseminated a PennLink memo titled Special Education Plan Information for Phase 3 School Districts. That memo states that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is responsible for ensuring that all special education programs in public schools are appropriate and effective.  To do this, school districts must submit a Special Education Plan every three years to PDE as required under 22 Pa. Code § 14.104.  The school district’s Special Education Plan outlines planning generated from district special education data, compliance monitoring, professional development activities, and training necessary to provide appropriate programs to students with disabilities. 

The memo further informs LEAs that the special education plan will now be developed in the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal (FRCPP).  The first step to gaining access to the FRCPP is to ensure that you are a registered user on the PDE Portal.  If you are not a registered user, please register here: Register a Username and Log In.  Each school district’s Local Security Administrator can add/remove users in My PDE Suite.  If you need help adding users to the new portal, please use the step-by-step guide for Accessing the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal.  If you do not know who your Administrators are, you can find this information by clicking on Find my Security Administrator on the main page in My PDE Suite.  School districts in Phase 3 must submit their plans by June 1, 2021 in the FRCPP. A mandatory pre-recorded webinar will be released on January 7, 2021 for all school districts identified in Phase 3.  It can be accessed at: https://www.pattan.net/legal/special-education-plans/.  The purpose of the webinar is to train school districts on the special education plan requirements and the new FRCPP system. Questions should be directed to Amy Deluca, in PDE’s Bureau of Special Education, at amdeluca@pa.gov.

PA General Assembly Passes COVID-19 Liability Protections Bill (November 20, 2020)

On November 19 and 20, 2020, the PA General Assembly passed House Bill 1737, which would provide COVID-19 liability protections for school districts, including limited pandemic liability protections for school districts and other school entities if the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health guidelines for efforts to mitigate the disease are followed.  The bill now goes to the Governor for signature.

Gov. Wolf Signs Act 110 of 2020, Providing Protections for Student Assault Victims (November 13, 2020)

On November 3, 2020, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 530, now Act 110 of 2020, which protects student victims of sexual assault. A focus of the bill allows schools flexibility in protecting students who are the victim of a sexual assault by another student at their school and ensuring that they are not re-victimized by seeing their attacker every day at school.

To view the act, click here.

PDE to Provide Training in Response to Recent Changes by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs (November 13, 2020)

On November 12, 2020, Carole L. Clancy, Director of PDE’s Bureau of Special Education, disseminated a PennLink communiqué titled  Training in Response to Recent Changes by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs. According to the memo, the Federal Office of Special Education Programs has oversight of states’ compliance with federal special education regulations and requirements.  The Office of Special Education Programs has incorporated a component of its compliance monitoring verification visits to include a fiscal verification review.  Some components of its fiscal verification review will include a review of the use of funds for coordinated early intervening services, maintenance of effort, and general use of federal, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (IDEA-B), funds.

To assist the local educational agencies in working with these components of the federal on-site visits, PDE is providing training to familiarize special education directors and business administrators with clarifying information.  This training will address three topics: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Fiscal Programming, Contingency Funding, and Approved Private School Electronic Management System.

It is required that each school district and charter school send participants to this training.  Because the training is highlighting the fiscal program data verifications associated with the IDEA-B fiscal reporting requirements, it is strongly recommended that the participants whom you send to this training be your special education director and business administrator.  Also, if a school district or charter school contracts for business services, its contracted business representative should attend.

This training will be held virtually on December 1, 2020.  A recording of the training will be made available following this session.  Please register for the live session at https://www.pattan.net/events/ beginning November 2, 2020.Any questions regarding the fiscal training should be directed to Dr. Del Hart, Chief, Division of Analysis & Financial Reporting, at 717.772.1114 or dehart@pa.gov.  Any questions about registration should be directed to Karen Weaver at PaTTAN-Pittsburgh, 412.826.6842 or kweaver@pattanpgh.net.