On June 30, 2021, Senate Bill 664 – now Act 66 of 2021, was signed into law, amending Section 1383 of the School Code affecting students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and adding Section 1501.10, affecting all students.
The Section 1383 Amendment provides currently enrolled students with disabilities who turned twenty-one during the 2020-2021 school year, or during the summer of 2021, the opportunity to enroll for the 2021-2022 school year, should parents and student elect to do so. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will develop a standard election form for parents to indicate such an intention, to be made available on PDE’s website. Parents must complete and submit this form by July 15, 2021.
Should a student who turned twenty-one during the 2020-2021 school year, or during the summer of 2021, enroll in a school entity for the 2021-2022 school year, the school entity must:
- Implement the student’s most current Individualized Education Program (IEP);
- Include the student’s attendance in its average daily membership; and
- Provide Extended School Year services during the summer of 2022, in accordance with the student’s most recent IEP. School entities must not exit from special education services a student qualifying for this additional school year under Act 66.
Act 66 adds Section 1501.10 to the School Code, allowing the parents of ANY student under the age of eighteen to repeat a grade level during the 2021-2022 school year, regardless of whether the student met the requirements for promotion to the next grade during the 2020-2021 school year. Students themselves who are eighteen or older may elect to repeat their grade level from the 2020-2021 school year, during the 2021-2022 school year.
Students who repeat a grade during the 2021-2022 school year must be allowed to participate in academic or extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics. However, students electing to repeat a year under Act 66 must still meet all other eligibility requirements for each particular athletic activity.
The Pennsylvania legislature expects that this extra year of school will be funded by federal relief dollars. Superintendents should be receiving additional information directly from PDE relative to the standard election form and other details.
Act 66 takes effect immediately, and applies to school districts, intermediate units, area career and technical schools, charter schools, cyber charter schools, regional charter schools, and nonpublic school entities. As always, please contact the School Law Practice Group if you have any questions about the everchanging landscape of education in Pennsylvania.