HB 178 - Amends Public School Code - Pennsylvania Key Vote

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Title: Amends Public School Code

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to concur with Senate amendments and pass a bill that makes various amendments to the Public School Code.



  • Authorizes the suspension of school employees for economic reasons upon a majority vote of the school board at a public meeting (Sec. 5).

  • Specifies that a school board may suspend the necessary number of teachers only if the board also suspends at least an equal proportion of administrative staff (Sec. 5).

  • Specifies that suspensions must be based on performance ratings, except when 2 employees have the same rating, in which case seniority will be the basis (Sec. 5).

  • Specifies that if teachers are reinstated, it must be in the reverse order in which they were suspended (Sec. 5).

  • Specifies that a teacher has 15 days, rather than 30, to file an appeal of a suspension with the Secretary of Education (Sec. 5).

  • Requires schools to conduct a security drill designed to practice procedures to respond to an act of terrorism, armed intruder situation, or other violent threat (Sec. 9).

  • Amends requirements for high school graduation by delaying the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement an additional year until the 2019-2020 school year (Sec. 1)

  • Requires schools to provide a meal to a student who requests one, regardless of whether the student has money to pay for the meal or owes money for school meals, unless the student’s parent or guardian has given written permission for the school to withhold the meal (Sec. 7).

  • Prohibits publicly identifying or stigmatizing students, making students do chores, or discarding a meal that has already been served to a student, if the student cannot pay for their meals (Sec. 7).

  • Increases the total amount of tax credits approved for contributions from business firms to scholarship organizations and educational improvement agencies by $10 million (Sec. 12).

  • Authorizes the board of trustees of a rural regional college to change the college’s name or adopt a fictitious name for the purpose of conducting business (Sec. 12).

  • Requires instruction for students in grades 6-12 on prevention of opioid abuse, with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic and the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, including heroin (Sec. 9).