Glossary: Source Materials and Terms
ARBITRATION A process through which a third party (the arbitrator) makes a decision. In terms of dismissal, 24 PS 11-1133 of the School Code allows the professional employee to choose to have the association ".... grieve and arbitrate the validity of a professional employe's termination...." if the collective bargaining agreement so provides. The professional employee has the right to choose to file a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement or to request a hearing under the provisions of the School Code but not both.
BECs Basic Education Circulars (BECs) are the official means used by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to communicate with school districts. The PDE is an administrative agency which was created by the General Assembly. The PDE is administered by the Secretary of Education who is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Pennsylvania Senate. The PDE does not have policy-making authority but rather enforces the statutes in the School Code and the policies of the State Board of Education, as well as carrying out other mandated duties. BECs are advisory to local school districts.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated agreements between school districts and the local education associations which represent the professional employees of the districts. The Public Employe Relations Act (Act 195 of 1970) is the basis for collective bargaining in public education in Pennsylvania. Each locasl school district has a collective bargaining agreement.
DEMOTION In the School Code, demotion is defined as occuring "....either in salary or in type of position...." ( 24 PS 11-1151). Demotion does not involve a severance of the employment relationship between the employee and the school district; rather demotion involves a reassignment to a position in the school district which has less authority, prestige or salary. Case law establishes that an employee also may be demoted for discipline. As a consequence of of SUSPENSION (Furlough), school districts must realign the professional staff and this realignment may result in demotion of some professional employees ( 24 PS 11-1125.1(2)). Therefore, case law treating demotion is classified as dealing with "realignment" (i.e. as a result of Suspension uner 24 PS 11-1125.1) or as "non-realignment" (i.e. not as a result of Suspension).
DISABLED student A disabled student is a student who has been classified as "disabled" under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1990 [ 20 U.S.C. Section 1401] ( previously the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975). A student so classified must have an "individualized education program" (IEP).
DISMISSAL Dismissal is a personnel action which completely severs the employment relationship between the employee and the school district. When an employee is dismissed there is no longer an employnment relationship with the school district. Under 24 PS 11-1133 of the School Code, the professional employee has the right to choose to file a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement, if the agreement so provides, or to request a hearing before the school board, under the provisions of the School Code, but not both.
EXPULSION Expulsion of students is treated in both the School Code ( 24 PS 13-1318) and in the Regulations of the State Board of Education ( 22 Pa Code 12.6). According to the Regulations of the State Board of Education: " Expulsion is exclusion from school by the board of education for a period exceeding 10 school days and may be permanent expulsion from the school rolls." ( 22 Pa Code 12.6(2))
NON-DISABLED student A non-disabled student is a student who has not been classified as "disabled" under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1990.
PROCEDURAL due process issues Procedural due process issues concern the procedures which must be followed in order to deprive an emnployee of a property or a liberty right. For example, Section 1127 of the Public School Code ( 24 PS 11-1127) deals with the procedure to be followed in dismissing a professional employee. This procedure includes charges, notice and hearing which are examples of procedural due process.
PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEE A profesional employee is one who has been awarded tenure. Professional employee is defined in 24 PS 11-1101(1).
REGULATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION The Regulations of the State Board of Education are located in Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code whose location in Bertrand Library is KFP 440 A3 Ref. The State Board of Education is a state educational agency consisting of twenty-one members which was created by the General Assembly in 1965. The General Assembly delegated various powers to the State Board which is a "policy-making" agency. When new regulations are adopted by the State Board, these proposed regulations are published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin. After final adoption, the regulations are placed in Title 22 of the Pennyslvania Code. For example, regulations concerning students are placed in Chapter 12; the section of Chapter 12 dealing with "Exclusion from school" is 12.6. A citation to the section of the State Board regulations dealing with exclusion from school is: 22 Pa. Code 12.6 (i.e. volume 22 of the Pennsylvania Code; Section 12.6 of Chapter 12 of that volume).
SCHOOL BOARD POLICIES School board policies are established by local school boards. There are 501 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. School districts are political subdivisions of the state. A school board is a local agency created by the General Assembly to which the legistature has delegated policy-making authority. All school boards consist of nine elected members, with the exception of Philadelphia which is the only non-elected school board. Under 24 PS 5-510, the board of school directors may adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding teachers and students and under 22 Pa. Code 12.3 a school board must adopt a code of student conduct. Each local school district has policies regarding teachers and students.
SCHOOL CODE The Public School Code is a collection of the statutes, or laws, enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly which is the legislative branch of state government and which through the Pennsylvania Constitution has plenary power over education in the Commonwealth of Pennyslvania. The statutes in the School code have a direct reference to public education. The official statutory reference to the School Code is 24 PS 1-100, et seq. The School Code is located in Bertrand Library in Purdons Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated (KFP 30 A45 Ref.). Statutes are placed in the School Code in a section of a particular Article of the code. Chapters deal with different subjects. For example, laws concerning professional employees are placed in Article XI of the School Code. The section of Article XI of the School Code dealing with "causes for termination of contract" is section 1122. A citation to the section of the Public School Code dealing with "causes of termination of contract for professional employees" is " 24 PS 11-1122 (i.e. volume 24 of Purdons Statutes Annotated; Article XI of that volume; Section 1122 of that Artilce).
SUBSTANTIVE due process issues Substantive due process issues concern the causes for an action which will result in a deprivation of a property or liberty right. For example, Section 1122 of the Public School Code ( 24 PS 11-1122) lists eight causes for the termination of the contract of a professional employee. These eight causes deal with the isssue of substantive due process.
SUSPENSION In the School Code, suspension of employees means furlough. Thus, suspension is a personnel action which does not necessairly sever completely the employment relationship between the employer and the school district because under certain circumstances the employee must be reemployed by the school district ( see 24 PS 11-1125.1). Case law establishes that there are two other types of suspension: (1) suspension from employment prior to and pending dismissal from employment, and (2) disciplinary suspension. In the School Code ( 24 PS 13-1318) and in the Regulation of the State Board of Education ( 22 Pa Code 12.6), suspension of students refers to exclusion from school for a period of from one to ten consecutive school days. Suspension also can be an in-school suspension which is exclusion from classes ( 22 Pa Code 12.7).
TEMPORARY PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEE A temporary professional employee is one who is not tenured. Temporary Professional employee is defined in 24 PS 11-1101(3). Temporary professional employees are discussed in 24 PS 11-1108.