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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[22 PA. CODE CH. 405]

Keystone Educational Accountability Best Management Practices Standards

[36 Pa.B. 3253]
[Saturday, July 1, 2006]

   The Secretary of Education (Secretary) proposes to add Chapter 405 (relating to keystone educational accountability standards and indicators) to read as set forth in Annex A. The Secretary is acting under the authority of Article XXV-A of the Public School Code of 1949 (code) (24 P. S. §§ 25-2501-A--25-2511-A), specifically sections 2504-A(e) and 2505-A of the code (24 P. S. §§ 25-2504-A(e) and 25-2505).

Purpose

   Chapter 405 sets forth best management practices standards and indicators to serve as measures of improvement in the operation of school districts. These standards and indicators are necessary components of Keystone Educational Accountability (KEA) and are required to be developed under section 2504-A(e) of the act. The purpose of KEA is to put into place an assessment system aimed at improving school district management practices and use of resources. KEA is also intended to identify potential cost savings, by providing for the establishment of a series of standards and related indicators covering a broad range of school district administrative and operational areas that will be reviewed for compliance on a 6-year cycle. Districts that operate consistently with these standards will be certified for 6 years. Districts that do not must develop a 3-year action plan to meet the standards in which they were found to be deficient.

Requirements of the Regulations

   The regulations, in and of themselves, do not require anything. However, consistent with the statute, they apply to all 501 school districts in this Commonwealth. The statute requires each district to conduct a self-assessment of its compliance with the regulations and to subsequently be the subject of an external compliance review arranged by the Department of Education (Department) on a 6-year cycle. During both reviews, the district's policies and procedures in areas such as management structures, educational service delivery, personnel systems, facilities maintenance and food service operations are measured against the indicators in the regulation so that a determination can be made of whether each of the ten standards is being achieved. If a district is determined to be in noncompliance it will have to prepare an action plan detailing how it will come into compliance in 3 years and form a local financial management advisory team to implement the plan.

Affected Parties

   The proposed rulemaking applies to and affects all 501 school districts in this Commonwealth.

Cost and Paperwork Estimates

   The KEA legislation requires that all 501 school districts in this Commonwealth be reviewed for compliance with the standards and indicators on a 6-year cycle. Approximately 25 districts will be reviewed in 2006-07, the first year of the program, and approximately 95 districts will be reviewed each year for the next 5 fiscal years, starting in 2007-08.

   The potential costs that may stem from these standards are those that a district incurs to achieve a standard with which it is not in compliance. Estimation of these costs is difficult because the facts in each district will be unique and these facts will not be known until after the district's self-assessment comparing its own management practices to the standards. Areas in which districts are in noncompliance will require varying degrees of time and resources to develop needed policies and procedures or to institute new practices. The costs incurred by individual school districts will vary depending on the current quality of district management and operations.

Effective Date

   The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Sunset Date

   The regulations will be subject to sunset review by the Department on December 31, 2011, to determine their effectiveness in implementing the statute.

Regulatory Review

   Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on June 20, 2006, the Secretary submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Committees on Education. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

   Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey any comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections must specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.

Public Comments and Contact Person

   Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Shawn Farr, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education, Department of Education, 333 Market Street, 10th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333 within 30 days following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Persons with disabilities needing an alternative means of providing public comment may make arrangements by calling Shawn Farr at (717) 214-4391.

GERALD L. ZAHORCHAK, D.Ed.,   
Secretary

   Fiscal Note:  6-300. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 22. EDUCATION

PART XVI. STANDARDS

CHAPTER 405. KEYSTONE EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS AND INDICATORS

Sec.

405.1.Purpose.
405.2.Management structures standards
405.3.Performance accountability standards.
405.4.Cost control systems standards.
405.5.Administrative and instructional technology standards.
405.6.Personnel systems and benefits standards.
405.7.Facilities construction standards.
405.8.Facilities maintenance standards.
405.9.Transportation standards.
405.10.Food service operations standards.
405.11.Safety and security standards.
405.12.Educational service delivery standards.

§ 405.1. Purpose.

   (a)  The chapter establishes best management practices standards for the purposes of assessing Keystone Educational Accountability (KEA), under Article XXV-A of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. §§ 25-2501-A--25-2511-A). The purpose of KEA is to establish an assessment system aimed at increasing public confidence in and support for school districts that demonstrate efficient use of taxpayer resources; identifying and encouraging cost savings; linking financial planning and budgeting to district priorities, including student performance; and improving school district management and use of resources. Districts conduct a self-assessment and then are subsequently evaluated by external reviewers every 6 years. Based upon that external review, a district that is deemed to be in compliance with the standards in this chapter will be certified as Keystone Districts by the Secretary. The reviews shall occur under Article XXV-A of the Public School Code of 1949.

   (b)  The indicators set forth in each best practices management standard in this chapter are to help assess whether a district is meeting each standard. The indicators represent the kinds of activities a district would be undertaking if the district were using a particular best practice. The indicators listed in this chapter are not exclusive, and literal compliance with each is not required to qualify for Keystone certification.

§ 405.2. Management structures standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for management structures if:

   (1)  The roles and responsibilities of the board and superintendent have been clearly delineated, and policies and procedures are in place to ensure that the board and the superintendent can effectively and efficiently work together. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The board has adopted written policies that clearly delineate the responsibilities of the board and the superintendent.

   (ii)  Board members receive orientation and ongoing training in board/district operations and school law.

   (iii)  The board and the superintendent follow established procedures that direct how board members are to access district staff or direct staff to respond to constituent inquiries.

   (iv)  The board has established a process for self-evaluation, and evaluates its performance under that process annually.

   (v)  The board regularly evaluates the superintendent's performance by using agreed upon criteria, including student achievement data.

   (vi)  The superintendent regularly reviews the dates of major events and actions needed to meet legal requirements and ensures that these matters are placed on the board agenda in a timely manner.

   (vii)  Board meetings are scheduled at a time and place that allows the public to attend.

   (viii)  The board receives an agenda with appropriate relevant supplementary materials in sufficient time prior to board meetings to allow for a thorough review.

   (ix)  The board routinely updates its policies and procedures for relevancy and completeness.

   (x)  Board policy includes statements on ethics and conflicts of interest.

   (xi)  The district staff has reasonable access to and is able to use policies and procedures in performing their duties.

   (2)  The district obtains appropriate legal services as necessary. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The board has an attorney (either in-house or on contract)  who is responsible for advising the board, reviewing policy and reducing the risk of lawsuits.

   (ii)  The district procures legal services using policies and procedures that conform to accepted practices for obtaining the services.

   (iii)  Procedures exist for the board, superintendent, staff and other stakeholders to obtain information on legal matters when appropriate.

   (iv)  The district retains outside counsel (counsel other than the board attorney)  as necessary.

   (3)  The district's organizational structure has clearly defined lines of authority to deliver services effectively and efficiently. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has clearly defined the responsibilities of each organizational unit within the district and communicated these responsibilities to staff and stakeholders.

   (ii)  The district annually reviews its organizational structure and operating procedures and implements changes when appropriate to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

   (iii)  The district periodically assesses staffing levels using appropriate measures, stakeholder input and considering compliance requirements.

   (iv)  The board, superintendent and staff adhere to established policies and procedures and are held accountable for achieving Federal, State, district and school educational goals.

   (4)  The district's financial condition and resources are effectively overseen. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  Board members receive training in school district budgeting and finance.

   (ii)  The board is provided a proposed budget in a clear, concise and understandable format.

   (iii)  The board is informed about the short and long-term fiscal implications and impact on fund balance of proposed budgets or budget amendments.

   (iv)  The board and district management receive, review and make available to the public, monthly and annual financial reports. These reports contain monthly and year-to-date budgeted amounts, as compared to the actual amounts expended. Also included in the reports is other financial information that effectively summarizes the district's financial operations and financial condition in a clear, concise and understandable format.

   (v)  The board is informed in a timely manner by district administrators of changes in or concerns about the district's financial condition.

   (vi)  The board has established policies for spending authority and purchasing practices.

   (vii)  The district pursues alternative revenue sources such as partnering options and obtaining private, State and Federal grants.

   (viii)  The district takes advantage of opportunities to improve management structures, increase effectiveness and efficiency and minimize costs.

   (5)  The district actively informs and seeks the involvement of stakeholders. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district uses a variety of effective and efficient means of communication to provide timely information to stakeholders.

   (ii)  The district effectively communicates with stakeholders in languages other than English as appropriate.

   (iii)  Information on school policies and programs is distributed annually to parents in a clear and understandable format.

   (iv)  Information on school policies and programs is distributed as needed to students in a clear and understandable format.

   (v)  Information on student performance and measurements of cost versus performance are made available to stakeholders.

   (vi)  Annual parent/teacher conferences and open houses are conducted.

   (vii)  The district has active parent teacher associations/ parent faculty organizations and other effective methods of involving and encouraging parent leadership and participation.

   (viii)  The district actively seeks the involvement of business partners, community organizations and local institutions of higher education to improve educational programs.

   (ix)  The district has researched the feasibility of establishing a nonprofit supports foundation with a board of directors that reflects a wide variety of interests.

§ 405.3. Performance accountability standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for performance accountability if:

   (1)  The district has a multiyear strategic plan with annual goals and measurable objectives. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The plan provides vision and direction for the district's efforts and clearly delineates the district's goals and objectives, including;

   (A)  Student performance.

   (B)  Strategies to be used to reach the goals and objectives.

   (C)  The performance measures and standards to be used to assess progress toward meeting the goals and objectives.

   (D)  The areas/staff responsible for implementing the strategies.

   (E)   The time frames for implementation.

   (ii)  In developing the plan, the board identifies and adopts a limited number of improvement-focused priorities to guide the district's strategies and major financial and program decisions.

   (iii)  In the budget and financial planning process, the district focuses its resources on achieving the identified goals and objectives.

   (iv)  The district reviews the plan annually and assesses the progress made toward achieving its goals and objectives.

   (v)  The plan is amended as necessary to reflect changes in student population, educational priorities, funding, community expectations or board direction.

   (2)  The district formally evaluates its programs and presents reports on performance and cost-effectiveness to the board and stakeholders. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district compares the performance of its programs to appropriate benchmarks as available, including past performance, the performance of comparable districts and business sector standards.

   (ii)  The district uses the evaluation results and data driven decision-making to improve the performance and cost-effectiveness of its programs.

   (iii)  The district annually makes available the evaluation results and actions to improve performance and cost-effectiveness to the board and stakeholders.

   (iv)  The district receives comments from stakeholders and responds appropriately.

§ 405.4. Cost control systems standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for cost control systems if:

   (1)  The district reviews the structure, staffing and procedures governing its financial operations to ensure effective and efficient delivery of financial management systems. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  Financial staff receives appropriate training and professional development.

   (ii)  The district adheres to the Manual of Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pennsylvania Public Schools.

   (iii)  The district has established and periodically reviews internal controls.

   (2)  The district has adequate financial information and subsidy-related data systems that provide useful, timely, and accurate information. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The financial accounting system has integrated financial software components that minimize manual processes.

   (ii)  District staff analyze financial accounting and reporting procedures to minimize or eliminate duplication of effort.

   (iii)  The accounting system facilitates accountability for restricted sources of funds through fund/grant/project accounting.

   (iv)  The district provides timely and accurate data for use in subsidy related calculations.

   (v)  The district analyzes expenditures for control and reviews unusual fluctuations.

   (3)  The district develops and adopts an annual budget that supports the strategic plan and provides useful and understandable information to stakeholders. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district uses appropriate revenue-estimating practices when developing budget sources for appropriation.

   (ii)  The district has established a budget planning process and timeline that is clearly communicated to all of the involved stakeholders.

   (iii)  The district has established guidelines for maintaining appropriate levels of unreserved fund balance.

   (iv)  The district has a process for funding activities and projects that meet strategic plan objectives.

   (v)  The district has established appropriate procedures for adopting budget amendments.

   (4)  The district undergoes an annual external audit and uses the audit to improve its operations in a timely and appropriate manner. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district ensures that required information is available in a timely manner to complete the district's audit.

   (ii)  The district responds to audit comments in a timely and appropriate manner.

   (5)  The district has policies and procedures for cash management and investment activities. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has appropriate policies and procedures for cash management, maintains its cash deposits in qualified public depositories, and has cash forecasting processes that ensure adequate liquidity throughout the year.

   (ii)  The district has appropriate policies and procedures for the investment of public funds that in part address risk level versus expected return, and periodically reports to the board the results of its investing activities.

   (6)  The district has policies and procedures for the effective management of capital assets. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has implemented procedures to ensure purchases are capitalized in accordance with established capital asset thresholds.

   (ii)  The district maintains detailed subsidiary records of capital assets.

   (iii)  The district physically safeguards and periodically inventories capital assets.

   (7)  The district has policies and procedures for effective debt management. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district tracks debt service requirements and ensures timely payment.

   (ii)  The district complies with debt service financial reporting requirements in a timely manner.

   (iii)  The district evaluates debt capacity prior to issuing debt.

   (iv)  As part of issuing debt, the district adheres to the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the act of July 30, 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745), if applicable, and maintains compliance.

   (v)  The district evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of various financing alternatives when acquiring major capital assets.

   (8)  The district has policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations concerning effective risk management. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has adequate insurance coverage and analyzes current insurance plans including deductible amounts, co-insurance levels and types of coverage provided.

   (ii)  The district has procedures to evaluate and identify relevant risk exposures and provides for a comprehensive approach to reducing the potential for loss.

   (iii)  The district periodically analyzes alternatives for providing insurance coverage.

   (9)  The district has established policies and procedures to take full advantage of competitive bidding, volume discounts, and special pricing agreements. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district conducts its purchasing program in accordance with established policies.

   (ii)  The district periodically evaluates purchasing practices to maximize the cost-effectiveness of the purchasing function.

   (iii)  The district utilizes procedures outlining the preparation and processing of purchases.

   (iv)  The district utilizes competitive bidding as required by statutes, regulations and standards.

   (v)  The district has established a policy to govern the acceptance of gifts and gratuities by staff and board members.

   (10)  The district has policies and procedures to provide for the effective management of inventories of supplies and equipment. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has an effective method of monitoring usage of its inventories.

   (ii)  The district consistently monitors usage of its inventories.

   (iii)  Inventory storage areas are reasonably safeguarded to prevent unauthorized access and protect inventory items from physical deterioration.

   (iv)  The district periodically identifies and evaluates the costs to maintain inventories.

§ 405.5. Administrative and instructional technology standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for administrative and instructional technology if:

   (1)  The district has a board-approved technology plan that provides direction for making decisions regarding administrative and instructional technology. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district's technology plan is compatible with State reporting requirements and aligned with Federal initiatives.

   (ii)  The objectives in the technology plan are measurable and reflect the desired outcomes for educational and operational programs.

   (iii)  The district's annual budget provides funds for technology initiatives as reflected in the plan.

   (iv)  The district takes advantage of opportunities to improve technology operations, increase effectiveness and efficiency and reduce costs.

   (v)  The district has identified any individuals responsible for implementing and updating the technology plan.

   (vi)  The district collaborates with other educational, governmental, private sector and nonprofit organizations concerning technology and takes advantage of consortium opportunities.

   (vii)  The district periodically assesses the progress it has made toward achieving its technology plan objectives and reacts appropriately.

   (2)  The district acquires technology in accordance with its technology plan and in a cost-effective manner that will best meet its instructional and administrative needs. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district bases its technology acquisitions on identified needs in its technology plan.

   (ii)  The district uses the results of research and evaluations of previous decisions to identify technology that will best meet instructional and administrative needs.

   (iii)  The district has policies for acquiring hardware, software and related instructional materials for administrative and instructional use.

   (iv)  The district provides procedures for stakeholders to preview, evaluate and recommend acquisition of technology strategies, software and instructional materials.

   (v)  The district makes decisions regarding major technology acquisitions based on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  analysis.

   (vi)  The district has an upgrade policy that establishes a strategy for quantifying the impact of various time frames for technologies to be upgraded.

   (vii)  The district has a repair and replacement policy that establishes a strategy for quantifying the impact of various time frames for technologies to be repaired and replaced.

   (3)  The district provides technical support and training that enables educators and district staff to implement technology in the workplace. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district budgets for costs associated with the installation and support of its technology.

   (ii)  The district appropriately assigns technical support responsibilities to specific personnel at both the district and the school level.

   (iii)  The district establishes service levels and provides timely technical support in accordance with its service priorities.

   (iv)  The district continuously evaluates the quality and timeliness of the technical support provided in relationship to its service levels.

   (v)  The district provides appropriate professional development to district staff that is based on feedback from stakeholders.

   (vi)  The district budgets for and adequately funds technology training and professional development.

   (vii)  The district makes efforts to secure funds from available sources for technology training and professional development.

   (viii)  The district provides a variety of opportunities in terms of time, location and delivery mode for educators and other district staff to obtain technology training and professional development.

   (4)  The district maintains a dependable technological infrastructure based on industry standards that meet its network and Internet access needs. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district employs practices that provide a consistently available and fully operational network that supports effective instruction, management and communication.

   (ii)  The district has network and computer protection software and update procedures in place.

   (iii)  The district protects systems from unauthorized users by using safeguards such as room locks, passwords, firewalls, and other needed means as conditions warrant.

   (iv)  The district has in place controls and processes that limit access to confidential and sensitive data, prevent the unauthorized release of data and determine the source of any unauthorized release.

   (v)  The district effectively maintains hardware and software systems.

   (vi)  The district timely and effectively repairs hardware and software systems necessary for operations and educational/curricular requirements.

   (vii)  The district timely addresses network and Internet service outages.

   (5)  The district uses technology to improve communication. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the use of available technologies in an effective and efficient manner to improve and enhance communication with and among staff, teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders.

   (6)  The district has written policies that apply safe, ethical, legal and appropriate use practices. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district provides guidelines to staff, teachers, students and parents describing appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology.

   (ii)  The district implements policies and procedures to prevent access to inappropriate material.

   (iii)  The district provides staff, teachers, students and parents with guidelines describing legal uses of digital materials, both instructional and noninstructional.

   (iv)  A district that engages a third party to process transactions on its behalf executes appropriate agreements with the service provider and establishes appropriate control procedures.

§ 405.6. Personnel systems and benefits standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for personnel systems and benefits if:

   (1)  The district effectively and efficiently recruits, hires and retains qualified personnel. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district completes pre-employment background and reference checks for new employees; verifies any required qualifications or certifications, or both; and conducts its employment procedures in a manner that assures equal opportunity in accordance with applicable statutes.

   (ii)  The district maintains up-to-date, clear, concise and readily accessible position descriptions that accurately identify the duties of each position and the education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities required.

   (iii)  The district's recruiting practices are designed to generate qualified applicants to fill vacant positions in a timely manner, and are effective and efficient in doing so.

   (iv)  The district takes steps to identify and remedy factors that adversely affect the working environment.

   (v)  The district maintains clear and effective channels of communication with its employees.

   (2)  The district provides a comprehensive staff development program. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district conducts training, orientation or mentoring programs for new employees, and has a professional development program that meets the requirements of statutes, regulations and standards.

   (ii)  Professional development is planned and implemented in a cost-effective manner based on an ongoing analysis of student and district needs aligned to statutes, regulations and standards.

   (iii)  The district provides training and orientation for substitute teachers.

   (iv)  The district solicits employee feedback on professional development activities and uses this feedback to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the training.

   (3)  The district has a system for evaluating employee performance. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has established and implemented criteria and procedures to evaluate on a regular basis the performance of instructional personnel in accordance with relevant statutes, regulations and standards and non-instructional personnel in accordance with district policy.

   (ii)  Employees not meeting the district's performance criteria are informed in writing and the employee is provided with clear direction for improvement.

   (iii)  The district provides training for supervisors on how to appropriately evaluate and document unsatisfactory performance and the procedures and issues associated with working with employees needing improvement.

   (iv)  The district has established and implemented policies regarding drug and alcohol testing in accordance with statutes, regulations and standards.

   (v)  The district has procedures with which the administration and board members are familiar for discipline and due process as necessary.

   (4)  The district uses cost control practices for its employee benefits programs. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district reviews and evaluates its employee benefits to ensure it is attaining appropriate value.

   (ii)  The board is informed as to the short and long-term fiscal impact of changes to the district's benefit package prior to approval of employee contracts.

   (iii)  The district evaluates both the short and long-term fiscal impact of early retirement proposals.

   (iv)  The district reviews and evaluates workers' compensation claims and payments, and uses the results in an effort to reduce the number and cost of claims.

   (5)  The district's human resource functions are managed effectively and efficiently. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The goals and objectives for the human resource function are aligned with the district's strategic plan.

   (ii)  The district's staffing levels are reasonable based on applicable comparisons or benchmarks, or both.

   (iii)  The district considers the use of automation, technology and outsourcing to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of delivering human resource services.

   (iv)  The district maintains personnel and confidential records in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations and standards.

   (v)  The district provides for cross training and succession planning as appropriate.

   (6)  The district maintains an effective employment/labor relations program and conducts effective labor contract negotiations. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district assigns responsibility for employment/labor relations and labor contract negotiations to individuals and groups with appropriate experience and knowledge.

   (ii)  The district has established procedures to deal with employee complaints.

   (iii)  The district has established appropriate labor meet and discuss procedures.

   (iv)  The district establishes labor contract negotiating teams well in advance of negotiations and clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the team and individual members.

   (v)  Labor contract negotiating teams have access to an attorney with appropriate knowledge and experience.

   (vi)  Labor contract proposals developed and presented by the district are aligned with the goals and objectives contained in the district's strategic plan.

   (vii)  The district estimates the short and long-term costs and considers the advantages and disadvantages of each labor contract proposal item that is developed by the district or presented to the district.

§ 405.7. Facilities construction standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for facilities construction if:

   (1)  The district has an effective long-range planning process for construction of new facilities. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has established a long-range facilities work plan that addresses the needs of the district, including future expansion, and generally covers a period of 3 to 5 years, or longer.

   (ii)  When developing a long-range facilities work plan that includes new construction, the district evaluates alternatives including building reuse to minimize the need for new construction.

   (iii)  The long-range facilities work plan includes budgetary plans and priorities.

   (iv)  The district considers the most effective and practical sites for current and anticipated needs in the context of municipal and county land use policies.

   (v)  The district has established authority and assigned responsibilities for facilities planning.

   (vi)  The district evaluates facilities and site needs based upon relevant demographic data and projections that are regularly updated as part of a feasibility analysis.

   (vii)  The district routinely assesses facilities for physical condition, educational suitability and technology readiness.

   (viii)  The district effectively prioritizes construction needs.

   (2)  The district ensures responsiveness to the community through open communication about construction projects and the long-range planning process. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district holds public meetings at which information regarding the long-range plan is provided.

   (ii)  The district provides information about a construction project in a format that allows for public comment.

   (iii)  The district has effective channels for considering input from stakeholders in determining facilities construction needs.

   (3)  The district develops construction projects based upon building, site and educational specifications. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district maintains a process for selecting and retaining qualified and experienced planning, design and construction professionals.

   (ii)  The architectural design fulfills the building and educational specification needs as determined by the district.

   (iii)  The educational specifications address educational program components and include staff input regarding teaching strategies and instructional methods.

   (iv)  New construction, remodeling and renovations incorporate safety and security features.

   (v)  Facilities are designed to be adaptable to changes and innovations in education and incorporate the use of technology.

   (4)  The district minimizes construction, maintenance and operations costs through the use of cost-effective designs and construction practices. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district evaluates and compares the costs of construction, maintenance and operation for various designs, including green building designs.

   (ii)  The district evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of various financing alternatives for construction projects.

   (iii)  The district uses analysis of costs in making determinations regarding facilities construction.

   (5)  The district has effective management processes for construction projects. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has given the authority and responsibility to keep major facilities construction projects within budget and on schedule to an individual or individuals with the appropriate credentials and construction-related experience.

   (ii)  A construction schedule that coordinates and minimizes disruptions of instruction is developed and the district analyzes progress against the schedule and takes appropriate action as necessary.

   (iii)  The board receives financial updates during the design and construction process.

   (iv)  The district controls project costs by minimizing changes to project designs after final working drawings are initiated and properly substantiates and authorizes change orders.

   (v)  Construction projects meet applicable building code requirements with a final inspection conducted and a certificate of occupancy issued following the completion of construction.

   (6)  The district follows generally accepted contracting procedures. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district uses legal counsel to review construction related contracts, including documentation required of the contractor, before execution.

   (ii)  An authorized official of the district executes construction related contracts.

   (iii)  The district has a system of internal controls to ensure that timely payments are made only after the design professional's approval of the completed work and with the concurrence of the district official in charge of the project.

   (7)  The district conducts an orientation for staff of completed projects and regular facility evaluations to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the construction program. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district conducts a comprehensive orientation of completed projects for staff and maintenance personnel prior to use.

   (ii)  The district conducts regular comprehensive facility evaluations that assess facility use, operating costs and performance.

   (iii)  An evaluation of major facility systems and equipment is conducted before the end of the first year of occupancy or prior to end of warranty.

   (iv)  Evaluation results are used to make changes as necessary to the district's construction program for future projects.

§ 405.8. Facilities maintenance standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for facilities maintenance if:

   (1)  The facilities operations and maintenance department has defined goals and objectives and is operated in an effective and efficient manner. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The operations and maintenance department uses performance benchmarks and cost-effectiveness measures.

   (ii)  District operated and contracted services are regularly evaluated to determine cost-effectiveness and to explore alternatives.

   (iii)  Feedback from stakeholders and maintenance staff is used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations and maintenance department.

   (iv)  Facilities are maintained to create an atmosphere conducive to student learning and work productivity.

   (2)  The facilities operations and maintenance department has operational procedures and staff performance standards, and provides for appropriate training and professional development. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The operations and maintenance department has procedures that provide for effective procurement and use of personnel and resources.

   (ii)  Operational procedures are up to date and accessible to department staff.

   (iii)  Operations and maintenance performance standards are regularly updated to consider new technology and procedures.

   (iv)  Facilities maintenance staff is provided with the tools, equipment and training required to accomplish assigned tasks.

   (v)  Professional development is provided to remain current with maintenance issues, new technology, equipment, materials and procedures.

   (3)  The district develops an annual facilities maintenance and operations budget and capital expenditures budget. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The budget for facilities maintenance and operations is developed using historical and benchmark data.

   (ii)  A preventative maintenance program is budgeted and implemented to reduce long-term facilities maintenance costs and service outages.

   (iii)  The facilities maintenance and operations budget includes funds to correct deficiencies identified in periodic safety or insurance inspections, or both.

   (iv)  Actual facilities maintenance and operations expenditures are routinely evaluated as compared to the costs budgeted for those expenditures.

   (v)  The district maintains a financial contingency plan for emergency capital repairs.

   (4)  The facilities maintenance and operations department identifies and implements energy management strategies to contain energy costs. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district uses energy efficiency benchmarks and implements actions to increase cost-efficiency.

   (ii)  The facilities maintenance and operations department regularly monitors energy consumption.

   (iii)  Plans have been developed to address corrective actions in facilities where the energy management is inefficient.

   (5)  An efficient work order system is used to register, acknowledge, prioritize and assign work orders. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  Work order reports are routinely produced and analyzed to meet the information and tracking needs of the district.

   (ii)  The facilities maintenance and operations department prioritizes maintenance needs based on prioritization guidelines developed by the Department of Education, and completes maintenance repairs accordingly.

§ 405.9. Transportation standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for transportation if:

   (1)  The district coordinates planning and budgeting for student transportation. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  An assessment of the district's transportation requirements and priorities is conducted annually.

   (ii)  Information on the district's transportation program and related costs is developed as part of the annual budget process and presented to the school board.

   (iii)  A process is in place to provide sufficient vehicles and drivers to meet the district's transportation needs.

   (2)  The district maintains accurate transportation data. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district provides timely submission of required data to multiple agencies of the Commonwealth.

   (ii)  The district has established an effective and efficient method of collecting and maintaining data related to the district's transportation program.

   (3)  The district reviews and updates routes, stops and staffing to provide effective, efficient and safe transportation services for eligible students. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district annually reviews and updates bus routes, bus stops and designated walking routes to be effective and efficient without compromising safety.

   (ii)  The district evaluates hazardous walking routes and submits documentation to the Department of Transportation.

   (iii)  Bus routes and activity trips are operated in accordance with established guidelines.

   (iv)  Transportation services are provided in an effective and efficient manner for eligible students, in compliance with statutes, regulations and standards.

   (v)  Proper vehicle maintenance is performed.

   (vi)  Drivers are properly licensed and certified, and receive training in compliance with State and Federal requirements.

   (vii)  The district is responsive to inquiries parents and other stakeholders pertaining to transportation.

   (viii)  The district considers input from parents and other stakeholders in evaluating routes, stops and staffing of transportation program.

   (4)  Appropriate student behavior is maintained on buses, with students being held accountable for misbehavior during transportation. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has established standards and policies related to student behavior on buses with the goal of promoting safe, effective and efficient transportation to and from schools.

   (ii)  Parents and students are informed of district policy and procedures involving misbehavior during transportation and the related consequences.

   (iii)  Drivers follow established policies and procedures to report disciplinary infractions.

   (iv)  Drivers are held accountable for failure to comply with the established policies and procedures of the district.

   (v)  Students are held accountable for failure to comply with the established standards and policies of the district.

§ 405.10. Food service operations standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for food service operations if:

   (1)  The food services program has an approved operational plan and budget that is consistent with the district's strategic plan. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  A budget is prepared that is based on the food services program's plan, goals and objectives, and not limited to, historical, incremental increases.

   (ii)  The district's food services plan and budget are reviewed annually to reflect changes in Federal and State law, industry standards, and financial and demographic data within the district.

   (iii)  The district integrates technology, updated equipment and facilities renovation needs into its food services plans and budgets.

   (iv)  The district solicits and considers input from food service facilities when designing and planning for new and existing school facilities.

   (2)  The district has procedures and training programs designed to meet the needs of the food services program. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has developed and keeps current a food services program procedures manual for staff that is consistent with overall district policy.

   (ii)  The district assesses the needs of new and existing staff and develops comprehensive training plans.

   (iii)  The district has effective and efficient training program for new food services program staff members.

   (iv)  The district has effective and efficient plan for training staff on new policies and procedures that are implemented according to the food services program plan.

   (v)  The district monitors training of food services staff on a regular basis.

   (vi)  Staff is held accountable for violations of the food services program's established policies and procedures.

   (3)  The district maintains an effective and efficient food services program and continually reviews and evaluates its performance. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district adheres to good cash and account management practices and files State and Federal reimbursement requests in a timely manner.

   (ii)  The district utilizes an array of food and supply procurement procedures, including USDA commodities, to provide quality products in a cost-effective manner.

   (iii)  The pricing of meals and a la carte items are periodically reviewed to determine if the rates are appropriate and meeting the budget.

   (iv)  The program has a reporting system that provides accurate and timely information to management.

   (v)  Program staffing levels are appropriate considering information such as the number of meals served, serving periods, student participation and other relevant factors.

   (vi)  The district uses menu costs, trends, production, and wasted food from school sites to evaluate food and labor costs.

   (vii)  Periodic reviews are conducted to determine that the program is in compliance with district policies and procedures as well as Federal, State and local rules and regulations.

   (viii)  The district has established a preventive maintenance and long-range equipment replacement program.

   (ix)  The district identifies barriers to student participation and develops strategies to address.

   (x)  The district has an effective system that readily accepts and ensures the consideration of suggestions.

   (4)  The food services program complies with Federal, State and district policies to meet nutrition requirements. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, achieving passing results in the district's most recent Coordinated Review Effort (CRE)  and School Meal Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI)  review.

§ 405.11. Safety and security standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for safety and security if:

   (1)  District policies and procedures provide for the safety and security of students, employees and visitors while under the responsibility of the district. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district periodically reviews and updates its safety and security policies and procedures to determine if they are appropriate for the current conditions.

   (ii)  The district works with and integrates its safety and security program with the local/county/regional homeland security and emergency response programs.

   (iii)  The district completes drills required by the State, including fire drills and bus evacuations and tests emergency preparation for other conditions.

   (iv)  The district has a plan to address school violence.

   (v)  Individuals are held accountable when they fail to comply with district polices regarding school violence.

   (vi)  The district has guidelines for what is appropriate conduct for students, teachers and staff.

   (vii)  District procedures include a plan of how to communicate important information effectively to parents and the general public under all types of emergency situations, including adverse situations caused by weather, the environment and human events.

   (viii)  District procedures include a plan to address the care and shelter of students and employees as necessary during emergency situations and under adverse conditions.

   (2)  District policies and procedures address the health and safety condition of facilities and the district complies with Federal, State and local requirements for its facilities. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district has established health and safety guidelines.

   (ii)  Evaluations are made and documented for the health and safety conditions of district facilities in accordance with Federal, State and local requirements.

   (iii)  The district has a corrective action plan for identified facility health and safety deficiencies.

   (iv)  The district takes timely corrective action when it identifies health and safety deficiencies in district facilities.

   (v)  The district participates in and documents voluntary efforts regarding facility health and safety conditions.

   (vi)  The district has an emergency response plan.

   (vii)  The district periodically evaluates the physical building security.

§ 405.12. Educational service delivery standards.

   A school district will be deemed in compliance with the standards for educational service delivery if:

   (1)  The district's strategic plan includes strategies to improve teaching, learning and student performance in a cost-effective manner. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  District monitoring of the implementation of its strategic plan.

   (ii)  District evaluation of the impact of the strategic plan on student performance.

   (iii)  District initiation of actions consistent with the plan and the results of the monitoring and evaluation thereof.

   (2)  The district uses both academic and nonacademic data to guide it in making decisions about improving teaching and learning. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district reviews and evaluates student assessment results disaggregated by subgroups to improve teaching and learning.

   (ii)  The district considers input from stakeholders in making decisions about improving teaching and learning.

   (iii)  The district considers industry trends and effective policies in similar districts in making decisions about improving teaching and learning.

   (iv)  The district considers information in current industry literature in making decisions about improving teaching and learning.

   (v)  The district complies with Federal and State standards in making decisions about improving teaching and learning.

   (3)  The district provides effective and efficient instructional programs for its students. Indicators include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district analyzes the needs of its students in determining instructional programs.

   (ii)  The district periodically evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of its instructional programs.

   (iii)  The district complies with Federal and State standards of improvement of teaching and learning.

   (4)  The district provides effective and efficient instructional programs for students with disabilities, English language learners and at risk students. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district reviews and evaluates disaggregated student assessment results and other performance measures as available to improve the performance of students with disabilities, English language learners and at-risk students.

   (ii)  The district provides teachers with appropriate support and training to assist them in developing and implementing strategies to improve the performance of students with disabilities, English language learners and at-risk students.

   (5)  The district allocates adequate resources to properly support instruction and promote effective teaching and learning. Indicators of compliance include, but are not limited to, the following:

   (i)  The district periodically evaluates staffing levels at individual schools and between schools to determine optimal utilization and allocation of resources to meet the educational needs of students in the district.

   (ii)  Schools have an adequate supply of up-to-date instructional materials to accommodate students and teachers in an effective and efficient manner.

   (iii)  Instructional technology is utilized in the classroom as appropriate to enhance the curriculum and improve teaching and learning.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 06-1205. Filed for public inspection June 30, 2006, 9:00 a.m.]



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