HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee approved legislation this week sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) to extend a provision of the state’s Empowerment Act that allows school districts to apply for waivers from certain mandates.
Under Senate Bill 250, the sunset date for the Mandate Waiver Program will be removed, allowing the program to continue past the scheduled ending date of June 30, 2010.
“Mandate waivers have proven a successful means to give school districts more flexibility to operate effectively,” said Corman. “The program is worth continuing and provides a significant costs savings to both school districts and taxpayers.”
The Mandate Waiver Program allows school districts, intermediate units and vocational-technical schools to apply for waivers from certain requirements in the Public School Code. To be eligible for a waiver, school entities must have their application approved by the Department of Education and show the waiver will allow them to improve their instructional programs or operate in a more efficient or economical manner.
Senate Bill 250 also allows the department to grant a waiver in cases where the school district intends to solicit multiple prime and single prime construction bids and award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.