On November 13, 2023, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill No. 663. Upon passage in the state Senate, HB 663 will amend Section 1302 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code, which governs residence and students’ right to free school.
KingSpry’s Education Law Practice Group Chair Attorney Kristine Roddick details what schools need to know and how this potential legislation may impact your students.
Call To Action
HB 663 originated in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives due to concerns regarding student removal from schools amidst residency disputes. When residency disputes between school districts occur, it may take several weeks to determine a resolution.
Currently, Pennsylvania Law allows the involved student to be removed from his/her present school district until the residency dispute is settled.
What Will HB 663 Change?
Following the passage of HB 663, school districts will no longer be permitted to remove a student from their school until the dispute has been fully resolved and the correct school district fully enrolls the student.
Who Is A Resident?
Pursuant to Section 1302 of the School Code, a child is considered a resident of the school district in which his/her parents or the guardian resides.
Students of Military Personnel
Should a student live outside of the Commonwealth, as a result of one or both of their parents being called to active military duty, the student must continue to be considered a resident of the school district they were enrolled in immediately prior to the parent(s) being stationed outside of the Commonwealth. This requirement applies only if the student’s parent(s) maintains the residence.
Amendment of the School Code
HB 663 will add language to Section 1302 of the School Code so that students are unable to be disenrolled from their current school until:
1. The parents or guardians have been provided an opportunity to appeal the decision through a hearing;
2. After receipt of notice, the parents or guardians have declined to appeal the decision through a hearing;
3. The parents or guardians are provided information from the school district’s liaison for homeless children and youth regarding the educational rights of homeless students; or
4. A court enters an order directing that the child be disenrolled and enrolled in a different school.
Once passed by the state Senate, HB 663 will take effect in sixty (60) days.
Bottom Line for Schools
Schools should use this time to address their policies and current practices pertaining to residency disputes. Considering HB 663’s unanimous passage in the House of Representatives, it is likely to receive bipartisan support in the state Senate and become law.
Schools must consider the changes HB 663 will bring, and how they will alter existing procedures to meet students’ needs, should they be subject to a residency dispute.