Act 93 FAQ
Question: Can the school board pass an Act 93 plan that the administrators did not approve?
Answer: Yes. The school board, after good faith meet and discuss, can, at a public meeting, pass a plan the majority of administrators may not approve. Nothing in the law requires the administrators to approve the terms and conditions of the plan, only that they have the ability to meet with the board concerning the plan.
Question: Must we have an Act 93 plan?
Answer: No. The law is optional. If the majority of administrators do not want to meet and discuss with the school board, the board may pass policy on compensation without input of administrators.
Question: What if some of us like the board offer and others do not? What happens?
Answer: The board does not need the administrators’ acceptance of the plan to make it legal. While it would be nice to have the majority accept it, the school board could adopt the minority position.
Question: Can the custodial supervisor, transportation supervisor and other like positions be in the Act 93 group?
Answer: While no court case exists to determine eligibility, the law states “any employee of the school entity below the rank of superintendent, executive director, vocational director, assistant superintendent….”. Common practice has been to include all positions of a supervisory nature that are not excluded by the law, which would be superintendent, assistant superintendent, business manager and personnel director. In fact, in Curley vs. Greater Johnstown, the issue of non-supervisory school administrators was addressed and the court stated they could be part of Act 93 group.
Question: What if we do not want certain positions in the group?
Answer: After 15 years since the enactment of Act 93, it would probably be difficult to win this argument in court and would probably have a negative impact on the legislature. From a practical standpoint, many groups have been able to resolve this issue by having separate agreements – one covering educational staff and another covering non-educational staff under a master Act 93 document.
Question: Can the school board not live up to the terms of an Act 93 agreement?
Answer: No. Assuming the plan was passed by the school board at a public school board meeting, the plan is in effect to its expiration date. This issue was affirmed in Curley vs. Greater Johnstown School District. Commonwealth Court found that an ACP is a binding document and once adopted by the board may not be changed by the board during the term of the plan, unless by mutual agreement. In the event the school board would change the agreement, the issue would be taken into the local county court of common pleas to be resolved.
Question: How long a time line must a plan be in existence?
Answer: The law requires minimum of one year, but multi-year plans are not excluded.
Question: Can the board make a deal with one administrator?
Answer: Although never litigated, it is the position of the associations (PA Principals Association) that the legislative purpose of Act 93 is that all members would be covered by one document. However, the law does not preclude the school board from giving one administrator greater salary or benefits although they must do so under the context of meet and discuss. Where administrators actively pursue this request, they really hurt the Act 93 process because all semblance of group unity is lost.
Question: How soon before the ACP expiration date should we meet with the school board?
Answer: While there is no set standard, a meeting should be held in January/February to acquaint the board with Act 93. Many board members might have never been part of the process. Topics should include how Act 93 works, the importance of good pay and benefits for administrative staff, developing a philosophy of administrative compensation and other areas the group wishes to address. This is not a gripe session, but should be used as an opportunity to educate the school board on the role of the administrator and compensation issues. At the next meeting, the group can get into specifics.