(a) The board of trustees shall determine the level of compensation and all terms and conditions of employment of the staff except as may otherwise be provided in this article. At least seventy-five per centum of the professional staff members of a charter school shall hold appropriate State certification. Employes of a charter school may organize under the act of July 23, 1970 (P.L. 563, No. 195), 1 known as the “Public Employe Relations Act.” The board of trustees of a charter school shall be considered an employer for the purposes of Article XI-A. 2 Upon formation of one or more collective bargaining units at the school, the board of trustees shall bargain with the employes based on the provisions of this article, Article XI-A and the “Public Employe Relations Act.” Collective bargaining units at a charter school shall be separate from any collective bargaining unit of the school district in which the charter school is located and shall be separate from any other collective bargaining unit. A charter school shall be considered a school entity as provided for in section 1161-A 3 for the purpose of the secretary seeking an injunction requiring the charter school to meet the minimum requirements for instruction as provided for in this article.
(b) Each charter application shall list the general qualifications needed to staff any noncertified positions. Professional employes who do not hold appropriate Pennsylvania certification must present evidence that they:
(i) Meet the qualifications in sections 1109 and 1209. 4
(ii) Have demonstrated satisfactorily a combination of experience, achievement and qualifications as defined in the charter school application in basic skills, general knowledge, professional knowledge and practice and subject matter knowledge in the subject area where an individual will teach.
(c) All employes of a charter school shall be enrolled in the Public School Employees' Retirement System in the same manner as set forth in 24 Pa.C.S. § 8301(a) (relating to mandatory and optional membership) unless at the time of the application for the charter school the sponsoring district or the board of trustees of the charter school has a retirement program which covers the employes or the employe is currently enrolled in another retirement program. The charter school shall be considered a public school as defined in 24 Pa.C.S. § 8102 (relating to definitions) and shall make quarterly payments by employers to the Public School Employees' Retirement System and monthly payments on account of Social Security as established under 24 Pa.C.S. Pt. IV (relating to retirement for school employees). 5 Except as otherwise provided, employes of a charter school shall make regular member contributions as required for active members under 24 Pa.C.S. Pt. IV. If the employes of the charter school participate in another retirement plan, then those employes shall have no concurrent claim on the benefits provided to public school employes under 24 Pa.C.S. Pt. IV. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, nothing in this article shall be construed to require the Commonwealth to make payments to charter schools or contributions on behalf of charter school employes from appropriated funds, as provided in 24 Pa.C.S. §§ 8326 (relating to contributions by the Commonwealth) and 8535 (relating to payments to school entities by Commonwealth) on account of charter school employes enrolled in the Public School Employees' Retirement System and 24 Pa.C.S. § 8329(a) (relating to payments on account of social security deductions from appropriations) on account of Social Security payments made by a charter school.
(d) Every employe of a charter school shall be provided the same health care benefits as the employe would be provided if he or she were an employe of the local district. The local board of school directors may require the charter school to provide the same terms and conditions with regard to health insurance as the collective bargaining agreement of the school district to include employe contributions to the district's health benefits plan. The charter school shall make any required employer's contribution to the district's health plan to an insurer, a local board of school directors or a contractual representative of school employes, whichever is appropriate to provide the required coverage.
(e) Any public school employe of a school entity may request a leave of absence for up to five (5) years in order to work in a charter school located in the district of employment or in a regional charter school in which the employing school district is a participant. Approval for a leave shall not be unreasonably withheld.
(f) Temporary professional employes on leave from a school district may accrue tenure in the non-charter public school system at the discretion of the local board of school directors, the same as they would under Article XI 6 if they had continued to be employed by that district. Professional employes on leave from a school district shall retain their tenure rights, as defined in Article XI, in the school entity from which they came. No temporary professional employe or professional employe shall have tenure rights as against a charter school. Both temporary professional employes and professional employes shall continue to accrue seniority in the school entity from which they came if they return to that school entity when the leave ends.
(g) Professional employes who hold a first level teaching or administrative certificate may, at their option, have the time completed in satisfactory service in a charter school applied to the length of service requirements for the next level of certification.
(h)(1) Any temporary professional employe or professional employe who leaves employment at a charter school shall have the right to return to a comparable position for which the person is properly certified in the school entity which granted the leave of absence. In the case where a teacher has been dismissed by the charter school, the school entity which granted the leave of absence is to be provided by the charter school with the reasons for such dismissal at the time it occurs, a list of any witnesses who were relied on by the charter school in moving for dismissal, a description of and access to any physical evidence used by the charter school in moving for dismissal and a copy of any record developed at any dismissal proceeding conducted by the charter school. The record of any such hearing may be admissible in a hearing before the school entity which granted the leave of absence. Nothing in this section shall affect the authority of the board of school directors to initiate proceedings under Article XI if the board determines that occurrences at the charter school leading to dismissal of a teacher constitute adequate and independent grounds for discipline under section 1122.
(2) No temporary employe or professional employe who is leaving employment at a charter school shall be returned to a position in the public school district which granted his leave of absence until such public school district is in receipt of a current criminal history record under section 111 and the official clearance statement regarding child injury or abuse from the Department of Public Welfare 7 as required by 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 Subch. C.2 (relating to background checks for employment in schools).
(i) All individuals who shall have direct contact with students shall be required to submit a report of criminal history record information as provided for in section 111 prior to accepting a position with the charter school. This subsection shall also apply to any individual who volunteers to work on a full-time or part-time basis at the charter school.
(j) All applicants for a position as a school employe shall be required to submit the official clearance statement regarding child injury or abuse from the Department of Public Welfare as required by 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 Subch. C.2. This section shall also apply to any individual who volunteers to work on a full-time or part-time basis at a charter school.
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