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School Residency Dispute Bill Passes State House | WDIY Local News


Legislation led by State Representative Jeanne McNeill of Lehigh County is intended to support students involved in residency disputes with school districts.

A press release announced that McNeill’s bill, House Bill 663, would prohibit school districts in Pennsylvania from removing a child from school while determining what school they should attend. The student would remain in their current school until the dispute is settled and the correct school is officially determined.

The bill’s memo highlights the fact that residency disputes with school districts can take weeks to be fully resolved. Currently, districts are allowed to prevent the child from attending classes while the dispute is in progress, meaning that the student is not receiving any education during that time.

According to Representative McNeill, this issue caught her attention because of a similar case that occurred in Lehigh County, where a student with a disability was removed from school for more than a month, leaving them without the educational instruction and daytime care that they needed.

McNeill emphasized legislators’ duty to protect all Pennsylvanians, particularly children and those with disabilities who she said are “among our most vulnerable citizens.” She called the current system “callous” and “uncaring.”

House Bill 663 was introduced in December of 2022. The most recent consideration was its third consideration in the State House.

The bill will now proceed to the Pennsylvania Senate for consideration.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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