Ciresi, Marcell introduce bipartisan legislation to help intermediate units

HARRISBURG, June 29 – State Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and Kristin Marcell, R-Bucks, introduced a bill this week aimed at helping the state’s intermediate units.

House Bill 1526 would permit IUs to own facilities, allowing them to own instructional space and use facilities they already have for instructional purposes.

Currently, IUs are only permitted to own office space and warehouse facilities, a limitation that prohibits them from owning facilities used for instructional space that does not apply to school districts, area career and technical schools, or charter schools. Many IUs operate classrooms and other instructional spaces as providers of important special education, pre-school programs and other educational services. All these instructional facilities must be leased, burdening IUs with rental costs that sometimes greatly exceed what it would cost the IU to purchase and own the facility themselves.

“As a former school board member, I have seen firsthand the important work that the state’s intermediate units do every day,” Ciresi said. “This bill will help our IUs provide better services to our children and save taxpayer dollars by empowering IUs to avoid costly long-term leases of buildings essential for providing educational services.”

Both Ciresi and Marcell served on school boards prior to serving in the PA House. Ciresi was a member of the Spring-Ford Area school board for 12 years, which included three years as president and three years as vice-president. Marcell was a member of the Council Rock school board from 2018-23, which included one year as vice-president.

 "Intermediate units - ultimately taxpayers - currently incur unnecessary higher costs for the education of students with disabilities and children enrolled in pre-school programs,” Marcell said. “By removing this limitation, we can help our IUs to be more fiscally responsible and provide Pennsylvania's students with the appropriate spaces needed for their educational programs."

Pennsylvania’s 29 intermediate units provide special education, professional development, and technical assistance services to school districts, charter schools, and private schools.

House Bill 1526 has been referred to the House Education Committee.