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Administrative letter No: 24

 

POLICY Code:jfabc

 

TO:††††† ††††††††††† Superintendents, School Committee Chairs

 

FROM:††††††††††† J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner

 

RE: ††††† ††††††††††† Superintendent Agreements and Commissioner Appeals

 

DATE: ††††††††††† January 21, 2003

 

Historically, Superintendent agreements and Commissioner appeals have been a difficult policy matter for Superintendents, the Department and parents. Maine law (Title 20-A, M.R.S.A. Section 5205, sub 6) states that two Superintendents may approve the transfer of a student from one School Administrative Unit to another if they find that a transfer is in the best interest of the student and the studentís parent approves. It is important to note, all decisions pertaining to Commissioner appeals are based upon a case-by-case review and consideration of a studentís best interest.

 

Although the Maine School Superintendents Association issued suggested guidelines for Superintendent agreements and Commissioner appeals in January 1995, there is a lack of consistency in the process between the Superintendents involved in the transfer requests. The predominant issues include:

 

a.      both Superintendents are not in agreement

b.      pending an appeal to the Commissioner and his/her final decision;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, the Department has an issue with receiving appeal requests just prior to and just after the opening day of the school year. This does not allow adequate time for information acquisition and for the Commissioner to make a decision.

 

In order to assure a fair and consistent process, Superintendents should incorporate the following key elements and protocol into the Superintendent agreement process:

 

KEY ELEMENTS

 

 

 

PROTOCOL

 

I.                    Superintendents:

 

A.                Decisions should be based upon a determination of the best interest of the child;

B.                 When a request is made of either Superintendent, consultation between the two needs to take place before action is determined. A transfer request should be initiated with the Superintendent of the School Administrative Unit of residence;

C.                In any correspondence to the parent/guardian there should be a reminder that an approval is subject to an annual review the Superintendents;

D.                Reasons for decisions should be included in the correspondence to the parents/guardians;

E.                 Each transfer request must be considered on an individual basis;

F.                 The receiving Superintendent should not enroll the student while an appeal to the Commissioner is pending.

 

II.††††††††††† Department of Education:

 

A.                Will conduct an investigation of all appeals of Superintendent agreements to include but not be limited to, notifying and conferring with both Superintendents and the parents/guardians;

B.                 Will act on appeals in a timely fashion;

C.                Will notify the Superintendents and the parents/guardians of all transfer appeal decisions verbally with follow up in writing as soon as possible;

D.                Will consider renewals differently than initial requests for the sake of consistency in a studentsí educational progress.The normal transitional place for a particular school unit may be considered in the decision to approve/deny a renewal request. Note: This area requires further study in order for proper consideration of the impact of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act; on the duration of student transfers.

E.                 If a parents/guardian elects to enroll a child in a public school outside the School Administrative Unit of residence or a private school, pending the outcome of a transfer appeal, they must do so at their own expense.

 

As noted, the Superintendent agreement and the Commissioner appeal processes require the consideration of numerous factors to be considered prior to making the best final decision.

 

Please feel free to contact Edwin N. Kastuck, Ph.D., DOE Learning Opportunities Team, at 624-6776, or by fax at 624-6700 or email edwin.kastuck@Maine.gov if you have any questions.

 

Thank you.