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T0:                   Superintendents of Schools and School Board Chairpersons

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner of Education

DATE:             November 7, 2005

SUBJECT:       Superintendents of Schools -- Election or Reelection

**** Please forward to School Board Chairpersons ****

Title 20-A M.R.S.A. Section 1051 (2) requires that school boards of school administrative units meet no later than December 31 of the year preceding the expiration of the superintendent's contract to elect a superintendent by majority vote of the full membership.

            We have made significant changes in the forms for complying with the annual statutory requirement for submission, to the Commissioner, of information regarding selection of a superintendent including distribution of these forms via e-mail instead of mailing packets.  We hope these changes will achieve simplification in paperwork and time savings.

In addition, Section 1051(5) requires the chairperson and secretary of the school board to certify under oath to the Commissioner, on forms provided by the Commissioner, all facts relating to the unit's selection of a superintendent.  Pursuant to the statute, this certification must be made both annually and when a new superintendent is chosen.  In the event that an existing superintendent's contract is extended, or changes are made to the compensation paid to the superintendent, that information must be reported to the Department so that appropriate entries can be made on the Certification of Employment forms.  Department of Education form EF-A-605 in MS Word format is available for downloading at and should be used for this purposeCopies of the minutes of the board action, and a copy of the superintendent’s contract must accompany the completed Certification of Employment form filed with the Commissioner. 


Regarding school unions, it should be noted that the union committee of each school union is required by statute to meet annually in December to carry out the various duties set forth in 20-A M.R.S.A. Section 1902.  This obligation exists whether or not a superintendent is being selected.

Also pertaining to school unions, in supervisory units where more than one administrative unit employs the superintendent, voting at the December meeting must be done on a weighted basis pursuant to Section 1902.

A complete list of votes by unit using the 2003 estimated census counts is available at:
If you notice any errors in the number of school board members in any of your units, please contact us as soon as possible.

A copy of the completed Certification of Employment must be filed with the treasurer of each member town of a school union.  Forms may be reproduced locally to meet needs.

Superintendents are elected for specific terms not to exceed 5 years.  The term of office for any superintendent shall end on June 30, with the year to be specified by board vote.  The superintendent must hold a valid superintendent's certificate when the board votes to employ or the election shall be declared null and void and without effect.  The motion to elect the superintendent and set the superintendent's salary should specify the time frame within which the offer must be accepted by the superintendent or candidate.  Non-acceptance of the offer means that a vacancy will occur at the expiration of the current contract agreement. 

In the event of a vacancy, you may wish to contact the Maine School Management Association to obtain a copy of "Selection Procedures for Superintendent of Schools".

A copy of the minutes showing the action of the board and/or joint committee should be attached to the Certification of Employment, along with a copy of the superintendent’s contract which should be returned to the Commissioner’s office directly after the December meeting of the year preceding the expiration of the superintendent’s contract.

Superintendents of schools are responsible for delivering this Administrative Letter and appropriate materials to the chairperson of each board.  Questions concerning this letter should be directed to Patrick Phillips, Deputy Commissioner at 624-6663.