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​Commissions

24 P.S. §10-1078 and §9-913-A

Date of Issue: September 1, 1997
Date of Review: October 1, 2019 (revised)
May 15, 2018 (revised)
March 8, 2018 (revised)
July 1, 2009 (revised)
July 1, 2001 (replaced Extension of Superintendents’ Terms, BEC P.S. §10-1073)

Purpose

This Basic Education Circular (BEC) identifies when a commission will be issued and what must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for commission approval. It also lists situations in which a commission will not be issued and the applicable requirements and limits. Finally, this BEC describes the process used to update the Office School File via the PDE website.

Background

24 P.S. §10-1078 states that a School District (SD) Superintendent and Assistant SD Superintendents shall be commissioned by the Secretary of Education. Section 9-913-A states that an Executive Director and Assistant Executive Directors of Intermediate Units (IUs) shall be commissioned by the Secretary of Education. A commission shall be issued to include name, SD or IU, and term of office.

Commissions

A commission will be issued under the following circumstances:

  1. The election or appointment of a properly qualified person;

  2. The re-election or reappointment of a properly qualified person; and

  3. The extension of an incumbent Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent’s term.

A Superintendent term may be for a period of three to five years. An Assistant Superintendent term may be through the end of the term of the Superintendent or from a period of three to five years. A Superintendent of a first-class school district may be appointed for a term up to six years.

IU Executive Director and Assistant IU Executive Director terms are for a four-year period.

Vacancy

Election of a Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent or appointment of an IU Executive Director or Assistant IU Executive Director may take place when a new position is established or a vacancy exists. A resignation, dismissal, retirement, or death of the incumbent creates a vacancy.

Re-election or Re-appointment

For Superintendents or Assistant Superintendents, re-elections may be held in the last calendar year of the incumbent's term. In this situation, the board of school directors votes to retain the incumbent Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent for a further term of three to five years.

At least 90 days prior to the termination date of the incumbent’s commission, the board must notify the incumbent of their intention to consider other candidates for the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent position or re-elect the incumbent for a term of three to five years. If the board fails to take such action, the term of the incumbent shall be extended for a period of one year, after which it terminates unless the board takes action before the one-year period has ended to retain the incumbent for a further term of three to five years. 

For an incumbent IU Executive Director or Assistant IU Executive Director, an IU board may re-appoint the IU Executive Director or Assistant IU Executive Director for an additional four-year term sometime prior to the end of the original four-year term.

Extension

The board of school directors may wish to extend the Superintendent’s or Assistant Superintendent’s term. An extension may not allow the original term to exceed five years. Example: A term is valid from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 2003. An extension would allow the term to be extended through June 30, 2005. In effect, the term is extended from a three-year term to a five-year term.

Procedures

Superintendent or IU Executive Director (New or Renewal)

When a Board of school directors elects a Superintendent or an IU board of directors appoints an IU Executive Director, the board shall promptly complete form PDE 5529, Application for Commission.

Submit the following information to PDE:

  • Completed PDE 5529 form; 
  • Evidence of a vacancy if the previous officer's term has not expired (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approved resignation, dismissal or retirement); and
  • Evidence that a majority of the board voted in the affirmative for this candidate (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approval or vote tally).

If an applicant would like to have the Secretary of Education administer the Oath of Office, please include this request with the submission of the Application for Commission. Once the application is approved, the Secretary’s Office will contact the applicant to schedule an appointment.

In the case of the renewal of a Superintendent where the board fails to take action 90 days or more before the end of a Superintendent’s term, the board shall note the automatic one-year extension in their next meeting and submit written notification to PDE.

Assistant Superintendent or Assistant IU Executive Director (New/Renewal)

When a board of school directors elects an Assistant Superintendent or an IU board appoints an Assistant IU Executive Director, the Board shall complete PDE 5529, Application for Commission.

Submit the following information to PDE:

  • Completed PDE 5529;
  • Evidence of a vacancy if the previous officer's term has not expired (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approved resignation, dismissal or retirement);
  • Evidence of a new position (copy of signed board resolution/minutes) if applicable; and
  • Evidence that a majority of the board voted in the affirmative for this candidate (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approval or vote tally).

If an applicant would like to have the Secretary of Education administer the Oath of Office, please include this request with the submission of the Application for Commission. Once the application is approved, the Secretary’s Office will contact the applicant to schedule an appointment.

In the case of renewal of an Assistant Superintendent where the board fails to take action 90 days or more before the end of an Assistant Superintendent’s term, the board shall note the automatic one-year extension in their next meeting and submit written notification to PDE.

Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent (Extension)

A board of school directors may extend a Superintendent's or Assistant Superintendent’s term for one or two years so the original term will extend to a five-year period.

Submit the following to PDE:

  • Evidence that a majority of the board voted in the affirmative for the extension of the term of this candidate (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approval or vote tally).

A new commission will be issued, showing the term approved by the board.

Commissions Not Issued

24 P.S. §10-1079 allows a board of school directors to fill a vacancy with an Acting Superintendent or Acting Assistant Superintendent. In the case of a commissioned officer on leave, the board may appoint a substitute to fill the position for the period of the leave or completion of the term of the commission. A commission will not be issued in any of these circumstances.

Acting Superintendent/Acting Assistant Superintendent

When a board appoints an Acting Superintendent or Acting Assistant Superintendent, the board shall promptly forward written notification to PDE at the address below. The appointment may not extend beyond one calendar year by which time the district shall have filled the position.

Submit the follow to PDE:

  • Evidence that a majority of the board voted in the affirmative for this candidate. The evidence shall include the appointment, its effective date, its termination date, and a copy of the signed board resolution/minutes indicating approval or a vote tally; and
  • Evidence of a vacancy (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating approved resignation, dismissal or retirement).

Substitute Superintendent or Substitute Assistant Superintendent

When a board of school directors appoints a substitute Superintendent or substitute Assistant Superintendent, the board shall promptly forward written notification to PDE at the address below. A substitute must hold a Letter of Eligibility or Commissions Qualification Letter and may serve up to the end of the Superintendent’s or Assistant Superintendent’s approved leave or completion of the term of the commission.

Submit the following to PDE:

  • Evidence that a majority of the board voted in the affirmative for this candidate. This evidence shall include the appointment, its effective date, its termination date, and copy of the signed board resolution/minutes indicating approval or a vote tally;
  • Evidence of leave approved by the board (copy of signed board resolution/minutes indicating the beginning date of the Superintendent’s or Assistant Superintendent’s leave).

Updating the Official School File

It is the responsibility of the SD or IU to maintain the Official School File as established on the PDE website. This file is known as Education Names and Addresses (EdNA).

To update the address, phone number, or administrator(s) of a school, school district or IU, log into My PDE Suite to access Education Names and Addresses (EdNAv2). Administrators who apply for a commission will show as “Submitted” until the information listed above is submitted to the Division of Certification Services and is approved by PDE.

References

Purdon's Statutes

24 P.S. §9-913-A
24 P.S. §10-1003
24 P.S. §10-1004
24 P.S. §10-1073
24 P.S. §10-1078
24 P.S. §10-1079

State Board of Education Regulations

22 Pa. Code §§49.41(a) & (b)
22 Pa. Code §49.42
22 Pa. Code §49.172(c)
22 Pa. Code §49.182(c)

Bureau/Office Contact

Phil Ferrari | Certification Specialist
Division of Certification Services
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street, 12th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.728.3224