Administrative Letter: Superintendent Transfer Agreements

Administrative Letter: #7
Policy Code: CBC
To: Superintendents, School Board Chairs, and Private School Head Administrators
From: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D., Acting Commissioner
Date: March 15, 2017
Re: Superintendent Transfer Agreements

Last year, the Maine Department of Education sent out a letter to Superintendents entitled Clarification of Commissioner’s Review of Superintendent Agreements. As we move closer to the 2017-2018 school year and we begin to see more Superintendent Transfer Agreement requests, it may be helpful to review the letter again carefully. I also want to provide some additional guidance to address questions and clarify issues about the Superintendent Transfer request process at the local level.
Specifically, Superintendent Transfer Agreements are designed to facilitate a student transfer from one school administrative unit (SAU) to another for the student’s best interest. Per Title 20-A MRSA Section 5205(6):

A. Two superintendents may approve the transfer of a student from one school administrative unit to another if:

(1) They find that a transfer is in the student’s best interest; and

(2) The student’s parent approves.

The superintendents shall notify the commissioner of any transfer approved under this paragraph. If either of the superintendents decides not to approve the transfer, that superintendent shall provide to the parent of the student requesting transfer under this paragraph a written description of the basis of that superintendent’s determination. [2013, c. 456, §1 (AMD).

SAUs often use a form to collect transfer request information, and to deliver decisions. The Department has created sample forms which may be adopted as part of the Superintendent transfer agreement process (optional):

Please feel free to use the forms as templates. These forms model the type of information that should be requested and generated as Superintendents and parents work through the details of a transfer.

When communicating with parents about required documentation for transfer request submission to the Superintendent, SAUs may advise parents to write a letter supporting their request and to include supporting documentation and compelling reasons for the request. Parents should be advised not to submit anything that they would not want shared with the Department or the State Board of Education, should the request be denied and subsequently appealed.

When responding to requests, it is important to communicate the basis for the Superintendent’s decision, based on the student’s best interest.

If the transfer is agreed to by both sending and receiving Superintendents, the student becomes a resident of the receiving SAU for one school year. Please note that agreements may not be subject to revocation, rescission, or contingencies for the school year. These students must be afforded the same rights and responsibilities as students who reside in the SAU.

Under a transfer, the receiving unit, by accepting the student as a resident of the receiving unit, is accepting full fiscal responsibility for the student just as with any other resident of the SAU, including fiscal responsibility for special education services. Special education services must be provided to transfer students by the receiving SAU at no cost to the parent and the cost of these services may not be billed to the sending SAU.

When possible, requests should be made and decisions rendered in an expedient manner, and preferably prior to the start of the school year.  In order to properly account for SAU fiscal responsibilities, it is recommended that the transfer be in effect for the October 1st student count. For students who have been in ongoing attendance and where tuition has been paid by the parent, tuition adjustments will be effective as of the date of parent request to the Superintendent.

Thank you for rendering informed and thoughtful Superintendent Transfer Agreement guidance and decisions that are in the best interest of Maine students.

For more information regarding this letter, please contact Pamela Ford-Taylor at Pamela.Ford-Taylor@maine.gov or (207) 624-6617.