Monday, August 01, 2011

Assigning a principal to a school


Assigning a principal to a school
Commissioner of Education's Decision 14,606

Section 100.2(a) of the Commissioner's regulations, requires a board of education to “employ and assign to each school under its supervision a full-time principal holding the appropriate certification....”

Parents of children attending Olean City School District elementary schools challenged a resolution adopted by the school board on November 21, 2000 providing “that an alternative mode of building administration be employed effective July 1, 2001 that would combine the principalship responsibilities of the North Hill and Boardmanville Elementary Schools.” The two schools are eight tenths of a mile apart. The parents asked the Commissioner to order the district “to comply with the Commissioner's regulations and retain a full-time principal for each school.”

Although the Commissioner dismissed the appeal as untimely, he cautioned that “it appears from the record that a variance request is required to effectuate respondent board's resolution.”*

As to the district's argument that the fact that the two schools are located 8/10 of a mile apart justifies the appointment of one principal for the two schools, the Commissioner said that “there are no distance prerequisites in the regulation that would obviate the need for the district to apply for a variance.”

The Commissioner distinguished between a situation such as Olean's where a district fails to assign a principal to each of its separate schools and a situation where a district has assigned a principal to “a school composed of more than one building in close proximity,” citing the appeal of the Middle Island Principals' Association, Commissioner's Decision 10,229.

The Commissioner advised the district “to carefully consider any principal appointments to assure compliance with all applicable regulations.” The State Education Department's variance office was directed to contact the district concerning the status of its principal appointments and the submission of a variance request in the event “an alternative mode of building administration” is still desired.

As an example, a variance was granted to a school district that had decided to administer its two smallest elementary schools by assigning a team of one principal and two assistant principals to them. The Commissioner rejected an appeal contending that the District could not do this [Commissioner's Decision 10,851], commenting that both assistant principals held valid elementary principal certificates and were qualified to perform the duties assigned to them.
* Section 100.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education permit a waiver from the general provision that “each school in a District shall have assigned to it a qualified principal.”

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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