New York State Education Dept. Assistant Commissioner for District Organization and District Superintendents Subject Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of subject files of the Assistant Commissioner for District Organization and District Superintendents. The records include correspondence, reports, memoranda meeting minutes, and addresses relating to the various educational and legislative committees, councils, and commissions on which the Assistant Commissioner and District Superintentant served or in which they held an interest.
1.5 cubic feet of textual records
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:
This series’ description was enhanced as part of the States’ Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP), in June 2010. The New York Community Trust - Wallace Special Projects Fund provided funding for this project.


The Subject files are arranged roughly alphabetically by committee name or by subject.

Administrative History

The legal process of organizing a central school district is described in Chapter 820 of the Laws of 1947 (Article 37, Sections 1801-1808 of the new Education Law which replaced the earlier compilation of 1909). The consolidation of small rural school districts into larger central school districts was first enacted into law in Chapter 55 of the Laws of 1914, which provided for the formation of “Central Rural Schools.” The first rural central school district was created in 1924. In 1925, the Cole-Rice Law (Chapter 673 of the Laws of 1925) was enacted, which provided state financial aid for transportation and school construction in order to encourage rural school districts to consolidate. The pace of centralization increased in the 1930’s, but the process of centralization was criticized as piecemeal by the Regents’ Inquiry into the Character and Cost of Public Education in 1938. In response, the Bureau of Rural Administrative Services was created in 1943 to facilitate the process of school district centralization, and a master plan for school consolidation was created by the Joint Legislative Committee on the State Education System in 1947. By 1959, the number of school districts in New York State had fallen to under 2,000, down from around 10,000 in 1925. Overall, the movement toward centralized school districts was reflective of a national trend towards greater involvement by state governments and state education agencies in the administration and funding of public schools.

The position of district superintendent was created in 1910 through an amendment to Article 14 of the Education Law. It replaced the position of Commissioner of Schools, which had been an elective office, with a position that was appointed by supervisory district personnel (currently, the superintendent is appointed by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in the supervisory district). The shift to an appointive office was designed to increase the level of professionalism and educational expertise of district administrators. While the superintendents are selected by local personnel, they are paid by the New York State Education Department, and answerable to the State Commissioner of Education. District superintendents act as the chief executive officer of the district BOCES, perform administrative and supervisory activities with districts, and perform special duties assigned by the Commissioner. In effect, they act as an intermediary between school districts and the State Education Department.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of subject files of the Assistant Commissioner for District Organization and District Superintendents, a post abolished in 1982. The files contain correspondence, reports, and memoranda of committees of District Superintendents of Schools; minutes and agendas of the Planning Council of District Superintendents, of which the Assistant Commissioner was a member; and related correspondence and memoranda, as well as of committees on reading, school district organization, Project Redesign, health and pupil services, and information systems for education.

There are also memoranda and correspondence about the Commission on the Quality, Cost and Finance of Elementary and Secondary Education (Fleischmann Commission); as well as summaries of comments about the recommendations of Chapter 9 in the Fleischmann Commission report, concerning "Children with Special Needs" (i.e., the mentally or physically handicapped). The commission, 1969-1972, developed recommendations for reforming education, among them a complete state takeover of education financing through a statewide real property tax.Other files pertain to professional organizations, the Legislative Commission on Expenditure Review, the Office of Education Performance Review, and district superintendents generally.

Of note in the series are original typescripts ("master copies") of addresses by the Assistant Commissioner, papers by him concerning regional cooperation among Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), memoranda from the Assistant Commissioner to the District Superintendents of Schools, and a directory of BOCES executive staff (1978). These records were produced or received by Dr. Leo A. Soucy, who was appointed Assistant Commissioner for School Services in 1970. The title of his position later became Assistant Commissioner for District Organization, Health Education and Pupil Services, but these files contain relatively little about health education and pupil services.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B0482 County district administration and supervision files, also contains materials produced by the Office of District Organization and District Superintendents

Series B0477 Bureau of School District Organization subject and administrative files

Series 15671 Bureau of School District Organization, district superintendent county files relating to appointments and organization orders

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):

Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Folder

Accretion: B0314-83
1977 August-September Committee - Health & Pupil Services 1 1
1972 September-1978 May Committee - Instructional Support System 1 2
1975 August-1976 February Committee - Liaison for Add. Apportionment on State Aid 1 3
1972 September-1973 Committee - NYSEIS 1 4
1972 September-1973 February Committee - Reading 1 5
1972 September-1974 March Committee - Redesign 1 6
1970 October-December Committee - School District Reorganization 1 7
1972 Sept1972 September-1974 Septemberember-1974 Committee - Staff Development 1 8
1970 October-1971 February Committee Planning Council - 1970-1971 1 9
1971 February-October Committee Planning Council - 1971 1 10
1971 May-1974 October Committee Planning Council - 1971-1974 1 11
1975 April-1977 August Committee Planning Council - 1975-1977 1 12
1977 August-October Committee Planning Council - 1977 1 13
1970 October-1971 November Committee Planning Council - Minutes & Agenda - 1970-1971 1 14
1971 December-1974 November Committee Planning Council - Minutes & Agenda - 1971-1974 1 15
1970 December-1972 October Committee - Fleischmann (Commission on the Quality, Cost & Financing of Elementary & Secondary Education) 1 16a
1970 December-1972 October Committee - Fleischmann (Commission on the Quality, Cost & Financing of Elementary & Secondary Education) 1 16b
1972 October-1974 September Committee - Fleischmann 1 17a
1972 October-1974 September Committee - Fleischmann 1 17b
1976 January-1979 December American Association of School Administrators 1 18
1975 May-1976 January Legislative Committee on Expenditure Review 1 19
1972 December-1975 October District Superintendent - General 1 20
1976 September-1979 March New York State School Boards Association 2 1
1976 February-1978 February New York State Council of School District Administrators 2 2
1973 June-December Office of Educational Performance Review (Klepak) 2 3
1970 January-1972 July Robert H. Schaffer & Associates 2 4
1971 March-1973 December Misc. Master Copies - 1971-1973 2 5
1978 February-November 1978 - Master Copies 2 6