Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Requesting Waivers -- Information and Considerations

Memo Information

Memo Number
COM-22-153
Memo Date
5/23/2022
Memo Type
Regulatory
Unit
Legal Services
Regulatory Authority
Various
Response Required
NO
Attention
Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals

Primary Contact Information

Memo Reference

No references available.

Memo Text

On May 2, 2022, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Rules Governing Act 1240 Waivers took effect.  A copy of those rules is attached for your convenience. 

As noted in the Rules, there are three reasons for which a school district may receive an Act 1240 waiver: (1) to enhance student learning opportunities; (2) to promote innovation; or (3) to increase equitable access to effective teachers.  The Division recently updated its Act 1240 Waiver request forms (one to use for new requests and another for extension requests), which can be found on its website at Division of Elementary and Secondary Education - Offices - Legal Services - Act 1240 Waiver (arkansas.gov).  When requesting an Act 1240 waiver, a school district must specify which of these three goals the waiver will support and provide a detailed rationale. 

All Act 1240 waiver requests should be emailed to DESE’s Legal Unit at lori.freno@ade.arkansas.gov and quarnicia.smith@ade.arkansas.gov.  Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-15-103(c), DESE has 90 days from receipt of a complete Act 1240 Waiver request to present the request to the State Board of Education.  Districts should keep this 90-day time frame in mind when planning to seek a new waiver or renew an existing one. 

Importantly, the purpose of an Act 1240 waiver is not to avoid a violation of the Standards for Accreditation.  If a district fails to meet the Standards, it may file a request for a Standards for Accreditation waiver in accordance with Ark. Code Ann. § 6-15-202(b)(2)(A).   The waiver request must be in writing on school district letterhead and must detail the reason for the request.  It should be emailed to DESE’s Division of Public School Accountability at matthew.sutherlin@ade.arkansas.gov and deborah.coffman@ade.arkansas.gov.        

Attached is a table that summarizes differences between Act 1240 and Standards for Accreditation waivers.  It also summarizes available teacher licensure exceptions that a district should consider before requesting an Act 1240 or Standards for Accreditation waiver.  More information concerning these exceptions can be found in DESE’s Rules Governing Educator Licensure, or districts may contact the Educator Licensure Unit at (501) 682-4342.  

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