PELSB Q & A for Personnel Administrators

The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) is the unit of the Minnesota state government that is responsible for awarding new and renewed licenses for education.  PELSB also handles data submissions, complaints, permission requests, and general support for schools, licensed educators, and aspiring educators.  The PELSB website is

This document  is a compilation of questions, answers, and clarification to rules and issues related to licensure.  The information here has been provided by PELSB specifically for school personnel administrators.

Q & A vol. #1, September 2019

Question: It takes at most one week for us (districts) to turn a criminal background check around and receive the results. Why is it taking so much longer for PELSB to do it?

Answer: The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) background check includes a fingerprint analysis that is checked with the FBI’s national database. This fingerprint check process adds time to background checks, and PELSB does not have authority (nor are we provided any information) over why some background checks take longer than others at the BCA. The only reason we have for why some background checks take longer is that fingerprints were unreadable and need to be resubmitted. link

Q: Why does it take an additional 30 days for PELSB to process the application after the background check is back?

A: PELSB received thousands of license applications over the summer, and we have seen a substantial increase in the number of submitted license applications in August 2019 as compared to August 2018. During off-months, we are able to process licenses more quickly than 30 days. In summer months during our busiest work, the licensing process is not as easy as taking an application and quickly issuing a license. We can have a backlog of thousands of applications, and our licensing executives often need to communicate with applicants and districts to learn more information to ensure an application is complete and accurate. In the past, PELSB could occasionally expedite applications in order to process them much more quickly and in far fewer days than 30. However, with the new laws and changes to Minnesota’s licensing system, PELSB needs to process licenses in the order we received them as best we can to ensure we do not exceed the statutorily-mandated processing time limits. In other words, our office is unable to re-prioritize applications based on urgency, and our licensing executives are working a significant number of overtime hours to process licenses as quickly as possible. link

Q: Out-of-Field Permissions for new hires are taking weeks to process and need to go to the committee, compared to internal employees requesting the same Out-of-Field permissions which are being processed in a couple days. Help me understand why this is happening.

A: PELSB adopted a resolution that exempts districts from job posting requirements when an OFP is for an internal hire. When the OFP is for an external hire, districts are required to meet job posting requirements, and, if a teacher with a license in the OFP field applies, PELSB’s licensing committee must review the OFP application just like situations when licensed teachers apply for a position that will be filled by a Tier 1 teacher. link

Q: It appears that any tools for expediting licensure processing for individuals hired during the summer or later have been removed, and districts may be waiting as long as six to eight weeks or more for Tier 1, Tier 2 or Out-of-Field Permissions to be processed. Why is this?

A: See the previous note about why PELSB can no longer expedite applications. PELSB attempted to streamline Tier 1 and OFP processing by allowing districts to quickly explain on an application why licensed individuals were not hired for the position. However, there are still many situations where applications still need to be reviewed by our Board. link

Q: Currently, I have approximately 10 teachers who are being held out of the classroom due to licensure issues. In previous years they all would have been resolved and be teaching now. This results in substitute teachers being in those classrooms, who in our principals’ opinions are far less qualified than the teachers being held out due to license issues. Help me understand how this is better for kids.

A: Minnesota legislators adopted legislation that prevented PELSB from issuing a license prior to completing a comprehensive criminal background check to ensure students were not exposed to individuals with dangerous criminal backgrounds. PELSB believes there are ways to work with legislators to refine this law to make it more reasonable for the timeline districts face in the hiring process, and we encourage MASPA to take up that conversation with legislators to draft recommended changes. link

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