FOR THE SECOND year in a row, the Philadelphia School District will not have a superintendent in place at the start of the school year.

Its incoming chief, Dr. William Hite, is slated to begin on or before Oct. 1 in Philadelphia, he confirmed to the Daily News Wednesday.

Hite, 52, was named to the position June 29 by the School Reform Commission and is wrapping up his time as head of Prince George's County Schools in Maryland.

His contract with Prince George's stipulated that to receive severance pay — six months salary, or $125,000 — Hite would have to give 120 days notice, which would have him working into November, Hite explained.

Instead, Hite made a deal to forgo his severance and give 60 days notice, he said.

His official last day with Prince George's will be Sept. 30, the district announced Monday.

The Maryland district is expected to name an interim superintendent, who will work with Hite until a successor is selected, by Aug. 15, officials said.

In the meantime, Hite comes to town each Friday to begin his transition into district superintendent.

He's not paid for this time here, but the district does cover his travel and lodging expenses, Hite said.

Some community members said they felt that the superintendent should be in place at the start of the year.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said, "Our goal was to have a superintendent in place by the beginning of the school year, and we also stated that would not get in the way of selecting the right candidate."

SRC chairman Pedro Ramos did not return a request for comment.

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who heads the Council education committee and hopes to host a meet-and-greet with Hite, said she "wished" he could start earlier.

But "I suppose we don't control that," she said. "If he's the man he appears to be, then he'll play catch up and do the job we need him to do."