Many concerns are the responsibility of local educational agencies (LEAs), including hiring and evaluation of staff, classroom assignments, pupil advancement and retention, selection/provision of textbooks and materials, pupil discipline, provision of core curricula subjects, facilities, graduation requirements, homework policies and practices, use of general education funds, and dress codes and school uniforms. Every county office of education, district, and charter school governing board are required to have established local complaint policies that describe the procedures that must be followed to resolve complaints. Copies of complaint policies and procedures are available at county offices of education, district offices, or charter school offices. Many LEAs post their policies and procedures on their Web sites.
Uniform Complaint Procedures
Some matters lie within the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) scope. Federal and state laws and regulations specify which programs and issues do. Not all complaints are within the scope of the UCP, even if they involve alleged violations of law. The issues that may involve filing a complaint under the UCP are found in various state and federal programs that use categorical funds such as Adult Education, After School Education and Safety, Agricultural Vocational Education, American Indian Education Centers, American Indian Early Childhood Education, Career Technical Education, Child Care and Development, Consolidated Categorical Aid, Foster Youth Services, Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plans, Migrant Education, Nutrition Services, Regional Occupational Centers, School Facilities, Special Education, Tobacco-Use Prevention Education, and Unlawful Pupil Fees.
Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) Brochure [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/documents/ucpbrochure20150706.doc] (DOC; Posted 07-Jul-2015)
Accessible Alternate Version (AAV) of the UCP Brochure [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ucpbrochureaav.asp] (Posted 07-Jul-2015)
The UCP brochure describes the process for filing an official UCP complaint under the UCP process and provides the contacts at the California Department of Education (CDE) as authorized by California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 4600 through 4687.
Available translations of the UCP brochure text
What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written and signed statement alleging a violation of federal or state laws or regulations, which may include an allegation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. If the complainant is unable to put the complaint in writing, due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, the agency shall assist the complainant in the filing of the complaint.
A complaint regarding the violation of specific federal and state programs that use categorical funds such as Adult Education, After School Education and Safety, Agricultural Vocational Education, American Indian Education Centers, American Indian Early Childhood Education, Career Technical Education, Child Care and Development, Consolidated Categorical Aid, Foster Youth Services, Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plans, Migrant Education, Nutrition Services, Regional Occupational Centers, School Facilities, Special Education, Tobacco-Use Prevention Education, and Unlawful Pupil Fees are considered UCP complaints. UCP complaints are filed with the district superintendent or their designee.
A Williams Complaint, another type of UCP complaint, regards instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils, and teacher vacancy or misassignment and may be filed anonymously. Williams Complaints are filed with the principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. Schools have complaint forms available for these types of complaints, but will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing.
How do I file a complaint?
What is an appeal?
If a complainant receives an LEA decision on a matter within the scope of the UCP and believes it is incorrect as a matter of fact or law, they have 15 days to file a written appeal to the CDE. In their appeal, they must specify the reason for the appeal and whether the LEA's facts are incorrect and/or the law is misapplied. The appeal packet must contain a copy of the original complaint to the LEA and a copy of the LEA's decision.
Programs and Subjects Within UCP Scope
For complaint and appeal processing information relating to the programs listed below, click the following links:
- Adult Education [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ae/]
- After School Education and Safety [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/as/]
- Agricultural Vocational Education [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ct/ae/]
- American Indian Education Centers [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/re/aidirectory.asp] and American Indian Early Childhood Education Program Assessments [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/ec/]
- Career Technical Education [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ct/]
- Child Care and Development Programs [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/op/cdprograms.asp]
- Discrimination, Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying - Resolution of Discrimination/Harassment Complaint [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/eo/complaint.asp]
- Foster Youth Services [http://www.cde.ca.gov/pf/fy/]
- Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plans [http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/lcffandtheucp.asp]
- Migrant Education [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/me/mt/]
- Nutrition Services - USDA Civil Rights [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/cr/]
- Regional Occupational Centers and Programs [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ct/rp/]
- School Facilities - Williams Facilities Complaints and Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/sf/williamsappeal.asp]
- Special Education - Complaint Process [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/cmplntproc.asp]
The special education complaint process with federal and state law resource links.
- Tobacco-Use Prevention Education Program [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/at/tupe.asp]
Consolidated Categorical Programs and Unlawful Pupil Fees
- Consolidated Categorical Programs Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ccpappeals.asp]
- Unlawful Pupil Fees Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/upfappeals.asp]
The CPCM Office utilizes the UCP, as written in California Code of Regulations, Title 5 sections 4600-4687 and California Education Code sections 49010-49013, to process appeals regarding unlawful pupil fees.
For additional information regarding the UCP and consolidated categorical programs and unlawful pupil fees, please use the Appeal Assistance Form [https://www3.cde.ca.gov/ucpemail/].
Uniform Complaint Procedures Monitoring [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ucpmonitoring.asp]
The CDE monitors local educational agencies (LEAs) for compliance with state and federal laws related to the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) through compliance monitoring [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/cr/].
Training resources on complaints, appeals, monitoring, and unlawful pupil fees are available for viewing on the UCP Training Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ucptraining.asp].
- How do I file a complaint?
See Complaints in the CDE FAQs.
- How do I file an appeal?
- My school does not have enough textbooks, what do I do?
File a Williams complaint for instructional materials with the principal at the school.
- I have a problem with an employee at the school, what do I do?
See Complaints in the CDE FAQs.