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.
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 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. LEAs shall have a complaint form 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.
General UCP Information
Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) brochure [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/documents/ucpbrochure.doc] (DOC; Posted 24-Jul-2014)
Accessible Alternate Version of the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) brochure [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ucpbrochureaav.asp] (Posted 24-Jul-2014)
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.
Uniform Complaint Procedures Monitoring [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ucpmonitoring.asp]
The CDE monitors LEAs for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations related to the UCP through compliance monitoring [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/cr/].
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.
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]
- Consolidated Categorical Programs Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ccpappeals.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
- 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]
- Unlawful Pupil Fees Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/upfappeals.asp]
The Categorical Programs Complaints Management (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.