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Uniform Complaint Procedures

The responsibilities of the complainant, the local educational agency, and the California Department of Education according to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 4600-4687.

Local Control

Many concerns are the responsibility of local educational agencies (LEAs), including the hiring and evaluation of staff, employee relations, selection/provision of textbooks and materials, pupil discipline, provision of core curricula subjects, homework policies and practices, 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 can be found in the UCP Pamphlet below.

UCP Resources

Sample documents for the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP)

The 2019-2020 UCP Resources are primarily used for FPM review for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools that are scheduled for an FPM review; however, any agency may utilize the documents on this page for meeting the state and federal requirements regarding UCP.

Uniform Complaint Procedures Pamphlet

Guidance for students; employees; parents and guardians; district and school advisory committee members; private school officials and other interested parties for filing a UCP complaint in their local educational agency.

Uniform Complaint Procedures Contacts

Contact information for various programs and services subject to the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP).

Complaints

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.

UCP Complaints

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.

Contacts for programs and subjects covered under the UCP can be found on the UCP Contacts Web page.

Williams Complaints

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.

If a Williams Complaint requirement is allegedly not being met, a Williams Complaint form may be obtained at a school office or an agency/district office.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Complaints

The CDE's authority to investigate and the applicable complaint procedures are set forth in Section 8503 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the Uniform Complaint Procedures (California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 4662 et seq.).

ESEA Section 8503 (a) states:

"(a) PROCEDURES FOR COMPLAINTS.-The Secretary shall develop and implement written procedures for receiving , investigating, and resolving complaints from parents, teachers, or other individuals and organizations concerning violations of section 8501 by a State educational agency, local educational agency, educational service agency, consortium of those agencies, or entity. The individual or organization shall submit the complaint to the State educational agency for a written resolution by the State educational agency within 45 days."

ESEA Complaint Notices

Current Notices

None

Past Notices

Public Comment Period for Draft of California's Tydings Waiver Request To Extend the Availability of FY 2017 Title I, Part A Funds Allocated to Los Angeles Unified School District

The California Department of Education (CDE), on behalf of the State Board of Education, is submitting to the United States Department of Education (ED), a request for a waiver of Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)), also known as the Tydings Amendment, to facilitate implementation of certain corrective actions imposed on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), by extending to September 30, 2020, the period in which to obligate and expend LAUSD’s allocation of 2017-18, Title I, Part A funds.

A 14-day public comment period is open for interested parties and members of the public to submit comments or questions concerning this Tydings Waiver request. For this purpose, the dedicated email address below has been established. Until October 10, 2019, comments or questions may be submitted to: TYDINGSWAIVER@CDE.CA.GOV (not case sensitive).

Tydings Waiver Notice

Tydings Waiver Request

How do I file a complaint?

See Complaints in the CDE FAQs.

Appeals

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 calendar 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

Contacts for programs and services covered under the UCP can be found on the UCP Contacts Web page.

For complaint and appeal processing information relating to the programs listed below:

  • Accommodations for Pregnant and Parenting Pupils, Student Lactation Accommodations, and LGBTQ Resources
  • Adult Education
  • After School Education and Safety
  • Agricultural Career Technical Education
  • Career Technical and Technical Education, Career Technical, & Technical Training (state)
  • Career Technical Education (federal)
  • Child Care and Development (including State Preschool)
  • Course Periods without Educational Content
  • Discrimination, Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
  • Education of Pupils in Foster Care, Pupils who are Homeless, Former Juvenile Court Pupils now Enrolled in a School District, and Pupils in Military Families
  • Every Student Succeeds Act / Compensatory Education, Migrant Education, School Safety Plans
  • Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP): Content or Procedures
  • Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP): Fiscal
  • Physical Education: Instructional Minutes
  • Pupil Fees
  • School Facilities (for Williams complaints)
  • School Plans for Student Achievement
  • Schoolsite Councils
  • State Preschool Health and Safety Issues in LEAs Exempt from Licensing

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/].

Administrators

Uniform Complaint Procedures Monitoring
The CDE monitors local educational agencies (LEAs) for compliance with state and federal laws related to the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) through compliance monitoring.

Federal Programs Monitoring (FPM) Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) Resources for 2019-2020

The UCP covers alleged violations by local educational agencies (LEAs) (school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools) and local public or private agencies which receive direct or indirect funding from the State to provide any school programs, activities, or related services. The UCP resources below meet all California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) sections 4600-4687 and are for programs and activities that are subject to the UCP such as Accommodations for Pregnant and Parenting Pupils; Adult Education; After School Education and Safety; Agricultural Career Technical Education; Career Technical and Technical Education, Career Technical, Technical Training (state); Career Technical Education (federal); Child Care and Development; Compensatory Education; Course Periods without Educational Content; Education of Pupils in Foster Care, Pupils who are Homeless, former Juvenile Court Pupils now enrolled in a school district and Children of Military Families; Every Student Succeeds Act; Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP); Migrant Education; Physical Education Instructional Minutes; Pupil Fees; Reasonable Accommodations to a Lactating Pupil; Regional Occupational Centers and Programs; School Plans For Student Achievement; School Safety Plans; Schoolsite Councils; State Preschool; and State Preschool Health And Safety Issues In LEAs Exempt From Licensing.

All LEAs and Charter schools that opted in to the Williams Settlement requirements the Williams Complaint documents are for issues concerning deficiencies related to instructional materials, conditions of facilities that are not maintained in a clean or safe manner or in good repair, and/or teacher vacancy or misassignment.

The 2019-2020 UCP Resources are primarily used for FPM review for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools that are scheduled for an FPM review; however, any agency may utilize the documents on this page for meeting the state and federal requirements regarding UCP.

 

FAQs for Parents and Guardians

  1. What is a UCP complaint?

    A UCP complaint is a written and signed statement alleging a violation of select federal and state laws. Please see the UCP Pamphlet for additional information.

  2. How do I file a complaint?

    File a written complaint by following the steps described in your LEA's complaint procedures. Please see the CDE FAQ [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/fq/index.asp#Complaints] to find out how and where to file complaints on different subjects.

  3. What areas are covered by the UCP?

    Select federal and state laws governing educational programs are covered by the UCP. Please see the UCP Pamphlet for additional information.

  4. How do I file a complaint that does not fall under the UCP?

    Consult your LEA's local complaint procedures, as LEAs have discretion for determining how non-UCP complaints are processed.

  5. Where can I find my LEA's complaint procedures?

    LEAs are required to annually provide notice to their students, employees, parents or guardians of their students, the district advisory committee, school advisory committees, appropriate private school officials, and other interested parties of their UCP. Many LEAs also include their complaint procedures on their Web sites or in a handbook they provide to students and their parents and guardians at the start of each new school year. You may also contact your school, district, or county office of education for more information. LEAs are required to make their complaint procedures available to you at no cost.

  6. How much time does the LEA have to respond to my complaint?

    The LEA must conduct and complete an investigation of the complaint and prepare a written decision to a UCP complaint within 60 calendar days of the date of receipt. This time period may be extended by written agreement of the complainant.

  7. Am I required to give the LEA more time to respond to my complaint?

    No. However, we encourage the local resolution of complaints and, at times, an extension is necessary in order for the LEA to do a thorough and complete investigation.

  8. What fees are LEAs allowed to charge?

    A pupil enrolled in a public school is not required to pay any fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law. Please view the Fiscal Management Advisory [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/fm/index.asp] for additional information.

  9. My school does not have enough textbooks, what do I do?

    Complaints regarding instructional materials, teacher vacancy, or missasignment and school facilities are handled locally. You may file a Williams complaint about instructional materials with the principal at the school.

  10. My school has unsafe facilities, what do I do?

    Complaints regarding instructional materials, teacher vacancy, or missasignment and school facilities are handled locally. You may file a Williams complaint about facilities with the principal at the school.

  11. My school has a teacher vacancy issue, what do I do?

    Complaints regarding instructional materials, teacher vacancy, or missasignment and school facilities are handled locally. You may file a Williams complaint about teacher vacancy or misassignment with the principal at the school.
  1. What do I do if I disagree with an LEA's decision regarding a complaint?

    If you believe the LEA decision is incorrect as a matter of fact or law, or they failed to address all of your concerns, you may file an appeal within 15 calendar days to the CDE. In the appeal, you 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. Please see Appeals [http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/index.asp?tabsection=1] for more information.

  2. What is the CDE's responsibility if it finds an LEA violated the law?

    The CDE's responsibility is to ensure LEA compliance with select federal and state laws. If an LEA is found out of compliance, the CDE may require corrective action.
Questions:   Categorical Programs Complaints Management Office | 916-319-0929
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 29, 2019
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