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2021 Uniform Complaint Procedures Update

California Department of Education Report to the State Legislature

Prepared by the
Education Equity Uniform Complaint Procedures Office

Description: Update on California Department of Education Uniform Complaint Procedures
Authority: Senate Bill 74 of the 2020–21 Budget Act
Due Date: On or before January 31, 2021

2021 Uniform Complaint Procedures Update
California Department of Education
Report to the State Legislature

The Budget Act of 2020 (SB 74 [Chapter 6, Statutes of 2020] Item 6100–001–0001, para. 22) requires the California Department of Education (CDE) “to provide a report by January 31 of each year with a summary of the number of days for completion of appeals [of local educational agency decisions on Uniform Complaints] by complaint type and program area, including the rationale for complaints that exceeded 60 days.”

The Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) 2020 Annual Statistical Summary (Attachment 1) (PDF) identifies each of the complaints and appeals by program area and whether the CDE was able to complete the appeal process within 60 days of receipt of the appeal. For those appeals that exceeded 60 days, the rationale is indicated.

Under the UCP, local educational agencies (LEAs) are responsible for investigating and resolving most complaints, and the CDE is responsible for reviewing appeals of LEA investigations. The CDE may also directly investigate in cases where a student may suffer immediate and irreparable harm to an unlawful policy and filing the complaint locally would be futile. The CDE processes complaints and appeals pursuant to the UCP statutory and regulatory timelines and procedures for processing these matters.

As with everything else, COVID-19 dramatically impacted both the UCP processes and the volume of appeals and complaints, resulting in several delayed responses in 2020. In fact, from March 17, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the 60-day timeline for a response was extended pursuant to SB 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) Section 7 for the length of time a school was closed due to COVID-19. Even so, with many LEAs engaging in distance learning and remote work, some appeals and complaint responses from LEAs have continued to lag through the latter half of 2020.   

As outlined in Attachment 1, the CDE accepted a total of 92 complaints and appeals in five UCP programs. Of 92 appeals accepted, 67 were completed within 60 days of receipt (73 percent). For the 25 appeals that exceeded the 60 days, five exceeded the deadline because additional time was required due to the complexity of the cases, one was caused by delays by the LEA in providing necessary information for the CDE to evaluate the appeal, and 19 of the delays were attributed to COVID-19.

Attachment 1 includes the Program Areas and Complaint Types and indicates the date the appeal or request for direct intervention was received and the date the appeal decision or direct intervention investigation report was issued. Program areas that accepted appeals and requests for direct intervention in 2020 were:

Categorical Programs Complaint Management (CPCM)

Title I; School Site Council; Poverty Data Collection/Timely Consultation; Pupil Fees; Title III; English Learner Instruction; English Learner Classification; English Learner Advisory Committee Meeting; Single Plan for Student Achievement; School Safety Plans

Education Equity

Discrimination, Harassment, Intimidation, and/or Bullying based on a protected characteristic; retaliation

Foster Youth

Enrollment; Partial Credits; School of Origin

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)

Increased or Improved Services; Stakeholder Engagement

Williams

Facilities

The Education Equity program accepted the highest number of complaints and/or appeals with 63 (68 percent of the total), followed by the Categorical Programs Complaint Management program with 23 complaints and/or appeals (25 percent). The LCFF program completed two complaints and/or appeals, while the Foster Youth program completed one appeal and the Williams program completed three appeals.

If you need a copy of this report, please contact the Education Equity UCP Office by phone at 916-319-8239 or by email at eeucpo@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Education Equity UCP Office | eeucpo@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-8239
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 28, 2021
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