Dear Parents and Local Education Agency Staff:
GUIDANCE RE: CHANGES TO REGULATIONS FOR UNIFORM COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
Assembly Bill (AB) 1808, passed in 2018, contained provisions affecting the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) that appear at Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, Chapter 5.1 (5 CCR), et seq. Recent changes to California’s Uniform Complaint Procedures have been approved by the Office of Administrative Law, effective July 1, 2020. The purpose of this memo is to provide guidance on key changes the state regulations.
Filing Complaints (5 CCR 4600)
The signature on a complaint may be handwritten, typed (including in an email) or electronically-generated. 5 CCR 4600(a)&(e).
A complaint filed on behalf of an individual student may only be filed by that student or that student’s duly authorized representative. 5 CCR 4600(e).
Scope (5 CCR 4610)
The UCP includes all subject matters addressed in Education Code Section 33315(a) as summarized below. 5 CCR 4610(b).
- Adult education programs
- Consolidated categorical aid programs
- Migrant child education
- Career technical and technical education and training programs
- Child care and development programs
- Discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying against any protected group as identified under Sections 200 and 220 and Section 11135 of the Government Code
- Lactation accommodations
- Educational rights of foster youth and graduation requirements for foster youth, homeless youth, and other youth
- Pupil Fees
- Courses of study
- Instructional minutes for physical education
- Local control and accountability plans
- Juvenile court schools
- School safety plans
- Preschool health and safety issues
- Any other state or federal educational program the Superintendent deems appropriate.
The UCP no longer addresses complaints relative to child nutrition, which are addressed in federal regulations and in Title 5, Sections 15580 through 15584. 5 CCR 4610(c).
The UCP no longer addresses complaints relative to special education, which are addressed in federal regulations and in Title 5, Sections 3200 through 3205. 5 CCR 4610(d).
A local educational agency (LEA) may choose to use its UCP to address a complaint outside the subject matters falling within the UCP. Only allegations within the subject matters falling within the UCP (as summarized in the list above) can be appealed to the CDE. 5 CCR 4610(e).
Complaints (5 CCR 4630 through 4631)
All complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the alleged violation, except for complaints of unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying, which must be filed within six months of the date of the alleged violation. For complaints relating to Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), the date of the alleged violation is the date when the reviewing authority approves the LCAP or annual update that was adopted by the LEA. 5 CCR 4630(a)&(b).
A LEA Decision is now referred to as a LEA Investigation Report. 5 CCR 4600(n) and 4631(a).
If the LEA finds merit in a complaint, it must impose corrective actions, including for complaints involving pupil fees, courses of study, instructional minutes for physical education and local control and accountability plans, and a remedy to all affected pupils, parents and guardians. 5 CCR 4631(e)(3).
Appeals (5 CCR 4632 through 4633)
Appeals to the CDE must be filed within 30 days of the date of the LEA Investigative Report (previously 15 days). 5 CCR 4632(a). The CDE will not process an appeal if it is untimely or if it fails to include this information required by 4632(b) and (c). Complainants, when filing an appeal with the CDE, must specify and explain the basis for the appeal, including at least one of the following [5 CCR 4632(b)]:
- The LEA failed to follow its complaint procedures, and/or
- Relative to the allegations of the complaint, the LEA Investigation Report lacks material findings of fact necessary to reach a conclusion of law, and/or
- The material findings of fact in the LEA Investigation Report are not supported by substantial evidence, and/or
- The legal conclusion in the LEA Investigation Report is inconsistent with the law, and/or
- In a case in which the LEA found noncompliance, the corrective actions fail to provide a proper remedy.
LEAs shall provide the investigative file to CDE within 10 days of notification of an appeal. An LEA’s failure to provide a timely and complete response may result in the CDE ruling on the appeal without considering information from the LEA. 5 CCR 4633(a).
If the CDE finds merit in an appeal, it must issue corrective actions as appropriate and including a remedy to the affected pupil, or in the case of complaints involving pupil fees, courses of study, instructional minutes for physical education and local control and accountability plans, a remedy to all affected pupils, parents and guardians. 5 CCR 4633(g)(3).
The CDE must issue an appeal Decision within 60 days, unless extended by written agreement with the Appellant, or the CDE documents exceptional circumstances and informs the Appellant, or the CDE receives notice that the matter has been resolved at the local level, or the CDE receives notice that the matter has been judicially decided. 5 CCR 4633(h).
Reconsideration of an Appeal (5 CCR 4635)
Within 30 days of the date of the CDE’s appeal Decision, either party may request reconsideration. 5 CCR 4635(a).
On reconsideration, the CDE will not consider new information unless it was unknown during the appeal and could not have become known with due diligence. 5 CCR 4635(b).
The CDE must act on the reconsideration request within 60 days. During the reconsideration period, the CDE appeal Decision remains in effect and enforceable, unless stayed by a court. 5 CCR 4635(c).
Direct State Intervention (5 CCR 4650 through 4664)
The CDE may at its discretion directly intervene without waiting for an LEA investigation in certain enumerated situations (the regulation previously stated that the CDE must directly intervene in certain situations). 5 CCR 4650(a).
The CDE must directly intervene if the complaint alleges that an agency that is not an LEA violated laws relating to a Child Care and Development program. 5 CCR 4650(b).
When CDE declines direct intervention in an anonymous complaint, the CDE will not forward the complaint to the LEA without the complainant’s permission. 5 CCR 4651(b).
When the CDE directly intervenes, the CDE must issue a Department Investigation Report within 60 days, unless the parties have agreed to extend the timeline or the CDE documents exceptional circumstances and informs the complainant, or the matter has been resolved at the local level or judicially decided. 5 CCR 4664(b).
Reconsideration of a Direct Intervention (5 CCR 4665)
Within 30 days of the date of the CDE’s Investigation Report, either party may request reconsideration (previously 35 days). 5 CCR 4665(a).
On reconsideration, the CDE will not consider new information unless it was unknown during the investigation and could not have become known with due diligence. 5 CCR 4665(b).
The CDE must act on the reconsideration request within 60 days (previously 35 days). During the reconsideration period, the CDE Investigation Report remains in effect and enforceable, unless stayed by a court. 5 CCR 4665(c).
Preschool Complaints (5 CCR 4691 through 4694)
Regulations pertaining to complaints regarding state preschool health and safety issues in LEAs exempt from licensing have been added to the UCP. These types of complaints are governed by procedures that are unique to them.