Federal Title Programs (ESEA)

Complaint Procedures

Memorandum

To: LEA Representatives

Title I Coordinators

Superintendents

From: John Moorse, Director, Student Support

Re: Complaint Procedure Process for Elementary Secondary Education Act Title Programs

Date Revised: March, 2014

Title IX, General Provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that the state education agency (SEA) provides guidance to all local education agencies (LEAs) for resolving complaints. Any organization or individual may file a complaint if there is reason to believe that either an LEA or the SEA is not correctly administering an ESEA program.

A complaint is a signed, written statement citing an alleged violation of Public Law 107-110, the regulations governing the law, or other applicable state or federal laws or regulations, either by the SEA or a school district. The complaint should describe the alleged violation and include the facts and circumstances on which the statement of alleged violation is based. Any organization or individual may file a complaint if there is reason to believe that either an LEA or the SEA is not correctly administering an ESEA Title program.

Complaint Procedure

Please review the following complaint procedure that LEAs are to follow when submitting a complaint to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Student Support.

Mail complaint to:

Director of Student Support

Minnesota Department of Education

1500 Highway 36 West

Roseville, MN 55113

Process for Complaints Pertaining to an LEA

Complaints pertaining to LEAs should be addressed to the Director of Student Support of the Minnesota Department of Education. A cover sheet tracking the process outlined below will be attached to the complaint. State ESEA Title Program personnel will investigate these complaints. The complaint will be resolved within 60 business days.

Within 60 days of receiving a complaint regarding an LEA, the SEA will:

1. Notify the complainant of the receipt of the complaint.

2. Notify the LEA of the receipt of the complaint and the nature of the alleged violation.

3. Assign program specialist to review the facts and circumstances of the complaint.

4. Conduct an on-site, compliance-monitoring visit if necessary, including a publicly announced meeting to hear testimony from all interested parties, if the SEA determines such a meeting is needed, or if one is requested by the district’s Parent Advisory Committee.

5. Determine if a violation of law or regulation has occurred.

6. If the SEA determines a violation has occurred, require the LEA to take corrective action to return to compliance.

7. If the SEA determines a violation has occurred, determine whether Title program funds need to be returned and the amount to be returned.

8. Notify all parties of results of the review and determinations.

9. If the SEA determines that no violation of law or regulation has occurred, the SEA will attempt to resolve or negotiate programmatic concern.

Appeals

Once the SEA has investigated the complaint and made a determination, either party may appeal to the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Innovation of the Minnesota Department of Education to review the findings. The Assistant Commissioner, or his/her representative, will review the SEA’s investigation and findings, interview parties involved in the complaint, hold a public meeting if needed, and make a final determination of compliance. After the Assistant Commissioner’s final determination, either party may request a review by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Process for Complaints Pertaining to Actions by MDE Student Support Office

If a complaint alleges that the SEA has violated applicable law or regulation, the complaint will be referred directly for review and investigation to the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Innovation.

Within 60 business days of receiving the complaint:

1. The Assistant Commissioner will assign the review to a unit or section not involved in the administration of the program. This unit or section will follow the procedural steps outlined above.

2. If needed, an independent audit will be performed.

3. If the SEA cannot investigate and resolve the complaint within 60 days because of the complexity of the complaint, exceptional circumstances involved in a particular complaint, or other unforeseen difficulties, the SEA will notify both the complainant and the LEA of the circumstances. The SEA, the LEA, and the complainant will negotiate an extension of time.

Appeals

Following the Assistant Commissioner’s determination, either party may appeal directly to the

U.S. Secretary of Education.