Information Sheet on the Complaint Process for Contracts for Excellence
Education Law section 211-d requires that each school district, or the Chancellor in the case of the New York City Department of Education, shall assure that procedures are in place by which parents of students or persons in parental relation to students may bring complaints concerning implementation of the district’s Contract for Excellence. Commissioner’s regulations section 100.13(e) detail specific requirements as follows:
- Each school district is required to develop a complaint form, written in plain language and easily comprehensible. Each complaint form shall include instructions for its use, specific locations where a complaint may be filed, and the deadline for filing a complaint.
- Use of the complaint form is recommended but is not mandatory, and a school district must accept any complaint that is not on their complaint form if it substantially complies with the district’s procedures and the Commissioner’s regulation section 100.13 (e).
- The school district shall provide translations of the complaint procedures into the languages other than English that are most commonly spoken in the school district.
- Each school district shall establish the time period for bringing complaints, which shall provide for the commencement of a complaint within a reasonable, specified number of days and include a provision authorizing the school district to excuse for good cause a failure to bring a complaint within the time specified.
- Each school district shall make its complaint form available on the district website, and in its schools and district offices.
- Each school district must provide reasonable notice of the procedures required for bringing a complaint, the locations where a complaint form may be obtained and filed, and the deadline for filing a complaint.
- In NYC, complaints may be filed either with the building principal (with an appeal to the community superintendent), or filed directly with the community superintendent. An appeal from a community superintendent's determination shall be made to the Chancellor.
- In school districts in the rest of the State (ROS), complaints may be filed either with the building principal (with an appeal to the superintendent), or filed directly with the superintendent. An appeal from the superintendent's determination shall be made to the trustees or board of education.
- The building principal, community superintendent or superintendent, as applicable, is required to make reasonable efforts to investigate the complaint and must notify the complainant in writing of the complaint determination and the basis for the determination, within 30 days of the date of receipt of the complaint. The notification shall also provide an explanation of the procedures for appealing the complaint determination.
- If the complainant does not receive a written complaint determination within 35 days from the date the school district received the complaint, the complainant may appeal directly to the next level of review (i.e. to the community superintendent/superintendent, if the appeal was initially filed with the building principal, or to the Chancellor/trustees or board of education, if the appeal was initially filed with the community superintendent/superintendent).
- All appeal determinations on complaints (in both NYC and ROS) shall be sent written notification of the appeal determination and the basis for such determination within 30 days from receipt of the appeal. The notification shall also state that the appeal determination of the Chancellor/trustees or board of education may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Education Law section 310.
- The school district is not required to publicly report the nature and resolution of complaints.