Audit finds Ed. Department mishandled school complaints
(Calif.) Local educational agencies have failed to uniformly investigate complaints alleging violations of state or federal law, according to a new report from the California State Auditor’s office.
Issues found stem from a lack of centralized oversight at the California Department of Education, as well as from inefficient processes to address complaints at the local level, auditors found.
“Federal and state laws and federal regulations require (the Education Department) to monitor LEAs to ensure their compliance with a broad range of federal education program requirements, including requirements related to the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP),” authors of the report wrote. They also noted that the department “has not designated a central office to be responsible for its intake of UCP complaints and appeals. Instead, 14 different offices and divisions (divisions) receive and process complaints and appeals, resulting in delays in forwarding some complaints and appeals to the correct divisions responsible for acting on them.
“In addition, the Education Department has not established standard policies and procedures for its divisions to follow when investigating complaints and reviewing appeals,” authors concluded.
Auditors found instances at the local level when all three of the LEAs reviewed–Los Angeles Unified, San Juan Unified, and San Diego Unified School District–did not meet certain requirements in handling complaints, including the requirement that an investigation be completed within 60 days of receiving a complaint.
Uniform Complaint Procedures were established in 1991 to provide a uniform process for investigating complaints from students, parents or community members alleging that schools or districts had violated federal or state laws and regulations. Last year, complaints were filed involving Audit finds Ed. Department mishandled school complaints :: SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet: