HOW TO FILE A CHARTER SCHOOL COMPLAINT

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HOW TO FILE A CHARTER SCHOOL COMPLAINTLast Updated April 15, 2019INFORMAL COMPLAINTS – ISSUES WITH SCHOOLWORK, ASSIGNED TEACHER, GRADES, PROMOTION, OR RETENTIONAll complaints that do not involve a violation of the law or charter should be resolved with the school leader.FORMAL COMPLAINTS – VIOLATIONS OF LAW, SUCH AS ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE OR SPECIAL EDUCATION ISSUESStep 1: Familiarize yourself with the school’s guidelines and contact the school’s leadership.Begin by contacting school leadership to try to resolve any violations, issues or complaints. Before doing so, weencourage you to familiarize yourself with the school's policies, guidelines, and reference materials. Such items include,but are not limited to, parent handbooks, student discipline policies related to your concern, dress code pamphlets,and school-issued memorandums. Determine whether or not the school’s actions related to your complaint fall withinthe school’s policies.Step 2: Appeal to the school’s Board of TrusteesEach charter school has a Board of Trustees that is responsible for hiring and overseeing the school leader. If aftercontacting the school’s leadership you are not satisfied with the outcome or decision pertaining to the complaint, youmay appeal to the school's Board of Trustees. The Board meets publicly on a regular basis. Parents are encouraged toeither contact the Board directly to schedule items on the meeting agenda or contact the school/parent committeethat deals with such matters.Step 3: Appeal to the school’s authorizerIf after your appeal you are not satisfied with the Board of Trustees’ decision, and if your complaint involves a violationof either the school’s policies or its charter, you may submit a formal complaint to the school's authorizer. If the schoolis not an NYC DOE-authorized school, please contact your school’s authorizer for more information. For SUNY-authorized schools, contact (518) 445-4275 or visit: http://www.newyorkcharters.org/contact.For NYSED-authorized schools, contact (518) 474-1762 or visit: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/psc/complaint.html.For NYCDOE-authorized schools, contact (212) 374-5419 and fill out the NYC DOE-Authorized Charter SchoolComplaint Form on pages 3-5 of this document.It is very important that before you escalate your complaint to the school’s authorizer level you determine it constitutesa formal complaint involving a violation of the school’s charter or of state charter law. Informal complaints that do notviolate either the school’s charter or state charter law should be resolved between the parent and the school’sleadership.1

Step 3: Appeal to the school’s authorizer (continued)Complaint ExampleMy child’s teacher often disciplinesmy child for what seem to be smallinfractions. It seems that the teacheris targeting my child.My child is not receiving his/hermandated IEP services during schoolhours. I attempted to resolve thisissue with the school’s principal andthen the Board, but received aninadequateorunsatisfactoryresponse.Does this constitute a formalcomplaint?This complaint as reported here likelywould not qualify as a formalcomplaint because it likely does notinvolve a violation of the school’scharter or of state charter law. Assuch, it will probably not qualify assomething that the school’sauthorizer can take formal action on.How can the parent proceed withthis complaint?The parent should check the school’scharter and discipline policies toensure that the complaint does notconstitute a charter or policyviolation. If the infractions anddiscipline measures fall under theschool’scharterandpolicyguidelines, then the parent shouldwork with the school leadership andBoard to resolve this issue. In thatcase, the complaint would likelyremain informal.However, if the parent finds that theinfractions and discipline measuresdo fall outside of the school’s charterand discipline policies, and if theparent has tried to address this issuewith the school’s leadership

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