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Complaint Procedures

If you have a complaint regarding Title I Part A or if you suspect waste, fraud, abuse or corruption, please contact Ginger Harper, Director of Federal Programs, in writing at 288 Tom Reeve Drive, Carrollton, GA 30117, or by email at ginger.harper@carrolltoncityschools.net to access detailed information on how to proceed.

Here is a print-friendly copy of the procedures outlined below
that includes a paper form for submission for those who prefer not to file online.

Grounds for a complaint

Any individual, organization or agency (Complainant) may file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) if that individual, organization
or agency believes and alleges that a local educational agency (LEA), the State educational agency (SEA), or an agency or consortium of agencies is violating a federal statute or regulation that applies to a program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one (1) year prior to the date that the complaint is received, unless a longer period is reasonable because the violation is considered systemic or ongoing.

Complaints Originating at the Local Level

As part of its Assurances within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) program grant applications and pursuant to Section 9306 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), an LEA accepting federal funds also agrees to adopt local written procedures for the receipt and resolution of complaints alleging violations of law in the administration of covered programs. Therefore, for complaints originating at the local level, a complaint should not be filed with the GaDOE until every effort has been made to resolve the issue through local written complaint procedures. If the complainant has tried to file a complaint at the local level to no avail, the complainant must provide the GaDOE with written proof of their attempt to resolve the issue at the local level.

Local Dispute Resolution Procedure

  • The complaints process may be initiated at the school or directly to the Federal Programs Director.
  • Parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth who initiate a complaint, may do so in writing.
  • Written notice should be complete, as brief as possible, and simply stated.
  • The Federal Programs Director will provide a written response to the dispute within 5 school days. The response will include a notice of the right to appeal to the decision to the Superintendent of Schools.
  • If the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth does not agree with the decision of the Federal Programs Director, an appeal may be filed with the Superintendent of Schools.
  • The Superintendent will provide a written response to the appeal within 5 school days. The Superintendent’s response will include a notice of the right to appeal his/her decision to the Local Board of Education.
  • If the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth do not agree with the decision of the Superintendent, an appeal may be filed with the Local Board of Education.
  • Within thirty working days of receipt of the appeal of the Superintendent’s decision, the Superintendent will present the matter to the Board of Education at its regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. The Board will review the original complaint, the response of the Federal Programs Director, the response of the Superintendent, and the response of the complainant. In addition, the Board may, but is not required to, hear directly from any individuals with knowledge of any relevant facts relating to the complaint.
  • The Board of Education will either uphold the recommendation of the Superintendent or require the District to take some other action in response to the complaint. A copy of the action of the Board will be furnished to the complainant, either as a part of the minutes of the Board of Education or as a separate written statement that will include the right to appeal to the Georgia Department of Education. The Board will be the final reviewing authority within the system.
  • If the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth is dissatisfied with the decision of the Local Board of Education, an appeal may be filed with the Georgia Department of Education Office of School Improvement, 1858 Twin Towers East, Atlanta, GA 30334.

Filing a Complaint at the State Level

A complaint must be made in writing and signed by the complainant or thru the GaDOE’s online complaint process. The complaint must include the following:

  1. A statement that the LEA, SEA, agency or consortium of agencies has violated a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that applies to an applicable program;
  2. The date on which the violation occurred;
  3. The facts on which the statement is based and the specific requirement allegedly violated (include citation to the Federal statute or regulation);
  4. A list of the names and telephone numbers of individuals who can provide additional information;
  5. Whether a complaint has been filed with any other government agency, and if so, which agency;
  6. Copies of all applicable documents supporting the complainant’s position; and
  7. The address of the complainant.

If in writing, the complaint must be addressed to:

Georgia Department of Education
Office of Legal Services
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
1854 Twin Tower East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Once the complaint is received by the Office of Legal Services, it will be copied and forwarded to the appropriate Federal Program manager. If submitting online, the complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate Federal Program manager.

Investigation of Complaint

Within ten (10) days of receipt of the complaint, the General Counsel or his or her designee will issue a Letter of Acknowledgement to the complainant that contains the following information:

  1. The date the GaDOE received the complaint;
  2. How the complainant may provide additional information;
  3. A statement of the ways in which the GaDOE may investigate or address the complaint; and
  4. Any other pertinent information.

If the complaint involves an LEA, the GaDOE will also send a copy of the Letter of Acknowledgement to the local superintendent, along with a copy of the complaint. The GaDOE will contact the LEA to clarify the issues and review the complaint process. If the complaint cannot be resolved through this contact, the GaDOE will invite the LEA to submit a written response to the GaDOE, and to provide a copy of the response to the complainant.

Appropriate GaDOE staff will review the information and determine whether:

  1. Additional information is needed;
  2. An on-site investigation must be conducted;
  3. Other measures must be taken to resolve the issues raised in the complaint; or
  4. A Letter of Findings can be issued.

If additional information or an investigation is necessary, the GaDOE will have sixty (60) days from receipt of the information or completion of the investigation to issue a Letter of Findings.

If the Letter of Findings indicates that a violation has been found, corrective action will be required and timelines for completion will be included.

Either the 30-day or the 60-day timelines outlined above may be extended, if exceptional circumstances exist.

The Letter of Findings will be sent directly to the complainant, as well as the other parties involved.

Right of Appeal

If an individual, organization or agency is aggrieved by the final decision of the GaDOE, that individual, organization or agency has the right to request review of the decision by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The review is at the Secretary’s discretion.

For complaints filed pursuant to Section 9503 (20 U.S.C. §7883, complaint process for participation of private school children), a complainant may appeal the GaDOE’s decision to the U.S. Secretary of Education no later than thirty (30) days from the date on which the complainant receives the Letter of Findings. The appeal must be accompanied by a copy of the GaDOE’s decision and include a complete statement of the reasons supporting the appeal.


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