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Frequently Asked Questions About TEA Complaints

 

1. What is a complaint?

2. Who may file a complaint?

3. Anonymous Complaints

4. Courtesy Copy

5. Email Complaints

6. What must a complaint include?

7. Checklist of information to include in a complaint

8. Where to Send Correspondence?

9. What happens after the complaint is received?

10. General Receipt Notice

11. Investigation Notice and General Procedures

12. Final Written Decision

13. Reconsideration of Final Decisions

14. Confidentiality and Public Information Requests for TEA Records

 

1.What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written allegation of non-compliance with school laws and rules that fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Education Agency.

2. Who may file a complaint?
Any person, group of individuals, or organization may file a complaint.

3. Anonymous Complaints
Generally, TEA does not accept anonymous complaints. However, the agency does accept anonymous reports of violations involving 

  • administration of tests in the state assessment program;
  • fraud of information or data used for school accountability; and 
  • fraud of state and federal programs and funds.
  • 4. Courtesy Copy
    TEA does not acknowledge receipt or respond to courtesy copies of correspondence. A courtesy copy may be classified as transitory information and may be maintained only as long as needed.

    5. Email Complaints
    Information the public sends to TEA by email may not be secure. Confidential or sensitive information should not be transmitted to TEA by email. TEA will remove confidential or sensitive information when replying to the public by email. TEA will maintain confidentiality of information to the extent the law allows.

     6. What should a complaint include?
    To adequately review and address a complaint, certain information is needed. TEA must be able to identify a clear violation of a school law and determine whether TEA has authority to act upon the allegation.

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    7. Checklist of information to include in a complaint:

    • complainant’s full name and contact information 
    • name of the public education agency 
    • detailed description of the actions or decisions that violate a school law (do not include identifying information of a person who is a minor)
    • documentation and facts that give reason to believe that a school law was violated
    • name of the school staff members who notified of the complaint and responses to the complaint whether the complaint 
    • whether the complaint was filed with other agencies and responses from other agencies
    • the resolution requested
    • full and accurate name of involved educators 

    8. Where to Send Complaint?
    Correspondence and Complaints are sent to the TEA main address.

    Correspondence Management
    Communications Division
    Texas Education Agency | 1701 N. Congress Avenue | Austin, TX 78701-1494
    Fax (512) 463-9008 or Email generalinquiry@tea.state.tx.us

    9. What happens after the complaint is received?
    Correspondence and complaints are forwarded to the appropriate TEA office for proper review. TEA staff review the complaint to ensure that TEA has jurisdiction and authority to intervene or investigate the matter. TEA staff also determine whether the complaint has sufficient facts to give reason to believe that there is a violation of school law, if true. If the complaint is not sufficient or TEA does not have authority to address the complaint, TEA will notify the complainant in approximately 10 working days.

    10. General Receipt Notice
    Complaints that meet the criteria for investigative review will be acknowledged within 10 working days.

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    11. Investigation Notice and General Procedures
    If an investigation is authorized, the TEA will send a written notice to the district superintendent and complainant. The notice will provide parties an opportunity to submit additional information. After a preliminary review, the TEA will notify parties involved of the disposition of the complaint. By rule, the TEA must provide districts an opportunity for informal reviews or educators an opportunity to participate in a conference before finalizing the decisions.

    Preliminary findings are not final decisions and are subject to changes following informal reviews or record reviews. If a member of the public requests information that is preliminary or audit working papers, the TEA may request to except certain information from public disclosure through the Texas Office of Attorney General in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act.

    Investigations of a public education agency are typically conducted under Chapter 12, Chapter 39, Chapter 42 and Chapter 44 of the Texas Education Code or federal authority. Reviews are conducted under Chapter 97 of the Texas Administrative Code. Investigations of educator certification are conducted under 19 TAC Chapter 249.

    TEA divisions have specific investigative procedures in place. Investigative procedures and timelines may differ depending on the program requirements.

    12. Final Written Decision 
    A complaint resolution letter or investigation report will be issued to the public education agency and complaintaint, if known.

    13. Appeals of Final Decisions
    There is not TEA appeal process for final decisions.

    14. Confidentiality and Public Information Requests for TEA Records
    TEA follows the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) and will release information in accordance with the TPIA. Information can only be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law. TEA must maintain the confidentiality of all student information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). TEA may seek exceptions to public disclosure of audit working papers and preliminary reports in accordance with the applicable laws.

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    Page last modified on 8/20/2013 10:10:28 AM.