The following complaint resolution guidelines are established pursuant to the Improving America’s Schools Act of
1994 (IASA) and the applicable Federal and Department of Public Instruction (DPI) regulations (the Department).
They are created for the use of individuals or organizations who wish to register a complaint that the State
Education Agency (SEA) (DPI) or local education agency (school district) has violated laws and/or regulations
governing State-administered programs funded under IASA.
This complaint and appeal procedure is applicable to the programs authorized by the IASA listed below:
A. Title I, Part A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies).
B. Title 1, Part B (Even Start Family Literacy Programs) (other than the Federally administered direct grants for
Indian tribes and tribal organizations, children of migratory workers, statewide family literacy initiatives, and a
prison that houses women and children).
C. Title I, Part C (Migrant Education).
D. Title I, Part D (Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk of Dropping Out).
E. Title II (Eisenhower Professional Development Program).
F. Title III, Part A, subpart 2 (State and Local Programs for School Technology Resources).
G. Title IV, Part A (Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities).
H. Title VI (Innovative Education Program Strategies).
I. Title VII, Part C (Emergency Immigrant Education).
Filing an Appeal or Complaint
The following procedures for filing a complaint or appeal alleging a violation of Federal law or regulation by the DPI
or the District in the administration or implementation of the programs listed under "Applicability" above, shall be
A. The DPI will respond to all written signed complaints filed with the department; it will respond to all requests
to review a problem referred by the United States Department of Education (USDE).
B. The written complaint or appeal must include:
1. A statement that the State or the District has violated a requirement of a Federal statute or
regulation that applies to any applicable program listed above;
2. The facts on which the statement is based, i.e. sufficient information as to when, where, and the nature
of activity that is perceived to be in violation of law and/or regulation;
3. A description of any relief sought.
C. If the complaint or appellant is a minor, the complaint or appeal shall also be signed by his/her guardian,
unless the statute or rule under which the complaint or appeal is filed prohibits this requirement. Appeals
shall be directed to:
Coordinator of Student Learning
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
125 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Administrative Review of Appeal or Complaint
The following procedures will be used in the administrative review of any appeal or complaint filed pursuant to
"Filing an Appeal or Complaint" above.
A. If the complaint relates to an alleged violation by the District, and the School Board has not ruled on the
complaint, the department may remand the complaint to the Board for its disposition. If the complainant is
not satisfied with the Board’s determination on remand complainant may file an appeal of that decision with
the department within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision.
B. Upon receipt of a complaint, the department shall conduct an internal review.
C. After completion of the internal review, the department will arrange for an on-site investigation when deemed
necessary. Prior to the on-site investigation, the department shall, by letter, establish, schedule, and clarify
the fact-finding process including:
1. Personnel to be interviewed; time; location;
2. Material/records, documentation to be reviewed;
3. Informing all parties that they may recommend other appropriate personnel to be interviewed that are
directly related to the allegations contained in the complaint. Appropriate verbal and written assistance
for limited English proficient individuals, hearing and/or visually impaired individuals should be included
in the procedure.
D. If the complaint or appeal concerns implementation of the State Assessment Program in compliance with
IASA, Title I, Sec. 1116 (20 U.S.C. 6317), there is a preliminary indication of district non-compliance, and the
Board requests a hearing or a petition signed by the proper number of electors under Secs. 8.10(3)(i)(km) or
(ks) Stats. has been filed, the State Superintendent shall conduct a public hearing in the School District as
provided in Sec. 121.02(3) Stats. The provisions of Sec. 121.02(3) Stats. shall apply, except that the results
of examinations under the State Assessment Program shall not be used in determining general or
categorical State aids.
E. The department may apply any of the procedures available under P.I. 1.04 Wis. Admin. Code, including a
hearing, the granting of protective orders, or mediation under P.I. 1.06 Wis. Admin. Code, and order such
relief as authorized by law or determined appropriate.
Timelines of Appeal and Complaint Procedure
The following timelines to resolve an appeal or complaint filed under this procedure are established.
A. The time limit for resolving the complaint in writing, including a provision for carrying out an in dependent
on-site investigation, if necessary, after the DPI receives a complaint shall not exceed sixty (60) State
B. An extension of the time limit under paragraph (A) of this section applies only if exceptional circumstances
exist with respect to a particular complaint.
1. Should exceptional circumstances exist with respect to the nature of the particular complaint filed, an
extension of time may be necessary, and will be granted or denied as determined by the DPI.
Complainant and other involved parties will be advised accordingly.
2. When the complaint is related to a short term program such as Title I Basic Grants Summer or Title I
Summer or Regular Term Migrant Programs, the DPI will employ an emergency status timeline and
make every effort to resolve the complaint within a period of ten (10) days from receipt.
Review of DPI's Final Decision
A. Complainants shall be notified and have the right to request the Secretary (of the United States Department
of Education) to review the final decision of the DPI, at the Secretary’s discretion.
B. In matters involving violations of Title XIV, Part E, Section 14503 (20 U.S.C. 8893) (participation of private
school children), the Secretary will follow the procedures in Title XIV, Part E, Section 14505(b) (20 U.S.C.
C. The DPI reserves the right to request the Secretary of Education to review the final decision of the State.
Duty of the District
The School District shall disseminate free of charge, information about these complaint procedures to parents of
students and appropriate private school officials and representatives.
The department recommends the following to be considered as important points that need to be included in any
local complaint procedure:
A. Designate a single staff person to receive verbal and/or written complaints.
B. Determine substance of complaint and the type of relief requested.
C. Specify time limits for investigation of the complaint. Complaints related to children’s safety, health, or general
welfare should be resolved as quickly as possible.
D. Provide opportunity for the complainant or their representative to present information and request investigation.
E. Provide notice and opportunity to file a formal written complaint for administrator and Board consideration if
If the District does not have a formal complaint procedure in place, the following are recommended steps for a
formal District complaint procedure policy.
A. The District should respond to all written signed complaints and appeals filed with the District and respond to all
written requests referred by an individual(s), the USDE, and the DPI within an appropriate period of time.
B. The written complaint or appeal should include:
1. A statement that the local school district has violated a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that
applies to any of the applicable programs mentioned above;
2. The facts on which the statement is based, including sufficient information as to when, where, and the nature
of the activity perceived to be in violation of the law and/or regulations.
3. A description of any relief sought.
C. If the complainant or appellant is a minor, the complaint or appeal shall also be signed by his/her guardian.
D. Establish applicable time limits for investigation and written decision.
E. Approval of the decision by the School Board.
F. Individuals unsatisfied with the District’s decision, should be notified that they have thirty (30) days to file a
written appeal to the Department of Public Instruction. Copies of the DPI-level complaint and appeal procedure
should be provided.
20 U.S.C. 6301-8962
34 C.F.R. 299.10
34 C.F.R. 299.11
Wis. Admin. Code P.I. 1.04
Approved/Adopted: July 13, 2009