Filing an ESSA Complaint

A complaint process can be used when an organization or individual (“complaint”) alleges a violation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Complaints may be filed against the individual school district, or the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) itself.

Why File a Formal Complaint?

The formal complaint process provides an opportunity for organizations and individuals to report possible ESSA violations.

What is Included in a Formal Complaint? 

The complaint must include:

  1. The complainant’s contact information (name, address, phone number, and email â€‹address);
  2. The date(s) on which the alleged violation(s) occurred and the date(s) on which any school district action or decision regarding the alleged violation was issued, if applicable;
  3. The facts and documentation on which the complaint is based;
  4. The specific federal requirement allegedly violated (include citation to the federal statute or regulation, if known);
  5. Documentation or an explanation of efforts to resolve the complaint;
  6. Contact information for other individuals who can provide additional information, if applicable (name, telephone number, address, and email address);
  7. Whether a complaint has been filed with any other agency and, if so, which agency. 

When May a Formal Complaint be Filed? 

A formal complaint may be filed when an organization or individual believes that a recipient of funding has violated a requirement of a federal statute or regulation related to the administration of a program.  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.  

Equitable services. 

In the event that a dispute should arise between the district and private school during consultation on how to provide equitable and effective programs to eligible participating private school students/teachers, including the use/non-use of contracted third-party providers, the following process will be used to resolve:

  1.  The private school officials will submit in writing a detailed explanation of the act or omission by Amite County School District in providing equitable and effective programs, within five (5) days.
  2. The Federal Programs Director will provide written explanation and rationale to the private school officials within five (5) working days after receiving the notice of dispute.
  3. The Federal Programs Director shall engage with the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) ESSA State Equitable Services Ombudsman and ESSA title program specialists to assist with the equitable services concerns.
  4. The Federal Programs Director and private school officials shall resume consultation and will attempt to resolve the matter.
  5. If the private school official is not satisfied with the action taken or the explanation given by the Federal Programs Director, the private school official may escalate the complaint directly to MDE.

Private school officials have the right to file a complaint with the MDE if they feel that LEA officials have not complied with legal requirements.

Additionally, the private school may appeal to the MDE if there is a dispute involving the poverty data on private school students. Private school officials must inform the MDE with the basis of the Amite County School District’s non-compliance, and upon response from the MDE, forward the appropriate documentation.

How is a Formal Complaint Filed?

Complaints must be filed in writing and signed by the complainant. Complaint forms may be downloaded from the link below.

All formal complaints may be mailed to:

Ms. Mary L. Russ, Federal Programs Director
Amite County School District
533 Maggie Street
Liberty, MS 39645

General Complaint Investigation Overview

Once the complaint is received, the federal programs director will review the matter to determine if it has been properly submitted.  If so, the Federal Programs director or his or her designee will then conduct an investigation and examine all pertinent  information. The investigation may include confirmation of details; clarification of the issues; interviews with the person filing the complaint, program staff, or other individuals; observations; on-site visits; and other activities as determined by the nature of the allegation. Within ten (10) days of receipt of the complaint, Amite County School District will issue a Letter of Acknowledgement to the complainant that contains the following information: 1. The date the LEA received the complaint; 2. How the complainant may provide additional information; 3. A statement of the ways in which the LEA may investigate or address the complaint; and 4. Any other pertinent information.

 

 

Click on the link below to access necessary documents and forms for filing a complaint.