State Complaint Procedures

Through state complaint procedures, each State has a powerful tool to address noncompliance with the IDEA and its implementing regulations in a manner that supports and protects the interests of children and their parents and facilitates ongoing compliance by the State and its public agencies with the IDEA and implementing regulations.

  • The state complaint process provides parents, as well as other members of the community, a process to alert the State Educational Agency (SEA) of a Local Educational Agency’s (LEA) failure to comply with the IDEA, including an LEA’s failure to implement an individualized education program (IEP) or due process hearing decision.
  • A state complaint may be specific to a student, a number of students, and/or systemic issues arising from non-compliance with the IDEA.
  • An SEA must provide an LEA the opportunity to respond to a complaint, including a proposal to resolve it and, if the parents consent, the opportunity to resolve the complaint through mediation or some other means, with the 60-day time limitation being extended upon agreement of the parties.
  • The SEA must conduct an on-site investigation, if it determines an investigation is necessary.
  • The SEA must make an independent determination on whether the LEA has violated the IDEA
    or its implementing regulations.
  • The SEA must issue a written decision with 60 calendar days of the filing of the complaint. The decision must address each of the allegations in the complaint, include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the rationale for the SEA’s final decision.
  • Monetary reimbursement, compensatory services and other corrective action can be provided if it is determined that FAPE was denied to the student.
  • A parent may utilize either or both of the state complaint or due process hearing processes. If an issue already was decided in a due process hearing, then that decision is binding on that issue. If a parent has commenced both processes, any part of the complaint that is being addressed in the due process hearing must be held in abeyance pending conclusion of the hearing.