Report 2016-109 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2016-109: Uniform Complaint Procedures: The California Department of Education's Inadequate Oversight Has Led to a Lack of Uniformity and Compliance in the Processing of Complaints and Appeals (Release Date: January 2017)

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Recommendations to Education, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
3

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should distribute complaints and appeals to the correct divisions for investigation or review.

Will Not Implement
4

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should establish a single database to record and track all investigations of complaints and reviews of appeals. This database should capture all data necessary for Education to effectively make informed decisions related to UCP complaints or appeals. At a minimum, the database should capture the date on which Education received each complaint or appeal, the date on which it forwarded the complaint or appeal to the appropriate division for investigation or review, and the date on which it sent the decision to the complainant. The database should also include the type of complaint or appeal, the LEA involved, and the decision.

Pending
5

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should track the divisions' progress in processing complaints and appeals to ensure the divisions meet all UCP requirements, including documenting exceptional circumstances that constitute good cause for extending investigations beyond 60 days.

Will Not Implement
6

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should work with divisions to establish policies and procedures for the divisions to follow when investigating UCP complaints and reviewing appeals. The procedures should identify the individuals or units responsible for investigating complaints and reviewing appeals, the steps and time frames for conducting investigations and reviews, the requirements for issuing decisions, and the documentation that should be retained in the files.

Pending
7

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should establish and distribute a standard investigation report format that includes the required elements for the divisions to use when processing UCP complaints.

Will Not Implement
8

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should monitor the divisions' decisions and reports on complaints and appeals to ensure that they comply with requirements.

Pending
9

To ensure that its regulations are consistent and align with state and federal requirements, by July 2017 Education should initiate revising its regulations to require its divisions to complete investigations of complaints and reviews of appeals related to all programs within 60 days of Education receiving them, including providing its decisions in writing to complainants, unless otherwise specified in statute or federal regulations.

Will Not Implement
10

To ensure that its regulations are consistent and align with state and federal requirements, by July 2017 Education should initiate revising its regulations to allow Nutrition Services to investigate all complaints as direct intervention.

Will Not Implement
11

To ensure that it complies with UCP regulations and makes complainants aware of the outcome of investigations, beginning February 2017 Nutrition Services should provide them with investigation reports, even when the complainants request anonymity from the LEAs involved.

Fully Implemented
16

To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of LEAs' UCP processes, Education should work with those LEAs throughout the State that receive a disproportionately high number of non-UCP complaints through the UCP process to assess the potential benefits of establishing similar mechanisms.

Will Not Implement
22

To ensure that its regulations are consistent and align with state and federal requirements, Education should revise its regulations to allow LEAs to extend investigations under exceptional circumstances that constitute good cause if the LEAs document and support with evidence the reasons for the extensions.

Pending
23

After it makes the recommended regulatory changes to allow extensions under exceptional circumstances, Education should review LEAs' extensions to investigations as part of its Federal Program Monitoring to ensure that LEAs' documentation is sufficient and that their reasons adequately justify such extensions.

Pending
24

To ensure that all charter schools comply with state law and regulations related to the UCP, to the extent a charter school engages in programs that are subject to UCP, Education should by July 2017 include LEA-authorized charter schools as part of its selection of LEAs when conducting Federal Program Monitoring reviews.

Pending
27

To ensure it examines sufficient review samples to detect LEAs' noncompliance with UCP laws and regulations, Education should revise its UCP monitoring criteria by July 2017 to increase its random selection of complaint files at each LEA to a minimum of 10 percent or 10 complaint files, whichever is greater.

Pending
28

Education should revise UCP regulations to formally establish uniform time limits for filing all types of complaints.

No Action Taken
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure the requirements of the UCP are consistent for complaints and appeals Education handles, the Legislature should codify the UCP regulations to, among other things, prescribe consistent time frames for completing all investigations of complaints and reviews of appeals by Education.

2

To ensure the requirements of the UCP are consistent for complaints and appeals Education handles, the Legislature should codify the UCP regulations to, among other things, identify a consistent time limit for filing UCP complaints.

12

To emphasize LEAs' ability to use alternative methods to resolve complaints, including mediation, alternative dispute resolution, or restorative practices, when codifying the UCP regulations, the Legislature should specify these as possible methods for resolving complaints.

13

To make the provisions for extending investigations consistent between Education and LEAs, when codifying the UCP regulations, the Legislature should allow LEAs to extend investigations. Specifically, in the absence of an agreement from the complainant, allow LEAs to extend an investigation under exceptional circumstances that constitute good cause if the LEAs document and support with evidence the reasons for the extensions.

Recommendations to Los Angeles Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
14

To minimize the number of complaints it receives through the UCP process that do not fall within the purview of UCP regulations, Los Angeles Unified should establish a mechanism that allows specified individuals for the districts to promptly discuss with complainants how best to address their issues or complaints and to determine whether their complaints fall under the purview of the UCP before they file complaints.

Fully Implemented
17

To ensure that it can defend its extensions of complaint investigations that are authorized by existing UCP regulations, Los Angeles Unified should obtain agreements from complainants before extending investigations beyond the required 60 days.

Fully Implemented
21

To ensure that it meets the legally required time frames for remedying issues alleged in Williams complaints, Los Angeles Unified's Educational Equity Compliance Office should work closely with the divisions responsible for addressing issues in the Williams complaints to ensure they are completed within the required time frame. Further, it should ensure that it maintains the appropriate documentation to demonstrate that it complied with requirements for remedying the issues in Williams complaints within 30 working days.

Fully Implemented
26

To ensure that all charter schools comply with state law and regulations related to the UCP, to the extent a charter school engages in programs that are subject to UCP, Los Angeles Unified should by June 2017 revise its review procedures to verify that all charter schools' policies and procedures meet the requirements of UCP regulations, including required content, during its monitoring reviews. Los Angeles Unified should implement these revised procedures for oversight beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

Pending
Recommendations to San Diego Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
18

To ensure that it can defend its extensions of complaint investigations that are authorized by existing UCP regulations, San Diego Unified should obtain agreements from complainants before extending investigations beyond the required 60 days.

Fully Implemented
25

To ensure that all charter schools comply with state law and regulations related to the UCP, to the extent a charter school engages in programs that are subject to UCP, San Diego Unified should by June 2017 establish procedures to include a review of translation requirements during its monitoring of UCP policies, procedures, and complaint forms at its charter schools.

Fully Implemented
29

To ensure it complies with its UCP procedures, San Diego Unified should by March 2017 establish additional measures to verify it sends its final investigation reports in the languages in which the complainants submit their complaints.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to San Juan Unified School District
Number Recommendation Status
15

To minimize the number of complaints it receive through the UCP process that do not fall within the purview of UCP regulations, San Juan Unified should establish a mechanism that allows specified individuals for the districts to promptly discuss with complainants how best to address their issues or complaints and to determine whether their complaints fall under the purview of the UCP before they file complaints.

Fully Implemented
19

To ensure that it can defend its extensions of complaint investigations that are authorized by existing UCP regulations, San Juan Unified should obtain agreements from complainants before extending investigations beyond the required 60 days.

Fully Implemented
20

To ensure its decisions are clear and comply with state regulations, San Juan Unified should include in its investigation reports all required elements, including clear conclusions of law and corrective actions with specific actions and timelines for completion. If it believes the requirements in UCP regulations are not clear, San Juan Unified should seek guidance from Education.

Fully Implemented


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