TIP SHEET

How to protect your rights at a charter school

The NYS Charter Schools Act states that a parent, as well as any other individual, who believes that a charter school has violated the law may complain to the school.

Submitting an Informal Complaint:

  1. The school is required to provide you promptly with their complaint policy in writing, including how and to whom to direct your complaint.
  2. The school’s Board of Trustees must hear the complaints first. The Board of Trustees often delegates that power to, for example, the principal or a committee of the board or a neutral third party. Please check with your child’s charter school to determine its specific complaint procedures and which parties they involve.
  3.  If the parent has tried to address this issue with the school’s leadership and Board without a satisfactory result, a formal complaint can be filed with the school’s authorizer, or the education organization in charge of your school.

Submitting a Formal Complaint

  1.  Familiarize yourself with the school’s guidelines and contact the school’s
    leadership.
    Begin by contacting school leadership to try to resolve any violations, issues or complaints. Before doing so, familiarize yourself with the school's policies, guidelines, and reference materials, such as parent handbooks, student discipline policies related to your concern, dress code pamphlets, and school-issued memorandums. Determine whether the school’s actions related to your complaint fall within the school’s policies.
     
  2. Appeal to the school’s Board of Trustees. If you’re satisfied with the outcome or decision after contacting school leadership, you may appeal to the school's Board of Trustees. The Board meets publicly on a regular basis. Parents are encouraged to either contact the Board directly to schedule items on the meeting agenda or contact the school/parent committee that deals with such matters.
     
  3. Appeal to the school’s authorizer. If after the appeal you are not satisfied with the Board of Trustees’ decision, and if your complaint involves a violation of either the school’s policies or its charter, you may submit a formal complaint to the school's authorizer. You can find your school’s authorizer and their contact information on the Charter Schools Authorizers page on schools.nyc.gov.
     
  4. Appeal to the New York State Board of Regents If you are still not satisfied with the outcome after going through the first three levels of the complaint process, write to: The NY State Board of Regents, NY State Education Department, Charter School Office, Room 465 EBA, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234, 518-474-1762. You may also email charterschools@mail.nysed.gov. The subject line should include school name and the word “Complaint.”
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Learning and School, Navigating NYC schools and applications, Parenting and Advocacy, Advocacy
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