Complaints

Stakeholder Complaint

The purpose of this section is to provide helpful, general information to Charter School stakeholders who seek to resolve a concern. The information below should not be relied upon as a comprehensive or definitive response to your specific situation, as this document may not include a complete rendition of applicable state and federal law. The Office of Charter Schools aims to support charter schools and their families therefore, Educational Consultants are available to support all stakeholders. To connect with a consultant, email stakeholdersupport@dpi.nc.gov.

 

The process of filing a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Office of Charter Schools when there is a possibility of a state law violation. 

Prior to filing a complaint with the Office of Charter Schools (OCS), one must first exhaust all avenues provided in the school’s grievance policy. Charter schools are expected to be the primary recipients of complaints filed against them and are expected to be the first to respond to and attempt to bring resolution to those complaints. To initiate the school grievance process, you must contact the school’s administration and ask for the school’s grievance policy. The school’s grievance policy should provide instructions for initiating the school grievance process as a means to have your concern(s) addressed.  

Charter School Complaints, Grievances, Concerns FAQs

Q: What do I do if I have an issue with a charter school staff member or school administrator?

A: First, talk to your child's teacher and/or school administration. Schedule an appointment so that you have sufficient time to talk with the teacher or school administrator. Each school must have a grievance process, so if the issue remains unresolved, inquire about the grievance process and follow it as outlined in the policy. Copies of the grievance policy are typically located in the parent handbook, school's website, or in the school's main office. Ultimately, the charter school board is responsible for all aspects of the school's operations, including resolution of disputes or concerns brought forth by parents. The decision of the nonprofit board, much like that of an elected school district board, is final.

Our office does not have a formal complaint process available. Previous instructions or PDFs which may be circulating on the internet are no longer in use. The Office of Charter Schools has very limited authority to formally investigate schools and is not a legal office. Complaints or grievances with specific charter schools should be handled as follows: 

  • For most issues, the correct process is to follow the school’s grievance process as explained above. If you would like to inform our office of concerns, however, you may do so via email at Stakeholder Support <StakeholderSupport@dpi.nc.gov>. Our office will retain this information for school records but does not interfere with the grievance process. Please place the school name and “For School File” in the subject line. This information is retained and helps our office establish whether there is a pattern of which we should be aware. 

  • We can assist in communication if you are not receiving a response from the school or its board. To request assistance, please contact Stakeholder Support <StakeholderSupport@dpi.nc.gov> with your specific request of support and your timeline of previous communication.

  • If a stakeholder has an attorney, that attorney should confer directly with the school and/or its board. OCS is not a legal office and does not directly work on legal cases, complaints, etc. You may contact OCS to notify of legal action if you would like. 

  • It is not within the Office of Charter School’s authority to investigate personnel issues – you must pursue personnel issues directly with the charter school and/or legal counsel.  We do not have access to employee records, we do not handle employee payments, etc. All of those concerns must be routed to the charter school itself. 

  • For concerns related to Exceptional Children/IEPs, please route those complaints through EC.

  • Civil Rights complaints can be directed to the Office of Civil Rights