Fraud, Waste or Abuse, and Complaint Procedures
A. Grounds for a Complaint
The School District posts public notices in conspicuous places throughout all buildings listing the appropriate contact to file complaints. This notice is also published in the legal organ of the county annually.
Any individual (parent, student, staff, general public, etc), organization (private school, etc.) or agency may file a complaint with the Cherokee County School District (CCSD) if that individual, organization or agency believes and alleges that CCSD, one of its employees or schools or the Georgia Department of Education State Educational Agency (SEA), or one of its employees or an agency or consortium of agencies is or has committed fraud, waste or abuse of funds or is violating a Federal statute. 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.
B. Federal Programs for Which Complaints Can Be Filed
- Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies
- Title I, Part C: Education of Migrant Children
- Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
- Title II, Part A: Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund
- Title II, Part D: Enhancing Education Through Technology
- Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement
- Title X, Part C - McKinney - Vento Homeless Assistance Act
- Title IX, Part E, Subpart 1, Section 9503: Complaint Process for Participation of Private School Children
C. Complaints Originating at the Local Level
As part of its local School Board Policy, CCSD requires that complaints originating at the local school level must not be filed with CCSD until every effort has been made to resolve the issue through written complaint procedures. If the complainant has tried to file a complaint at the local school level to no avail, the complainant must provide CCSD with written proof of their attempt to resolve the issue at the local school level.
D. Filing a Complaint
A complaint must be made in writing and signed by the complainant. The complaint must include the following:
- A statement that the local school, School District, SEA, agency or consortium of agencies has committed fraud, waste or abuse of funds and/or violated a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that applies to an applicable program;
- The date on which the violation occurred;
- The facts on which the statement is based and the specific requirement allegedly violated (include citation to the Federal statute or regulation);
- A list of the names and telephone numbers of individuals who can provide additional information;
- Whether a complaint has been filed with any other government agency, and if so, which agency;
- Copies of all applicable documents supporting the complainant’s position; and
- The address of the complainant.
The complaint must be addressed to:
Cherokee County School District
Office of School Operations
1030 Keeter Road
Canton, GA 30114
Once the complaint is received by CCSD, it will be copied and forwarded to the appropriate Federal Program Manager.
E. Investigation of Complaint
Within ten (10) days of receipt of the complaint, the Office of School Operations will issue a Letter of Acknowledgement to the complainant that contains the following information:
- The date CCSD received the complaint;
- How the complainant may provide additional information;
- A statement of the ways in which CCSD may investigate or address the complaint; and
- Any other pertinent information.
If the complaint involves a local school, CCSD will also send a copy of the Letter of Acknowledgement to the local school principal, along with a copy of the complaint. CCSD will contact the school to clarify the issues and review the complaint process. If the complaint cannot be resolved through this contact, CCSD will invite the school to submit a written response to CCSD, and to provide a copy of the response to the complainant.
Appropriate CCSD staff will review the information and determine whether:
- Additional information is needed;
- An on-site investigation must be conducted;
- Other measures must be taken to resolve the issues raised in the complaint; or
- A Letter of Findings can be issued.
If additional information or an investigation is necessary, CCSD will have sixty (60) days from receipt of the information or completion of the investigation to issue a Letter of Findings. If the Letter of Findings indicates that a violation has been found, corrective action will be required and timelines for completion will be included. The Office of School Operations is responsible for tracking all complaints to assure all of the above steps are completed in a timely manner.
Either the 30-day or the 60-day timelines outlined above may be extended, if exceptional circumstances exist. The Letter of Findings will be sent directly to the complainant, as well as the other parties involved.
F. Right of Appeal
If an individual, organization or agency is aggrieved by the final decision of CCSD, that individual, organization or agency has the right to request review of the decision by the Georgia Department of Education. The review is at the Department’s discretion.
For complaints filed pursuant to Section 9503 (20 U.S.C. §7883, complaint process for participation of private school children), a complainant may appeal the CCSD’s decision to the Georgia Department of Education no later than thirty (30) days from the date on which the complainant receives the Letter of Findings. The appeal must be accompanied by a copy of CCSD’s decision and include a complete statement of the reasons supporting the appeal.
School Board Policy KN: Complaints