Parent and Student Complaint Process
Formal Complaint Process
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The complaint process outlined below is intended for parents, guardians and students in resolving concerns. For specific complaints by Portland Public Schools employees including all certified, licensed or represented staff, such as teachers, educational assistants, custodians or secretarial staff, as well as non-represented staff, complaints shall be made in complains with any applicable collective bargaining agreements, or if applicable, the Non-contractual Grievance Procedure. Whenever possible, employees are also encouraged to share concerns with direct supervisors.
Portland Public Schools is committed to resolving the concerns and issues of its students and parents/guardians at the school and district levels. As part of this commitment, the school district has:
- A Complaint Process to resolve complaints in a direct and timely manner.
- An Ombudsman, an employee whose job is to help families, schools and the district resolve issues satisfactorily.
Portland Public Schools classifies family complaints as “informal” or “formal.”
Informal complaints are concerns or problems that families share with district staff by phone or in person. Staff members are expected to respond to complaints in a timely and efficient manner, with the goal of resolving them to the satisfaction of all parties.
Complaints become formal when they are submitted to the district by written letter, an email or the district complaint form.
The Ombudsman assists and informs families of the options and steps that are available to them at any point in the problem solving process. The Ombudsman also helps families complete formal complaints. To contact the Ombudsman, call 503-916-5876 or email email@example.com.
If families need help with a complaint in a language other than English, the district offers support via its Language Line in the following languages: Spanish 503-916-3581, Vietnamese 503-916-3584, Chinese 503-916-3585, Somali 503-916-3586, and Russian 503-916-3583. Please call for assistance or support in navigating any of the steps outlined in this process.
There are four levels in the complaint process. The process begins with Level 1 - Informal. If the concern is not resolved there, students or parents proceed to Level 2 - Formal, then, if necessary, Level 3 and on a limited basis, Level 4.
A. If the concern is related to the classroom:
- First, speak to the teacher or staff person involved.
- If the teacher does not resolve your concern satisfactorily, speak to the principal of the school or another building administrator, such as an assistant principal or vice principal. Principals have seven working days to respond to concerns and schedule a conference with the parent or guardian, if needed.
- If the principal does not resolve your concern satisfactorily, speak to the principal’s supervisor. For help identifying and/or contacting that person, call 503-916-3227.
B. If the concern is related to a school:
- Speak to the principal of the school or another building administrator, such as an assistant principal or vice principal. Principals have seven working days to schedule a conference with you, if needed.
- If the principal of the school does not satisfactorily resolve your concern, contact the principal’s supervisor. For help identifying and/or contacting that person, call 503-916-3227.
C. If the concern is related to the district or a district department:
- Choose the most appropriate office or department for your concern from the list below and call the number next to it. If you need help selecting the appropriate area, need more information, or do not understand the process, call the district Ombudsman at 503-916-5876.
|• Curriculum and Instruction||503-916-9709|
|• Enrollment and Transfer||503-916-3205|
|• Student Education Records||503-916-2000 ext. 74860|
|• Students with Disabilities||503-916-3723|
|• Suspensions & Expulsions||503-916-2000 ext. 71004|
If you are not able to resolve your concern or complaint at the school or departmental level, or with the principal or the principal’s supervisor, you may file a formal complaint. Portland Public Schools’ Ombudsman can assist. Following is the process to file a formal complaint.
- To file a formal complaint, use the district Complaint Process web page, or submit it in writing to the district Ombudsman. The address is: District Ombudsman, Portland Public Schools, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227. If you need help in English, call the Ombudsman at 503-916-5876. If you need help in another language, call the appropriate Language Line number (see above) and they will connect you with the Ombudsman.
- The Ombudsman will contact you directly within two working days to verify receipt of your complaint. The Ombudsman will ask for information about your specific situation and to discuss possible solutions.
- In most situations, the Ombudsman will contact the building principal, program administrator, or the principal’s supervisor to get additional information about the situation.
- When applicable, the Ombudsman will consult with district legal counsel regarding pertinent district policy, and relevant state and federal laws.
- After completing fact finding, the Ombudsman will share information with all involved parties to identify possible solutions. In certain situations the Ombudsman may set up a meeting to talk about options and work toward an acceptable outcome for all involved parties.
- All formal complaints will receive a decision in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.
If you do not resolve your complaint or concern at Level 1 or Level 2, you may submit a request for a review to the Office of the Superintendent. The steps are outlined below.
- First, submit the request by writing to the Office of the Superintendent P.O. Box 3107 Portland, OR 97208-3107 within 10 working days of receiving notice of the decision in at Level 2.
- The Superintendent or a representative of the Superintendent will review the complaint and all relevant documents and determine if further investigation is needed. If the Superintendent or designee determines that further investigation is not needed, you will be notified in writing within 10 working days of the receipt of request for review.
- If the Superintendent or designee determines that further investigation is needed, a review of the complaint will be completed within 7 working days of the receipt of the request for review. A written notice of the final decision provided to the complainant may include the findings, conclusions and information about further appeal processes, as applicable.
- The Portland School Board reviews limited complaints: those required by other Board policies or by federal or state laws of regulations.
- You may also appeal a decision to the State Superintendent of Education if you believe there has been discrimination, a violation of standards of the Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 581, Division 022, or a violation of other statutory or administrative rule requirements for which the State Superintendent of Education has appeal responsibilities, and the complaint has not been resolved within 90 days from the filing.
Questions, comments or feedback? Please contact Mary Krogh, District Ombudsman, at 503-916-5876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.