Frequently Asked Questions About TEA Complaints
- What is a complaint?
- Who may file a complaint?
- Can a complaint be anonymous?
- What does TEA do with courtesy copies?
- Should I send confidential information by email?
- What must a complaint include?
- Where should I send the complaint?
- What happens after TEA receives the complaint?
- What happens in an investigation?
- How is the decision conveyed?
- Can a decision be appealed?
- How does TEA handle confidentiality and Public Information Act requests?
1.What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written claim that an organization does not follow school laws or rules that are under TEA's jurisdiction.
2. Who may file a complaint?
Any person, group of individuals, or organization may file a complaint.
3. Can a complaint be anonymous?
TEA does not accept anonymous complaints. However, we do accept anonymous reports of violations involving:
- Administration of tests in the state assessment program
- Information or data fraud for school accountability
- Fraud in state and federal programs and funds
4. What does TEA do with courtesy copies?
TEA does not respond to courtesy copies of correspondence. We classify a courtesy copy as transitory information and maintain it only as long as needed.
5. Should I send confidential information by email?
Information sent to TEA by email may not be secure. Avoid sending confidential or sensitive information to TEA by email. TEA removes confidential or sensitive information when replying by email and maintains confidentiality of information as the law allows.
6. What must a complaint include?
To review and address a complaint, TEA requires certain information. We must be able to identify a clear violation of a school law and determine whether we have authority to act upon the allegation.
- Complainant’s full name and contact information
- Name of the public education agency
- Detailed description of the actions or decisions that violate a school law (leaving out identifying information for minors)
- Evidence of a school law violation
- Name of the school staff members notified and responses to the complaint
- Indication of whether the complaint was filed with other agencies and responses from other agencies
- The resolution requested
- Full and accurate names of involved educators
7. Where should I send the complaint?
Send correspondence and complaints to the Compliance & Inquiries Office:
Compliance & Inquiries Division
Texas Education Agency | 1701 N. Congress Avenue | Austin, TX 78701-1494
Fax (512) 475-3665 or firstname.lastname@example.org
8. What happens after TEA receives the complaint?
Correspondence and complaints are forwarded to the appropriate TEA office for proper review. TEA reviews the complaint to ensure that TEA has jurisdiction and authority to intervene or investigate. We also determine whether the complaint contains enough information to decide whether there is a violation of school law, if the allegation is true. If the complaint is insufficient or TEA does not have authority to address the complaint, we will notify the complainant.
9. What happens in an investigation?
If an investigation is authorized, the TEA sends a written notice to the district superintendent and complainant. The notice provides parties an opportunity to submit more information. After a preliminary review, the TEA notifies involved parties of the disposition of the complaint. By rule, the TEA must provide districts an opportunity for informal reviews or educators an opportunity to participate in a conference before finalizing the decision.
Preliminary findings are not final decisions. They are subject to changes following informal reviews or record reviews.
Investigations of a public agency are typically conducted under Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 39, Chapter 42 and Chapter 44 of the Texas Education Code or federal authority. Reviews are conducted under Chapter 157 of the Texas Administrative Code. Investigations of educator certification are conducted under 19 TAC Chapter 247 and 19 TAC Chapter 249.
TEA divisions have specific investigative procedures in place. Investigative procedures and timelines may differ depending on the program requirements.
10. How is the decision conveyed?
A complaint resolution letter or investigation report is issued to the public education agency and complainant, if known.
11. Can a decision be appealed?
There is no TEA appeal process for final decisions.
12. How does TEA handle confidentiality and Public Information Requests?
TEA follows the Texas Public Information Act for releasing information. Information can only be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law. TEA must maintain the confidentiality of all student information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. If a member of the public requests preliminary or audit working papers, the TEA may ask the Texas Office of Attorney General to except specific information from public disclosure.