Notes about filing a complaint with the TEA and/or the Commissioner of Education

There is no legal advice on this page, just experiences and opinions.   See the obligatory disclaimer.

NOTE! The T.E.A. may send your complaint, exactly as you wrote it, to the ISD you are complaining about, so don't say anything you can't prove, or that you wouldn't say in person!

State law requires some detailed information be provided when a complaint is made to the Commissioner of Education via the T.E.A.   This is an attempt at a summary of the process, but be sure to visit the links below to view the actual law - don't just take our word for it!!!

It appears the T.E.A. can only enforce state school law - any violations of locally-passed policies are out of their jurisdiction.   (who DOES have jurisdiction? good question! if anyone knows the answer, please write!)   So, to file a complaint, you must allege that the school board or administration violated some state school law.

You must file your appeal within 45 calendar days of the alleged infraction, so don't delay!

You need to provide a statement of what was done wrong, the date that the wrong was executed, a statement that you're entitled to have the commissioner act on your behalf, and what you want the commissioner to do, along with your address, telephone number, etc.

Read the actual law here.

What constitutes being entitled to have the commissioner act on your behalf?  We don't know, but we've assumed that being a tax-paying resident of the ISD and/or state of Texas is sufficient.  If you know the answer to this, enlighten us!

Another section of the law states that the commissioner may intervene only if the board of trustees made a decision that was arbitrary, capricious, unlawful, or not supported by substantial evidence.

Read the actual law here.

If you feel you have been denied due process, be sure to mention that also.

Do be sure you sign your complaint!

REMEMBER, a photo-copy of your complaint may be sent to the party you are complaining about!  Keep it "clean" and refrain from making personal comments, or anything else you wouldn't want to say in a court of law.

When you have written your complaint, you may FAX it to the T.E.A. complaints dept. at (512) 463-8254, or mail it to 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701-1494.  You may call them at (512) 463-9290.

Here is that statute.

At this point, the party about who you are complaining will have 30 days to respond.  You will be sent a copy of this response.  Now the rules change just a little bit.   For any futher correspondence you have with the T.E.A. you must send an exact copy, in the same manner, to the respondent (which will usually(?) be an attorney).   You may send further documents to the same postal address, or FAX to (512) 463-9383, or the number listed on the letterhead.

Here is that statute.

When we find out what happens next, we'll post it!

We hope this information will be helpful to anyone having to file a complaint. If you find something that should be on this page and isn't, be sure to let us know.

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last modified Sep 26, 1999