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State Complaints

Questions and Answers

Who can file a State Complaint?

A state complaint may be filed by any individual or organization. The filing party must file a written complaint by mail or hand-delivery to both the Department of Education and the responding Administrative Unit's (School District, BOCES, or State Operated Program) Special Education Director (See contact information and model forms below). Before filing a State Complaint, it is advisable that you or your attorney carefully review the State Complaint Procedures (PDF). Once CDE has confirmed the responding party has received the complaint, the timelines for the complaint will begin.


What issues can be addressed?

A State Complaint can address any alleged Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) violation that occurred within one year of the filing date. Prior to filing a State Complaint, it is advisable to contact an attorney or advocate experienced in special education law. Disability Law Colorado may be able to assist you or refer you to other available resources.


How does it work?

Once a complaint is filed, a State Complaints Officer (SCO) will investigate the alleged violations. This process may include formal responses or replies from both parties and interviews conducted by the SCO. A written decision must be issued within 60 calendar days after a properly filed complaint was received by the SCO and the AU.


Who decides the outcomes?

Following the investigation, the SCO issues a written decision. If the SCO determines that there were IDEA violations remedies may be ordered, including but not limited to a corrective action plan. If the SCO determines that no IDEA violations occurred, no remedies are ordered.


What does it cost?

While a State Complaint requires no filing fees, each party must pay for any attorney fees and costs that they incur. A written decision imust be issued within 60 calendar days after a properly filed complaint was received by the SCO and the AU.


Is there an appeal process?

The SCO’s decision cannot be appealed. However, either party may choose to file a due process complaint on the same issue(s).


Contacts, Forms, and Further Information:

Candace Hawkins, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Candace Hawkins
303-866-6213
Fax:303-866-6767

Lisa Weiss, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Lisa Weiss
303-866-6685
Fax: 303-866-6767

Jacqueline Esquibel, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Jacqueline Esquibel
303-866-6311
Fax: 303-866-6767

State Complaint Model Form
Use of these forms is not required. Complaints must be submitted by mail or hand-delivery.


Other Helpful Links: Dispute Resolution Options in Comparison | Dispute Resolution Parent Resources (Under Construction) | Rules and Regulations

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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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