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State Complaints

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File a State Complaint

The CDE has updated its Model State Complaint Form to help ensure that complaints contain all of the required information. The form now contains more detailed instructions and examples of facts/allegations to aide parties in completing the form. Use of this complaint form is not required in order to file a State Complaint.

State Complaint Procedures

The CDE has developed written procedures for the investigation and resolution of any state complaint filed by an individual or organization who believes a school district, a board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), or a State Operated Program is not following the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) and/or the Protection of Persons from Restraint Act (“PPRA”).

Questions and Answers

What is a State Complaint?

A State Complaint is a written complaint requesting an investigation of any alleged violations of the IDEA requirements. A State Complaints Officer will conduct an informal investigation, considering the information and interviews of the parties involved, and issue a written decision.

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. 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).

Contact Us

Brandon Edelman, Esq.
Supervisor, Dispute Resolution
Email Brandon Edelman

Ashley Schubert, Esq. 
State Complaints Officer
Email Ashley Schubert

Lindsey Watson, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Lindsey Watson

Ross Meyers, Esq.
State Complaints Officer
Email Ross Meyers 

Exceptional Student Services Unit, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80202 | Phone: 303-866-6694, Fax: 303-866-6767

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