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Responding to Inquiries and Complaints from the Public

A quality educational program for students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) can be achieved best by all individuals working together harmoniously. There will be times, however, when an individual may need to make an inquiry of school system employees or file a complaint.

When complaints or concerns occur, they should be resolved at the local school or at the lowest possible administrative level through an informal process of cooperative agreement among the affected individuals. However, when the informal process fails to provide resolution, an individual is entitled to file a formal complaint and seek a review of any administrative decisions made by school system staff members.

This page contains information concerning both the informal and formal processes for responding to inquiries and complaints from the public. It provides information about the necessary procedures and forms and offices available for assistance. The administrative regulation (KLA-RA, see note) that governs this process and the necessary forms are available at all MCPS schools, from any of the offices mentioned below, or on the MCPS Web in Adobe Acrobat PDF format: Regulation KLA-RA (22K PDF). (For related entries, see MCPS Policies, Section K: School Community Relations.)

How to proceed with the informal process

Principals of local schools periodically distribute information regarding the appropriate school administrators and other staff members who may be contacted for informal help with specific concerns at their school. If you have not seen this information, or if you are uncertain about whom to contact, please call your local school. (See the Directory of Schools and Offices for contact information.) At that time, please describe the general nature of your concern or complaint so that the appropriate person may be identified. Quite often, this will be the principal or assistant principal. (In the case of a unit that is not a school, such as an office or department, the term "principal" means the individual in charge of the unit. See the Directory of Schools and Offices for contact information.)

At this informal stage, all individuals should attempt to resolve the concern or complaint as amicably and expeditiously as possible. During this informal stage, neither you nor the school is required to keep any records. If you prepare anything in writing, please keep a copy. This could save a duplication of effort later.

What to do if you need assistance

Although the first step in resolving concerns is usually taken at the local school, other offices of the school system are available if you have a general inquiry or need assistance.

General Inquiries

For general inquiries about the school system and its policies and procedures, contact:

Public Information Office

Phone: 240-740-2837
TDD: 301-279-3323
Mail: 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Web: Public Information Office

Discrimination Inquiries or Complaints

Inquiries or complaints regarding discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, disability, or sexual orientation, including issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act or Title IX issues such as gender equity and sexual harassment, contact:

MCPS Compliance Officer, Office of the Chief Of Staff

Maryland Relay: 1-800-735-2258
Mail: 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 162, Rockville, Maryland 20850

Contacting the Board of Education

If you have a problem, complaint, information, or suggestion to bring to the attention of the Board of Education and school officials, or if you need information about general school system procedures or policies, contact:

Chief of Staff to the Board of Education

Phone: 240-740-3030 
Maryland Relay: 1-800-735-2258
Mail: 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 123, Rockville, Maryland 20850
More: Board of Education contact information

Section 504 Inquiries

For inquiries regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) contact:

Steve Neff, Director, Pupil Personnel Services

Phone: 301-315-7335
Maryland Relay: 1-800-735-2258
: 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 211, Rockville, Maryland 20850
: Department of Student Services

How to file a formal complaint

When a concern or complaint is not resolved through the informal process, you may initiate the formal complaint process outlined below. The complete procedures for the formal inquiry and complaint process are contained in the Montgomery County Public Schools Administrative Regulation KLA-RA: Responding to Inquiries and Complaints from the Public (22K PDF).

The first step in the formal process is to obtain MCPS Form 270-8: Complaint from the Public (20K Adobe Acrobat PDF document that you may fill in on-screen, print, and distribute copies as directed) from the school or from any of the offices listed above. Complete Part I and return it to the principal's office. You may attach descriptive or supportive information to the form. Keep a copy of the form and any attachments.

When your complaint form is received at the school, the principal or designee should contact you within three (3) work days to establish the date, time and place of a meeting to discuss your concern, if such a meeting has not already occurred. Usually, this meeting will take place within ten (10) work days.

Within 10 work days of receipt of the written complaint, or this meeting, if any, the principal should respond to you in writing with a decision.

Sometimes a complaint or its resolution may be too complicated or, for other reasons, cannot be decided within 10 work days. In such cases, the principal will contact you within the first 10 days and arrange for an extension of the decision for no more than an additional 10 work days.

If you are not satisfied with the decision

If you are not satisfied with the written decision, or if you do not receive a reply to your formal complaint within the specified time, you may request that your complaint be considered by the Superintendent of Schools. You must file your request for review within 15 calendar days of the principal's decision or the date when a decision was to have been made.

If you wish to request a review, forward MCPS Form 270-8: Complaint from the Public (19K PDF) to the Office of the Superintendent, with a note explaining the basis for disagreeing with the decision.

The Office of the Superintendent of Schools will respond, using a procedure and time limits similar to those followed by the principal, as follows: (a) a meeting may be arranged within 3 work days; (b) a decision on the review within 10 work days after the meeting, if any; and (c) an extension of an additional 10 work days if the matter is unusually complicated or otherwise requires additional time.

The superintendent or designee will state his or her decision in writing.

Further appeals

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the superintendent of schools, you may file an appeal with the Montgomery County Board of Education and later with the Maryland State Board of Education. (In addition, complaints alleging discrimination under the ADA, Section 504, or Title IX may be filed with the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.)

In appealing a decision of the superintendent, you must file an appeal to the Montgomery County Board of Education within 30 calendar days of the date of the superintendent's decision.

Your appeal to the Board of Education will proceed in accordance with Board Policy BLB: Rules of Procedure in Appeals and Hearings (30K PDF). If you need assistance with your appeal, contact:

Chief of Staff to the Board of Education

Phone: at 240-740-3030 
Maryland Relay: 1-800-735-2258
Mail: 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 123, Rockville, Maryland 20850
More: Board of Education contact information

NOTE: The procedures outlined here are not to be used for resolving complaints that are specifically governed by other existing state or local regulations, such as student suspensions and expulsions, employee grievances, special education appeals, student transfers, requests for information under the Maryland Public Information Act, and requests for reasonable accommodations/modifications under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Nondiscrimination Statement