The OEA was envisioned by the legislature as its arm to ensure that public schools in the state operate efficiently and effectively. The OEA was established in the landmark 1990 legislation that completely overhauled the state’s public P-12 education system, HB 940.
The Office of Education Accountability has maintained a toll-free hotline service since January 1991 to receive concerns and complaints from citizens, parents, school district employees, and others. This office is charged with investigating allegations of waste, mismanagement, and illegal activity that have not been adequately addressed or explained by a local district. Concerns and complaints reported to this office regularly involve school-based decision making (SBDM), special education, the state testing and accountability program, nepotism, governance issues, conflict of interest of board members, inadequate educational programs, and various problems involving local district policies. Issues that are not within the jurisdiction of the OEA are referred back to the local school district or the appropriate state, federal, or investigative agency.
Many complainants who contact the OEA wish to remain anonymous. A complainant’s identity remains confidential regardless of whether contact information is provided unless the complainant authorizes release.
Unless the complaint pertains to a life-threatening situation or is time-sensitive, OEA requires that complainants submit their concerns in writing. As is the case with hotline calls, complainant identity is protected unless release is authorized by the complainant.
If you have a concern or comment pertaining to a local school district, please contact the OEA at 502-564-8167 or toll free (within Kentucky) at 800-242-0520. Complaints may also be faxed directly to the OEA at 502-564-8322. Visit the OEA website here.
The steps in the complaint process usually are as follows:
- A written complaint is filed with the OEA. This may originate with a hotline call, or the complainant may choose to file a complaint without first consulting with OEA staff via telephone.
- The complaint is logged in and assigned to the appropriate OEA staff for review.
- The complaint is analyzed by OEA staff (this step may involve intra-agency consultation).
- A decision is made as to whether to investigate or review the complaint situation.
- If the decision is made to investigate or review the complaint situation, a case file is opened. If the decision is made not to investigate or review the complaint situation, the file is logged out and the file is closed (or maintained as open pending further information or complaints related to the complaint situation).
- If the decision is made to investigate or review the complaint situation, an investigation or inquiry is conducted.
- At the conclusion of the investigation or inquiry, actions to resolve the situation or charges against individuals are filed (note that this step may involve consultation with appropriate personnel at the Kentucky Department of Education).
- Once action steps or charges are made, OEA monitors the complaint situation to determine if steps are taken to resolve.
- Based upon monitoring review, a determination as to resolution of the problem(s) is made. If the situation is resolved, the case is logged out and filed. If not, the process of recommending actions or charges is recycled.