KEA Stakeholder Grievance Process

Title                            Stakeholder Grievance Process

Designation               KEA

Office/Custodian        Business and Education/Director of Human Resources and Director of Culture & Services

 

District 49 values all its stakeholders, including students, parents, staff and community members, and endeavors to earn their trust.  The district seeks to serve all stakeholders with fairness and respect.

 

The district recognizes that there will be times when stakeholders disagree with a classroom or administrative decision and sincerely desire to partner with stakeholders in resolving issues, concerns or grievances.  To that end, the Board of Education has established this stakeholder grievance policy as a formal process by which stakeholders may present and seek resolution to problems, issues, or concerns (generally referred to in this policy and procedure as “grievances”) related to matters of policy.

 

This policy does not modify, delegate, limit, or extend the rights of the school board to act or make decisions under applicable state and federal law.

 

Good faith efforts

It is inevitable that conflicts will occur.  How the parties handle conflict plays a major role in defining the culture of our district.  When adults work together to resolve conflicts with civility, they model skills for students that will enable them to effectively resolve conflict.

 

The district expects all stakeholders to treat others with respect and courtesy, and to strive for the following with regard to grievance resolution:

1.      Seek to address issues at the appropriate level.  For example, a concern about the classroom should be addressed first with the teacher.  School-wide issues should be addressed with the school principal.

2.      While the district seeks to support and assist individual families, recognize that all decisions must factor in the impact on other students and staff.

3.      Understand that the district expects school administrators to make judgment calls. Generally speaking, judgment calls will not be overturned at a higher level unless there are compelling grounds based on policy issues.

4.      Accept that privacy laws or other confidentiality requirements may expressly prohibit the administration from disclosing discipline measures taken with staff or with other students. The district recognizes that this limitation on open communication can be very frustrating for both parents and administrators.

 

Access to the grievance policy

The grievance process is available to parents or those with custodial rights of district students, to residents of the district and to district employees, who will be referred to as a “stakeholder” for purposes of this policy and its associated regulations.

 

What may be grieved

The Board established this grievance policy for resolution of grievances that involve one or more approved Board policies or approved procedures.  It does not exist to resolve simple disagreements, personality differences or disputes over a classroom teacher’s or an administrator’s legitimate decision or actions.  Staff may not use the grievance process to dispute a performance evaluation or corrective action.

 

In bringing a grievance forward for resolution, the stakeholder will be required to specify the policy or procedure in question and whether s/he:

1.      Alleges the policy or procedure was violated; or

2.      Alleges that the policy or procedure was misapplied or inequitably applied; or

3.      Is requesting that the policy or procedure be changed; or

4.      Is requesting that an exception to policy or procedure be made.

 

In the event that a board policy doesn’t already exist, the stakeholder may assert that the district should consider adding a policy or procedure to cover the matter.

 

Regulations and exhibits

District administration will establish procedures that will accomplish the following goals:

  • Encourage resolution at the lowest possible level.
  • Ensure a well-documented process.
  • Specify time frames for the filing of and responding to grievances.
  • Provide a clear process for appealing a decision to the next level of review.
  • Provide general guidelines for the grounds upon which a person might base an appeal.

 

District administration shall provide an opportunity for the stakeholder to provide feedback once there is complete resolution at any level to a grievance.  The results of this feedback will be used to inform improvement of the grievance resolution process.

 

District administrators and the Board will not consider complaints about staff members that have not been formally addressed using the appropriate grievance forms and appeals procedures.  In order to satisfactorily address each grievance and to avoid confusing the issues, stakeholders must address them separately in writing, beginning with the appropriate grievance form. If, while working through the grievance process, a stakeholder becomes concerned with the behavior or conduct of a district staff member, that concern then becomes a new matter for resolution, which must be addressed as a completely separate grievance.

 

The regulations, exhibits and forms associated with this policy shall be made available on the district website or in paper format upon request. 

 

Urgent matters

While the grievance procedures designate timelines and sequence for raising concerns and receiving feedback, if a concern involves imminent danger to a student, staff member, or other member of our community, or if there is an urgent need for immediate resolution to the matter, the stakeholder is expected to immediately notify a district administrator regarding the matter and request an expedited review by a chief officer or his appropriate designee.

 

If the chief officer or designee determines that the concern does not involve imminent danger, the stakeholder will be directed back to the procedures described herein.

 

Timelines

The district desires to respond to grievances in a timely manner.  The timelines established in the associated regulations and exhibit, at the discretion of the staff member designated at each level, may be altered to allow for an appropriately thorough review of the grievance or to allow for an outside investigation, (e.g. Office of Civil Rights, Law Enforcement, etc.). Any needed time extensions should be communicated to the concerned party as soon as practical.

 

Independent review mechanism

At the outset of a grievance, a process facilitator will be assigned to facilitate the process.  Normally, when an employee files a grievance, the Director of Culture & Services will serve as the process facilitator.  Normally, when the grievance is initiated by any other stakeholder, the Director of Human Resources will serve as the process facilitator.  In assigning the facilitator, the district will review and attempt to mitigate potential conflicts of interest resulting from the facilitators’ relationships to the parties and the situation in question.

 

District 49 will make every effort to ensure that those named in a complaint or who are too closely associated with those involved in the complaint will not be part of the investigative team or efforts.  The district can, at its discretion, utilize a neutral third-party investigator to address allegations of workplace wrongdoing or other conflict. 

A chief officer or the Board of Education may request an internal review of a grievance.  When this happens, the Chief Education Officer will direct either the Director of Human Resources or the Director of Culture & Services to perform a review of the particular grievance matter and provide a report to the requestor.

 

Recordkeeping

The district shall maintain records associated with grievance proceedings for a minimum of three (3) years.

 

False Allegations

Employees should recognize that making false or bad faith accusations of wrongdoing can have serious consequences for those who are wrongly accused. The district prohibits deliberately making false and/or malicious allegations of wrongdoing, as well as deliberately providing false information during an investigation. Any employee who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

 

Adopted:  October  9, 2014

Revised:  September 10, 2015

Revised:  May 11, 2017

Revised:  July 11, 2019