Onsite Civil Rights Review

Background

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE), as a recipient of federal education funds, is required by the United States Department of Education, to conduct Civil Rights (CR) reviews of schools within districts and of postsecondary institutions that:

  1. Receive any form of federal funds and
  2. Offer Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

The Vocational Education Programs Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex and Handicap (34 C.F.R. Part 100, Appendix B), referred to as “The Guidelines,” require each state education agency to adopt a compliance program to prevent, identify and remedy discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or handicap by its local education agencies (LEAs) – as reflected in the following federal Civil Rights statutes:

United States Department of Education:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 34 CFR Part 100
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 34 CFR Part 106
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 34 CFR Part 104
  • Vocational Education Programs Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, and National Origin, Sex and Handicap (Guidelines), 34 CFR Part 100 Appendix B

United States Department of Justice:

  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), 28 CFR Part 35

Among other criteria, the main criteria used in selecting a high school are based on (1) the high school receiving a CTE program approval process in a given year and (2) the high school rising to one of the top positions in the analyses of various attendance data in CTE programs. Similar criteria are used in selecting postsecondary institutions.

Onsite Review

Two or more Utah State Board of Education (USBE) staff members typically visit the selected school for one to two days, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to review the high school or postsecondary institution and to speak with students, parents, district and school staff and faculty.

Additionally, a staff member from the Utah Division of Risk Management will conduct an onsite inspection of the facilities, typically weeks or months before USBE staff arrival, assessing for physical accessibility.

The intent of the review is to assist school districts and postsecondary institutions to meet the civil rights requirements, to prevent future costly problems, and to offer technical assistance to the districts and postsecondary institutions where corrective actions are needed. Please see the recommended Agenda for Onsite Review that lists who is to be interviewed and the timing of interviews.

Preparation for Onsite Review

In preparation for the review, certain items need to be assembled well in advance of the onsite review for the review team. The list of items is found below in the document called Materials Checklist, one for secondary and another for postsecondary.

The list of items is to be in the possession of the Utah State Board of Education preferably one month before the review occurs. Each item from the district and postsecondary site is to be marked clearly using the same number and descriptor that appears on the checklist.

Additionally, the onsite review team uses, but is not limited to, a checklist as a guide for interviews. This item is called, Onsite Review Checklist.

Finally, the review is not intended to penalize recipients for findings, but is designed to help find and fix issues regarding civil rights.

It is recommended that the school and district do not make any changes to existing situations (in anticipation of the onsite review) since it is common for changes to be incorrect and then have to corrected a second time.

Online Surveying

As a means of gathering as much detail from as many sources as possible, USBE will also ask schools to assist USBE to conduct online surveys of school staff, students, parents, etc. before the actual onsite review occurs.

After the Onsite Review

Typically, after the onsite review, a few follow-up phone calls are required to collect information that may be needed to complete the review process.

The review team then compiles its findings and creates the first draft of the findings and compliance requirements. These matters are summarized in a document called the Program and Procedures Improvement Plan (PPIP).

The PPIP is mailed to the district/institution CTE designee for review and response as well as to solicit any explanations as needed. This draft version of the PPIP is not to be viewed as a time to “negotiate things out of the PPIP,” but as a time to clear up any items on both sides – reviewers and recipients.

Once the draft PPIP process is completed, the review team creates the final PPIP. This is then mailed to the CEO (superintendent or college president), to CTE director, the school principal, the USBE state director of CTE, USBE educational equity coordinator. Eventually, a copy is also mailed to the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

The School’s and Institution’s Response

Depending upon the circumstances and at the discretion of Murray Meszaros, the reviewed school/institution has up to 30 calendar days to respond to the PPIP with a very specific plan listing:

  • what solutions will be applied to each noncompliance item,
  • by when each noncompliance item will be remedied, and
  • who is most responsible to see each noncompliance item to closure.

The school is required to rectify noncompliance issues in a manner that meets the statutes. The school has a year or less, depending upon the severity of the noncompliance issues, to rectify the noncompliance issues.

Follow-Up

Within one year of the accepted PPIP, the school, district and/or institution are required to show completion of all noncompliant matters. Additionally, a follow-up onsite review by USBE to assess whether the rectified noncompliance items are in compliance may be warranted.

If any item is incomplete, USBE is required to keep the file active and to conduct further follow-up reviews, training, etc.

Resources

Filing a Complaint

If you have a concern or would like to file a complaint, please contact Lillian Tsosie-Jensen, School Counseling, Equity, Prevention Coordinator via e-mail at tsosie-jensen@schools.utah.gov or by phone at (801) 538-7962.

Civil Rights Resources

1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design
As published in the Title III Regulations issued by the Department of Justice. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design are in Appendix A of the Title III Regulations.

ADA Regulations and Technical Assistance Materials
The United States Department of Justice provides free ADA materials. Printed materials may be ordered by calling the ADA Information Line. Automated service is available 24-hours a day for recorded information and to order publications. Publications are available in standard print as well as large print, audiotape, Braille, and computer disk for people with disabilities.

Civil Rights Regulations for Elementary and Secondary Education
The United States Department of Education is designated by the United States Department of Justice to resolve complaints alleging noncompliance with this part against public elementary and secondary education systems and institutions, public institutions of higher education and vocational education (other than schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other health-related schools), and public libraries.

Should you have any additional questions, contact:

Murray Meszaros
Specialist, Onsite Civil Rights Reviews
Phone: (801) 538-7870 | E-mail