Students to rally over lack of notices
Procedures not posted on how to complain of school conditions


It's been more than a month since notices about complaint procedures were supposed to be posted in every

California classroom under a new law giving kids a way to expose such severe problems as too

 few textbooks or too many mice. But many classrooms have yet to post the notices --

 and that's annoying some of the million students who sued the state in 2000.

On Tuesday, many of those students will gather in five cities -- Oakland, San Jose,

 Fresno, Long Beach and San Diego -- to demand that the state and school

officials start providing the benefits they won in the recent settlement of their

 landmark Williams vs. California class-action lawsuit.

"We're going to send a message to the state," said Hector Vega, 17, a junior

 at James Lick High School in San Jose. "They promised us that we'd have

 the right to complain to our schools for what we don't have, like good facilities

and books. It was said that by Jan. 1, it was supposed to be implemented,

but we're already in February. We need to really show them how important this is to us."

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it isn't the state's fault if

 schools have not posted the complaint procedures.

"We believe we are in compliance," said H.D. Palmer of the Department of

Finance, which will make settlement payments of $138 million for more

textbooks in the lowest-scoring schools, $800 million for emergency repairs,

$25 million to study schools' health and safety needs, and $15 million for county

 superintendents to inspect schools.

As for the complaint process, Palmer said the state Department of Education has

posted a sample notice at for schools to print out.

Schwarzenegger signed off on the settlement and its many components in September.

 The Legislature enacted legislation to carry out the legal agreement.

Four years earlier, a San Francisco middle-school student named Eliezer Williams

became the lead plaintiff on behalf of low-income students who said they suffered

substandard conditions compared to their middle-income counterparts in suburban schools.

Their suit, handled by the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Advocates and

the Morrison & Foerster law firm, demanded sufficient books, solid classrooms and clean conditions.

Under then-Gov. Gray Davis, the state spent $18 million to fight the students.

By contrast, Schwarzenegger made the settlement a priority.

Now, the complaint notices are the most visible symbols of the students' victory.

 But it's impossible to know exactly how many schools have posted them. The

 students who are planning the rallies say they believe more schools are out of compliance than in.

At San Francisco's Burton High, for example, classrooms had no postings. "It's

 so frustrating," said Cynthia Artiga-Faupusa,

 a Burton English teacher who taught Eliezer Williams at Burbank Middle

 School five years ago when out- of-date textbooks, vermin and bolted

 windows prompted him to join in what became widely known as the "Williams case."

Artiga-Faupusa said the word about the Jan. 1 deadline for posting the notices never

 reached teachers.

"The whole purpose of the suit was to deal with these things before that (crisis)

point," said the dismayed teacher.

But over at Jefferson High in Daly City, Principal Murray Schneider had no

 trouble producing a bright blue notice. He said they were up in every classroom.

Indeed, one of the 8 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch cards was posted in Lorie Stevens' classroom

 alongside half a dozen other pages and notices. It reads:

"Notice to Parents/Guardians: Sufficient textbooks must be available to all students

 so that they may complete both classroom and homework assignments.

 School facilities must be clean, safe and in good repair as determined

 by the Office of Public School Construction." The card said complaint

 forms were available from the principal, district and state Education Department Web site.

But such notices were still lacking in most classrooms, said Vega, the

 Lick High student from San Jose. So he and other members of the

group Californians for Justice, which is sponsoring Tuesday's rallies,

 decided to test the complaint process -- even in the absence of notices.

On Jan. 7, Vega and other students wrote their principal and the

 Santa Clara County Office of Education that students could

not sit beneath a gaping hole in the classroom ceiling when

it rained because water dripped down. To their surprise, the students got a

 written response from the county within 10 days,

 and the ceiling was fixed before the month was out.

"It tells us they're actually thinking about bettering the schools,

" Vega said. "We thought that since they're not (posting notices),

nothing would happen if we complained. But then it did."

Vega said the incident proves why it's important for students to rally

 Tuesday and demand that notices be properly posted.

"There are thousands of schools in California," he said, "and none

 of the students know they have that right."

The Bay Area rallies will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday. One will be at

100 Paseo de San Antonio in San Jose, and the other at 1515 Clay St. in Oakland.

                      Williams Case

Latest information on the landmark Superior Court case to provide all

students equal access to instructional materials, safe schools, and quality teachers.

What's New:

*       Guidance for Charter Schools Letter - HTML | PDF (60 KB; 4 pp.)

*       Sample Notice to Parents and Guardians, Complaint Rights - HTML | PDF (15KB; 1p.)

*       Memorandum to County and District Superintendents - Williams Case (CA Dept of Education)

Williams Case: An explanation of what happened in the Williams case.

Beneficiaries of the Williams Case: Schools affected by Williams.

Sample Documents for the Williams Case: Language that may be used by governing

boards to certify compliance, and suggested resolution on sufficiency of instructional materials.

Complaint Procedure for the Williams Case: Process to help identify and resolve any deficiencies.

Frequently Asked Questions and Responses: Inquiries submitted by schools and answers to those inquiries.

Coming Soon in the Williams Case: Posting of anticipated information.


December 20, 2004


County Superintendents
District Superintendents


State Superintendent of Public Instruction


Notice of settlement in Eliezer Williams, et al. v. State of California , et al.

On December 10, 2004, the San Francisco County Superior Court approved the notice of

 settlement in Eliezer Williams, et al. v. State of California , et al. The court ordered that

CDE make available information regarding the provisions of the settlement and the process

 by which students on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed may file objections to the

settlement. In keeping with the court's order, four documents are included with this

memorandum. You will also find them posted and available

for downloading on CDE's Web site,

The four documents are:

Notice of Class Action Settlement in the Williams v. State of California Education Lawsuit (English language version)

Notice of Class Action Settlement in the Williams v. State of California Education Lawsuit (Spanish language version)

Summary of Notice of Class Action Settlement in the Williams v. State of California Education Lawsuit (English language version)

Summary of Notice of Class Action Settlement in the Williams v. State of California Education Lawsuit (Spanish language version)

The court also directed CDE to request that your district or county office post either the

 attached notices or the summaries in the main office of each of your schools.

 As an alternative to this posting, you may distribute the notices or summaries

by any other means that you believe will reach your students.

In addition to this posting of the notices or summaries, CDE requests

that you publish the notice, or provide a link to the notice on CDE's Web site, if your county or district maintains a Web site.

Finally, CDE requests that you ask each school in your

district or county that maintains a Web site to provide

a link to the notices on the CDE Web site, or post the

 toll-free telephone number to a voicemail information

 line. That number is 1-877-532-2533.

The complete notice of settlement may also be obtained by calling

 the toll-free voicemail information line.

Notice of Class Action Settlement

In the Williams v. State of California Education lawsuit.


This notice sets forth the basic terms of the Settlement Agreement reached in the

 Williams v. State of California education lawsuit and

advises class members of their procedural rights relating to this settlement.

The class in this lawsuit has been defined as the following:

All students who are attending or will attend public elementary, middle or

secondary schools in California who suffer from one or more deprivations

 of basic educational necessities. The specific deprivations are as follows:

A) a lack of instructional materials such that the student does

not have his or her own reasonably current textbook or educational

materials, in useable condition, in each core subject (1) to use in class

 without sharing with another student; or (2) to use at home each evening for homework;

B) a lack of qualified teachers such that (1) the student attends a class

 or classes for which no permanent teacher is assigned; or (2) the student

 attends a school in which more than 20% of teachers do not have full,

 non-emergency teaching credentials; or (3) the student is an English

 Language Learner ("ELL") and is assigned a teacher who has not

been specially qualified by the State to teach ELL students;

C) inadequate, unsafe and unhealthful school facilities such that (1) 

the student attends classes in one or more rooms in which the

 temperature falls outside the 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit range;

 or (2) the student attends classes in one or more rooms in which the

 ambient or external noise levels regularly impede verbal communication

between students and teachers; or (3) there are insufficient numbers of

clean, stocked and functioning toilets and bathrooms; or (4) there are

 unsanitary and unhealthful conditions, including the presence of vermin

, mildew or rotting organic material;

D) a lack of educational resources such that (1) the school offers academic

courses and extracurricular offerings in which the student cannot participate

 without paying a fee or obtaining a fee waiver; or (2) the school does not

provide the student with access to research materials necessary to satisfy

course instruction, such as a library or the Internet; or

E) overcrowded schools such that (1) the student is subject to a year-round

, multi-track schedule that provides for fewer days of annual instruction than

 schools on a traditional calendar provide; or (2) the student is bused excessive

distances from his or her neighborhood school; or (3) the student attends classes

 in one or more rooms that are so overcrowded that there are insufficient seats

 for each enrolled student to have his or her own seat or where the average square

footage per student is less than 25 square feet.

This class action lawsuit was brought against the State of California, the

 California Department of Education, the California Board of Education, and the

California Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2000 alleging that a substantial

 number of students attended substandard schools that lacked basic educational

 necessities: adequate instructional materials, trained teachers, and classrooms

in good repair. Plaintiffs alleged that evidence of such substandard learning

 conditions at some schools demonstrated that the State was not fulfilling its

duty under Butt v. State of California, 4 Cal. 4th 668 (1992), to ensure that students

 have fundamentally equal learning opportunities. Detailed information regarding this case

, including the plaintiffs' complaint, court papers, and media coverage may be found

 on the plaintiffs' Web site at (Outside Source).

Terms of the Settlement Agreement

After many years of intense litigation, the parties in the case reached a Settlement

Agreement on August 13, 2004. On August 23, 2004,

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch granted preliminary

approval of the Settlement Agreement and subsequently approved this

 Notice. A complete copy of plaintiffs' Notice of Settlement attaching the

parties' complete Settlement Agreement may be downloaded at

 (Outside Source) or members of the class or their parents or guardians

 can obtain copies by mail by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-532-2533.

The parties' Settlement Agreement provides for a package of legislative proposals

 to ensure that all students will have books in specified subjects and that their schools

 will be clean and in safe condition. It takes steps toward assuring they have qualified

 teachers. The legislative proposals include measures to confirm that schools are

delivering these fundamental elements to students, and provide very substantial funding

for these purposes: a program to make available up to $800 million over a period of years

 for repairs of emergent facilities conditions in the lowest performing schools

 (those ranked in the bottom 3 deciles under the statewide Academic Performance

Index [API]); $138 million for new instructional materials for students attending schools

 in the bottom two API deciles, in addition to the funding for instructional materials to all

schools; and additional funding to conduct an assessment of facilities conditions,

 supplement the County Superintendents' capacity to oversee low performing schools,

 fund emergency repairs in those schools and cover other costs of implementation. The

legislative proposals also include extending funding of approximately $200 million for the

High Priority Schools Grant Program (HPSGP) and by appropriating savings achieved as

low performing schools are phased out of the program to new grants for eligible schools.

On September 29, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed laws implementing the legislative

proposals set forth in the parties' Settlement Agreement. See 9/24/04 Press Release from the

 Office of the Governor, Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Education Reforms Into

Law (This press release is available for downloading at (Outside Source)

 or members of the class or their parents or guardians can obtain a copy by mail by calling the

 toll-free number 1-877-532-2533). These new education laws include: SB 550 & AB 2727

 (establishing minimum standards regarding school facilities, teacher quality, and instructional

 materials and an accountability system to enforce these standards); AB 1550

(phasing out the use of the multi-track, year-round school calendar with a shortened

 school year, known as Concept 6, by July 1, 2012 and setting benchmarks for districts

to reach this goal); AB 3001 (encouraging placement of qualified teachers in low

performing schools; enhancing an existing oversight mechanism to ensure that

 teachers are qualified to teach the subject matter to which they have been assigned

and to ensure that teachers of English Learners are properly trained; and streamlining

 the process for highly qualified teachers from out-of-state to teach in California schools);

and SB 6 (providing up to $800 million beginning in the 2005-06 fiscal year for districts to

 address emergent facility repair projects and approximately $25 million in 2004-05 to

 assess the condition of schools in the bottom three deciles.) Id . These laws are available

 for downloading at (Outside Source), or members of the class or their

 parents or guardians can obtain copies by mail by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-532-2533.

The new legislation seeks to accomplish the following:

*       Provide financial assistance to repair low performing schools through a new

 $800 million School Facilities Emergency Repairs Account;

*       Create a School Facilities Needs Assessment program;

*       Create standards for instructional materials and facilities and require the Concept

6 school calendar to be eliminated no later than 2012;

*       Post instructional materials and facilities standards in all classrooms;

*       Collect data on compliance with these standards and teacher requirements;

*       Verify this data;

*       Require a uniform complaint process in every district for complaints on inadequate

instructional materials, teacher vacancies and misassignments, and emergency facilities problems;

*       Intervene in decile 1-3 schools if the instructional materials and facilities standards are

not met, and in districts having difficulty attracting, retaining or properly assigning teachers;

*       Improve the teacher supply by streamlining requirements for out-of-state credentialed

teachers to earn California credentials;

*       Require each district to implement a facilities inspection system; and

*       Include new schools in the High Priority Schools Grant Program when current schools are phased out.

Covenant Not To Sue

In consideration of the settlement, members of the plaintiff class will be bound by a covenant not

 to sue the defendants on the claims pursued in the Williams case for a period of four years from

the date the Court approves this Agreement, subject to certain exceptions. The full Covenant Not

To Sue, including the provisions as to exceptions, can be obtained from

(Outside Source), or by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-532-2533.

Attorneys' Fees Provision

With respect to attorneys' fees, the State of California and plaintiffs have agreed that "plaintiffs'

 counsel will be entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees and costs from the State in an

amount to be agreed between plaintiffs' counsel and the State, or, if not agreed after consultation,

to be determined by the Court. After dismissal of the action in other respects, the Court will retain

 jurisdiction to make that determination, if necessary." See Provision As to Claims for Attorneys'

Fees (This provision is available for downloading at [Outside Source] or

 members of the class or their parents or guardians can obtain copies by mail by calling the toll-free

number, 1-877-532-2533). The parties' Settlement Implementation Agreement does not include

 a provision awarding a specific amount of attorneys' fees or costs to plaintiffs' counsel.

The parties have had initial discussions regarding fees and costs but have not yet reached

agreement. Additional procedural issues are addressed in the parties' Settlement Implementation

Agreement, which can be obtained from (Outside Source)

or by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-532-2533.

Final Approval Hearing and Objection Procedure

The hearing for final approval of the settlement has been scheduled for March 23, 2005 at

9:00 a.m. in front of San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch, Department 210,

400 McAllister Street , San Francisco , California 94102-4514 . Class members who wish to

 object to the parties' Settlement Agreement should file written objections stating their names,

 addresses, contact telephone numbers (and e-mail address if applicable) indicating the basis

 for their objection to the settlement with the Court no later than February 15, 2005 by mailing

objections to the Judge at the Court's address above and a copy to the following address:

 The Williams Education Case, Morrison & Foerster, 425 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105-2482.

Uniform Complaint Procedures

The responsibilities of the complainant, the local educational agency, and the

California Department of Education according to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 4600-4671.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is a written and signed statement alleging a violation of a federal or

 state law or regulation, which may include an allegation of unlawful discrimination

. A complaint must be filed by way of the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) as

written in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Sections 4600-4671. Issues that

 may involve filing a complaint using the UCP are under various state and federal programs

that use categorical funds such as Adult Education, Career Technical Education, Child Development,

 Consolidated Categorical Programs, Indian Education, Migrant Education, Nutrition Education,

and Special Education.  

Not all complaints fall under the scope of the UCP. Many concerns are the

responsibilities of the local agencies, including, hiring and evaluation of staff,

 classroom assignments, student advancement and retention, selection/provision

 of textbooks and materials, student discipline, provision of core curricula subjects,

facilities, graduation requirements, homework policies and practices, use of general

education funds and dress codes and school uniforms.

The following documents describe the process in filing a complaint. Topics include

referring complaint issues, local educational agency responsibilities, district policies and

 procedures, filing a local complaint, time lines, appealing local agency decisions,

department resolution procedures, the on-site investigation process, and CDE's

 investigation procedures and investigation report.

These procedures are available in English and in Spanish.

Uniform Complaint Procedures (English) (PDF; 56Kb; 2pp.; 04-Jan-2004)
Authorized by California Code of Regulations , Title 5, sections 4600-4671

Proceso Uniforme de Quejas (Espanól) (PDF; 67KB; 2pp.; 04-Jan-2004)
Autorizado por : El Código de Reglamentos de
California, Secciones 4600-4671 del Titulo 5

Power Point Presentation on Uniform Complaint Procedures (English) (PPT; 336KB;

35pp.; 04-March-2004)
Here is a sample workshop originally presented at the Coordinated Compliance Review

 Institute for districts scheduled for a CCR review. This Power Point presentation provides

 district staff with information that helps to assure that their district is in compliance with UCP requirements.