Parent Complaint Procedures

Except as described below, any individual or group may bring a complaint to the Board. A complaint should include a detailed written statement of the nature of the complaint including the names of the individuals involved and the time, date, and place the incidents and/or actions at issue occurred; an allegation referring to the specific term of the charter or provision of law that the school has violated, what response, if any, was received from the school thus far, what relief the complainant is seeking, and the name, address, and phone number of the complainant.If a complaint is made regarding a staff member at NYCACS, it will first be the responsibility of the Executive Director to address the complaint to the satisfaction of the Board and the complainant. The Board will serve as the appeals body for any complaints not satisfactorily resolved or that involve the Executive Director directly in the complaint. Complaints must be submitted to the Board at least one week prior to the next Board meeting. Complaints submitted less than one week before the next Board meeting will be addressed at the subsequent meeting of the Board. Emergency issues will be dealt with on an as-needed basis, with the Board responding at or prior to its next regular public meeting. The Board of Trustees will act on the complaint and provide a final response to the complaint within thirty (30) days of receiving the formal written complaint or by the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board unless extenuating circumstances outlined in the complaint require an expedited review. The Board shall render a determination in writing if appropriate or required. The complaint process is guided by Education Law Section 2855(4)(2)(d). An individual or group (a complainant) may bring a complaint alleging a violation of the school’s charter, the New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 (Charter Schools Act), or other applicable law relating to the management or operation of the charter school to the school’s Board.Consistent with Section 2855(4) of the Charter Schools Act, if the complainant determines that the Board has not adequately addressed the complaint, the complainant has the right to present the complaint to the school’s authorizing entity, which will review the complaint and investigate as appropriate. If after bringing the complaint to the authorizing entity, the complainant determines the authorizing entity has not adequately addressed the complaint, the complainant may present the complaint to the State Board of Regents, which will review the complaint and investigate as appropriate. The determination of the Board of Regents shall be final.

Personnel Complaint Procedures

Problem-Solving Procedures
Any employee wishing to formally complain about a procedure, action, or directive of another employee or supervisor should notify the Executive Director at the employee’s discretion, as soon as possible after such procedure, action, or directive has occurred. The Executive Director or his or her designee shall be the investigator and final arbiter of all such grievances. In the event that the complaint involves a procedure, action, or directive of the Executive Director, an employee may file a written complaint with the President of the Board of Trustees. In such instances, the President of the Board of Trustees or his or her designee will be the investigator and final arbiter of the complaint.

Whistleblower Policy
The NYC Autism Charter School expects those who work on its behalf to observe the highest standards of business and personal ethics. As directors, officers and employees of the NYC Autism Charter School, we represent the institution and therefore must, in fulfilling our responsibilities, practice honesty and integrity as well as comply with all applicable laws, regulations and policies. Our individual actions affect the reputation and integrity of the NYC Autism Charter School, including how it is perceived by governmental authorities, parents and others. This Policy is intended to encourage and enable directors, officers, employees and others to raise concerns about possible violations of the law, NYC Autism Charter School policy or other questionable ethical practices Questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints regarding this Policy should be addressed directly to the Chair of the Finance Committee

Reporting Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to report in good faith violations or suspected violations of the law, ethical standards and/or our policies in accordance with this Policy. The procedures set forth herein are in addition to other currently available reporting avenues, including, but not limited to, speaking to a supervisor or as otherwise set forth in the Personnel Policies Manual.

Reporting Procedures
Any person who suspects wrongful, illegal, improper or questionable conduct is expected to immediately report such conduct in accordance with these Procedures in the following manner:

  • Directly to the Chair of the Finance Committee as follows: Hugh O’Rourkehcorourke@aol.com, or
  • To the Compliance Specialist as follows: Dr. Susan Michaelson, smichaelson@nycacharterschool.org. Any such correspondence should be clearly marked as an urgent, confidential matter for consideration.

The NYC Autism Charter School takes seriously its responsibilities to enforce this Policy and therefore encourages any director, officer or employee making a submission to provide as much information as they can, including a description of the questionable practice or behavior, the names and titles of the individuals involved, and any other details. Promptly upon receipt of a submission or complaint, the Compliance Specialist and the Chair of the Finance Committee shall discuss the matter. The Chair of the Finance Committee will evaluate the complaint and determine whether an investigation is required. In determining whether to conduct an investigation, the Chair may consider such matters as the nature, severity and scope of the alleged wrongdoing, the credibility of the allegations made, and any other factors that are appropriate under the circumstances. The Compliance Specialist will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation within five business days, to the extent the sender’s identity is disclosed or a return address is provided.

Handling of Complaints
The parameters of any investigation will be determined by the Chair of the Finance Committee (in consultation with the other members of the Committee, as necessary). All investigations will be conducted in a confidential manner, with information disclosed only as needed to facilitate the investigation or as otherwise required by law. The Finance Committee, or its designee, will be free in its discretion to engage outside auditors, counsel or other experts to assist in the investigation and the NYC Autism Charter School will pay all fees of such persons. The Chair, or its designee, may, if they deem it reasonably necessary, require the assistance of any other director, officer or employee in investigating any complaint. The NYC Autism Charter School and its employees will cooperate as requested. Ordinarily, the practice of the Chair will be for the complaint to be forwarded to the Compliance Specialist for investigation. In the event a complaint involves or implicates the Compliance Specialist or any member of the Finance Committee, the Chair will promptly recuse that person from the matter, and, if it entails the Finance Committee, immediately notify the President of the Board of Trustees, who thereafter shall be responsible for overseeing the investigation. The person conducting the investigation will promptly investigate the matter and report to the Finance Committee. The report shall describe the complaint, the steps taken in the investigation, any factual findings, and recommendations for corrective action, if any. The Chair, in its discretion, may require that the investigation report be in writing. The Finance Committee shall review the report of the investigation and have the authority to direct that the appropriate corrective action be taken in response to any particular complaint. The Finance Committee may, in its discretion, consult with any director, officer or employee of the NYC Autism Charter School who may have appropriate expertise to assist in the evaluation of resolving any complaint and can engage professional assistance if needed to assist in the evaluation of any results of, or courses of action in response to, an investigation. The NYC Autism Charter School will pay all fees of such professionals. The Finance Committee will ensure that a written docket of all complaints and submissions made under this Policy be maintained, which shall include a description of the complaint, the date of its receipt, the current status of any investigation and the final resolution.

Protection of Whistleblowers
Consistent with NYC Autism Charter School policy, directors, officers or employees will not retaliate or attempt to retaliate, nor tolerate any retaliation, attempted retaliation or any form of reprisals by any other person or group, directly or indirectly, against anyone who, in good faith, makes a submission under this Policy or provides assistance or information to the Finance Committee, the Compliance Specialist or any other person or group (including any governmental, regulatory or law enforcement body) investigating or otherwise helping to resolve a complaint. Any director, officer or employee who retaliates against another employee or a witness as described above will be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge. Employees who believe they are subject to retaliation because they have made a report or participated in an investigation should report such suspected retaliation to the Finance Committee in the manner described above.

Confidentiality
Directors, officers and employees are authorized to submit complaints on an anonymous basis and may also request that their complaint be treated in a confidential manner. Complaints and any reports of investigation will be kept confidential to the extent reasonable and practicable under the circumstances consistent with the Finance Committee’s obligation to conduct an appropriate investigation and to correct unlawful or unethical practices, and subject to any applicable requirements of law.

Records
The Finance Committee will retain on a strictly confidential basis for a period of seven years (or otherwise as required under the NYC Autism Charter School record retention policies in effect from time to time) all records relating to any complaint and to the investigation and resolution thereof. All such records shall be confidential to the NYC Autism Charter School and, as appropriate, protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or the attorney work product doctrine. The Chair, in its discretion, may waive the attorney-client privilege if in the best interests of the NYC Autism Charter School.

Publication of Procedures
The Chair of the Finance Committee, or his or her designee, will cause these procedures to be communicated to all directors, officers and employees.