Filing a Grievance with Huntsville City Schools

December 1st Board Meeting

[Update: After you read this, make sure that you read the next blog that I have posted as well. It’s called, “No Grievance Policy Against the Board or Superintendent.” No, I’m not making this stuff up.]

During the board meeting last night, Mrs. McCaulley and Dr. Robinson announced for the first time in my hearing that there was yet another hoop to jump through if you expect to receive a response from the central office or the board concerning a question, issue or grievance that you have.

Interesting isn’t it? I’ve been bringing questions, issues and grievances to the board both privately via phone calls and emails, and publicly via the citizen comments section of the board meetings since April. This is the first time that I’ve been informed of the formal grievance policy and procedure during that time.

I suppose that it didn’t occur to Dr. Robinson to mention this process to me before.

So, despite having regularly and consistently contacted my board member in private, despite having raised the issue of the $7 million dollars in Special Education funding cuts from FY2011 – FY2012 repeatedly in private and public, last night I discover that there was yet another hoop that a parent or a concerned citizen must jump through in order to get an answer from the board or the superintendent.

When I asked Mrs. McCaulley for a copy of the required form to file a grievance, she directed me to pick one up from my local school. While I appreciated that Mrs. McCaulley shared this new method of receiving an answer from the board with me and the public last night, I really wanted to find the form online so that I could begin the process last night

Fortunately, I was able to find the form on my own.

The Grievance Policy, Procedure and Form may be downloaded from the Huntsville City website at the following links: 102-7: Parental/Citizen Concerns Policy, 102-7: Parental/Citizen Concerns Procedure, and 102-7: Parental/Citizen Concerns Appendix A (The Form).

Once you have downloaded and completed the form, the procedure for submitting the form is vague. Here’s the approach I have take concerning my grievance over the cuts to Special Education Funding.

First, I completed the form as follows:

  • School Name: Here I listed the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education since my grievance concerns the superintendent’s recommended budget that the board has approved.
  • Complaint/Concern Regarding: Here I used the “Other” field and listed Dr. Wardynski and the Board.
  • Check One List: I marked Superintendent – 5th Stage as my issue is with Dr. Wardynski and the Board.
  • Complainant: I offered my contact information.
  • Issue: I stated the issue that I have with the board cutting special education funding more than any other department or student population in violation of Alabama State Code 16-39-3.
  • Action Requested By Parent/Citizen: Here I requested a formal and public review of these numbers, and a written justification for why these cuts have been applied in such an unbalanced and unfair fashion. I also requested that the school board correct this budgeting error.
  • Resolution: I left this part of the form blank assuming that it is the Superintendent and the Board’s responsibility to respond.

I also attached a copy of the report that Mr. Spinelli sent me showing the $7 million in cuts from FY2011-FY2012 as evidence.

I have emailed signed copies of these documents to Dr. Wardynski and the Board, and I have dropped off copies of the same at the Merts Building.

According to the 102-7 Procedure Dr. Wardynski and the board now have seven (7) working days to respond to my grievance in writing. As such I am expecting a written response from them on or before Monday, December 12, 2011.

I have no issue with jumping through hoops to protect my son’s education. I only wish that my board member had bothered to inform me of the existence of these hoops earlier in this process. I hope that this information is helpful to others who are also facing road blocks to receiving answers from our elected officials.


"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. They are intent on making it as difficult as possible for us to question them. It certainly seems that our school officials want to operate in an “ivory tower” and pretend that the parents, those poor uneducated masses, just don’t have enough sense to understand school business. Therefore, we shouldn’t question anything they do. I am curious as to how long the Huntsville community is going to allow this. We should have evicted every single board member when the huge deficit was discovered.

  2. “When I asked Mrs. McCaulley for a copy of the required form to file a grievance, she directed me to pick one up from my local school.”

    Actually this information is in the Official Student/Parent Handbook you have to read, sign and return to your students teacher every year.

    Good luck filing a complaint in accordance to school board policies. You might find yourself in trouble.

    1. Thanks Redeye. Yes I figured out that this was the same form as that. I verified that it was the form that needed to be filed, even though it was designed for grievances against teachers and such, and I was told that it was.

      Wait till you see my next post for what happened just minutes after I posted this blog. You really can’t make this stuff up.

      1. It would be helpful and instructive if you would post all correspondence to and from the board, although I can tell you how it’s going to play out…you will file a complaint….they will investigate themselves….you will be found wrong…..they will find themselves right.

        If I were you I would also file a copy of the complaint with the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Super,the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Division and the Secretary of Education.

        Document everything…phone calls, emails, faxes. Make sure they include date, time, topic, and who you talked to and what you talked about.

        Good luck.

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