In 2000, nearly 100 California students led by Eli Williams, a sixth grader at a San Francisco middle school, brought suit to highlight the thousands of California schools that:
did not have enough textbooks and educational materials for students;
had facilities that were overcrowded, in disrepair, and unhealthy for students;
employed many under-trained public school teachers.
The 2004 Williams settlement legislation established new standards and accountability systems to ensure all students in all California public schools have textbooks and instructional materials, and schools that are clean, safe, and functional. It also took steps toward making sure all students have qualified teachers. The settlement holds the state accountable for delivering these essentials, providing around $1 billion to accomplish these goals.
The Williams complaint process allows parents, students, and others to file a formal complaint when students lack sufficient textbooks or instructional materials, clean and safe school facilities, or qualified teachers. Schools and districts are required to fix the problem within a specified time frame. To make a complaint, please use the form at the bottom of this page.
Education Code 35186 requires that the following notice be posted in each classroom:
1. There should be sufficient textbooks and instructional materials. For there to be sufficient textbooks and instructional materials, each pupil, including English learners, must have a textbook or instructional material, or both, to use in class and to take home.
2. School facilities must be clean, safe, and maintained in good repair. Good repair means that the facility is maintained in a manner that assures that it is clean, safe and functional as determined by the Office of Public School Construction.
3. There should be no teacher vacancies or misassignments as defined in Education Code 35186 (h) (1) and (2).
Misassignment means the placement of a certificated employee in a teaching or services position for which the employee does not hold a legally recognized certificate or credential or the placement of a certificated employee in a teaching or services position that the employee is not otherwise authorized by statute to hold.
Teacher vacancy means a position to which a single designated certificated employee has not been assigned at the beginning of the year for an entire year or, if the position is for a one-semester course, a position to which a single designated certificated employee has not been assigned at the beginning of a semester for an entire semester.
4. To file a complaint regarding the above matters, download the William Uniform Complaint Form below. Complaint forms can also be obtained at the principal's office or district office. However, complainants need not use the district's complaint form in order to file a complaint.