Appeal Process 

Board President Mary Richardson-Lowry also urges families to seek end of year options

April 27, 2010


Parents or guardians who believe that an error occurred in their student’s application for admission to a magnet or selective enrollment school within the Chicago Public Schools system can appeal the results through a new appeal process.


Appeals can be filed for applications submitted in the fall 2009 Options for Knowledge process for seats in the 2010-11 school year, CPS officials announced today. The deadline for filing an appeal is May 28, 2010.


In announcing the new process, Board President Mary Richardson-Lowry emphasized two criteria for consideration of an appeal:


  • There is evidence that a process within the application system was not implemented according to CPS policy.
  • There is evidence that a decision-maker failed to follow CPS policy.


“The goal of the appeals process is to provide a method for resolving errors that adversely affected a student’s application,” Richardson-Lowry said, adding that the appeal process should not be used to change the result of a properly conducted lottery or testing process. 


“We know that families are frustrated by the complexity of the admissions process.  We are implementing the new appeals process in an effort to increase transparency and improve confidence in the process,” said Richardson-Lowry.


The appeal process will have three stages, according to Richardson-Lowry:


  • Stage 1 – Filing a magnet or selective enrollment appeal form. The form is online at under “Contact Us.”  If a family does not have access to a home or library computer, elementary school counselors will be available to assist them in filing appeals using a school computer.  


“This first stage of the appeal process will be conducted in writing,” Richardson-Lowry said. “We regret that we do not have sufficient capacity to consider all appeals in person, so it will be important that anyone filing an appeal provide as much written detail as possible.”


Office of Academic Enhancement staff will research the issues raised in the appeal and respond in writing within 10 business days.  All appeals will be assigned a tracking number and any correspondence related to the appeal should include that number.


  • Stage 2 – Requesting an appeal hearing. If a parent or guardian believes that the written response by the Office of Academic Enhancement does not resolve the dispute, they can request an in-person appeal hearing. The request for an in-person appeal hearing must be submitted by e-mail within 10 business days of the date the written response from the Office of Academic Enhancement was issued.


A request for an in-person appeal hearing must explain why the written response from the Office of Academic Enhancement did not adequately address the issues raised in the appeal and why a hearing is necessary.  


The request for an in-person hearing will be submitted to an outside attorney retained by the CPS Law Department to provide an independent review of the request for an in-person hearing.  This attorney will review the request and determine whether there are issues of fact that cannot be resolved without an in-person appeal hearing.  


  • Stage 3 – The appeal hearing. If an in-person appeal hearing is granted, written notice will be given and the case will be assigned to a hearing officer.   The attorney retained to review requests for in-person hearings will not preside over those hearings. 


The parent/guardian and student may make statements and provide documents in support of the appeal; in addition, the hearing officer will hear evidence from CPS personnel.  The appeal hearing will be audio recorded.


The hearing officer will prepare a written report and recommendation.  The hearing officer’s report and recommendation will be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer or his designee, who will make a final decision regarding the appeal.  If the appeal is granted, the Office of Academic Enhancement will work with the family to implement the appropriate remedy.   


Richardson-Lowry also encouraged parents and guardians to participate in the End-of-Year Citywide Options application process.  Each year, the district gives students a second opportunity at the end of the school year to apply to magnet schools and programs that have space available after the regular application process has ended.


Additional information about the appeal process for magnet and selective enrollment schools is on the Office of Academic Enhancement website.  OAE can be contacted by email at or by phone at (773) 553-2060.


Any suggestions for improving the Options for Knowledge process can be forwarded to the same OAE email address.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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