Public Advocates Files Complaint to Address Educator Staffing Concerns in West Contra Costa School District

A sign for John F Kennedy High School in Richmond, California, one of the schools named in Public Advocates' 2024 Williams complaint


On January 31, 2024, Public Advocates filed a Williams complaint with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) to address the district’s failure to provide students with the qualified teachers they are entitled to under the law in three schools: Stege Elementary School, Helms Middle School, and John F. Kennedy High School.

Attorneys at Public Advocates have uncovered numerous teacher vacancies and a pattern of inaction by school administrators, who have instead filled the classes illegally with long-term substitutes or have had permanent educators staff at these schools spending their free periods filling in for vacant classes, placing additional burdens on educators throughout the district.

Since 2005, as a result of Williams v. California, a landmark lawsuit brought by Public Advocates and other organizations in 2000, school districts are required to correct teacher vacancies and unlawful assignments within 30 days.

Public Advocates is calling on WCCUSD to take immediate action to remedy these violations. The district must begin to develop long term solutions and center the well-being and needs of its students, particularly low-income, Black, and multilingual learners—to address these systemic issues.


Learn: How prepared are teachers across the state? (Ed Trust-West)
Read: How do we create a more diverse educator workforce? (Public Advocates)
Learn: What is a Williams complaint? (Public Advocates)
Learn: How do I file a Williams complaint? (Spanish, Chinese) (Public Advocates)

Read the Complaints:
Stege Elementary School Williams complaint
Helms Middle School Williams complaint
John F Kennedy High School Williams complaint

Read Our Press Release:
In English
En Español

Read Related Media:

EdSource: West Contra Costa Unified fails to provide qualified teachers, complaints allege—February 1, 2024
The Mercury News: Lack of teachers at three Contra Costa County schools is violating students’ civil rights, attorneys say—February 9, 2024
KQED Newscast: Attorneys Allege Wccusd Is Violating Rights to a Student’s Access to Quality Education Through Teacher Vacancies—February 9, 2024
KQED News: Advocates File Complaint Against the Long Term Use of Substitutes in WCCUSD—February 12, 2024
Grandview Independent: Advocacy Group Files Complaints Over WCCUSD Teacher Vacancies—February 13, 2024

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