26 Services Available for Parents


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Chapter Revision Date:

26.1  Special Education Ombudspersons

The Office of the Ombudsperson was created by the Board of Education to provide parents of students receiving special education services with a faster, less formal process to resolve issues and complaints.  An Ombudsperson, by definition, hears and investigates complaints by private individuals against government officials or agencies.  In the case of the school programs, an ombudsperson will be assigned to informally investigate a complaint related to special education and assist in problem resolution.

Ombudspersons:

·         are neutral 3rd party investigators, trained in dispute resolution

·         respond and report to the Chief Student Services Officer

·         investigate, collect data and report on systemic issues

·         investigate, collect data, report findings and make recommendations to district staff on individual situations or complaints

·         facilitate resolution of complaint/disagreement in the best interest of the student

·         provide technical assistance to families and staff regarding Special Education laws, district policy and procedures 

·         are issue driven

·         may attend meetings to assist the IEP team in the special education process

·         provide quarterly reports to the Board of Education

 

Ombudspersons work independently within the district to investigate and assist with the resolution of specific concerns. The role of the Ombudsperson in problem resolution is not mandatory and parents voluntarily use this option.  A parent may access the Ombudsperson to confidentially share concerns, ask questions, or seek support in problem resolution.

Interaction with the Ombudsperson does not interfere with a parent’s right to seek other forms of resolution such as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or filing for a due process hearing.  However, any formal actions such as these will delay or entirely defer involvement by the Ombudsperson.  

 

Ombudspersons are NOT:

·         District or Parent Advocates (Ombudspersons do advocate for a compliant and equitable process)

·         IEP meeting facilitators

·         Program or placement tour guides

·         Ongoing support providers for families

·         General education complaint investigators

 

The Ombudsperson program is designed to assist both staff and families in exploring options related to complaints or disagreements about special education.  Every effort is made to facilitate resolution of issues at the school site level in order to preserve relationships between families, students and educational staff.  An Ombudsperson is available to answer related questions and provide a neutral perspective.  If it appears, after an informal investigation by the Ombudsperson, that a dispute cannot be resolved or that there may be a question about student’s rights or IEP compliance, the Ombudsperson will notify special education district leadership and if needed, assist in moving the concern to the next level.

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Contact Information:

 

Please contact the FACE department  at 619-293-4431
 

Location:

Education Center
Annex 7