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D.C. Council Moves To Fund Education Ombudsman

Catania wants parents to have an advocate within the D.C. public school system.
Jared Angle
Catania wants parents to have an advocate within the D.C. public school system.

The D.C. public school bureacracy can be intimidating for any parent to face down, but now the D.C. Council is moving to create an advocate for parents and students within the system itself.

As part of the broader education budget for the coming fiscal year, today a D.C. Council committee voted to fund the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, a position created by the 2007 law authorizing mayoral control of the schools but that has remained vacant since 2008. The office, which the council moved from under the Deputy Mayor of Education to the State Board of Education late last year, will receive just over $279,000 in funding.

According to Council member David Catania (I-At Large), the committee's chairman, the ombudsman will serve to hear concerns and complaints about the school system from parents, students and advocates. If it receives the approval of the full council next month, the ombudsman will take office in January 2014.

The budget also directs $2.3 million towards seven schools that lost more than five percent of their budgets due to enrollment decreases, puts money into funding full-time librarians in all schools and expands summer school options for students.

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