Meanwhile, the HCPSS Board of Education is set to significantly revise its policy defining the ombuds office. In some respects the changes are appropriate, including clarification that the ombuds is not an agent for notice and an explicit emphasis on timely problem resolution. In addition, the ombuds office will now serve school employees.
Other proposed revisions, however, are troubling, including:
- Removed references to the independence of the Ombudsman;
- Added responsibility for policy input;
- Added requirements to maintain confidential records and databases;
- Added requirement will "champion Board policies and systemwide goals, procedures, and initiatives"; and
- Removed any reference to TOA or other ombuds professional standards.
A hearing on the proposed changes is set for November 29. (HCPSS Report on Ombuds Policy Changes; Baltimore Sun.)
The pending decision to move away from the professional standards of practice is both unusual and unexpected.
Prior posts: Job Posting; Howard County Schools Reviewing Applications.