August 10, 2009

DC Council Pulls Plug on Schools Ombuds After Less Than Two Years

The District of Columbia Council has eliminated the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education after just 20 months. Having become a political pawn in a struggle between DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and the Council, the DC Public Schools Ombuds was closed to balance a $400 million budget shortfall for 2009-10. (Washington Examiner; Washington Post.)

The DCPS Ombuds Office debuted in January 2008 with support from the Mayor and community. After a protracted job search, Tonya Vidal Kinlow, a former DC school board member and lobbyist, was appointed the first Ombuds for public education. She hired three staff members and began issuing monthly reports in August 2008. Although Kinlow was criticized from slow and irregular reporting, her office managed a growing caseload. Kinlow left unexpectedly in December 2008 and was succeeded by Interim Ombuds Jeff Ross. The DCPS Ombuds office will wrap up operations and close by the end of September 2009.

Prior posts: DC Mayor's School Plan Includes Ombuds; Despite Some Council Concerns, Mayor Continues to Back Ombuds for DC Schools; Job Posting: DC Schools Ombuds; DC Council to Consider Public Schools Ombuds; More Details Emerge Regarding DC School Ombuds; DC Schools Struggle to Hire Ombuds; DC Schools Appoint First Ombuds; DC Schools Ombuds Reports on Progress; DC Schools Ombuds Reports Growing Case Load; DC Schools Ombuds Lasts Just 14 Months; DC Schools Appoints Interim Ombuds; Local Politics Threaten DC Schools Ombuds; Washington Post Conflates Ombuds Reporting Line With Neutrality; Budget Deficit Threatens DC Schools Ombuds.

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