The ombudsman assists in verifying that private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel receive services equitable to those in public schools. State Educational Agencies (SEAs) must designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce equitable services requirements, according to Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) Sections 1117 (a)(3)(B) and 8501(a)(3)(B).
The ombudsman collaborates with the ISBE Title team to develop monitoring protocols applicable to the provision of equitable services under each program.
The ombudsman serves as the primary point of contact and resource for addressing questions and concerns from private school officials and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) regarding the provision of equitable services. In addition, the ombudsman is required to monitor the equitable services requirements under Titles I, II, III, IV and VIII.
Timely and meaningful consultation must occur between the LEA and the nonpublic school throughout the implementation and assessment of services and before the LEA makes decisions that may affect the opportunities for eligible private school students, teachers, and other education personnel to participate. The consultation results must be transmitted to the SEA’s equitable services ombudsman. The consultation form at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/43-20-np-consult-participation.pdf includes acknowledgement of participation and documents that consultation between the LEA and nonpublic school has occurred. The form must be completed and submitted via the ESEA of 1965 as Amended grant application, according to ESEA Section 1117(b)(1).
The ombudsman provides technical assistance regarding equitable services requirements for administering applicable programs, LEA staff, and private school officials. This may include interpreting, understanding, and implementing accountability requirements for equitable services; offering guidance to local school districts and private schools; addressing complaints regarding consultation and/or equitable services provisions; ensuring all equitable services reporting requirements are met; participating in activities; developing monitoring protocols; and providing professional development opportunities to private schools.