The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states that every state educational agency (SEA) must designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce equitable services requirements to help ensure equitable services and other benefits for eligible private school children, teachers and other educational personnel, and families. The equitable services ombudsman is the state’s primary point of contact for addressing questions and concerns pertaining to the equitable services requirements under Title I and Title VIII of ESEA, as amended by ESSA.
The responsibilities of Florida’s equitable services ombudsman include:
- Assisting in preparing local educational agencies, community-based organizations, colleges, universities, and private schools for effective implementation of ESSA equitable services requirements.
- Providing technical assistance to the department subrecipients by attending consultations, as needed, generating templates and best practices, educating all parties about the legal requirements of the consultation process, etc.
- Proposing appropriate policies and procedures for adoption by the department for implementing, monitoring and enforcing ESSA requirements for equitable participation.
- Ensuring proper implementation of ESSA laws and regulations and resolving complaints using a timely and well-defined process.
- Monitoring and reviewing SEA and subrecipient consultation paperwork, and proportionate share budgets.
- Preparing and widely distributing annual reports on private school participation in ESSA programs in Florida, analyzing and interpreting trends, and proposing solutions to issues identified.