Journal of Educational Controversy


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Washington State’s Unique Educational Ombudsman Office in Danger

It seems as if we take two steps back for every step we take forward. In an earlier post below, we described the Office of the Educational Ombudsman in Washington State, an office that may be the first agency of its kind in the nation. We just received a letter that the office is in danger under HB 2127. Here is a portion of the letter from its office:

Last week, Governor Gregoire presented a Supplemental Budget calling for more than $2 billion in spending cuts which includes a 28% annual budget cut to the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO). This devastating cut will reduce our staff numbers significantly and we will not be able to serve state-wide parents, students and schools effectively. As you know our budget has been cut each year since we opened our doors in 2006, and we currently operate with 60% less of our original budget.

To date, OEO has resolved nearly 3,000 complaints and has saved millions of dollars to parents and school districts by preventing costly lawsuits and administrative hearings. We have kept students from dropping out, ensured that students learn in safe environments, and helped children with disabilities get their educational needs met. With our current budget of $547,000 a year, the return for the State’s minuscule investment is huge.

The Governor’s budget proposal is now House Bill 2127 which is currently in front of the House of Representatives and the Senate for hearings and debates. Legislators are taking public input and comments before making final decisions.

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