Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–353. Duties.

The Ombudsman shall:

(1) Provide outreach to current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians, and to further this purpose, have the cooperation of all individuals within the public school system;

(2) Encourage communication between public schools and current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians regarding public education;

(3) Serve as a vehicle for current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians to communicate their complaints and concerns regarding public education through a single office;

(4) Respond to complaints and concerns in a timely fashion with accurate and helpful information;

(5) Receive complaints from current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians concerning public education, including policies and procedures;

(6) Determine the validity of any complaint quickly and professionally;

(7) Examine and address valid complaints and concerns;

(8) Generate options for a response, and offer a recommendation among the options;

(9) Refer complainants to a public school official, agency, department, or resource, when appropriate;

(10) Except where the parties have initiated legal or administrative proceedings involving the complaint, resolve complaints presented by current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians, either through complaint resolution services as established pursuant to § 38-356 or through other informal measures;

(11) Develop and maintain a database that tracks complaints and concerns, identified by grade level and by the public school, and the resolution of complaints and concerns;

(12) Repealed;

(13) Identify systemic concerns and recommend to the State Board of Education policy changes, staff training, and strategies to improve public education and communication between public schools and parents and guardians;

(14) Repealed;

(15) Within 120 days after the end of each school year, submit to the State Board of Education, and make publicly available, a report summarizing the work of the Ombudsman during the previous school year, which shall, at minimum, include an analysis of the types and number of:

(A) Complaints received;

(B) Complaints examined and resolved informally;

(C) Complaints examined and resolved through a formal process;

(D) Complaints dismissed as unfounded;

(E) Complaints pending; and

(F) Recommendations made;

(G) Repealed.

(16) Identify school-level concerns based upon a pattern of complaints or concerns and recommend changes to improve the delivery of public education services; and

(17) Have the authority to issue reports and recommendations related to the Office of Ombudsman's work without prior review or approval by another entity.


(June 12, 2007, D.C. Law 17-9, § 604, 54 DCR 4102; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-284, § 3(b), 60 DCR 2312; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-76, § 102(b), 61 DCR 39; Mar 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-196, § 302(a), 61 DCR 12425; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 4132, 63 DCR 10775; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-252, § 3(b), 64 DCR 1656.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-191.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-284 rewrote (12); and in the introductory language of (15), substituted “45 days” for “90 days”, and substituted “Deputy Mayor for Education, the Council, the State Board of Education a report, which shall be posted on their websites” for “Deputy Mayor for Education a report”.

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-74 deleted the subsection (a) designation; substituted “current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians” for “residents and parents” in (1); substituted “current and prospective public school students and their parents or guardians” for “citizens” in (3); rewrote (2), (5), (9), (10), (11), and (15); and repealed (12) and (14).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-196 added (16) and made related changes.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-284, § 5, see § 7016 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-284, § 5, see § 7016 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

Short Title

Section 7001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle A of Title VII of the act may be cited as the “Subject to Appropriations Repealers Amendment Act of 2013”.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-284: Section 5 of D.C. Law 19-284 provided that section 3 of the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register.

Section 7016 of D.C. Law 20-61 repealed D.C. Law 19-284, § 5.