Raul Torres serves in the role of Ombudsperson for the Amherst Regional Public Schools. When situations arise in which established, formal procedures have failed to result in resolution, the Ombudsperson serves as an independent, multi-partial, confidential resource to assist parents and community members in resolving complaints, conflicts and other school-related issues. The role of the Ombudsperson is as a designated multi-partial party who listens, answers questions, receives and provides resources and information, suggests referrals, and helps individuals develop options to resolve concerns and conflicts. It is the ultimate goal of the Ombudsperson to ensure that members of the APRS district community receive fair and equitable treatment in matters of concern or complaint. Please read the detailed description below
Information shared is considered confidential. If you want the Ombudsperson to speak with someone or share information beyond the context of this confidential process, a written release will be required.
ABOUT THE WORK OF THE ARPS OMBUDSPERSON
What does the Ombudsperson do?
- Listens attentively to the concerns and recommendations of parents, employees and the community
- Answers or refers questions to the appropriate source
- Analyzes your situation and provides safe and informal opportunities to be heard
- Explains policies and procedures
- Provides confidential guidance and consultation to help prepare for difficult conversations
- Explores possible solutions through formal and informal processes
- Suggests appropriate referrals
- Assists in pursuing fair and equitable outcomes consistent with district policies and statutory regulations
- Informally mediates a dispute where appropriate
- Apprises the administration of significant trends within the organizational community
- Recommends changes in policies and procedures to administration
- Help administration avoid excessive time attempting to resolve conflicts
When should a person contact the Ombudsperson? When you…
- need to have a confidential discussion about a school system related problem
- feel a policy or procedure has been unfairly applied to you or your situation
- need information about parent, community or other stakeholder rights or school system policies and procedures
- need help in facilitating a resolution to a problem between you and the school system
- need help communicating with the schools or the school system
- want to know your options for solving a problem with the schools
- prefer to resolve a dispute in an informal manner
- want to know what system resources are available to you
What “doesn’t” the Ombudsperson do?
- Breach confidentiality
- Address employee grievances
- Participate in formal litigation or grievances
- Advocate for you, i.e., assume a non-neutral role
- Represent you in a grievance procedure
- Make or change district policy
- Address a non-school system related problem or complaint
- Intervene in a formal grievance procedure
- Conduct formal investigations
- Overturn decisions by school system officials
- Provide legal advice or legal representation
- Make managerial decisions
- Accept notice to the district
Is the work of the ARPS Ombudsperson confidential?
Yes. Information may only be shared beyond the Ombudsperson’s context with the written permission by the stakeholder. Consent forms are available upon request.
What authority does the ARPS Ombudsperson have?
The ARPS Ombudsperson has no formal authority. However, in certain cases, he may attempt to mediate or negotiate a resolution to a dispute. The ombudsman may identify systemic conflicts, bringing to the administration’s attention those practices, policies, and aspects of ARPS culture that appear to exacerbate tensions or create problems for stakeholders. The ARPS Ombudsperson also works to inform the broader educational community about the resources offered by this office.
Does the ARPS Ombudsperson keep records?
No. The ARPS Ombudsperson may take notes to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the issues. These notes and any documents that may be provided are shredded after consultation is complete. The ARPS Ombudsperson’s notes are not subject to open records requests. The ARPS Ombudsperson keeps only statistical data and does not keep names in a database.
How can you contact the ARPS Ombudsperson?
You may contact Raul Torres, the ARPS Ombudsperson…
By email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By mail at: Office of the ARPS Ombudsperson, c/o Raul Torres, Amherst Public Schools, 170 Chestnut St. Amherst, MA 01002