DESE Ombudsperson for Children with Disabilities in Private School


The Department has appointed an ombudsperson, Russ Fleming, to facilitate communication with private schools, parents, and public school districts about the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements regarding students with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools. Mr. Fleming will serve as DESE’s primary point of contact for addressing questions and concerns from private school officials, parents, and school districts regarding the provision of equitable services to parentally-placed private school students with disabilities and the funding of those services through a proportionate share of federal IDEA grant funds. As necessary, he will refer questions and concerns about the IDEA requirements to the appropriate DESE office for response. Additionally, Mr. Fleming will be the designated recipient of the required documentation from school districts regarding timely and meaningful consultation in accordance with the IDEA’s requirements. 

Mr. Fleming is also designated to serve as DESE’s ombudsman under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to monitor and ensure that other federal equitable services requirements are carried out.Contact ombudsperson at