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McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance

Homeless Education Advisory 2002 - 3: School Selection and Transportation Requirements for Homeless Students

This advisory is intended to provide guidance to school officials as they begin to implement the federal Mckinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act requirement regarding a homeless student's rights to school selection and transportation services.

Local school districts, in accordance with the homeless student's best interest, must:

  • either continue the student's education in the school of origin until the end of the year in which the student obtains permanent housing;

  • or enroll the student in a public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

In addition, school districts must adopt policies and practices to ensure that transportation is provided, at the request of the parent or guardian (or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the liaison), to and from the school of origin. Furthermore:

  • if the homeless student continues to live in the area served by the district in which the school of origin is located, that district must provide or arrange transportation;

  • if the homeless student moves to an area served by another district, though continuing his or her education at the school of origin, the district of origin and the district in which the student resides must agree upon a method to apportion responsibility and costs for transportation to the school of origin; and

  • if the districts cannot agree upon such a method, the responsibility and costs must be shared equally.

In addition, districts must provide transportation services to homeless children and youth that are comparable to those received by other students.

Each school district Homeless Education Liaison must ensure that the parent or guardian of a homeless student, and any unaccompanied youth, is fully informed, in the language of the home, of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin, and is assisted in accessing transportation to the school selected.

Changing schools can impede students' academic and social growth. It may take a student four to six months to acclimate educationally after changing schools. Highly mobile students have been found to have lower test scores and diminished academic achievement. Therefore, McKinney-Vento permits homeless students to remain in their school of origin despite their residential instability and to receive the transportation services that will help provide that educational stability.



Last Updated: August 16, 2002
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