Policy No. 3115
HOMELESS STUDENTS: ENROLLMENT RIGHTS AND SERVICES
To the extent practical and as required by law, the district will work with homeless students and their families to provide stability in school attendance and other services. Special attention will be given to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of homeless students not currently attending school. Homeless students will be provided district services for which they are eligible, including Head Start and comparable pre-school programs, Title I, similar state programs, special education, bilingual education, vocational and technical education programs, gifted and talented programs and school nutrition programs.
Homeless students are defined as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including:
Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship;
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
Are abandoned in hospitals;
Awaiting foster care placement;
Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings;
Are migratory children living in conditions described in the previous examples?
The superintendent shall designate an appropriate staff person to be the district’s liaison for homeless students and their families.
According to the child’s or youth’s best interest, homeless students will continue to be enrolled in their school of origin while they remain homeless or until the end of the academic year in which they obtain permanent housing. Instead of remaining in the school of origin, parents or guardians of homeless students may request enrollment in the school in which attendance area the student is actually living, or other schools. Attendance rights by living in attendance areas, other student assignment policies, or intra and inter-district choice options are available to homeless families on the same terms as families resident in the district.
If there is an enrollment dispute, the student shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The parent or guardian shall be informed of the district’s decision and their appeal rights in writing. The district’s liaison will carry out dispute resolution as provided by state policy. Unaccompanied youth will also be enrolled pending resolution of the dispute.
Once the enrollment decision is made, the school shall immediately enroll the student, pursuant to district policies. However, enrollment may not be denied or delayed due to the lack of any document normally required for enrollment, including academic records, medical records, proof of residency, mailing address or other documentation. If the student does not have immediate access to immunization records, the student shall be admitted under a personal exception. Students and families should be encouraged to obtain current immunization records or immunizations as soon as possible, and the district liaison is directed to assist. Records from the student’s previous school shall be requested from the previous school pursuant to district policies. Emergency contact information is required at the time of enrollment consistent with district policies, including compliance with the state’s address confidentiality program when necessary. However, emergency contact information cannot be demanded in a form or manner that constructs a barrier to enrollment and/or attendance at school.
Homeless students are entitled to transportation to their school of origin or the school where they are to be enrolled. If the school of origin is in a different district, or a homeless student is living in another district but will attend his or her school of origin in this district, the districts will coordinate the transportation services necessary for the student, or will divide the costs equally.
The district’s liaison for homeless students and their families shall coordinate with local social service agencies that provide services to homeless children and youths and their families; other school districts on issues of transportation and records transfers; and state and local housing agencies responsible for comprehensive housing affordability strategies. This coordination includes providing public notice of the educational rights of homeless students where such children and youth receive services under the McKinney-Vento Act, such as schools, family shelters and soup kitchens. The district’s liaison will also review and recommend amendments to district policies that may act as barriers to the enrollment of homeless students.
Cross References: Board Policy 3120, Enrollment
Board Policy 3231, Student Records
Board Policy 3413, Student Immunization and Life-Threatening Conditions
Legal References: RCW 28A.225.215, Enrollment of children without legal residences
Title I, Part C- No Child Left Behind Act, 2002
42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
Management Resources: Policy News, October 2002 - NCLB Addresses Homeless Students
Policy News, October 2004 - Homeless
Students: Enrollment Rights
and Services Update
Adopted: February 14, 2005
Clarkston School District
1. The district will consider the best interest of the child in enrollment decisions;
2. The district shall not deny or delay enrollment of homeless students;
3. The district’s need for student contact information shall not be in a form or manner that constructs a barrier for homeless students. For example, homeless students may not be excluded for failure to have a mailing address or emergency contact information;
4. The district’s liaison shall:
a. Ensure that public notice is disseminated where homeless children receive services;
b. The district’s liaison shall assure that students are identified by school personnel, enrolled in school and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed; and
c. The district liaison shall inform parents and guardians of educational and related activities and inform parents of transportation services.
1. Homeless Children and Youth: means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason, living in motels, parks or campgrounds; or children or youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation by human beings; or children or youth living in cars, abandoned buildings or substandard housing or similar situations; or migratory children because they are living in circumstances like those described above.
2. Unaccompanied Youth: means a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Youth living on their own in any of the homeless situations described in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.
C. Dispute Resolution Procedure
The District shall ensure that the child/youth attends the school in which they sought enrollment while the dispute process is being carried out.
1. Notification of Appeal Process
If the district seeks to place a homeless child in a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent, the school district shall inform the parent or the unaccompanied youth of the right to appeal. The district shall provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with written notice including:
a. An explanation of the child’s placement and contact information for the district and the OSPI homeless liaison, including their roles;
b. Notification of the parent’s right to appeal(s);
c. Notification of the right to enroll in the school of choice pending resolution of the dispute;
d. A description of the dispute resolution process including a petition form that can be returned to the school to initiate the process and timelines; and
e. A summary of the federal legislation governing placement of homeless students (McKinney-Vento Act).
2. Appeal to the School District Liaison – Level I
If the parent or unaccompanied youth disagrees with the district’s placement decision, they may appeal by filing a written request for dispute resolution with the school, the district’s homeless liaison or a designee. If submitted to the school, it will be immediately forwarded to the homeless liaison. The request for dispute resolution must be submitted within fifteen business days of receiving notification of the district’s placement.
The liaison must log the complaint including a brief description of the situation and reason for the dispute and the date and time of the complaint was filed.
a. A copy of the complaint must be forwarded to the liaison’s supervisor and the superintendent.
b. Within five business days of the receiving the complaint, the liaison must provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with a written decision and notification of the parent’s right to appeal.
c. The district will verify receipt of the Level I decision;
d. If the parent or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal, notification must be provided to the district liaison within ten business days of receipt of the Level I decision. The liaison shall provide the parent with an appeals package containing:
1. The complaint filed with the district liaison at Level I;
2. The decision rendered at Level I; and
3. Additional information provided by the parent, unaccompanied youth and/or homeless liaison.
3. Appeal to the School Superintendent – Level II
The parent or unaccompanied youth may appeal the district liaison’s decision to the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee using the appeals package provided at Level I.
a. The superintendent will arrange for a personal conference to be held with the parent or unaccompanied youth within five business days of receiving the Level I appeals package.
b. Within five business days of the conference with the parent or unaccompanied youth the superintendent will provide that individual with a written decision with supporting evidence and notification of their right to appeal to the OSPI.
c. The district will verify receipt of the Level II decision.
d. A copy of the superintendent’s decision will be forwarded to the district’s homeless liaison.
e. If the parent or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal to the OSPI, notification must be provided to the district homeless liaison within ten business days of receipt of the Level II decision.
4. Appeal to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction – Level III
a. The district superintendent shall forward a copy of the Level II decision and all written documentation to the OSPI homeless liaison within five days of rendering a decision. The district will submit the entire dispute package to the OSPI in one complete package by U.S. mail.
b. The OSPI’s homeless education coordinator or designee, along with the appropriate agency director, and/or agency assistant superintendent shall make a final decision within fifteen business days of receiving the appeal;
c. The OSPI’s decision will be forwarded to the district’s homeless liaison. The liaison will distribute the decision to the parent or unaccompanied youth and the local superintendent.
d. The OSPI’s decision will be the final resolution for placement of a homeless child or youth in the district.
e. The district will retain the record of all disputes, at each level, related to the placement of homeless children.
D. Inter-district Disputes
If districts are unable to resolve a dispute regarding the placement of a homeless student, either district may submit a written request to the OSPI seeking resolution.
The OSPI will resolve the dispute within 10 business days of notification of the dispute and inform all interested parties of the decision.
Date: 10.04; 12.05; 04.10
Dispute Resolution Process
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS
SCHOOL DISTRICT PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN AND YOUTHS
IN HOMELESS SITUATIONS
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (also referred to as the Act or the McKinney-Vento Act) acknowledges that disputes may arise between the school district and homeless students and their parents, or unaccompanied youth, when the district seeks to place a student in a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or unaccompanied youth. The Act includes dispute resolution among the required duties of the local education agency (LEA) liaison. The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has developed a dispute resolution process as required by the McKinney-Vento Act.
Districts should bear in mind that disputes related to school selection or enrollment should be initiated at the request of the parent or unaccompanied youth and not at the request or convenience of the school district. Additionally, issues related to the definition of homelessness, the responsibilities of the school district to serve homeless children and youth, and/or the explicit rights of homeless children and youth are addressed in the McKinney-Vento Act. Disputes related to the school placement and enrollment of homeless children and youths shall be resolved within the parameters of the federal McKinney-Vento Act. The dispute resolution process for the school placement of homeless children and youths shall not be used in an effort to circumvent or supersede any part of the federal McKinney-Vento Act.
The following procedures are specified in the Act:
Enrollment: If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute.
Written Explanation: The district must provide a written explanation of the school placement decision to the parent or, in the case of an unaccompanied youth, to the unaccompanied youth. (The written explanation must include a description of the parent’s or unaccompanied youth’s right to appeal the decision.)
Liaison: The designated LEA homeless liaison is assigned to carry out the dispute resolution process in an expeditious manner.
Responsibility: The school district, usually the district’s homeless liaison, is responsible to inform the parent of the homeless student(s) or the unaccompanied youth of the dispute resolution process.
In a case where a dispute occurs regarding the enrollment of a homeless child or youth, the following process must be used: Level I of the appeal is to the district’s homeless liaison. If unresolved at this level, the case is appealed to the local school district superintendent (Level II), and if the dispute continues to be unresolved, the final appeal (Level III) is to OSPI. Every effort must be made to resolve the complaint or dispute at the local level before it is brought to OSPI.
INITIATION OF THE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS
If a school district seeks to place a homeless child or youth in a school other than the school of origin, or the school requested by the parent or unaccompanied youth, the child’s/youth’s parent or the unaccompanied youth shall be informed in a language and format understandable to the parent or unaccompanied youth of their right to appeal the decision made by the school district and be provided the following:
Level I: LEA Liaison Communication
If a parent or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal a school district’s decision related to a student’s placement:
Level II: LEA Superintendent Communication
(If the dispute remains unresolved after a Level I appeal)
Level III: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Communication
(If the dispute remains unresolved after a Level II appeal)
If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of the dispute.
Disputes arising between school districts (LEAs) regarding the placement of a homeless child or youth in a district should be resolved between the districts at the local level in the best interest of the child and according to the law. Disputes between LEAs that remain unresolved shall be forwarded in writing by either of the disputing districts to the OSPI homeless education coordinator, or designee. A decision will be made by the OSPI homeless coordinator, or designee, along with a committee of OSPI staff within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the dispute and will be forwarded in writing to the districts' superintendents, the districts' homeless liaisons and the parent(s) of the homeless child, or the homeless youth.
The decision made by OSPI shall be the final resolution between the disputing LEAs for placement of a homeless child or youth in a district.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act of 2001
42 U.S.C. §§ 11431, et. seq. (Chapter 119) , as amended by the
No Child Left Behind Act.
Section 721(l)(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act:
The following is the policy of the Congress:
(1) Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
(2) In any State that has a compulsory residency requirement as a component of the State's compulsory school attendance laws or other laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youths, the State will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.
(3) Homelessness alone is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.
(4) Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held.
Homeless Children and Youths: According to Section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, "the term ‘homeless children and youths’--
(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)) [‘one who (1) lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence or (2) has a primary nighttime residence in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter for temporary accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill), an institution providing temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.’]; and
(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii)."
Section 103(c) of the Act specifically excludes from the definition of homeless individuals any person who is imprisoned or otherwise detained by Act of Congress or State law.
Unaccompanied Youth: Section 725(6) of the Act indicates that the term “unaccompanied youth” includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian." Youth living on their own in any of the homeless situations described in the law, are covered by the law.
Fixed Residence: A residence that is stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.
Regular Residence: A residence which is used on a regular (i.e., nightly) basis.
Adequate Residence: A residence which is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments.
Parent: For the purpose of this policy, a parent means a parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of a child.
School of Origin: The school of origin, as defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, Section 722 (g)(3)(G), is the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled.
Enrollment: The terms “enroll” and “enrollment” include attending classes and participating fully in school activities.