As we enter the depths of winter and the snow is piling up around various parts of the state, we are reminded that many of our McKinney-Vento eligible students are struggling to get to school. As a liaison, what are the tools at your fingertips to help your homeless students get the transportation they need to get to school?
First, let’s review the law. Under the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, all eligible students are entitled to receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent or guardian, or by the local liaison on behalf of unaccompanied youth.
Transportation for any homeless child or youth shall be provided in accordance with this paragraph. Any homeless child not entitled to receive transportation pursuant to Education Law, section 3209(4) from a social services district shall be transported by the designated school district of attendance consistent with this paragraph.
The designated school district of attendance shall immediately provide or arrange in the most cost-effective manner for transportation to and from the child's temporary housing location and the school the child legally attends consistent with subparagraphs (ii) through (vi) of this paragraph.
Where such transportation is in excess of 50 miles one way, such transportation shall only be provided where the commissioner certifies that such transportation is in the best interest of the child in accordance with subparagraph (4)(iii) of this subdivision to the extent applicable, on a form and timeline prescribed by the commissioner.
Where a homeless child designates the school district of current location as the district the child will attend and such child does not attend the school of origin, such district shall provide transportation to such child on the same basis provided to resident students.
Where a homeless child attends the school of origin, the designated school district of attendance shall provide transportation to and from the child's temporary housing location and the school the child legally attends for the duration of homelessness and through the end of the school year in which the child becomes permanently housed and one additional year if that year constitutes the child’s terminal year in the designated school.
Where the designated school district of attendance has recommended that the homeless child attend a summer educational program and the lack of transportation poses a barrier to such child’s participation in the summer educational program, the designated school district of attendance shall provide transportation.
The designated school district of attendance, or the social services district if such child is eligible for transportation from the social services district pursuant to Education Law, section 3209(4), shall provide or arrange for transportation to extracurricular or academic activities where:
*the homeless child participates or would like to participate in an extracurricular or academic
activity, including an after-school activity at the school;
*the homeless child meets the relevant eligibility criteria for the activity; and
*the lack of transportation poses a barrier to such child’s participation in the activity.
Expenditures for the transportation of a parent accompanying a transported homeless child shall be eligible for transportation aid pursuant to section 3602(7) of the Education Law under the following circumstances:
*where the homeless child is being transported using public transportation, transportation of
the child with an accompanying parent has been determined by the school district
responsible for transporting the child to be the most cost-effective means of transportation,
and the school district has determined that public transportation unaccompanied by the
parent is inappropriate because of the child's age, the distance to be traveled, the complexity
of the transportation arrangement, the need to transport the child through a high crime area,
or a combination of such factors; or
*where the homeless child is a student with a disability whose individualized education
program (IEP) includes the services of a transportation aide or attendant, and providing
transportation with the parent serving as the transportation aide or attendant for the child is
the most cost-effective means of transportation; or
*where transportation by the parent in the parent’s vehicle is the most cost-effective means of
For purposes of determining the maximum amount of aidable transportation expense of regular transportation for a homeless child pursuant to section 3209(4)(c) of the Education Law, the transportation service provider or school district shall demonstrate that the costs of such transportation are based on an appropriate unit cost determined by dividing the grand total of transportation expenditures for the preceding school year of all regular transportation services provided to students of the district by the service provider or school district by the number of vehicles, passengers, miles traveled or other appropriate transportation service units represented by all such transportation services.
For purposes of determining the maximum amount of aidable transportation expense of transportation pursuant to section 3209(4)(c) of the Education Law for a homeless child who attends a preschool as defined under subparagraph (1)(iv) of this subdivision that is the school of origin, the transportation service provider or school district shall demonstrate that the costs of such transportation are based on an appropriate unit cost not otherwise reimbursed under Federal programs.
In New York City, liaisons can refer to this page for resources on assisting McKinney-Vento eligible students. Also:
Check out our Transportation Webinar!
Part two of our Web Series on Becoming Trauma-Informed to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness will be held on March 3, 2022. Registration is currently closed, but we will be sharing resources after each air date. Stay tuned!!
March 24th Webinar: Early Childhood Homelessness. Registration Link coming soon!!!
Next on MV@NYS: Understanding Trauma
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