Even though school may be out for the summer in many parts of the state, phone calls and concerns about student eligibility are hot topics for the NYSTEACHS staff. In this current installment, read about a family with several young children that experienced flooding. We hope that these actual scenarios and the responses to them will help McKinney-Vento liaisons when faced with similar situations in their schools, even if questions come to them during vacations or other times of the year when school isn't in session. As always, a wealth of resources are available on our website, including many recordings and documents from our previous webinars and web series.
This week we investigate eligibility when a family loses their housing due to flooding.
A mother with 4 children is permanently housed in Hudson Falls. She has a preschooler with an IEP who had been attending an integrated special class at a preschool agency within the district. The other 3 children are in elementary school. The apartment had a massive flood, becoming instantly uninhabitable and the family became homeless. The county had been providing transportation for the preschooler to his school, but since the family became doubled up with the grandparents in Fort Edward SD, the mom was told she needs to register in Fort Edward before transportation can resume.
Is the Family McKinney-Vento eligible?
If the Family is McKinney-Vento eligible, do they need to register in Fort Edward if their intention is to keep all the kids in Hudson Falls school?
Is the County responsible for providing transportation to the preschool student?
Before you attempt to answer these questions, review the following:
Review the McKinney-Vento Act and New York State guidance regarding families and McKinney-Vento eligibility. As always, you can find a wealth of resources on eligibility right here on our NYSTEACHS website.
After reviewing the rules on eligibility, if you’re still unsure of what to advise, you are absolutely encouraged to call the helpline for assistance: 1-800-388-2014.
Question 1: Is the Family McKinney-Vento eligible?
Answer: Yes, the family is eligible since the family lost housing to the flood in their home and are now living “doubled-up” with the grandparents. The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes children and youths who are: sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”); living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; living in emergency or transitional shelters; or abandoned in hospitals; (Education Law §3209(1)(a); 8 NYCRR §100.2(x)(1); see also 42 USC §11434A(2)(B)(i); U.S. DOE’s Non-Regulatory Guidance, Question A-2,)
Question 2- If the Family is McKinney-Vento eligible, do they need to register in Fort Edward if their intention is to keep all the kids in Hudson Falls school?
Answer: No, the family is eligible to continue to remain enrolled in the Hudson Falls SD. Several provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act apply here, including the requirement that students remain in their school of origin if in their best interest (42 USC §11432(g)(3)(A)-(B)), and that schools provide transportation to and from the school of origin (42 USC §11432(g)(1)(J)(iii). The liaison in Hudson Falls would notify Fort Edward of the students residing in their district, but no, it is not necessary for them to enroll in Fort Edward.
Question 3- Is the County responsible for providing transportation to the preschool student ?
Yes, the county is responsible for providing the transportation for the preschool student with an IEP to his special education preschool program. Preschool special education services are available for children ages 3-5 who have disabilities or developmental delays that impact their ability to learn. The student has a right to transportation provided by the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE ). When the CPSE is planning programs and/or services for the student, they must also consider transportation needs, including the need for specialized transportation. If recommended by the CPSE, transportation will be provided by the county — once daily from the home or another childcare location to the special service or program and returning once daily from the special service or program to the home or other childcare location — up to 50 miles from the childcare location.
To counteract the educational disruption caused by mobility, the McKinney-Vento Act provides students experiencing homelessness with the right to continue attending the school of origin or enroll in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the same attendance area are eligible to attend, according to the student’s best interest [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(A)]. The term “school of origin” means the school that a child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled, including a preschool [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(I) (i)].