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Tales From the Field: School Selection and Permanent Residency

What can a liaison do for a family when they find a permanent residence in a new district?


The Tale:

Several McKinney-Vento liaisons have called the helpline recently with similar questions regarding the actions they must take when a family moves into a permanent residence outside of the current school district. This incident is such an example:


A family who is McKinney-Vento designated in their district recently found permanent

housing in another school district. The principal then said that it is time for the family to register

their children in the new district. The liaison is unsure whether she should tell the parents that

they have to disenroll their children right away and register them in the new district of

permanent residence.


Questions:

  1. When a family becomes permanently housed in another district, do they need to enroll the children in the district where they are now permanently housed?

  2. Which district is responsible for the cost of educating these students if they move into permanent housing in a new district but remain in the school district of origin?


Resources:

  1. Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, p. 23, Section IV., I-2. and p. 27 Section J., J-5.

  2. Field Memo September 2012 Implementation of Changes to Education Law §3209 and Commissioner’s Regulation §100.2(x), Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, p. 2 and Section 7, p. 8

  3. Billing for the Remainder of the School Year after a Student becomes Permanently Housed

Answers:


1. When a family becomes permanently housed in another district, do they need to enroll

the children in the district where they are now permanently housed?

If a student moves into permanent housing in a new district but opts to continue enrollment in

the same school through the remainder of the year or the terminal grade, McKinney-Vento

benefits remain in effect.


Deciding whether the children should immediately enroll in the new district or wait until the

next school year can be a difficult decision for a family. This is when a McKinney-Vento Liaison

can guide the family in a “best interest” determination. Here are some questions to help

determine which school is in a child’s best interest to attend:


  • How permanent does the family’s current living arrangement appear to be?

  • What are the academic needs of the child?

  • How do the programs at the local school compare with the programs at the school located within the district of origin?

  • How connected is the student to the current school? Is the student currently involved in a seasonal activity (e.g., playing a sport or rehearsing for a school play)?

  • How would the length of the commute to and from the school district of origin impact the child?


Please note that in New York State, students may maintain enrollment in the school

district of origin for an additional year if it will be the student’s final, or terminal, year in a

school building (e.g., a senior in high school).


Here is the legal language that addresses remaining in the school district of origin:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, where the public school district in

which a homeless child is temporarily housed is the school district of origin, the homeless child

shall be entitled to attend the schools of such district without the payment of tuition for the

duration of the homelessness and until the end of the school year in which such child becomes

permanently housed and for one additional year if that year constitutes the child's terminal

year in such building.” Education Law 3209 (2)(c)(1)

2. Which district is responsible for the cost of educating these students if they move into

permanent housing in a new district but remain in the school district of origin?


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