The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in December 2015
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (MCKinney-Vento Act) ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Act was reauthorized in December 2015 by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) . The McKinney-Vento Act ensures that children who are homeless have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including a public preschool education. Information on the McKinney-Vento Act is available through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mv/.
Bourne Public Schools Homeless Liaison
Melissa Ryan, Assistant Superintendent
36 Sandwich Road
Bourne, MA 02532
Bourne Public Schools Transportation Coordinator
Susan Downing, Transportation Director
75 Waterhouse Road
Bourne, MA 02532
The following terms are defined in the McKinney-Vento Act:
Homeless Children and Youth: Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. It includes:
Children and youth 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 a lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals.
Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
Migratory children (as defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended) who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
Enroll and Enrollment: Attending classes and participating fully in school activities
School or Origin: The school the child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled, including preschool. When a child or youth completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, the school of origin includes the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder school.
Unaccompanied Youth: Homeless child or youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian
Student placement determinations must be based on the best interest of the student who is homeless. For students who meet the eligibility criteria, Bourne Public Schools must remove the barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities, including but not limited to summer school. career and technical education, advanced placement, and online learning.
In order to determine best interest, Bourne Public Schools must:
Presume keeping the student in the school of origin until the end of the school year in which the student obtains permanent housing is in the student’s best interest except when doing so is contrary to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
Consider student-consider factors related to the students best interest including factors related to the impact of mobility on achievement, education, health, and safety of the student who is homeless, school placement of siblings, giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
Bourne Public Schools must provide transportation to students who are homeless that meet the Massachusetts state law and are comparable to those received by other students. Bourne Public Schools must 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 school. Students who have been homeless during the school year and become permanently housed have the right to remain enrolled in their school of origin with transportation if needed through the end of the school year (June). Furthermore:
If the student who is homeless continues to live in the area served by the district in which the school or origin is located, then the district must provide or arrange transportation if needed.
If the student who is homeless moves to an area served by another district, through 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.
If the districts cannot agree upon such a method, the responsibility and costs must be shared equally.
Bourne Public Schools must immediately enroll students who are homeless in school to provide educational stability and avoid separation from school for days or weeks while documents are located. Therefore:
Students who chose to enroll in school where they are temporarily residing must be enrolled immediately, even if they do not bring the records usually required for enrollment with them.
If a student who is homeless arrives without records, the previously attended school district is contacted and the required records are requested.
The student who is homeless should be attending school while the records are being requested.
Bourne Public Schools must remove barrier to students who are homeless receiving appropriate credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed while attending a prior school.
Information about a student’s homeless living situation shall be treated as a student education record and not to be deemed to be directory information and therefore cannot be shared with the public, including landlords.
Bourne Public Schools will not delay enrollment of a student that is homeless as a result of immunization policies.
Dispute Resolution Process
The McKinney-Vento Act requires “procedures for the prompt resolution of disputes regarding the educational placement of children and youth who are homeless. If a dispute arises between Bourne Public Schools and parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth the following process must be followed:
The student must be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought and transportation is provided, pending the final resolution of the dispute, including all available appeals.
The parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth is provided with a written explanation of any enrollment decision made by Bourne Public Schools and be informed of the right of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth to appeal the decision to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Bourne Public Schools must provide notice of denial to the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth on the day of the denial using the form prescribed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The notice provided must be be written in clear, easy to understand language detailing the dispute resolution process and the right to appeal and the option to obtain independent information and counsel.
Bourne Public Schools must provide the prescribed form to be completed by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, should he or she decide to appeal the school district’s enrollment decision.
Bourne Public Schools must assist the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth in promptly submitting an appeal to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in three school days with an extension of up to ten additional days.
The dispute resolution process begins at the time Bourne Public Schools denies continued enrollment or right to enroll a homeless student in the school selected by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
If Bourne Public Schools does not notify the parents of its enrollment decision or the parent’s right to appeal that the decision, the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth may initiate a dispute by contacting the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Following the receipt of the district’s denial form the appeal by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth and any other additional requested information, the Commissioner or the Commissioner's Designee shall promptly issue a decision usually in five to ten school days. The decision of the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s Designee shall be final.
Additional information, data, and resources are posted on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education webpage at http://www.doe.mass.edu/mv/.
School District Notification of Enrollment Decision
Parent Appeal of School District Enrollment Decision