McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Improvement Act
The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act states that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless. If, due to a loss of housing, a child must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends, then he/she is eligible to receive services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.
The McKinney-Vento Act is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, as other children and youth.
Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.
Families in Transition
Authorized under Federal law through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, the FLVS district homeless education program, Families in Transition, provides services to ensure identified homeless children and youth have access to a free and appropriate public education by removing educational barriers due to homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."
Upon identification of a student who appears to meet the definition as described above, school personnel should refer to the registrar for updated coding. Every effort should be made by all school personnel to properly identify homeless children and youth and connect them with appropriate personnel and/or services that best meet their needs.
McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution
When a dispute occurs, the student shall be enrolled immediately, receive an enrollment decision in writing, and be referred to the District’s Liaison, who will carry out the dispute resolution per the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(3)(E)).
Dispute Resolution Process
If an enrollment dispute develops regarding the enrollment options available under the McKinney-Vento Act:
(a) The student shall be immediately admitted to the school of origin or the local attendance area school as request by the parent or unaccompanied youth, pending resolution of the dispute.
(b) The Principal shall complete the electronic “School Selection Committee Request” which notifies the District’s Liaison a written explanation of the school’s position regarding school selection of a student and the nature of the dispute.
(c) The parent and/or student shall be referred to the District’s Homeless Liaison, who shall ensure the resolution process is carried out as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute.
(d) The Homeless Liaison shall refer the matter to the “School Selection Committee”, who shall, within 15 business days after receipt, schedule a meeting with school administration, and the family in an effort to resolve the dispute. The primary objective in reaching a resolution is to determine whether maintaining the student’s current enrollment is in the student’s best interest.
(e) In the event the matter is not resolved, the District shall provide the parent or guardian of the student or the unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of the District’s decision regarding school selection, including the rights of the parent, guardian or student to appeal the decision through the District’s enrollment dispute procedure and the Florida Department of Education’s appeal process. The Homeless liaison will report the incident in the FDOE Dispute Resolution Tracking System.
(f) The Homeless Liaison will provide the parent, guardian or student the FLDOE School Dispute Resolution Appeal Process form. The form must be completed and returned to the Homeless Liaison within 10 business day, who shall send it, along with any additional written documentation provided by the school, to FLDOE. The Homeless Liaison will report the state-level appeal in the FDOE Dispute Resolution Tracking System.
(g) Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the State Homeless Education Coordinator must within 10 working days, convene a FDOE panel, comprised of the Coordinator, the Director of the Title I Programs, and the Chief of the Bureau of Student Assistance. This panel shall review the entire record of the dispute, including any written statements submitted, and make a determination based on the child’s or youth’s best interest.
(h) Within 10 business days of receipt of the recommendation, the Commissioner shall make the final determination. For educational purposes, the decision of the Commissioner in such cases is final. The FDOE will provide a written decision regarding the appeal to all parties involved, including the LEA Homeless Liaison.
To request this process, please complete the Dispute Resolution Form and return to FLVS Full Time as indicated in the form.