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at Advocates for Children

151 West 30th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10001

TEL 800.388.2014
FAX 212.807.6872

PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, certain information on this page may not be current.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.

Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

FAQs: Charter Schools

A charter school is a public school that operates with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools, granting administrators, faculty and staff autonomy in the education of its students. The "charter" that establishes each school is a contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals, students served, and methods of assessment. If charter schools do not meet the academic performance and operational goals listed in their charter, they risk having their charter revoked.

Are charter schools considered school districts?

No, charter schools are not school districts. A charter school is a public school by statute, but it is considered to be a Local Educational Agency (LEAs) for the purposes of the McKinney-Vento Act. 42 U.S.C. § 11434A (3).

Do students attend charter schools on a tuition-free basis?


Must a charter school designate a LEA liaison?

Yes. Because charter schools are considered LEAs under the McKinney-Vento Act, all charter schools must comply with the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, including the requirement to designate a LEA liaison. 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(1)(J)(ii).

Is a student who is homeless entitled to immediate enrollment in a charter school?

Yes, provided that the student meets the eligibility criteria for the charter school and there is space in the school. Students experiencing homelessness must be enrolled in school, even if they have missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(C)(i)(II).

Who provides transportation to homeless students who attend a charter school?

In most cases, the school district of origin will be responsible for providing transportation if the student attended the charter school prior to becoming homeless. In some cases the Local Department of Social Services (DSS) may be responsible for transporting the student, if DSS placed the student in temporary housing and the student's family is eligible for EAF (Emergency Assistance for Families). For more information, please call the NYS-TEACHS hotline at 800-388-2014 or see the Short Guide to Transportation for Students in Temporary Housing Attending Charter Schools.

Are charter schools required to set aside a portion of their Title I, Part A funding to serve students who are homeless?

No. Charter schools are not mandated to set aside Title I funds for students who are homeless; however, the school may opt to set aside funds to serve children and youth who are homeless. For more information about Title I, Part A set-asides click here.

Are charter schools eligible to receive McKinney-Vento sub-grant funding?

Yes, charter schools are considered LEAs and are therefore eligible to receive McKinney-Vento sub-grant funding.

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