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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: LEA Responsibilities

The McKinney-Vento Act requires every Local Educational Agency (LEA) or school district to "designate an appropriate staff person" to serve as the LEA liaison for the school district. This person is responsible for ensuring the immediate enrollment of and securing transportation for students experiencing homelessness in the school district. 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(1)(I)(J)(ii).

What are the responsibilities of LEA liaisons?

Liaisons have the responsibility to ensure that:

  • Homeless children and youth experiencing homelessness are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other agencies;
  • Homeless children and youth experiencing homelessness enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in, schools of that LEA;
  • Homeless families, children and youth experiencing homelessness receive educational service for which such families and youth are eligible;
  • The parents/guardians of homeless children and youth who are homeless are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in their children's education;
  • Public notice of the educational rights of homeless children and youth is disseminated where such children and youth receive services, such as schools, family shelters, and soup kitchens;
  • Enrollment disputes are mediated;
  • The parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth, and any unaccompanied youth, is fully informed of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin; and
  • Homeless families and students are referred to housing services in addition to other services;
  • That unaccompanied homeless youth are informed of their status as independent students for college financial aid and may obtain assistance to receive financial aid;
  • That unaccompanied homeless youth have opportunities to meet State academic achievement standards by implementing procedures that will remove barriers that prevent youth from receive partial or full credit for coursework completed at a prior school.

42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(6)(A).

Must a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and charter school designate a LEA liaison?

Yes. Charter schools and BOCES are both LEAs under the McKinney-Vento Act; therefore, charter schools and BOCES must comply with the McKinney-Vento Act's provisions including designating a LEA liaison. See Revision to Q & A on Education of Homeless Students, guidance Issued by Shelia Evans-Tranumn, Associate Commissioner, New York State Education Department, June 2004

If a student's temporary housing is located in a different school district from the school district of origin, which district is fiscally responsible for the student's education?

If the student chooses to attend the local school and it is located in a different district than where the student was last permanently housed, then the local school district is eligible for tuition reimbursement by the State Education Department (SED). In such cases, SED will seek a tuition charge back from the school district of origin. If the student chooses to attend the district of origin, the district of origin remains fiscally responsible for the student's education. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(3).

Can a school receive additional funding for enrolling a homeless student?

Districts can receive tuition reimbursement from SED for students who are homeless and who were last permanently housed in a different district located within New York State. However, districts are not entitled to tuition reimbursement if the student continues to attend school in the district of origin (the district where last permanently housed). N.Y. Education Law § 3209(3).

Can an LEA liaison disclose a student's homeless designation to others within the district, such as teachers and administrators?

Sometimes. Schools must treat information about a homeless child's or youth's living situation as a student education record, subject to all of the protections under FERPA. Yes, if it is for the purpose of data collection or of better meeting the student's educational needs. The heightened need for sensitivity regarding students in temporary housing demands a cautious approach by the district. Policies for disclosure of student housing status among school personnel must clearly state that McKinney-Vento eligible students must neither be stigmatized nor segregated. To maintain confidentiality of housing status in district data collection systems, it is recommended that districts use codes or indicators (i.e. non-stigmatizing language describing living situations) in the student information system for children and youth in homeless situations. Furthermore, it should be made clear that the purpose of disclosure is to coordinate school-based supports for students exhibiting and/or experiencing stress due to housing status. Finally, districts should ensure that school personnel are aware of McKinney- Vento's protections and are trained to respectfully manage this sensitive information.
See Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, U.S. Department of Education, March 2017

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