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Frequently Asked Questions: Local Educational Agency Responsibilities

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

What are the responsibilities of McKinney-Vento or homeless liaisons?

Liaisons need to make sure that:

  • Students in temporary housing are identified by school staff and through coordination activities with other agencies;
  • Students in temporary housing enroll in school, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed;
  • Students in temporary housing get the educational services they are eligible to receive;
  • Students and their families in temporary housing get referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health and substance addiction services, housing services, and other appropriate services;
  • Students and their families in temporary housing are told about the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are given meaningful ways to be involved in their children's education;
  • Public notices (for example, posters and brochures) with information about the educational rights of students in temporary housing is distributed where such students and their families are likely to see them or receive services, such as schools, family shelters, and soup kitchens;
  • Enrollment disputes are mediated;
  • The parents or guardians of students in temporary housing, and unaccompanied youth, are fully informed about the transportation services available to them, including transportation to the school of origin; and
  • Unaccompanied homeless youth are informed about their status as independent students for college financial aid and are given assistance to receive financial aid;
  • Unaccompanied homeless youth have opportunities to meet the same State academic achievement standards as other children and youth, and that the school district removes barriers that could prevent students in temporary housing from receiving partial or full credit for the coursework they may have completed at a prior school.

42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(6)(A).

Do Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and charter school also need to designate a McKinney-Vento liaison?

Yes. Charter schools and BOCES are both considered Local Educational Agencies under the McKinney-Vento Act. Therefore, charter schools and BOCES must comply with all McKinney-Vento Act provisions including designating a liaison. 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(3); 20 U.S.C. § 7801(30)(A).

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 their local school and the school is located in a different district than where the student was last permanently housed, then the local school district is eligible for tuition reimbursement from the State Education Department (SED). In these situations, 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?

Sometimes. 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 extra tuition reimbursement if the student continues to attend school in the same district they attended prior to their housing loss (the district where last permanently housed). N.Y. Education Law § 3209(3).

Can a McKinney-Vento liaison provide information about 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. This means that this information is protected as private under FERPA. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(G). Sharing student information is allowed when it is for the purpose of data collection or for the school district to meet the student's educational needs. To help protect the privacy and confidentiality of housing information, it is recommended that districts use codes or indicators (i.e. non-stigmatizing language describing living situations) in their student information system for children and youth in homeless situations and in school district data collection systems. School districts should also make sure 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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