at Advocates for Children
151 West 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
If a family or student in temporary housing and their school district disagree about a student's McKinney-Vento eligibility for enrollment, school selection options, or transportation, the school district may challenge the student's eligibility under McKinney-Vento. To do so, the school district must:
- Provide written notice to the student or family about the reasons for their disagreement;
- Provide complete information in writing about the right to appeal to the family or youth;
- Put the family or youth in touch with the McKinney-Vento liaison for assistance;
- Provide immediate enrollment and transportation while the appeal is pending and until all available appeals are final.
McKinney-Vento disputes and appeals are reviewed and decided by the New York State Education Department. Internal school district dispute and appeal processes cannot be used to exclude a student in temporary housing from school or discontinue the student's McKinney-Vento protections.
Find answers to commonly asked questions about the dispute resolution/appeal process for students in temporary housing situations.
When a dispute arises, McKinney-Vento liaisons must help the parent or youth appeal to the Commissioner of Education using this form. The version above contains helpful notes explaining how to fill out each blank on the form. Liaisons, parents, and youth may use this document as a guide when filling out the Form Notice of Petition during McKinney-Vento disputes. A Microsoft Word version of the Petition may be used if the parent or liaison would like to fill out the form electronically.
Appeal Sample Evidence [PDF]
This document provides a list of examples of evidence that a parent, legal guardian, or unaccompanied youth may include in an appeal in order to show that the student is homeless under McKinney-Vento.
Sample District Dispute Resolution Policy [Word doc]
This is a sample policy that school districts may adopt in order to follow the New York State procedure for resolving disputes regarding the McKinney-Vento Act. This resource has been updated to reflect the changes made to the McKinney-Vento dispute resolution process under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which went into effect on October 1, 2016.
NYS-TEACHS is a technical assistance center and cannot offer legal advice. You may contact the following agencies for legal advice and/or assistance related to the McKinney Vento dispute process. Please note, this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other providers who will also offer legal advice on these issues.
Districts are encouraged to check in with parents whose children are McKinney-Vento eligible (or youth themselves in the case of unaccompanied homeless youth) at the end of each school year to determine whether their housing situation has changed and make appropriate arrangements for the next school year if there has been a change. This template letter can be used to reach out to families for this purpose.
The New York State Education Department Office of Counsel's website has instructions and sample forms for McKinney-Vento appeals. School districts must continue enrollment and transportation until the Commissioner gives a final decision on any McKinney-Vento related appeal. The appeal form, also called the Form Notice of Petition, can be found in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, and Haitian Creole. The form should be completed by the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth (with help from the liaison) any time that the parent/guardian or youth wants to challenge a school district's denial of enrollment and/or transportation under the McKinney-Vento Act.
Sample District Decision Letter [Word doc]
A McKinney-Vento District Decision Letter must be sent by the district when there is a dispute regarding a student's eligibility under the McKinney-Vento Act. This resource has been updated to reflect the changes made to the McKinney-Vento dispute resolution process under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which went into effect on October 1, 2016.
Form for Affidavit of Service by Mail by Local Educational Agency Liaison for Homeless Children and Youth [Word doc]
This form should be completed by the McKinney-Vento liaison to verify that the individual has been provided with the petition and that the liaison is mailing it to the school district employee who has been designated to accept service on behalf of the school district.
Form for Affidavit of Acceptance of Personal Service by Local Educational Liaison for Homeless Children and Youth [Word doc]
This form should be completed by the LEA liaison or the person who has been designated by the board of education to accept service on behalf of the school district. This form affirms that the individual who completed the form has accepted the petition on behalf of the named respondents in the school district.
Form for Verification of Receipt and Transmittal of Petition and Materials by Local Educational Agency Liaison [Word doc]
This form should be completed by the LEA liaison and given to the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth to verify that the liaison has received the petition and will mail it to the Office of Counsel of the New York State Education Department.
Laws and Guidance
On July 19, 2011, the State Education Department issued a Field Memo that is meant to assist LEAs and McKinney-Vento liaisons in navigating the appeal process and to ensure compliance with timelines for submission of the required forms. PLEASE NOTE: The information about the stay request in this document is out of date. In October 2016, the State Education Department updated its McKinney-Vento appeal form. Parents, guardians, and youth do not have to ask for a stay in McKinney-Vento appeals to the Commissioner anymore. Instead, school districts must continue enrollment and transportation until the Commissioner gives a final decision on any appeal.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, Reauthorized by Title IX Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act [PDF]
This document is the full text of the federal reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016. Disputes are discussed in section 11432(g)(3)(E).
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
Stay tuned for our Fall 2018 workshop and training schedule.