at Advocates for Children
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New York State Education Department (NYSED) Laws and Guidance
Although the McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law, New York State laws clarify some of the federal protections and add more. Some important protections for New Yorkers are:
- Protecting the continued enrollment and transportation for students in their terminal year in a school building (such as their senior year in high school), even after they have found permanent housing;
- Assigning transportation responsibility to the designated district of attendance;
- Assigning transportation responsibility to the Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) under certain conditions;
- More specific information about summer school participation and transportation for students in temporary housing.
Click the links below to get the text of New York State laws and guidance that talk about the educational rights of students in temporary housing situations.
Important changes to New York Education Law Section 3209 went into effect on April 20, 2017. This law discusses the rights of students in temporary housing in New York State. The changes reflect changes to the federal McKinney-Vento Act that where made under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A clean version of Education Law § 3209 is available here. A marked-up version of Education Law § 3209 highlighting the changes is available here.
This State Education Law addresses school transportation. For more information about transportation for students who are homeless, please click here.
This State Education Law defines the term "person in parental relation" in cases where a student's biological or legal parent is unavailable. For more information about unaccompanied youth, please click here.
This law addresses a parent's power to designate a "person in parental relation" to a child. If a parent is unable to make education-related decisions for a child, they may temporarily designate another person to make those decisions on behalf of the student.For more information about unaccompanied youth, please click here.
This State Public Health Law explains that students have 14 days (which may be extended to 30 days) during which they may attend school while the school is waiting for proof of immunization. Students in temporary housing have additional protections with regard to submitting proof of immunization. For more information, please click here.
Regulations and State Plan
In July 2015, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Commissioner's Regulations governing enrollment of students in public school were amended to make sure that all students, and in particular unaccompanied youth, have timely access to school. These Regulations require that school districts accept a broader range of documents to establish residency. The Regulations also set timelines for school districts making residency determinations. The NYSED has produced brochures in multiple languages that districts can provide to parents so that they better understand the enrollment process. Brochures are currently available in: English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Karen, Nepali, Russian, and Urdu.
This memo details the amendments to the Commissioner's regulation governing homeless education (section 100.2(x)), which are effective July 1, 2017. They were updated to conform to the changes in the McKinney-Vento Act as a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the recent changes to N.Y. Education Law Section 3209.
The McKinney-Vento Act requires that all State Education Agencies submit a plan for the education of students who are homeless. The New York Education Department's homeless education plan is included as part of its Consolidated State Plan under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The homeless education portion of New York's Consolidated State Plan can be found on pages 197-205.
PLEASE NOTE: Documents dated before 2016 may not reflect the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act as a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the 2017 amendments to New York State Education Law Section 3209 and the Commissioner's Regulations.
Sample Local Educational Agency McKinney-Vento Policy and the accompanying Field Memo
On March 16, 2018, the New York State Education Department released an updated version of its Sample Local Educational Agency McKinney-Vento Policy. This new version reflects changes made by the reauthorization of McKinney-Vento Act under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and New York Education Law § 3209 on the Education of Homeless Children. LEAs, including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES are encouraged to use this as a guide when developing their own local board policies for serving students in temporary housing.
This October 2017 Field Memo provides information and resources for local educational agencies (LEAs), including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, regarding the rights of and services available to students displaced by recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
NYSED Field Memo: Implementation of Changes to Education Law §3209 and Commissioner’s Regulation §100.2(x)
This September 2017 Field Memo provides important information about changes to Education Law §3209 and Commissioner’s regulation §100.2(x) impacting how New York State school districts and charter schools provide services to students experiencing homelessness.
This September 2017 Field Memo provides information regarding required training for McKinney-Vento liaisons to participate in professional development so that they can better identify and meet the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness under the federal McKinney-Vento Act. Federal law also requires that McKinney-Vento liaisons ensure that local educational agency (LEA) personnel providing McKinney-Vento services (e.g., superintendents, registrars, transportation directors, CSE chairs, school counselors, school social workers, principals, Title I directors, teachers) receive professional development. Liaisons can do this by either providing the training to staff themselves or by ensuring that LEA staff participate in one of the trainings offered by NYS-TEACHS.
This June 2017 Field Memo from the New York State Education Department addresses the rights of students in temporary housing to participate in summer school. This memo discusses topics on access to summer school including fees, transportation, and the use of Title I set-aside funding for students in temporary housing, and includese updates related to ESSA.
NYSED Field Memo: Educational Stability and Transportation Provisions for Students in Foster Care in Title I, Part A as Amended in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
This Field Memo was jointly issued by NYSED and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to provide important information about students in foster care. There are changes to Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of December 2015. The memo highlights changes that must be implemented by December 10, 2016, including the requirements that: (1) Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) collaborate with Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) to ensure school stability and transportation for children in foster care, and (2) LEAs must designate a Foster Care Point of Contact to work collaboratively with LDSSs in their communities.
NYSED Field Memo: Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act
This Field Memo provides important information about how New York State school districts must implement the changes to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.) as a result of the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015. In general, while States are not required to submit State plans which conform to all of the new ESSA provisions until 2017, ESSA required that State educational agencies and local educational agencies begin implementing the new McKinney-Vento requirements by October 1, 2016.
NYSED Field Memo: Guidance Relating to the Right of Individuals Over Compulsory School Age to Attend High School
This May 2016 memorandum points out that all individuals, regardless of citizenship, who reside in New York State (NYS) and are between the ages of 5 and 21, have the right to a free public high school education in their school district of residence.
This October 2015 Field Memo from the New York State Department of Education provides information about times when a student should be considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act, such as when a student has been removed from his/her home because of an allegation of abuse or neglect and the child welfare agency arranges for a relative or family friend to assume temporary custody of the student, rather than placing the student in foster care.
This August 2015 NYSED Field Memo provides information about transportation to and from school for children placed in foster care.
This June 2015 field memo from the New York State Education Department provides information about the rights of students in temporary housing to access public preschool education programs offered by a school district. It also provides guidance to school districts on outreach and identification of preschool aged temporarily housed children, how to request funding, how to request class-size variance request for programs that may already be full, and other early childhood education programs and services that may be available. Please note: this document does not include information on recent changes to federal and state law that expand the rights of Pre-K students in temporary housing.
NYSED Field Memo: Guidance Regarding Out-of-State/Country Children who become Homeless and Tuition Reimbursement
This March 2015 Field Memo from the New York State Education Department explains that schools districts cannot get additional state aid for instruction (also referred to as tuition reimbursement) through the STAC 202 process for students experiencing homelessness who were last permanently housed outside of New York State.
This March 2015 guidance memo from the New York State Education Department explains how the requirements for vaccinations apply to students in temporary housing.
The New York State Education Department issued this September 10, 2014 letter to all school districts. It discusses important educational services for unaccompanied immigrant children, many of whom may be eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Act.
NYSED Field Memo: Consolidated Appropriations Act and Expansion of Allowable Use of Title I Part A and Set-aside Funds for Students in Temporary Housing [PDF]
This June 30, 2014 guidance memo from the NY State Education Department is to inform local educational agencies (LEAs) of their expanded authority with regard to the use of Title I, Part A funds for services for students in temporary housing. With passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Title I funds may now be used to cover the cost of the salary for the McKinney-Vento liaison even if that person has no Title I duties; and transporting students in temporary housing to and from their school of origin. Title I funds may not, however, be used to pay for transportation expenses that are reimbursed by the State. Please note: this document does not include updates to federal and state law regarding Title I set-aside funds. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, all Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), including school districts, BOCES, and charter schools, that receive Title I funds must do a set-aside for students in temporary housing.
NYSED Homeless Guidance for Permanent Placement / McKinney-Vento Eligible Students and Tuition Reimbursement
This Field Memo from the New York State Education Department, from 2013, clarifies when a school district can receive additional state aid for instruction (also sometimes referred to as tuition reimbursement) for the cost of educating a student in temporary housing and how to request such aid.
This May 2013 Field Memo from the State Education Department answers common questions about how McKinney-Vento applies to Charter Schools including: how to determine which school district pays the charter school tuition, who provides transportation, and how to coordinate reimbursement.
This September 8, 2011 Q&A from the State Education Department provides important information for districts affected by severe weather events. The Q&A discusses topics like changes in average daily attendance, the use of split sessions, transportation options, requirements under McKinney-Vento, and resources to address health and mental health issues that may arise for students.
On July 19, 2011, the State Education Department issued a Field Memo in response to several 310 Appeals it had received in which homeless eligibility was being disputed. NYSED had noticed that the McKinney-Vento liaisons (also known as the LEA liaisons or homeless liaisons) did not comply with all applicable filing requirements. The failure to submit all forms in connection with a 310 Appeal can interfere with the rights of both the LEA (Local Education Agency, Charter School, or BOCES) and the petitioner (parent, guardian, or youth) on whose behalf the appeal is being made. Failure to submit all required forms can also create delays in the resolution of disputes. The Field Memo is meant to assist LEAs and McKinney-Vento liaisons with the appeal process and to ensure compliance with timelines for submission of the required forms. Please note: the section of this document that describes the "request for immediate relief" or "stay request" is no longer relevant following updates to federal and state law.
This field memo was written to clarify a previous NYS Field Memo #3-2010: NYC Charter Schools and Community School District Preference for Homeless Students, issued July 2010. It provides answers to commonly asked questions about charter school admissions preferences for students who are homeless throughout New York State.
McKinney-Vento Field Memo Re: NYC Charter School Lottery Preference for Homeless Students - July 2010 [PDF]
In New York City, charter schools must give preference in their admissions lotteries to students living in the community school district in which the charter school is located. This July 2010 Field Memo explains which community school districts can be claimed by children who are homeless, to make sure that students in temporary housing can fully participate in charter school lotteries.
NYSED released this April 2010 memo to school administrators regarding the potential barriers confronting homeless students taking state assessments. School administrators, along with state agencies providing services to homeless students, should be well aware of state testing requirements and test schedules and should work to make sure that homeless students are not denied access to these examinations.
Housing Questionnaire [Word doc]
This new Housing Questionnaire should be used by all local educational agencies (LEAs), which include school districts, charter schools, and BOCES. The Housing Questionnaire should always be the first page of the enrollment packet for all newly enrolling students, and should also be completed by all students/families who report a change of address. The Housing Questionnaire was updated on November 11, 2016, and it replaces the former Enrollment Form/Residency Questionnaire. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires all LEAs that receive Title I funds to use the new Housing Questionnaire. NYSED also encourages all other LEAs, to use the new Housing Questionnaire, which asks about students' living arrangements, in order to identify students experiencing homelessness in the school district.
Every LEA must ensure that students who are experiencing homelessness are immediately enrolled in school. This is a Sample Enrollment Process that school districts may follow for immediately enrolling students experiencing homelessness once they are identified as homeless.
Sample Transportation Protocol [Word doc]
This Sample Transportation Protocol helps with communication and coordinator between school districts and local department of social services any time the local department of social services is responsible for arranging transportation for a student in temporary housing. This Protocol is a template that school districts and local department of social services are encouraged to use. School districts and local departments of social services are also welcome to adapt this Protocol to meet their needs.
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
04/17/18 Liaison Responsibilities (NYC)
04/19/18 Liaison Responsibilities (NYS, Outside NYC)
04/25/18 Trauma Sensitivity (NYS & NYC)