at Advocates for Children
151 West 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
Under the McKinney-Vento Act and N.Y. Education Law § 3209, students in temporary housing are entitled to transportation to help students stay in school. Transportation protections were expanded under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and NY State law. They include:
- Transportation to the school the student attended when they were last permanently housed up to 50 miles each way, or to the most recent school they attended, even if the school is in a different school district from where the student is temporarily living;
- Continued transportation to the same school for the rest of the academic year when the student moves into permanent housing, even if the new housing is located outside of the school district;
- In New York State, transportation is also provided for an extra year after the student moves into permanent housing if that year is the student's final year in the school building (for example, 12th grade);
- If a student in temporary housing attends school in the same district where they are temporarily housed, then they can get the same transportation as their permanently housed peers. If permanently housed students don't have transportation, and the lack of transportation creates a barrier for a student in temporary housing, then the district has to supply transportation to overcome the barrier;
- Transportation to extracurricular activities if the lack of transportation would be a barrier to the student participating.
In New York State, the school district where the student attends school is the district that is responsible for providing transportation. Sometimes, the local department of social services (DSS) is responsible for transportation - for instance, where the student has been place in shelter outside of the school district and the student is eligible for Emergency Assistance for Families. The local DSS can meet their responsibility by asking the school district to supply the transportation and reimbursing the school district for the costs.
Click on the links below for more information about resources about transportation under McKinney-Vento and other state laws and policies.
Find answers to commonly asked questions about transportation for students in temporary housing situations.
This chart provides information on the transportation rights of students in temporary housing attending school in New York State. It includes information on available services, the responsible agency, and funding sources when serving students in many different housing situations, including for students attending charter schools.
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.
NYC DOE Office of Pupil Transportation Flyer: School Transportation Information for Students Living in Shelters [PDF]
This flyer provides information about transportation services for students living in shelters in New York City. This includes busing for students in K-6 and full-fare MetroCards for students in grades 7-12.
Get tips on creative transportation solutions for students experiencing homelessness in rural areas.
Temporary Housing Transportation Request from the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation [PDF]
The Temporary Housing Transportation Request should be used to request busing for students in NYC shelters that are outside of the system operated by the Department of Homeless Services. For example, this form should be used to request busing for students in HRA’s Domestic Violence (DV) shelters and HPD shelters. Students in shelters in grades K-6 will be routed for busing even if their shelter is located in a different community school district or borough from their school. Completed requests can be emailed to OPTShelterTransportationRequests@schools.nyc.gov
Emergency Evaluation Request from the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation [PDF]
The Emergency Evaluation Request is used to request busing for NYC students in temporary doubled-up situations and for NYC students who were homeless and have become permanently housed during the school year. Completed requests can be emailed to OPTEmergencyTransportationRequests@schools.nyc.gov
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) Transportation Reimbursement Form Recently Updated! [PDF]
Youth who are temporarily living in Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) shelters and who attend their school of origin in a different district from the shelter must receive free transportation to and from school. The school district of attendance must provide transportation and will be eligible for full reimbursement by NYSED. To arrange reimbursement, school districts should submit this form to:
NYSED, P.O. Box 7256
Albany, NY 12224
Please send the completed form with a cover letter that includes:
- your school district's federal ID number;
- the address where the reimbursement check should be sent;
- the name of the runaway and homeless youth shelter;
- the address of the runaway and homeless youth shelter;
- contact information for the Director of the runaway and homeless youth shelter; and
- an assurance from the school district that the facility is a runaway and homeless youth shelter.
Laws and Guidance
New York State Education Law Section 3209, which went into effect on April 20, 2017, includes important updates to transportation services for students in temporary housing. The new transportation requirements can be found in sub-section 4.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, as Reathorized 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. Transportation is discussed in Section (g)(1)(J)(iii).
March 2017 - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program: US DOE's Non-Regulatory Guidance [PDF]
On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. This revised Non-Regulatory Guidance for the McKinney-Vento program replaces the July 2016 Guidance and includes new Q&A that discuss the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016. The Guidance also includes new and promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.
This State Education Law addresses school transportation generally. Please note that students in temporary housing may be eligible for services that are different than those described in this law because students in temporary housing are also protected under the Federal McKinney-Vento Act and New York State Education Law § 3209.
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 December 2016 Field Memo from the New York State Education Department provides information about the changes to Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended by the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of December 20151 regarding transportation for students in foster care.
This August 2015 Field Memo from the New York State Education Deparemtn provides information about transportation to and from school for children placed in foster care in several questions and answers.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) Administrative Directive—Transportation for Students who are Homeless [PDF]
Under New York State law, in certain circumstances, the local social services is responsible for arranging and paying for transportation to and from school for students experiencing homelessness. Read this Administrative Directive to find out more about when the local department of social services is responsible for a student's transportation. Please note: this document does not include information on the transportation changes made under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which went into effect on October 1, 2016 or the changes to New York State Education Law Section 3209 which went into effect on April 20, 2017.
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