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FILE:  IGBCA
CRITICAL

 

PROGRAMS FOR HOMELESS STUDENTS

 


The St. Charles Board of Education recognizes that homelessness alone should not be sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment. Therefore, the district, in accordance with state and federal law and the Missouri state plan for education of the homeless, will give special attention to ensure that homeless students in the school district have access to a free and appropriate public education.


Homeless students are individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and include the following:

 

1.         Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement.

 

2.         Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

 

3.         Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings.

 

4.         Migratory children who meet one (1) of the above-described circumstances.


Enrollment/Placement


The district will consider the best interest of the homeless student, with parental involvement, in determining whether he or she should be enrolled in the school of origin or the school that nonhomeless students who live in the attendance area in which the homeless student is actually living are eligible to attend. To the extent feasible, and in accordance with the homeless student's best interest, the homeless student should continue his or her education in the school of origin, except when contrary to the wishes of the parent or guardian. If the homeless student is unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, the homeless coordinator will consider the views of the homeless student in deciding where he or she will be educated. The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the homeless student lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.


The school selected shall immediately enroll the homeless student, even if he or she is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, immunization records, proof of residency or other documentation. However, the district may require a parent or guardian of a homeless student to submit contact information.


The district must provide a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right to appeal, to the homeless student's parent or guardian, or to the homeless student if unaccompanied, if the district sends him or her to a school other than the school of origin or other than a school requested by the parent or guardian.


If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the homeless student shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The homeless student, parent or guardian shall be referred to the district homeless coordinator, who will carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.


For the purposes of this policy, "school of origin" is defined as the school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled.


Services


Each homeless student shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the district including, but not limited to, transportation services; educational services for which the student meets the eligibility criteria, such as educational programs for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and gifted students; vocational programs and technical education; school meals programs; preschool programs; before- and after-school care programs; and programs for students with limited English proficiency. Homeless students will not be segregated in a separate school or in a separate program within a school based on the students' status as homeless.


Transportation


If the homeless student's school of origin and temporary housing are located in the St. Charles School District, the district will provide transportation to and from the school of origin at the request of the parent, guardian or homeless coordinator, provided it is in the best interest of the student. If the homeless student's school of origin and temporary housing are located in two (2) different school districts, the districts will equally share the responsibility and costs for transporting the student.


Records


Any records ordinarily kept by the school for each homeless student, including immunization records, academic records, birth certificates, guardianship records, and evaluations for special services or programs shall be maintained so that appropriate services may be given the student, so that necessary referrals can be made, and so that records may be transferred in a timely fashion when a homeless student enters a new school district. Copies of records shall be made available upon request to students or parents in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


Coordinator


The Board designates the following individual to act as the district's homeless coordinator:


Dr. Kay Davis

400 North Sixth Street

St. Charles, MO 63301

Phone: 636-443-4000

Fax: 636-443-4001


The district shall inform school personnel, service providers and advocates working with homeless families of the duties of the district homeless coordinator. The homeless coordinator will ensure that:

 

1.         Homeless students are identified by school personnel and by other entities and agencies with which the school coordinates activities.

 

2.         Homeless students enroll and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in schools in the district.

 

3.         Homeless families and students receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start, Even Start and preschool programs administered by the district, as well as referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health services and other appropriate services based on their assessed needs.

 

4.         The parents or guardians of homeless students are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.

 

5.         Public notice of the educational rights of homeless students is disseminated where such students receive services, such as schools, family shelters and soup kitchens.

 

6.         Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with law.

 

7.         The parent or guardian of a homeless student and any unaccompanied student is fully informed of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin, and is assisted in accessing transportation to the school selected.

 

8.         Unaccompanied students will be assisted in placement or enrollment decisions, their views will be considered and they will be provided notice of the right to appeal.

 

9.         Students who need to obtain immunizations, or immunization or medical records, will receive assistance.


Resolving Grievances


Level I – A complaint regarding the placement or education of a homeless student shall first be presented orally and informally to the district's homeless coordinator. If the complaint is not promptly resolved, the complainant may present a formal written complaint (grievance) to the homeless coordinator. The written charge must include the following information: date of filing, description of alleged grievances, the name of the person or persons involved and a recapitulation of the action taken during the informal charge stage. Within five (5) business days after receiving the complaint, the coordinator shall state a decision in writing to the complainant, with supporting evidence and reasons. In addition, the coordinator will inform the superintendent of the formal complaint and the disposition.


Level II – Within five (5) business days after receiving the decision at Level I, the complainant may appeal the decision to the superintendent by filing a written appeals package. This package shall consist of the complainant's grievance and the decisions rendered at Level I. The superintendent will arrange for a personal conference with the complainant at his or her earliest mutual convenience. Within five (5) business days after receiving the complaint, the superintendent shall state a decision in writing to the complainant, with supporting evidence and reasons.


Level III – If a resolution is not reached in Level II, a similar written appeals package shall be directed through the superintendent to the Board of Education requesting a hearing before the Board at the next regularly scheduled or specially called meeting. Within 30 business days after receiving the appeals package, the Board shall state its decision and reply in writing to the parties involved. For district purposes, the decision of the Board of Education is final.


Level IV – If the complainant is dissatisfied with the action taken by the Board of Education, a written notice stating the reasons for dissatisfaction may be filed with the State Homeless Coordinator, Federal Discretionary Grants, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO, 65102-0480. An appeal of this decision can be made within ten (10) days to the Deputy Commissioner of Education.


* * * * * * *


Note:  The reader is encouraged to check the index located at the beginning of this section for other pertinent policies and to review administrative procedures and/or forms for related information.

 

Adopted:         10/14/1993

 

Revised:          09/14/1995; 06/08/2000; 05/12/2005; 08/14/2008; 08/12/2010

 

Cross Refs:     EEA, Student Transportation Services

JEC, School Admissions

JECA, Admission of Resident Students

JECB, Admission of Nonresident Students

JECC, Assignment of Students to Grade Levels/Classes

 

Legal Refs:     §§ 167.020, .181, 210.003, RSMo.

19 C.S.R. 20-28.010

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g

34 C.F.R. Part 99

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, 42 U.S.C. §§ 11431 et seq.


St. Charles School District, St. Charles, Missouri

 

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For Office Use Only: IGBCA-C.SC6 (08/03)

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