Paul Katan, District Homeless Program Liaison
928-445-5400, ext. 137 | Fax: 928-776-0243
PUSD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Program is a federally funded program for children in the Prescott Unified School District who are “in transition” in their housing situation. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act protects homeless children and youth by providing additional rights and educational support services beyond that offered in the regular classroom setting.
PUSD students, preschool-grade 12, may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act if they live in any of the following situations:
- In a shelter
- In a motel or campground due to the lack of an alternative adequate accommodation
- In a car, park, abandoned building, or bus or train station
- Doubled up with other people in someone else’s home due to loss of housing or economic hardship
- Children living with non-custodial relatives or friends
- Families who live in substandard housing without access to running water or adequate heating
Rights of Homeless Students
According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, eligible students have rights to:
- Receive a free, appropriate public education.
- Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
Schools cannot refuse to enroll a homeless student for lack of records (e.g., school records, transcript, IEP, MET, birth certificate or immunization records) or proof of a home address.
- Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
- Enroll in the local school, or continue attending their school of origin, if that is your preference and is feasible.
If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your child, then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal its decision.
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this.
- Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your child’s needs.
To obtain an application:
The Student Eligibility Form (application) must be submitted for all students. Print the form from the Bulletin Board box on this page, or ask for an application at the school’s front desk. They will either have applications, or they will refer you to the school’s point of contact for the program.
Submitting the application:
Return the application to the staff member from which you received it, the school front desk, or the homeless liaison listed at the bottom of the form.
Upon receiving the application, the homeless liaison will call to discuss the student’s housing situation. She will ask several questions and listen for details that indicate eligibility for the program. She must follow federal guidelines.
PUSD provides for the transportation rights of homeless students in various ways. Each student’s situation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
School Bus Arrangements
PUSD school buses serve students throughout the district. If the student does not live near a bus route for his/her school of origin, PUSD will assess whether it is in the best interest of the student to add an additional stop or transfer point to bus service in the area.
Mileage reimbursement is one way PUSD may supply transportation for homeless students to attend school-sponsored before or after school activities. Activities that may be covered include tutoring, after-school clubs, sports, and trips to and from bus stops or school for the regular school day (if the bus stop is far away). Please contact the district homeless liaison to inquire about mileage reimbursement.
Students are eligible for services from the time they are approved for the homeless program through the remainder of that school year.
Expedited Free School Breakfast and Lunch
Students who are approved for the Homeless Program are automatically eligible for the free breakfast and lunch program. The Free and Reduced Price Meal Application does not need to be completed. Free meals are usually available within a few days of being approved for the program.
Hungry Kids Project (Weekend Meals)
Hungry Kids Project is a community organization that delivers weekend food packs to students in need at all PUSD schools. School staff distributes the packs to students enrolled in the program. Ask at your school’s front desk how to enroll your child.
Free Full Day Kindergarten
Full-day kindergarten fees for homeless students will be waived by PUSD.
The homeless liaison will provide information on Head Start to homeless families with preschool-age children.
Referrals to Community Resources
The homeless liaison may be able to provide information on community agencies that provide health and human services.
Title I Services
Students approved for the Homeless Program are automatically eligible for Title I services, even if they are not attending a Title I school. Services include supplemental education programs, such as elementary remedial summer school and academic support during the school day.
PUSD has applied for and received a grant to provide additional services to homeless students. Grant funding is limited and unfortunately may not last the entire school year. Grant funded services may include:
School Clothing, School Supplies, and Toiletries
A limited amount of funding may be available for each homeless child each school year for hygiene items, appropriate school clothing, and school supplies that were requested by the student’s teachers. The goal of all items provided to the student is to help them be prepared for their school day.
PHS Bookstore Fees
Academic fees accrued at the Prescott High School Bookstore may be paid for by the Homeless Program. The following are likely to be covered: books, lab fees, art class fees, activity fee/ID, and possibly more. Lost book fees will not be covered.
Fees for School-Sponsored Activities
The goal of the program is to help homeless students access as many school activities in which they would normally participate. If funding is available, the following types of school-sponsored activities may be covered:
- After-school clubs, activities, and homework assistance
Homeless students in grades 1-12, with at least one grade of D, F, or N, may qualify for after-school tutoring at their school. If there is an after-school program available at the school, it will be used to serve students with academic support.
The Homeless Program may pay for a summer school program for which the student otherwise qualifies, including:
- Elementary summer school
- Middle school summer school
- High school summer school
Dispute Resolution Process
If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment for a student eligible under the McKinney-Vento Act –
The child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. PUSD will provide its share of the transportation to the school selected for the duration of the dispute resolution process.
The child, youth, parent, or guardian shall be referred to the district homeless coordinator, who shall carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute. In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the district homeless coordinator will work with the school principal to ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school, pending the resolution of the dispute.
The district homeless coordinator shall work through the expedited dispute resolution process. For Prescott Unified School District, that process involves:
- Referral from district homeless liaison, with a disputed homeless application to the district homeless coordinator.
- The district homeless coordinator will communicate directly with the child, youth, parent, or guardian. The district homeless coordinator is the decision-maker to verify eligibility of homeless status. The decision is based on the information the family provides and following eligibility guidelines as stated in the McKinney-Vento Act.
- The district homeless coordinator will contact youth, parent, or guardian within 48 hours of receipt of the application. Eligibility determination is made within 48 hours.
PUSD will provide the parent, guardian, or homeless youth with verbal verification of status. If dissatisfied with the school’s decision, the parent, guardian, or youth may appeal the decision to the state level. Contact information will be provided by the district homeless coordinator.
Dispute resolution web page: Go to http://www.azed.gov/homeless/ and select the DISPUTES tab.
State web site: http://www.azed.gov/homeless/
National web site: http://ftp.serve.org/nche/
For more information on programs and services in the area, please use the following:
Arizona Self Help www.http://arizonaselfhelp.org/
Yavapai Kids Book (Yavapai Community Foundation) www.yavapaikidsbook.org
Arizona 2-1-1 (Community Information and Referral Services) www.211arizona.org/ or call 2-1-1 (toll free)