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Enrollment and Transportation of Homeless Students in Public Schools.


To examine issues related to State Education Department (SED), the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and Local Education Agencies’ (LEA) compliance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and State Education Law.

New York City


April 15, 2005
9:00 a.m.
Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
250 Broadway
New York, New York

* Please be advised that building policies require visitors to present photo identification in order to be admitted to the building.

All students are entitled to free and appropriate public education, but homeless students are being neglected. Local school districts and social service agencies are not adequately identifying and immediately enrolling homeless students as required by federal and state education laws. SED, OTDA, and some LEAs, including New York City, are failing to offer necessary and reliable transportation services to homeless students to and from the school of origin as required by federal and state education laws. Homeless parents are not properly reimbursed for their transportation costs to and from their children’s school. Homeless families are caught between the bureaucratic barriers set up by SED and OTDA, because of a lack of communication and a lack of accountability by the agencies involved with the education and transportation of homeless students.

Another problem associated with the gaps in communication between agencies is that SED and OTDA use two different definitions for the homeless student, which creates problems identifying and enrolling homeless children in school in a timely manner. Homeless children are not receiving the protection, guidance and education that they are entitled to under federal and state laws.

Since there is a lack of accountability for the local educational agency liaisons, many are not collecting and assessing data, as well as not providing parental outreach to help homeless families become aware of the entitlements and protections that they and their children are guaranteed by federal and state laws.

The Assembly Committee on Education seeks comments on school transportation availability as well as the funding and reimbursement of transportation costs for the homeless family, the barriers to identification and immediate enrollment of homeless students, and the problems associated with the lack of communication between the state and local educational and social service agencies regarding parental outreach, accountability measures, and data collection and analysis.

Please see the attached page for a list of subjects to which witnesses can direct their testimony.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes’ duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances.

These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Assemblyman Steven Sanders, Chairman
Committee on Education


  • Allegations that parents of homeless New York State and New York City schoolchildren are not receiving the transportation services and the transportation grants guaranteed to them by the McKinney-Vento Act and other federal, state and city laws and regulations.

    Concerns that New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) are not reimbursing the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for school transportation costs associated with transporting children placed in shelters outside of the child’s school district of origin; and concerns that NYCDOE is not seeking reimbursement from DHS and HRA, thus shortchanging the department of vital monies that could be used for such costs.

    Problems with disbursement and reimbursement of McKinney-Vento funds.

    Complaints that State and New York City social services and education department personnel are not always informing homeless families of their rights as mandated by federal and state laws.

    Allegations that SED and NYCDOE are not collecting accurate data about the education of homeless children and youth as required by federal and state laws.


Persons presenting testimony at the public hearing on the Enrollment and Transportation of Homeless Students in Public Schools are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail or fax it to:

Marty Karlavage
Special Assistant for Education
Assemblyman Steven Sanders
250 Broadway, Room 2234
New York, New York 10007
Phone: (212) 312-1464
Fax: (212) 312-1479

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on the Enrollment and Transportation of Homeless Students in Public Schools to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Education on April 15, 2005.

box I wish to make a public statement at the hearing on the Enrollment and Transportation of Homeless Students in Public Schools to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Education on April 15, 2005. My statement will be limited to 10 of minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








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