Skip To Main Content

Search Panel

Schools Menu

3115P - Students Experiencing Homelessness - Enrollment Rights and Services Procedure

A. Enrollment:

  1. The District will consider the best interest of the child in enrollment decisions;
  2. The District will not deny or delay enrollment of students experiencing homelessness;
  3. The District’s need for student contact information will not be in a form or manner that constructs a barrier for students experiencing homelessness,
  4. students experiencing homelessness may not be excluded for failure to have a mailing address or emergency contact information;
  5. The District’s liaison will:
    1. Ensure that public notice is disseminated where homeless children receive  services;
    2. Assure that students are identified by school personnel, enrolled in school and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed; and
    3. Inform parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth of educational a transportation services.

B. Definitions:

  1. Students experiencing homelessness: means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason, living in motels, parks or campgrounds; or children or youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation by human beings; or children or youth living in cars, abandoned buildings or substandard housing or similar situations; or migratory children because they are living in circumstances like those described above.
  2. Unaccompanied Youth: means a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Youth living on their own in any of the homeless situations described in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.
  3. School of origin: means the school or preschool that a child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. When a child or youth completes the final grade level served by the school of origin, the school of origin includes the designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools.
  4. Best interest determination: means that the District must make school placement decisions for Students experiencing homelessness and youths on the basis of their best interest, as determined by student-centered factors including impact of mobility on achievement, education, health, and safety. Priority should be given to the request of the child or the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth. Placement of siblings should also be considered.
  5. Excess cost of transportation: means the difference between what the District normally spends to transport a student to school and the cost of transporting a student experiencing homelessness to school. For example, there is no excess cost of transportation if the district provides transportation to a student experiencing homelessness by a regular bus route. However, if the District provides special transportation to a student experiencing homelessness that is not part of a regular bus route and not covered by the state transportation funding formula (e.g., summer school transportation, extracurricular activities, etc.), the entire cost would be considered excess costs of transportation. The additional cost of the district’s re-routing of busses to transport a student experiencing homelessness can be considered excess cost of transportation. The district may use McKinney-Vento subgrant funds and Title I, Part A funds to defray the excess cost of transportation for students experiencing homelessness.

C. Dispute Resolution Procedure

The District shall ensure that the child/youth attends the school in which they sought enrollment while the dispute process is being carried out.

1. Notification of Appeal Process

If the District seeks to place a student experiencing homelessness in a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent, the school District shall inform the parent or the unaccompanied youth of the right to appeal. The District shall provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with written notice including:

  1. An explanation of the child’s placement and contact information for the District and the OSPI homeless liaison;
  2. Notification of the parent’s right to appeal(s);
  3. Notification of the right to enroll in the school of choice pending resolution of the dispute;
  4. A description of the dispute resolution process including a petition form that can be returned to the school to initiate the process and timelines; and
  5. A summary of the federal legislation governing placement of homeless students (McKinney-Vento Act).

2. Appeal to the School District Liaison – Level I

If the parent or unaccompanied youth disagrees with the District’s placement decision, they may appeal by filing a written request for dispute resolution with the school, the District’s homeless liaison or a designee. If submitted to the school, it will be immediately forwarded to the homeless liaison. The request for dispute resolution must be submitted within fifteen business days of receiving notification of the District’s placement.

The liaison must log the complaint including a brief description of the situation and reason for the dispute and the date and time of the complaint was filed.

  1. A copy of the complaint must be forwarded to the liaison’s supervisor and the superintendent.
  2. Within five business days of the receiving the complaint, the liaison must provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with a written decision and notification of the parent’s right to appeal.
  3. The District will verify receipt of the Level I decision;
  4. If the parent or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal, notification must be provided to the District liaison within ten business days of receipt of the Level I decision. The liaison shall provide the parent with an appeals package containing:
    1. The complaint filed with the District liaison at Level I,
    2. The decision rendered at Level I; and
    3. Additional information provided by the parent, unaccompanied youth and/or homeless liaison.

3. Appeal to the School Superintendent – Level II

The parent may appeal the District liaison’s decision to the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee using the appeals package provided at Level I.

  1. The superintendent will arrange for a personal conference to be held with the parent or unaccompanied youth within five business days of receiving the Level I appeals package.
  2. Within five business days of the conference with the parent the superintendent will provide the parent with a written decision with supporting evidence and notification of the parent’s right to appeal to the OSPI.
  3. The District will verify receipt of the Level II decision.
  4. A copy of the superintendent’s decision will be forwarded to the District’s homeless liaison.
  5. If the parent or unaccompanied youth wishes to appeal to the OSPI, notification must be provided to the District homeless liaison within ten business days of receipt of the Level II decision.

4. Appeal to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction – Level III

  1. The District superintendent shall forward a copy of the Level II decision and all written documentation to the OSPI homeless liaison within five days of rendering a decision. The District will submit the entire dispute package to the OSPI in one complete package by U.S. mail.
  2. The OSPI’s homeless education coordinator or designee, along with the appropriate agency director, and/or agency assistant superintendent shall make a final decision within fifteen business days of receiving the appeal;
  3. The OSPI’s decision will be forwarded to the District’s homeless liaison. The liaison will distribute the decision to the parent or unaccompanied youth and the local superintendent.
  4. The OSPI’s decision will be the final resolution for placement of a student experiencing homelessness in the District.
  5. The District will retain the record of all disputes, at each level, related to the placement of student experiencing homelessness.

D. Inter-District Disputes

If Districts are unable to resolve a dispute regarding the placement of a student experiencing homelessness, either District may submit a written request to the OSPI seeking resolution.

The OSPI will resolve the dispute within 10 business days of notification of the dispute and inform all interested parties of the decision.




Last Revised:


Related Regulation:

Cross References:


  • 3120 - Enrollment
  • 3231 - Student Records
  • 3413 - Student Immunization and Life Threatening Health Conditions
  • RCW 28A.225.215 Enrollment of children without legal residences
  • RCW 28A.320.145 Support for homeless students
  • RCW 28A.320.142 Unaccompanied Youth-Building Point of Contact

    20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq. No Child Left Behind Act
    42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Management Resources:

  • Policy News, October 2002 NCLB Addresses Homeless Students
  • Policy News, October 2004 Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services Update
  • Policy News, December 2014 Identification and support for homeless students.