The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures the educational rights and protections of homeless children and youth so that they may enroll in school, attend regularly, and be successful. The legislation requires a local homeless education liaison in every school district to assist children and unaccompanied youth in their efforts to attend school. This act guarantees homeless children and youth the following:
The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.
- The right to attend school in his/her school of origin or in the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.
- The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin.
- The right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- The right to an “equal playing field” and the removal of all barriers to receiving educational services.
- The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness. Segregation based on a student's status as homeless is strictly prohibited.
- The posting of homeless students’ rights in all schools and other places around the community.
More Information on the laws to help you and your family:
Who qualifies for this help?
The law states, any student that does not have a fixed, regular, and adequate place to sleep at night qualifies for educational assistance. This includes students and families that stay at a shelter, on the street, a car or abandoned building. Families that have lost their housing and need to double-up with friends or relatives because they cannot afford their own place, also qualify.
Choice of Schools
Frequently changing schools can negatively impact your student’s education, causing them to fall behind. Students that qualify for educational assistance through the McKinney-Vento Act, can stay at the school they have been attending or transfer to the district in which they are temporarily staying. The caregiver of the student will make the choice. This does not mean you can go to any school. It has to one of the schools above. Once you and your family become permanently housed, your student may finish the school year at their current school or transfer to the new district. Your school’s liaison can assist you in whichever decision you make for your students.
School districts are required to enroll McKinney-Vento eligible students without delay; even if you do not have your student’s school or medical records. If you need assistance getting educational or medical records or have any questions, please contact the building principal or Sara Tyburski, the District’s McKinney-Vento liaison.
If you, as the caregiver, choose for your student to remain at their home school, the school district will work with you on transportation options.
Free Lunch & School Fees
Because of your unstable housing your student is eligible to receive a free lunch each day. In addition, student fees will be covered by the District.
In the event that the District has questions about your McKinney-Vento eligibility, you will be provided with a written explanation of the District’s intent to dispute. In this situation, District 57 would also provide you with a list of low-cost or free legal services to assist you during the dispute/appeal process. Once you have received notice that the District has filed for dispute, please contact your regional liaison, Thomas Bookler, at 630-386-0883 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In the event of a dispute, the Regional Office of Education or Intermediated Service Center will appoint a mediator. The mediator will set a meeting time that is mutually convenient for all parties in an attempt to resolve the dispute. If you do not agree with the decision of the mediator, you can appeal to the Illinois State Board of Education.
District 57 Homeless Liaison
Each district is required by law to designate a local liaison for children and youth experiencing homelessness. The liaison serves as one of the primary contacts between homeless families and school staff along with other service providers. The liaison also ensures that students' rights are protected and that the district fulfills its responsibilities under the McKinney-Vento Act. Please contact the District 57 Homeless Liaison for more information on services provided by District 57:
Director of Student Services