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School board approves new policy on homeless students
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
February 06, 2013 02:16 PM | 1165 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County School District has changed its policy on how it handles transportation situations and enrollment for homeless students for the first time since 2001.

The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the law which defines who is considered a homeless student. The act states any student who lacks a fixed or regular adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless.

The policy was approved by the school board in its Jan. 29 meeting. The changes were needed to ensure the district’s practices matched its policy, said Associate Superintendent Brian Otott.

“We had some vocabulary we needed to change to have the same wording as McKinney-Vento,” Otott said.

The district will be looking at the financial feasibility of transporting students because when they become homeless, students may move to other parts of the district or other counties, he said.

“It is a case by case situation,” Otott said.

Denise Johnston, the district’s homeless education liaison, will work with Otott and the transportation director to determine if the district will be able to provide a ride.

Homeless students can still enroll in school without a parent or guardian, but instead of the school social worker contacting the parents to complete the process it is now the job of the district central registrations department.

Currently there are 488 homeless students in Paulding, Johnston said.

Also during the meeting new Chief Financial Officer Steve Barnette discussed the how he planned to present the 2014 fiscal year budget to board members.

He said he created a flow chart for the board so they can see where they need to be each month to be able to finalize the budget by a specified time.

“I think the key is to set up milestones, and eat the elephant one bite at a time,” Barnette said.

He said his goal is for the board pass the budget by June.
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