Answer: This requirement is found in the language of the law itself, Section 1113(c)(3)(A)(i) of Title I, Part A.

A recent Congressional Research Service memo helps clarify this provision by stating that “current ESEA statutory language directs that the reservation of funds for homeless children be made based on the total amount of Title I-A funding provided to the LEA.” The memo goes on to specify:

“[T]he ordinary meaning of the words in the statute, together with the available legislative history of ESSA, would seem to support the view that Congress had unambiguously directed that both reservations should be calculated independently based on the entire amount allocated to an LEA.… For example, if $100,000 were allocated to an LEA under Title I-A of the ESEA, then both the reservation of funds for homeless children under Section 1113 and the reservation of funds for equitable participation under Section 1117 would be based on that $100,000 total.”

Here is the statutory language:

(3) RESERVATION OF FUNDS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A local educational agency shall reserve such funds as are necessary under this part, determined in accordance with subparagraphs (B) and (C), to provide services comparable to those provided to children in schools funded under this part to serve—

(i) homeless children and youths, including providing educationally related support services to children in shelters and other locations where children may live;

(ii) children in local institutions for neglected children; and

(iii) if appropriate, children in local institutions for delinquent children, and neglected or delinquent children in community day programs.

(B) METHOD OF DETERMINATION.—The share of funds determined under subparagraph (A) shall be determined—

(i) based on the total allocation received by the local educational agency; and
(ii) prior to any allowable expenditures or transfers by the local educational agency.

(C) HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTHS.—Funds reserved under subparagraph (A)(i) may be—

(i) determined based on a needs assessment of homeless children and youths in the local educational agency, taking into consideration the number and needs of homeless children and youths in the local educational agency, and which needs assessment may be the same needs assessment as conducted under section 723(b)(1) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11433(b)(1)); and

(ii) used to provide homeless children and youths with services not ordinarily provided to other students under this part, including providing—

(I) funding for the liaison designated pursuant to section 722(g)(1)(J)(ii) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii)); and

(II) transportation pursuant to section 722(g)(1)(J)(iii) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(1)(J)(iii)).

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