Answer: No. In fact, the McKinney-Vento Act is clear that transportation assistance is required for unaccompanied youth:
“Each local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youths, designated under paragraph (1)(J)(ii), shall ensure that–
…(viii) the parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth, and any unaccompanied youth, is fully informed of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin, as described in paragraph (1)(J)(iii), and is assisted in accessing transportation to the school that is selected under paragraph (3)(A).” 42 USC 11432(g)(6)(A)(viii).
Unaccompanied youth must receive transportation assistance, just as parents or guardians.
The school district is required to provide transportation to the school of origin. Paying for gas is an excellent and cost-effective way to do that. The district can align the reimbursement with attendance as a means to address the accountability concern. The student would be reimbursed for gas for the days he attends school. Going forward, the district can give him gas cards ahead of time. It might help the youth to have the gas cards ahead of time, since he probably has very limited cash flow.