Answer: The short answer is that the district where the child is laying their head does not determine best interest, and cannot require that it participate in a best interest determination in order to assist with transportation. Under current law, the local educational agency where the child is attending school must “presume that keeping the child or youth in the school of origin is in the child’s or youth’s best interest, except when doing so is contrary to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth.” 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(B)(i). The best interest determination must be based on a student-centered, individualized analysis of factors related to the “child’s or youth’s best interest, including but not limited to factors related to the impact of mobility on achievement, education, health, and safety of homeless children and youth, giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.” 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(B)(ii). Therefore, if the LEA where the child is attending school, and the parent (or unaccompanied youth), determine that it is in the child’s best interest to stay in their school of origin, transportation must be provided, per the McKinney-Vento transportation provisions. Those provisions state that the two districts must split the cost if they cannot agree on another method to apportion costs.
If the student, parent, and school of origin all agree that it is in the student’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, can the district where the student is laying their head at night require a best interest meeting prior to agreeing to assist with transportation?
Aug 31, 2018 | Q and A