We realize that learners who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence should not be a sufficient reason to separate learners from the school learning environment. RSU 73 strives to ensure that challenged learners are identified and provided access to the same free and appropriate public education provided to all learners in the school system. In accordance with federal and state law and regulations, RSU 73 shall provide challenged learners access to the instructional programming that supports achievement of the content standards of Maine’s system of Learning Results and to other services for which they are eligible. Learners shall not be segregated into a separate school or program based on their status, nor shall they be stigmatized in any way.
The federal law governing homeless learners is the McKinney-Vento Bill. Under this bill, homeless learners are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. When learners become McKinney-Vento eligible, they can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending, although they might no longer meet residency requirements. McKinney-Vento also guarantees learners the right to enroll in a public school even if they lack the typically required documents and immunizations. In addition, McKinney-Vento eligible learners are guaranteed the transportation they need to attend school.
According to McKinney-Vento, “homeless” can be defined as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth:
Sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing
Living in emergency or transitional housing
Abandoned in hospitals
Awaiting foster care
Having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations
Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations