Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB 5324: Concerning support for students experiencing homelessness

*Companion to HB 1263*

The bill proposes that the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) create a competitive grant process to evaluate and award state-funded grants to school districts to increase identification of students experiencing homelessness and the capacity of the districts to provide support to those students.  

Funds may be used in a manner that is complementary to federal McKinney-Vento funds and consistent with allowable uses as determined by OSPI.   

The bill notes that grants awarded by the state must include geographic diversity of Washington and allow greater weight given to school districts based on a list of criteria that includes (non-comprehensive list) partnerships, needs of youth, addressing the opportunity gap and systemic inequities that may impact homeless students and students of color.

Update 3.29.19:

The bill as amended by the House Education Committee:

(1) Modifies criteria governing how grants related to students experiencing homelessness may be awarded by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) by specifying that greater weight must be given to districts that demonstrate a commitment to partnering with qualified organizations “with experience in serving the needs of students experiencing homelessness or students of color” and implementing “evidence-informed” strategies meeting specified requirements.

(2) Modifies provisions delineating what specific strategies may include with respect to “inclusive programming.”

(3) Allows the OSPI grants to be for two years rather than making the two-year duration mandatory as proposed in the underlying bill.

(4) Modifies criteria governing how grants related to students experiencing homelessness may be awarded by the Department of Commerce (Department) by specifying that greater weight must be given to eligible organizations that demonstrate a commitment to developing and implementing “evidence-informed” strategies meeting specified requirements.

 (5) Authorizes the Department to contract and consult with a qualifying nonprofit vendor in the state to provide technical assistance and program evaluation, and to assist with making grant awards.

(6) Changes references to “homeless students” to “students experiencing homelessness.”

Amendments:

Updated on 4.12.19:

1st substitute:

  • Removed provisions allowing the Department of Commerce to contract and consult with a designated vendor to assist with a housing grant program supporting homeless students and their families.

House Committee Amendments (Updated on 4.12.19):

 

  • Modified criteria governing how grants related to students experiencing homelessness may be awarded by the OSPI by specifying that greater weight must be given to districts that demonstrate a commitment to partnering with qualified organizations “with experience in serving the needs of students experiencing homelessness or students of color” and implementing “evidence-informed” strategies meeting specified requirements;
  • Modifies provisions delineating what specific strategies may include with respect to “inclusive programming;” allows the OSPI grants to be for two years rather than making the two-year duration mandatory;
  • Modified criteria governing how grants related to students experiencing homelessness may be awarded by the Department by specifying that greater weight must be given to eligible organizations that demonstrate a commitment to developing and implementing “evidence-informed” strategies meeting specified requirements;
  • Authorized the Department to contract and consult with a qualifying nonprofit vendor in the state to provide technical assistance and program evaluation, and to assist with making grant awards; and
  • Changed “homeless student” references to “students experiencing homelessness.”

The Appropriations Committee recommended the addition of a null and void clause, making the bill null and void unless funded in the budget.