Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The cost Gateway City school districts bear transporting homeless students could be passed on to the state if the budget proposed by the House prevails. (While the House budget picks up the $11.3 million that school districts were projected to spend on transportation for homeless students in 2012, the Senate budget does not contain funding for the plan. Gateway City districts account for about one-quarter of this spending.)
The House budget would help pay for the increasing expense of transporting homeless students, but the extra funding would not get to the root of the student mobility problem. A report issued by MassINC last fall looked at how housing instability contributes to this challenge, which has negative consequences for both stable students and the students who change schools frequently.
The legislature remains focused on ending family homelessness, an important contributor to the student mobility challenge. But the benchmark for success is reducing the number of families living in hotels at great cost to the state. Attention to how housing policy can bring down exceptionally high rates of student mobility in many Gateway City schools is still largely absent from the debate.