Rome, Utica districts each get $45,000 to support homeless students, state announces


The Rome and Utica school districts are among 48 districts statewide to receive federal grants for programs supporting homeless students who are in temporary housing, the state Education Department said Friday.

The Rome and Utica districts each were awarded $45,000 per year for three years, plus Rome was among 12 of the 48 districts to also receive an additional $20,000 grant per year for the same period for programs emphasizing trauma sensitivity.

In the Rome district, the number of students in temporary housing has grown from 90 to 230 over the last two years, district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said at a Board of Education meeting last week.

“Homeless children are some of our most vulnerable; however, with the proper support system in place, we can ensure they are on a path for success,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “With these grants, school districts will be able to provide enrichment activities and services beyond academics — such as counseling, tutoring and transportation — so they are better able to focus on learning.”

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia added, “the programs and services these grants will provide can help ease the burden of a tumultuous time and help students succeed in school.”

Statewide, over $5 million in grants authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, a component of the Every Student Succeeds Act, were awarded through the state Education Department. Awards ranged from $45,000 for districts serving 100-200 students in temporary housing to larger amounts for districts serving more such students; award amounts depended on a three-year average number of students in temporary housing.

Upon awards of baseline grants, there were opportunities to apply for an additional $20,000 per year for support of steps toward creating and implementing trauma-sensitive programs, said the Education Department.

The period for both grants will be July 1 this year through June 30, 2022. Funding for the second and third years will be awarded at the same level as the first year, the state said.


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