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Santa Monica-Malibu Schools to Consider Easing Enrollment Requirements for Homeless Youth


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

April 30, 2018 -- Santa Monica-Malibu public schools could ease the residency requirements for enrollment for homeless youngsters under a proposal headed to the School Board on Thursday.

An item on the agenda for the meeting, which is in Malibu this week, would allow any “homeless or foster youth or student who has had contact with the juvenile justice system" to be "immediately enrolled in school even if he/she is unable to provide proof of residency.”

Thursday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Malibu City Council Chambers, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, and is preceded by a one-hour closed session.

Like all California public school districts, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has extensive rules on establishing residency for students.

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In this case, it would eliminate a 2009 component for admittance of homeless children that required presentation of documents indicating the student lives in the district.

The documents include hotel or motel receipts, a letter from a social service agency or homeless shelter or an an affidavit from the parent/guardian stating that the family lives within the district.

It also directed that a “reasonable effort” be made to get an address, phone number and medical release from the parent/guardian when a child was placed in a classroom.

Postponed from the February 1 agenda, the item was originally meant to provide information on residency checks for inter-district permits.

But staff decided to use the opportunity to expand the issue of residency to other students and decided to ask for the new board policy regarding homeless students.

Santa Monica’s homeless population has risen over the last couple of years.

The number of homeless individuals sleeping on Santa Monica streets has increased 11 percent to 646 people, according to the 2018 Homeless Count numbers released in March.

The annual count found 311 homeless people in shelters and other institutions, a decrease of nine percent from the 2017 count. Overall, the count found a four percent increase in the homeless population.


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