Education, Local News

D161 gives updates about homeless students and discusses next year’s budget, curriculum and other changes

The Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education received an update in May 22 meeting documents on the number of homeless students served by the district in compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act. 

The district reported that the total number of district students currently experiencing homelessness was 57. The grade levels of these students range from preschool to 8th grade. 

District 161 has received a $17,871 from the American Rescue Plan-Homeless Children and Youth

Grant. The funds are being used to identify and support students experiencing homelessness. 

According to the National Center for Homeless Education, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act authorizes the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. 

Students are considered homeless if they live in a shelter, motel/hotel, train or bus station, park or car, abandoned apartment building, live with relatives due to lack of housing, or are disaster victims. 

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, it is the responsibility of the district to identify eligible children and families, enroll the student immediately, provide educational services, inform parents/caregivers of services, including transportation, display posters in each building, and provide professional development to all staff.

Other business

In other news, the district heard details about the tentative budget for the 2023-2024 school year. While the budget currently shows a large deficit, only a small portion comes from normal operating activities. 

There are a considerable number of planned capital improvement projects beginning in the next fiscal year and these were costs expected by the board. A vote to approve the tentative budget will take place at the June 12 Board of Education meeting. A more precise budget will be developed by district staff over the summer.

The K-8 specials/encore curriculum across the district was compiled and analyzed by a committee tasked with aligning district goals with materials used in classrooms. The selection process began in the fall and will be implemented in the next school year. 

The main outcome of the effort was to find the best educational material and make it available to all D161 students and teachers. The more uniform experience is designed to increase equity across the district.

The board also voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Flossmoor at the May 22 meeting. The agreement creates a position for a community engagement manager whose salary will be funded jointly by the district and the village. 

The position was listed as a communications manager in previous years. The title was changed to reflect the current needs of the organizations.

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