Answer: No. As we examined the text of the law, the issue we were trying to resolve was the meaning of the phrase “in the local educational agency.” The set-aside language says the set-aside is for: “homeless children and youths, including providing educationally related support services to children in shelters and other locations where children may live;” and that the amount should be “determined based on a needs assessment of homeless children and youths in the local educational agency, taking into consideration the number and needs of homeless children and youths in the local educational agency.” Our question was: does the phrase “homeless children and youths in the local educational agency” mean only those attending public schools? Or would it include any homeless children and youth physically in the LEA and being served by the LEA in any form (including by Title I equitable participation funds that go to private schools)? We have come to the conclusion that homeless students attending non-public schools are not in the LEA but rather served by the LEA. If Congress had meant to say “served by”, they could have said that. The distinction is important and not one to interpret without deliberate consideration. That distinction means the set-aside cannot be used for private school students. Other Title I funds certainly could be used for non-public school students, including those who are homeless. The private school or equitable participation reservation absolutely could be used for that. But not the set-aside. Our conclusion is that these are two different Title I “pots” for two different purposes – one for public (the homeless set-aside) and one for private/non public. Our colleagues at NCHE came to the same conclusion.

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