As you may have seen, State Auditor Suzanne Bump has found that the busing and education requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act, as complied with by the state, are an unfunded mandate. McKinney-Vento requires that students who are homeless and are living outside their home district be given transportation back to their home district, if their families wishes; students also have extra support services. Under this ruling, districts may apply for a waiver of the requirements or (as is more likely) may work with the Legislature to fund what is estimated at $6.3 million statewide in combined education and transportation costs each year.
You may recall that Worcester saw some substantial increases for FY11 for homeless students, particularly around transportation, and that it came up in this year's budget conversation for FY12. No, I don't know how much money we're spending on this now (good question for the first quarter report!), but it sounds like we've got something else to work with the Legislative delegation on!