We were notified that the Cleveland Municipal School District would not receive any funds this year from the competitive funding program for homeless children. This is nearly one third of their total allocation from the State of Ohio to serve homeless children in the district who become homeless during the school year. Obviously, these funds are not divided by need since Toledo received $0 in 2017 and now Cleveland will get $0 in 2018. Lorain City Schools also is not going to receive any funds this year. I could not find the figures for how many homeless children were in each district, but Cleveland saw over 3,000 kids in the district in 2016. We also know that homeless families are on the rise in Cleveland with long waits in the overflow shelter while a bed opens up in the three remaining family shelters.
In case you do not know, the Cleveland Municipal School District Project ACT program is over 25 years old and will do whatever it takes to get a homeless child back into school as soon as possible. They help with transportation, uniforms, identification, tutors, and advocacy to make sure that all the children experiencing homelessness do not fall behind. They visit all the shelters to see if there are any homeless children that are not getting help, and they will work with the surrounding district to make sure that if the child is homeless from Parma they can return to that district to complete their studies for the year. Project ACT provides tutors to keep the kids at grade level. So, if their entire home life evaporates at least their school life is preserved and often enhanced with Project ACT.
The State of Ohio said that they did not fill out a very good grant this year, and obviously Parma did a better job. Well, I would ask the State officials to come up here and get 3,000 kids back to school quickly and try to keep those kids at grade level while also filling out some stupid grant request. Why isn't this need based? Cleveland has to have the first or second highest number of homeless kids in the state. We should get this money just because we take care of so many kids. I guess we will have to figure out a transportation system to Toledo and Parma for all our homeless kids in the district since they got the Cleveland money this year.
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We will continue to support our students through other resources while we address this with ODE. There will be NO reductions in service!