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Rise in homeless students seen in state

The number of homeless students continues to grow statewide.

Data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released Tuesday showed more than 35,500 kids statewide didn’t have a stable place to live during the 2014-15 school year, with 1,601 of those students being labeled unsheltered. The numbers include preschool-aged students through 12th grade.

The number is a 9.1 percent increase from the 2013-14 school year and a 62.7 percent increase from 2009-10, according to a press release from OSPI regarding the numbers.

In OSPI’s news release, it states specific reasons for the statewide increase are hard to pin down. However, the statement says many community factors, including lack of affordable housing options and unemployment, could be contributing factors.

The state receives around $950,000 in federal money each year to help homeless students. The money is allocated in the form of competitive grants, with districts with the most need receiving the money.

The money can help with tutoring, instruction, supplies and transportation needs for homeless students. The four-year graduation rate for homeless students in the class of 2015 was 51.9 percent, compared to a rate of 78.1 percent for all students.


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