A new report ranks Washington 9th in the nation for student homelessness as the population of that group grew by 30 percent in three years.
An annual report by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness looked at student homelessness in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The state had 35,511 homeless students during the 2014-15 school year, which made up more than 3 percent of the student population. Orondo, north of Wenatchee, and Dixie, northeast of Walla Walla, school districts had the highest rates of student homelessness at 55 and 43 percent respectively. Orondo is north of Wenatchee and Dixie is
The U.S. Department of Education defines homelessness as students who have no option but to stay with other in overcrowded or unsafe living conditions.
Ten Washington school districts had more 20 percent of students who were homeless. Four districts, including Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane and Highline, had more than 1,000 homeless students.
Federal funding for homeless students primarily comes from the McKinney-Vento act. The federal law was established in 1987. That funding for Washington state decreased in 2014-15 to $28.87 per homeless student from $34.73 in 2011-12. The national average is $50.08.
The study also looked at school performance in comparison to homeless status.
Homeless students were proficient in reading at around 26 percent lower than all students and about 27 percent lower than all students in math. A large percentage of students with disabilities were also identified as homeless, particularly in Nine Mile Falls, Camas, and Trout Lake school districts.
About 43 percent of Washington's homeless students are reported to live in urban areas.
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