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Less money for homeless pupils
Social workers with the Glynn County School System will have fewer funds this year to help provide stability for homeless students.

Lead social worker Greg Jaudon said the $16,000 decrease will mean he and his colleagues will have to rely more heavily on what has always been a giving community.

"Fortunately, we have a community that does help in providing aid for these students," Jaudon said.

He learned at a conference in Macon this week that because more counties in Georgia qualified for federal grants provided under the McKinney-Vento Act, Glynn County's allotment has been reduced to $31,000 from $47,000.

The McKinney-Vento Act of 1987 established guidelines for all schools in the nation to ensure that homeless children have equal access to the same public education as others.

The act broadened the definition of a homeless student. Under the law, a homeless student is one who is not living at home with parents or guardians, or is in a family that has been displaced.

Last year, there were 176 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and three preschool children considered homeless in Glynn County, Jaudon said.

"It is really something that happens across the board with all ages," he said.

Younger children tend to be easier to identify because older children do not like people to know about their situation, he said.

Regardless of a child's age, living with a parent at a hotel or sleeping on a couch at a cousin's house is not conducive to creating the stability at home necessary to achieve at school.

Jaudon said much of the grant money is used to provide transportation for students to keep them at the same school for continuity.

Other money goes to help get students registered who might show up in the county without proper documentation, Jaudon said.

Those students sometimes stay at local shelters like Safe Harbor or Amity House, he added.

School system registrar Charlene Spence said it can be hard to track down the educational history of students without birth certificates or Social Security cards.

"We want to be privy to their test scores or if they were in special education classes at a previous school," Spence said.

It does not happen often, but if the information is not available, students might not get the services they need, she added.

Jaudon said organizations like the Glynn County Association of Realtors and the Brunswick Exchange Club, as well as private companies like Friendly Express, have stepped up in the past to provide supplies and services to homeless students when necessary.



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