Homeless student populations on rise around state

Editor’s note:      The following is an updated version of a story about homeless students in school districts throughout the state, including the most recent data collected by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. ..;.. For updated information on each district, see interactive map.For updated information on each district, see interactive map.By Carol SmithInvestigateWest School districts around the state are grappling with how to help growing populations of homeless students, even as budget cuts further slash their ability to meet their federal obligation to do so.Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act, school districts are required to identify and report homeless students and to guarantee those students transportation so they can stay at their original schools even if they have been forced to find emergency shelter outside the district. The districts are required to track how many students are living in motels, doubled up with relatives, in cars or in shelters.Being homeless can affect how children learn, can lead to depression, and can be misdiagnosed as learning disabilities, labels that stick with a child for years.