(1) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall create a competitive grant process to evaluate and award state-funded grants to school districts to increase identification of students experiencing homelessness and the capacity of the districts to provide support for students experiencing homelessness. Funds may be used in a manner that is complementary to federal McKinney-Vento funds and consistent with allowable uses as determined by the office of the superintendent of public instruction. The process must complement any similar federal grant program or programs in order to minimize agency overhead and administrative costs for the superintendent of public instruction and school districts. School districts may access both federal and state funding to identify and support students experiencing homelessness.
(2) Award criteria for the state grants must be based on the demonstrated need of the school district and may consider the number or overall percentage, or both, of homeless children and youths enrolled in preschool, elementary, and secondary schools in the school district, and the ability of the local school district to meet these needs. Award criteria for these must also be based on the quality of the applications submitted. Selected grantees must reflect geographic diversity across the state. Greater weight must be given to districts that demonstrate a commitment to:
(a) Partnering with local housing and community-based organizations with experience in serving the needs of students experiencing homelessness or students of color;
(b) Serving the needs of unaccompanied youth; and
(c) Implementing evidence-informed strategies to address the opportunity gap and other systemic inequities that negatively impact students experiencing homelessness and students of color. Specific strategies may include, but are not limited to:
(i) Enhancing the cultural responsiveness of current and future staff;
(ii) Ensuring all staff, faculty, and school employees are actively trained in trauma-informed care;
(iii) Providing inclusive programming by intentionally seeking and utilizing input from the population being served;
(iv) Using a multidisciplinary approach when serving students experiencing homelessness and their families;
(v) Intentionally seeking and utilizing input from the families and students experiencing homelessness about how district policies, services, and practices can be improved; and
(vi) Identifying data elements and systems needed to monitor progress in eliminating disparities in academic outcomes for students experiencing homelessness with their housed peers.
(3) At the end of each academic year, districts receiving grants shall monitor and report on the academic outcomes for students served by the grants. The academic outcomes are those recommended by the office of the superintendent of public instruction. The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall review the reports submitted by the districts and assist school districts in using these data to identify gaps and needs, and develop sustainable strategies to improve academic outcomes for students experiencing homelessness.
(4) Students experiencing homelessness are defined as students without a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence in accordance with the definition of homeless children and youths in the federal McKinney-Vento homeless assistance act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 11431 through 11435.
(5) School districts may not use funds allocated under this section to supplant existing federal, state, or local resources for supports for students experiencing homelessness, which may include education liaisons.
(6) Grants awarded to districts under this section may be for two years.