3 local school districts have highest homeless student numbers in state

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EATON RAPIDS, MI (WILX) -- Charlotte, Eaton Rapids and Holt Schools have among the most homeless students in the state.

Three local school districts have some of the highest homeless student numbers in the state. That doesn't mean they have a bunch of students living on the street, but administrators say it does affect their education.

"The five-year trend for all three of those school districts is trending down with both the count and the percentage of students of the enrollment population who are considered to be homeless," said Lauren Leeds, a spokesperson for the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information.

A homeless student is defined as someone who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.

"That could be students who are living on the street, a homeless shelter, a hotel with mom and dad, families that have had to temporarily move in with a family member, it's not just students that are living on the street," said Leeds.

Not having a consistent place to live plays a big part in homeless students' graduation rates.

"We definitely are concerned, we had around 15 students that did not live at home, and lived with friends," said Eaton Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Bill DeFrance. "If kids are living in a situation when they're not living with parents or guardians it's a little more unstable."

Both Eaton rapids and Charlotte school districts have teen centers, which help kids who might have issues at home.

DeFrance says that those type of places help students develop a more positive relationship with adults.

"In Eaton Rapids, the teen center is getting somewhere between 30 and 40 students a day from right after school to about six at night so i think that's great."

Only 57% of homeless students graduate high school.

The overall average is 79% in Michigan.

Twenty percent of students considered homeless end up dropping out.