State Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is shown speaking on June 7, 2016, at the Westin Hotel in downtown San Diego. (Photo by Nancee Lewis)

State Senate President Toni Atkins has helped secure the San Diego Unified School District $250,000 to support homeless students next year after the district lost out on federal funding because of a missing signature on a grant application.

Why this matters

California school districts are eligible to apply for up to $250,000 in federal funding annually to help homeless students succeed. Whether districts get the money depends on how well their grant writers do in explaining the need for the funding.

The district announced the funding in a news release Tuesday about the school board voting on the fiscal 2019 budget.

inewsource reported last month that the state Education Department disqualified San Diego Unified’s request for up to $750,000 in homeless student funding over the next three years because it failed to get a signature from a finance official. Two other San Diego County school districts — South Bay Union and La Mesa-Spring Valley — also submitted incomplete applications and were disqualified.

The district said Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, worked to get the funds for San Diego Unified as a direct response to learning about the clerical mistake.

The $250,000 will come from the state’s general fund and is included in a package of budget bills Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign Wednesday.

Because of mistakes or omissions, 15 California school districts and county offices of education were disqualified for the federal grant distributed by the state Education Department. Like San Diego Unified, four others were disqualified for missing signatures.

The state money was included in the district’s fiscal 2019 budget. San Diego Unified had the third largest homeless student population in California last year, behind the Los Angeles and Long Beach unified school districts.

San Diego Unified has an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion, according to the district. A spokeswoman said school officials have not yet decided how they will spend the additional funding for homeless students but will in the next few weeks.

UPDATED at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2018: The attribution about Sen. Toni Atkins’ involvement was changed in the story.

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Flawed applications cost other San Diego County school districts homeless funding
June 15, 2018
San Diego Unified wasn’t the only San Diego County school district this year to lose out on thousands of dollars in funding to help homeless students because of a flawed grant application.

Rep. Peters makes plea to get funding for San Diego Unified’s homeless students
May 18, 2018
Congressman Scott Peters asked the state schools superintendent to consider giving funding to the San Diego Unified School District for homeless students even though its grant application was missing a signature.

San Diego Unified official takes blame over lost funding for homeless students
May 11, 2018
An official has taken the blame for San Diego Unified’s lost funding to help its homeless students.

Missing signature costs San Diego Unified funding for homeless students
May 11, 2018
A missing signature on a grant application means San Diego Unified has lost its chance to receive $750,000 in federal funding to help homeless students.

We’ll let you know when big things happen.

Megan Wood was a multimedia journalist for inewsource. To contact inewsource with questions, tips or corrections, email