West Virginia Schools Superintendent Steve Paine told state education leaders he never planned to start sharing the number of homeless students in the state.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported in July that 10,522 public school students — or nearly one in every 25 students — were recorded as homeless during the 2018-19 school year.
Paine told West Virginia Board of Education members Wednesday that, while the number is “staggering,” its rise over the years “was not a significant increase.”
The number jumped nearly 17 percent in two years, up from 9,025 students in 2017, according to data from the West Virginia Department of Education.
Paine noted the number of homeless students to board members as he debuted the state’s newest annual education report.
The number of homeless students was not included in last year’s annual education report.