1997 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Ferris
Senate Bill 2405
AN ACT TO PROVIDE AN ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS UNDER THE MINIMUM EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF EMPLOYING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS; TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS IN EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR UNTIL EACH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS EMPLOYED AT LEAST ONE SUCH COUNSELOR; TO AUTHORIZE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS TO ASSIGN GUIDANCE COUNSELORS TO PARTICULAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO EMPLOY A SUPERVISOR OF GUIDANCE COUNSELORS AND ISSUE REGULATIONS REGARDING THE SERVICES OF SUCH COUNSELORS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year, in addition to other funds allotted under the minimum education program, each school district shall be allotted sufficient funding to employ one (1) elementary school guidance counselor, with funding for an additional guidance counselor to be allotted per fiscal year until each elementary school in such school district has one (1) state-funded counselor. Provided, however, that until such time as there is a counselor in every such elementary school at a ratio of 1:500 or less, the annual appropriation for elementary counselors shall not be reduced.
(2) The State Department of Education may, however, increase the number of positions funded each year beyond the above requirements as money is made available.
(3) The assignment of such guidance counselors to the particular elementary schools shall be at the discretion of the local school district with the following restrictions:
(a) The counselor/student ratio shall be no greater than 1:500, or one (1) counselor per school building; and
(b) No individual shall be employed as an elementary school counselor without appropriate training and certification as a school counselor by the State Department of Education.
(4) To qualify for minimum program funding, school guidance counselors shall be full-time professional personnel, shall spend at least seventy-five percent (75%) of work time in a direct counseling relationship with pupils, and shall devote no more than one-fourth (1/4) of the work day to administrative activities which are counselor related.
(5) Nothing in this act shall prohibit any school district from employing with local funds more elementary guidance counselors than are provided for in this act.
(6) The State Department of Education shall employ a supervisor of guidance who holds certification as a school guidance counselor. The supervisor's responsibilities shall include the oversight of the new elementary guidance programs as well as existing secondary programs.
(7) The State Department of Education may adopt rules and regulations regarding the activities of the school guidance counselor, and the school guidance counselor is authorized to perform such services as are not inconsistent therewith.
SECTION 2. All new programs authorized in this act are subject to the availability of funds specifically appropriated therefor by the Legislature.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.