2000 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Farris
Senate Bill 2859
AN ACT TO PROVIDE AN ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS UNDER THE MINIMUM EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF EMPLOYING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS BASED UPON STUDENT ENROLLMENT; TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS IN EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR UNTIL EACH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS EMPLOYED AT LEAST ONE COUNSELOR; TO AUTHORIZE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO USE SUCH ALLOTMENTS TO EMPLOY SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKERS OR PUBLIC SCHOOL NURSES WITH APPROPRIATE CERTIFICATION; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN CONDITIONS ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF STATE-FUNDED SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS AND TO PRESCRIBE THE COMPREHENSIVE COUNSELING SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Beginning with the 2000-2001 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 elementary school guidance counselor to be allotted per fiscal year until each elementary school in the school district has one (1) state-funded school guidance counselor. However, until the time that there is a counselor in every elementary school at a counselor/student ratio of 1:500 or greater, the annual appropriation for elementary school guidance 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) Local school boards shall be authorized, in their discretion, to utilize such minimum program allotments to employ licensed social workers who possess a master's degree in social work and have had specific classes in individual and group counseling as determined by the State Department of Education. Local school boards shall also be authorized, in their discretion, to utilize such minimum program allotments to employ public school nurses who possess a bachelor's degree in nursing as a minimum qualification.
(4) The assignment of state-funded school guidance counselors, social workers or public school nurses to the particular schools within the district shall be at the discretion of the local school board with the following restrictions:
(a) The counselor/student ratio shall be no greater than 1:500, or one (1) counselor per school building, whichever is greater;
(b) No individual shall be employed as a school guidance counselor, social worker or public school nurse without appropriate training and certification as determined by the State Department of Education; and
(c) State-funded school guidance counselors, social workers or public school nurses shall be full-time professional personnel, shall spend at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the workday in a direct counseling relationship with pupils, and shall devote no more than fifteen percent (15%) of the workday to administrative activities.
(4) State-funded school guidance counselors shall provide the following comprehensive counseling services: (a) academic and personal advisement; (b) student assessment and assessment consultation; (c) career and educational planning; (d) individual and group counseling; (e) preventive classroom counseling activities and crisis intervention; (f) referrals to community agencies; (g) educational consultation with teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders; (h) educational and career placement services; and (i) follow-up counseling services.
(5) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any school district from employing with local funds more school guidance counselors, social workers or public school nurses than are provided for in this section.
(6) The State Department of Education may adopt regulations regarding the activities of the school guidance counselor, school social worker or public school nurse as are not inconsistent with this section.
(7) This section shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 2004.
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, 2000.