2005 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Harden
AN ACT TO PROVIDE AN ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS UNDER THE ADEQUATE EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF EMPLOYING SOCIAL WORKERS IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVING THE HIGHEST INCIDENCE OF STUDENT DROPOUTS, SCHOOL RELATED VIOLENCE, JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, LOW TEST SCORES, SPECIAL EDUCATION POPULATION AND FREE OR REDUCED MEALS; TO DIRECT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DETERMINE WHICH SCHOOL DISTRICTS SHALL RECEIVE SUCH ALLOTMENTS; TO REQUIRE SOCIAL WORKERS EMPLOYED WITH SUCH FUNDS TO BE APPROPRIATELY LICENSED; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE ACTIVITIES OF SUCH SOCIAL WORKERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, the State Department of Education shall allot One Million Dollars p($1,000,000.00) under the adequate education program to school districts designated under subsection (2) of this section for the purpose of employing a social worker. This social worker shall not replace any school counselor, school psychologist or psychometrist, but shall complement the support services available to all students in the public schools.
(2) The State Department of Education shall designate thirty (30) school districts to receive an allotment for the purpose of employing a social worker. The school districts shall be selected by the State Department of Education according to greatest need, as indicated by records of the State Department of Education and the Department of Human Services reflecting those school districts having the highest incidences of student dropouts, school related violence, juvenile delinquency, low test scores, special education population, and free or reduced meals.
(3) The State Department of Education may increase the number of social worker positions funded each year beyond the above requirements, as money is made available.
(4) The assignment of the state-funded social worker within the school district shall be at the discretion of the local school board, or designee with the following restrictions:
(a) Any individual employed with funds allotted under this section must be appropriately licensed as a social worker under Section 73-53-1 et seq.
(b) Social workers shall be full-time professional personnel and shall spend a minimum of seventy-five percent (75%) of work time in direct school social work activities.
(5) The State Department of Education may adopt rules and regulations regarding the activities of the social workers as are not inconsistent with this section or with Section 73-53-1 et seq. Social workers may perform those services that are not inconsistent with such rules and regulations.
(6) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a school district from employing additional social workers with local or federal funds.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.