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Oklahoma: 'There's no doubt that we need more counselors' in schools

Oct 26, 2019, Tahlequah (OK) Daily: Party figures discuss school budget request Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is hoping to see more dollars for common education in fiscal year 2021, as the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a budget request of $3.29 billion during a monthly meeting Thursday. If approved by the Oklahoma Legislature, common education would receive $220 million more than last year, but some officials believe the chances of the whole request being allocated is unlikely…. The board of education is seeking increases in several areas of the public school system. $19 million of the increase would go to more school counselors, as the current counselor-to-student ratio is 435 to 1, whereas the recommended ratio by the Americans School Counselor Association is 250 to 1. "There's no doubt that we need more counselors," said Pemberton. "The money wasn't there last year to do it. We have a lot of mental health issues in the schools and other things, so hopefully we can get some more counselors and bring some of those counselor-to-student ratios down." … Also among the budget increase requests is an extra $42 million for "support of students and teachers." Portions of the $42 million would go to increases in alternative education programs, early intervention SoonerStart, support for low-performing schools, the development of formative assessment items to support teachers, computer science training, and much more…. "I like that the list includes funding for more counselors, mental health for kids should be a focus," said Kennedy. …


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