Education leaders across the state are urging lawmakers to adequately invest in public schools, ultimately pushing for the complete funding of the Leandro plan.
Last week, The State Board of Education voted unanimously to request for funding to place much-needed social workers and nurses in public schools around the state. In addition, the board is asking lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper to fully fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan in the long-running education case known as Leandro v. State of North Carolina.
According to EdNC, funding Leandro would address many long-standing issues by significantly improving access to educational programs and services, increasing access to early learning opportunities, as well as supports like home visiting, child care subsidies, and salary supplement programs for early educators.
It would also include funding for nurses, social workers and education resources that would meet the needs of students.
According to WRAL, “North Carolina needs 1,000 more nurses to ensure a nurse is employed at each school in those counties. Statewide, it needs even more. North Carolina needs about 4,000 more social workers to meet nationally recommended ratios of students per social worker”.
A report to lawmakers from the state Department of Public Instruction this fall showed North Carolina has:
- One school nurse for every 890 students and less than one nurse per school
- One school social worker for every 1,025 students — more than four times the recommended ratio of one social worker for every 250 students
- One school counselor for every 335 students, which is more than the recommended ratio of one counselor for every 250 students
- One school psychologist for every 1,815 students, nearly four times the recommended ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students
The social workers and nurses would be for school systems in counties the state considers more economically distressed. That’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties, which by law are only 80 of the state’s 100 counties
“The bottom line is, what can we do for children to make it better for their future?” stated Board Member Wendell Hall.
Historically, state Republicans have failed to adequately fund public schools, choosing to pass lackluster teacher pay measures and a state budget that only partially funds the court-approved order.
With a new legislative session, renewed calls for education investments will be one of many key topics surrounding the state’s public schools this year.
Read more at WRAL