The Olympia School District will improve physical, social, and emotional services through increased state funding required in House Bill 1664, passed in the recently concluded legislative session.
In a presentation at the April 28 regular board meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Jennifer Priddy told the OSD board members that House Bill 1664 allocates more funds for counselors, school nurses, social workers and psychologists.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on March 23. The state now provides prototypical formulas to fund physical, social, and emotional support in schools based on full-time enrollment figures.
Priddy said,in effect, the funding will improve the staff hiring starting in the nextschool year and increasing throughthe 2024-2025 school year.
For example, she said the state prototype funding model for counselor allocation – students per staff member, will look like this:
|K to 6||811||606||484||403|
|Grades 7 to 8||421||312||279||252|
|Grades 9 to 12||236||222||208||197|
The state is currently allocating 21.16 staff for Olympia. Priddy said the allocation will more than double the staff for nurses, social workers, psychologists, and counselors in the school year 2024-2025.
“Given that the state will fund 45 staff, the district must add two staff or lose the funding,” she said, adding, “Olympia - or any other district - is only required to meet that threshold, estimated at 45. The district is not required to exceed 45. But, any district can exceed the minimum.”
In an email to The JOLT, Priddy explained the State funding formula for allocating these staff.
Using the current allocation for counselors for OSD as an example, Priddy said the State is funding 18.95 staff.
She added the district would hire 19 counselors, not 18.95. The district would use levy funds to cover the portion of the staff not paid for by the State.
“Basically, the State gives districts the monetary equivalent of a partial staff person to a district, and we hire as many as possible with the amount of money and any levy funds that we can afford. The importance of this new state funding is that it helps districts that do not have as much community support for a levy to support more staff in the physical, social, and emotional support realm,” Priddy said.
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