SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 61
(By Senators Rucker, Blair, Azinger, Cline, Maynard, Plymale, Roberts, Stollings, and Trump)
[Originating in the Committee on Education; Reported on March 8, 2019]
Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study requiring county boards of education to provide, as determined necessary, adequate mental health evaluations and services, and counseling services, to students.
Whereas, House Bill No. 2397 was introduced during the 2019 regular session of the Legislature which, if enacted, would require county boards of education to provide adequate mental health evaluations, services and counseling services for students, and would establish a minimum student-to-school psychologist ratio of 1,000-to-1; and
Whereas, House Bill No. 2397 did not establish a similar ratio for school counselors; and
Whereas, According to the American School Counselor Association, West Virginia’s student-to-school counselor ratio during the 2015-2016 school year was 380-to-1, which is much better than the national ratio of 464-to-1, but still fails to meet the association’s recommended student-to-school counselor ratio of 250-to-1; and
Whereas, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose in 2017 were West Virginia (57.8 per 100,000), Ohio (46.3 per 100,000), Pennsylvania (44.3 per 100,000), the District of Columbia (44.0 per 100,000), and Kentucky (37.2 per 100,000); and
Whereas, West Virginia’s need for more mental health and counseling services in public schools may be higher than in other states due to the need to address mental health problems that stem from the state’s drug epidemic; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study requiring county boards of education to provide, as determined necessary, adequate mental health evaluations and services and counseling services to students; and, be it
Further Resolved, That this study may include recommendations on the appropriate minimum student-to-school psychologist and school counselor ratios, and methods of funding the recommended ratios; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2020, on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report, and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.