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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kaela Berg (DFL)

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Release: House Education Finance Committee Heard Rep. Berg Bill to Fund More School Counselors and Other Aid Workers

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House Education Finance Committee heard HF 1742, a bill which would appropriate $225.6 million to establish a student support personal aid formula for schools to fund school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, or chemical dependency counselors. Rep. Kaela Berg (DFL - Burnsville) is chief author of the bill.

“Minnesota has fallen far behind the rest of the nation when it comes to offering adequate mental health and support services to our students. Professionals across the state have sounded the alarm for some time now about the significantly negative effect these shortcomings are having on our students,” said Rep. Berg. “This bill takes a bold step towards rectifying this deficiency and it will improve several critical outcomes as well as provide our students with the learning environment they need.”

In the 2018-19 school year, Minnesota averaged one school counselor for every 654 students. This is dramatically higher than both the national average ratio of 1:430 and the American School Counselor Association’s recommended ratio of 1:250. Minnesota is one of only six states with a school counselor ratio above 1:550.

The funding proposed in this bill is estimated to support 325 new school-based student support personnel, and recruit 230 new school mental health providers (along with supporting the retention of 1,750 school mental health providers).

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a future bill or action at a later date. You can find a recording of the hearing on the House Information Services Youtube page.