S 2843

Establishes competitive grant program for school districts to assist in hiring of school psychologists; appropriates $1 million

NJEA supports S-2843 (Codey, Sweeney).  This bill would establish a competitive grant program to help school districts hire more school psychologists, which will help provide more students with mental health services, and improve school climate and school culture.  The bill appropriates one million dollars for this purpose.

The bill requires that, in the grant application, school districts provide information on the district’s unmet need for student support services, the number of school psychologists working in the district, the ratio of school psychologists to students, the schools and student populations to be served by additional school psychologists, the district’s attendance and graduation rates, the number of students on free and reduced lunch, and other information the commissioner deems important.  The commissioner shall determine the amount of the awards to districts.  After one year, districts receiving awards shall report to the commissioner on their use of the funds and any relevant information related to the impact of the additional school psychologists.  The commissioner shall report to the governor and legislature on the program no later than two years after the program is established.

In the discussions around gun safety, mental health and school climate, NJEA has consistently stated the schools do not have enough mental health professionals.  We applaud the sponsors of this bill for creating a program to help schools solve this problem.  However, we would suggest that the appropriation be more than one year to give districts time to find money in their own budget to continue the position.

NJEA asks you to support S-2843.

Text of bill

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