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Funding for School Social Services Staff


School social services staff is deeply underfunded in our state. Professional associations recommend a ratio of 250:1 for psychologists, school counselors, and social workers and 750:1 for nurses. In North Carolina, the closest we come to the recommendations is counselors, where we have a 368:1 ratio. The others are much higher.  
Not having enough money for these vital staff positions means that both students' physical and emotional needs cannot be met effectively in our schools. Working to help students who need additional assistance can ensure better outcomes for students as they age. Mental health is a rising epidemic in our culture, and the work of these staff members aids in educating and identifying mental health concerns through middle and high school. Fully funding social services staff in our schools provides lasting benefits that help create a healthier, more stable population. I will support full funding to help North Carolina reach the national recommendations for social services staff in our schools.
School Funding Formula
When North Carolina voters approved the education lottery, they did so with the belief that the money from the lottery would be used to supplement funding from the state legislature. Over time, lottery money instead has supplanted General Assembly funding. I support returning the General Assembly's funding to pre-lottery levels, adjusted for inflation, to give school districts the money needed to support their district's personnel, education, and infrastructure needs. In addition, I will advocate for a change to lottery funding, which requires that money to be counted separately from the money that the legislature provides. That is in line with what our state's voters wanted and will help address the ongoing funding crisis in our educational system. 
I would push for a change to the per student funding system. Currently, schools are funded based on a student enrollment count on Day 10 of the school year. In places where a significant number of students re-enroll after starting the year in charter schools or move into the area, both of which are concerns in District 18, schools can end the year trying to support a number of additional students without funding. My hope is to change the per pupil allocation process to a monthly, rather than annual, one. A more frequent student headcount would keep the funding more closely aligned with the number of students actually in a school.