This week, Superintendent Elsie Arntzen recommended significant changes to school accreditation standards. You can find them at this link. NAMI Montana is particularly concerned about the elimination of functional staffing ratios for school counselors in Montana schools.
These threatened cuts come amidst a national struggle in youth mental health. Montana families are living this struggle. As described by the Independent Record, the 2020 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Montana “found the highest rate of students ever to report feeling so sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row that they stopped doing usual activities, a metric researchers say is a symptom of depression.”
School Counseling Staff Recommended Ratio Cut
10.55.710 currently requires a minimum equivalent of one full-time counselor for each 400 K-8 student and a minimum of one full-time counselor for each 400 high school students with this ratio to be prorated. School districts with fewer than 126 students may employ or contract or use a consortium, multi-district agreement, or interlocal cooperative to secure counseling services.
Superintendent Arntzen’s recommendation eliminates the ratio and therefore makes it less likely that Montana youth will be able to access school counselors who have a functional caseload. This is a horrible time to make it harder for Montana kids to access a school counselor.
On Wednesday at 3:30 pm, the Negotiated Rule Making Committee will consider Supertintentent Arntzen’s recommendations.
Please email Tristen Loveridge (firstname.lastname@example.org) with comments to the committee asking them to maintain the librarian and counselor ratios.
You can also email Tristen Loveridge (email@example.com) to request a link to Wednesday’s meeting to give live public comment.
Chapter 55 – Negotiated Rule Making Committee:
Wednesday, May 18th, 2022
3:30PM – 5:00 PM