TO: All Legislators
FROM: Senator Chris Larson
Representative Sondy Pope
DATE: November 17, 2021
RE: Relating to: a school district revenue limit adjustment for the cost of employing school nurses.
DEADLINE: Monday, November 29th at 5:00 pm.
"School Wellness Act"
School nurses are vital to the overall health and well-being of students. School nurses provide numerous services to students and families, including managing students' immediate and ongoing physical and emotional needs, identifying initial health concerns, and recommending referrals to outside-of-school practitioners. Further, school nurses are in charge of directing overall public health initiatives such as hand-washing awareness, vaccination support, basic hygiene education, anti-bullying campaigns, etc. Another important component to school nurses is their role as community liaisons between families and pediatricians, increasing positive relationships between doctors and patients.
As providers of such services, school nurses are a tremendous benefit to schools and dramatically improve students' attendance and overall academic success. By keeping students healthy and addressing immediate health needs, school nurses allow students to stay in the classroom; the more time students are in the classroom, the more learning occurs, which increases overall academic achievement.
Unfortunately, there is a nationwide school nurse shortage. According to the National Education Association, the ratios of students per school nurse are far too high. Wisconsin ranks 39th in the nation with 2,359 students per nurse. In many cases, nurses work across multiple schools, which decreases the level of support nurses can provide to students.
In order for students to learn, they need to be healthy. School nurses play an extremely valuable role in ensuring the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students so they can continue to thrive. However, for school nurses to be successful, they need to be adequately staffed and districts need to receive proper funding to address severe nurse shortages. LRB-5124/1 creates a revenue limit adjustment to give more flexibility to school districts when deciding their school nurse staffing needs. This proposal is a commonsense step in keeping our students' minds and bodies in good health at no cost to the state.
To co-sponsor this legislation, please respond to this email or contact Senator Larson's office (6-7505) by 5 p.m. on November 29, 2021.