Bill to increase time school counselors and social workers spend with students receives unanimous committee support
AUGUSTA — Legislation from Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, LD 247, “An Act To Increase the Amount of Time School Counselors and Social Workers Spend Providing Students Direct and Indirect Counseling,” received a unanimous vote from the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Monday.
“Maine school counselors and social workers need every bit of time available to them each school day for their work with students,” said Sen. Millett. “The current situation in some Maine schools prevents them from being able to get that time, and as a result our children suffer.”
School counselors and social workers provide services in a range of areas, from delivering the school guidance curriculum and helping individual student planning to providing responsive behavioral health services. They also act on behalf of students by providing referrals for additional assistance and consultation and collaborating with parents, teachers and other educators. LD 247 would require that school counselors and social workers spend 80 percent of their time providing direct or indirect services to students.
Right now, however, many school counselors also spend time on clerical work, serving as substitute teachers, covering recess and lunch duties, proctoring testing, manually entering test data into state websites and performing other jobs that are not direct or indirect services to students. These extra duties interfere with their abilities to focus on their direct responsibilities, and LD 247 seeks to minimize these interruptions.
The bill now faces votes before the full Maine House and Senate.