$35m given to 181 Oklahoma school districts
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KSWO) - The Oklahoma State Department of Education is awarding grants to 181 school districts statewide.
$35.7 million has been made available to help schools meet the needs of students in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. It will be used to hire school counselors and school-based mental health professionals.
The money comes from federal relief funding. The grant program is called the Oklahoma School Counselor Corps.
“Schools have wrestled with inadequate numbers of counselors and mental health professionals for far too long,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Oklahoma children suffer from a higher rate of trauma than children in most other states, and the pandemic has only exacerbated such adversity. These grants can bring transformational change to schools, some of which have not had a single school counselor. With academic success dependent on student well-being, this marks a critical investment for our students.”
Officials with OSDE said the current student to school counselor ratio is 411 to 1, while the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250 to 1.
The grants are set to fund half of the cost of the salary and benefits of qualified positions.
A total of 181 districts across the state are receiving the grants, with schools having requested 222 school counselors, 36 licensed social workers, 54 licensed mental health professionals, four recreational therapists and 42 contracted services.
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