On Tuesday, June 10th, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related agencies approved the FY 2015 Labor Health and Human Services Education appropriations bill.
Funding for these programs is critical. It is important that our voices are heard in Congress. Not only to protect our children but to also provide them with the quality education that they so deserve. Programs included in this bill allow schools to hire more professional school counselors, provide resources for safe learning environments as well as provide the resources our children need to succeed. Please contact your Senator and let them know that this is important to you!
The Labor-HHS FY 2015 bill provides a total of $156,773,000,000 in discretionary budget authority. Although the budget for the Elementary and Secondary School program (ESSCP) had been zeroed out in the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal, $49,561,000 was re-instated in the Senate version of the appropriations bill. The fiscal year 2015 request for the Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students program will also include funds to pay 2015 continuation costs for ESSCP grants made in previous years.
Funding for the Safe and drug-free schools and Communities national program was increased by $13,000,000. This program provides support to State Education Agency’s (SEAs) for a variety of drug-abuse- and violence-prevention activities focused primarily on school-age youth. Activities under this program include: providing counseling services, peer mediation, mentoring and character education programs; establishing safe zones of passage for students to and from school; and hiring security personnel.
Licensed Professional Counselors should be at the forefront of this legislation. The bill essentially allows for, improved school climates; greater access to community and school-based mental health support and allows greater access to quality education for all students. The fiscal year 2015 budget for many programs that are important to the profession have been increased or remained stable, but more can be done.