AN ACT TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS TO INCREASE COMPENSATION FOR SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS AND TO ESTABLISH THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION PROGRAM.
Identical to H 482, filed 3/27/19.
Requires that in addition to the salary provided in accordance with the "A" salary schedule, school psychologists are to receive $1,000 per month. Appropriates $7.5 million in recurring funds from the General Fund for the 2019-20 fiscal year to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to provide the described compensation increases for school psychologists.
Directs the State Board of Education (State Board) to establish the School Psychologists Recruitment and Retention Program (program) to recruit and retain high-quality school psychologists in public schools by providing signing and retention bonuses. Directs the recruitment and retention coordinator, defined as a person at DPI responsible for program administration and under the direct supervision of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to coordinate with public school units to allocate funds appropriated by the act. Defines public school unit to mean a local school administrative unit, charter school, regional school, or school(s) operated or governed by the State Board, UNC, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety. Details parameters that must be followed in the allocation of funds and establishes that the recruitment and retention coordinator has discretion over the allocation of funds otherwise. Requires that bonuses be conditioned on the existence of an agreement between the public school unit and the school psychologist and approved by the recruitment and retention coordinator and includes provisions requiring the school psychologist to remain employed in the public school unit for three to five years and return bonus funds to DPI on a prorated basis if he or she does not remain employed for that time period and has not been terminated due to death, reduction in force, or disability. Prohibits individual bonuses from exceeding $10,000. Details unique factors of each public school unit the recruitment and retention coordinator must consider in determining program fund allocation, including the overall impact on student mental health in the public school unit if the funds were provided, and the history of difficulty in recruiting or retaining school psychologists at the public school unit. Requires public school units to agree that program funds will be used to supplement and not supplant local funds for school psychologists before the provision of any program funds by the recruitment and retention coordinator.
Requires the recruitment and retention coordinator to report to the President Pro Tempore, the Speaker, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division by September 30, 2019, and every subsequent three months in which program funds are awarded. Requires the report to identify the public school units receiving funds, the amount of funds received, and the purposes for which the funds were used.
Appropriates from the General Fund to DPI for the 2019-20 fiscal year $750,000 in recurring funds to establish and implement the program, and authorizes DPI to use up to $100,000 to establish a new, full-time equivalent recruitment and retention coordinator position at DPI to administer the program.
Effective July 1, 2019.