Date Requested: February 13, 2017
Time Requested: 01:38 PM
Agency: Education, WV Department of
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
1189 Introduced SB63
CBD Subject: Education (K12)


FUND(S):



Sources of Revenue:

Other Fund N/A

Legislation creates:

Neither Program nor Fund



Fiscal Note Summary


Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.


    The purpose of this bill is to require school counselors in public schools to spend one hundred percent of their time on comprehensive school counseling programs. The bill also structures school counselor county funding ratios for the next three years. It allows counties to set their own caseloads while requiring that counselors be equally distributed at each academic level. And, the bill provides that counties with a funding ratio better than 350/1 is not to be penalized or lose funding. The estimated cumulative cost to the State upon full implementation is $2,066,547. The estimated cumulative cost to the county boards of education upon full implementation is $14,245,565. The total combined estimated cost for both the State and the county boards of education upon full implementation of the proposed legislation is $16,312,112.



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2017
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2018
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 11,539,329 16,312,112
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 -3,554,511 2,066,547
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 15,093,840 14,245,565
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0


Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):


    For the implementation year of 2017-18, the estimated cost savings to the State to change the calculation of the Step 5 foundation allowance under the Public School Support Program (PSSP) to fund one counselor for every 475 students is $3,554,511. This includes the decrease in Step 5 (salaries), Step 3 (fixed costs), Step 6 (current expense/substitutes/faculty senate), retirement, and PEIA premiums. This estimated cost is based on the computation that 54.14 fewer positions would be funded due to twenty-three (23) counties having current funding ratios that fall between the proposed year one ratio of 475:1 and the ratio of 350:1 that is required to be met in order for the county boards to not be penalized or lose funding.
    
    For the implementation year of 2017-18, the total estimated cost to county boards of education for this proposed legislation is $15,093,840. The cost savings to the State noted in the first paragraph of $3,554,511 equates to an increased cost to the county boards of education, because most counties would not have sufficient time prior to the end of personnel action season to eliminate those positions for the 2017-18 school year. County boards of education would also incur additional costs in order to absorb administrative (non-counseling) duties that school counselors would be prohibited from completing. Using the 2016-2017 number of school counselors employed and a maximum of 25% of their time being spent on non-counseling duties, it is estimated that county boards would need to hire 182.18 additional employees statewide. For purposes of this fiscal note, the average contracted salary for classroom teachers was assumed to be the average salary of the additional employees actually hired, although the actual type of employee hired could vary from a WVEIS data entry clerk to an administrator. The estimated county cost to hire 182.18 additional employees is $11,065,643. This includes the increase in salaries, fixed costs, retirement, and PEIA premiums. County boards of education would also incur additional costs of $473,686 for hiring 8.10 additional counselors in order to meet the minimum student to counselor ratio of 475:1 for the year of implementation.
    
    The estimated cumulative cost to the State upon full implementation is $2,066,547. This includes an overall increase in Step 5 (salaries), Step 3 (fixed costs), Step 6 (current expense/substitutes/faculty senate), retirement, and PEIA premiums. The estimated cumulative cost to the county boards of education upon full implementation is $14,245,565. This includes the increase in salaries, fixed costs, retirement, and PEIA premiums for additional non-State funded counseling positions and additional positions required to absorb the current administrative requirements of counselors. The total combined estimated cost for both the State and the county boards of education upon full implementation of the proposed legislation is $16,312,112.



Memorandum


    The purpose of this proposed legislation is to structure school counselor county funding ratios under Step 5 of the Public School Support Program (PSSP) for the next three years. However, the bill does not amend WV Code ยง18-9A-8(a)(5), which locks the basic program allowance to the counties for professional student support personnel (counselors and nurses) at the same amount as in the 2013 fiscal year. The estimates provided herein assume that the funding for professional student support personnel will be revised to meet the counselor funding ratios set out in the proposed legislation instead of the funding remaining at the 2013 level. However, a major technical issue with this proposed legislation is that the PSSP will no longer contain a funding mechanism for school nurses. The proposed funding for professional student support personnel will be based only on a counselor ratio with no consideration of school nurses.
    
    Per the proposed legislation, a county that currently has a funding ratio better than 350:1 may not be penalized in any manner or lose funding. However, the proposed legislation calls for phasing in the student to counselor ratio with 475:1 in 2017-18, 400:1 in 2018-19, and 350:1 upon full implementation in 2019-20. Because the proposed legislation does not also use the same phase-in for the penalty clause, twenty-three (23) counties will lose funding for student support personnel in the initial year of implementation. For example, Mercer County has a Step 5 funding ratio of approximately 361:1 as determined in the preliminary state aid computations for the 2017-18 school year. This ratio is lower than the 350:1 funding ratio required for no loss of funding; therefore, Mercer County would be funded at the Step 5 ratio of 475:1 for the year of implementation. Although Mercer County's current funding ratio is better than 475:1 for the implementation year, it is not better than the 350:1 ratio required by the bill to prevent a loss of funding. For the 2017-18 school year, Mercer County would lose approximately 6 funded positions, totaling $356,906 (before considered the loss of PEIA funding for those positions). The estimates provided herein include consideration of lost funding in the implementation year, which is a cost savings to the State.
    
    There is also proposed language that indicates "the ratio may be limited to 500/1, but that school counselors may not be limited to three hundred students." Because the proposed language establishes specific funding ratios, it is unclear how this provision would be utilized.



    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Brenda Freed
    Email Address: bfreed@k12.wv.us