Committee: Ways and Means EducationSponsor: Smitherman
Analyst: Daniel DavenportDate: 04/28/2021


Senate Bill 92 as substituted and reported by the Committee on Ways and Means Education would require the State Department of Education (SDE) to: (1) develop, to the extent not previously developed, and implement a comprehensive program to address the mental health of social-behavioral or social-emotional at risk students, subject to availability of funding; (2) coordinate, as reasonably possible, with the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) to deliver or coordinate assistance to certain students; (3) create a self-assessment tool for schools and school districts to determine the effectiveness of the program in helping social-behavioral or social-emotional at-risk students; and (4) develop guidance to enhance safe and supportive schools to provide best practices to schools to improve the learning environment. These provisions would increase the obligations of the Department by an undetermined amount dependent upon the costs to develop the comprehensive program, guidance, and self-assessment tool.

In addition, this bill will increase the obligations of local boards of education to: (1) commencing with the 2022-2023 school year, employ a mental health service coordinator to coordinate student mental health services throughout the local school system, subject to appropriation by the Legislature; (2) implement the safe and supportive schools guidance including an action plan for school systems that implement the frame-work, developed by the SDE subject to appropriations by the Legislature; and (3) provide a needs assessment and resource map to the ADMH by September 30, 2022. The amount of the increased obligations would be dependent upon compensation for each mental health service coordinator. Based on information provided by SDE, pursuant to the FY 2021 Education Trust Fund Appropriation Act (Act 2020-169), 101 local education agencies have been awarded grants in the amount of $40,000 each to expand school-based mental health initiatives. The Governorís FY 2022 Recommended Education Trust Fund budget includes: (1) an appropriation of $4.5 million to the State Department of Education for School-Based Mental Health Service Coordinators to provide grants to each local education agency to expand school-based mental health initiatives; and (2) an appropriation of $2.5 million to the ADMH for School-Based Mental Health Services Collaboration.

In addition, this bill would increase the obligations of ADMH by an undetermined amount to create a certification program to certify mental health service coordinators within one year of being hired.

Bill Poole, Chair
Ways and Means Education