Committee: Education PolicySponsor: Smitherman
Analyst: Daniel DavenportDate: 02/02/2022


Senate Bill 40 as introduced would require the State Department of Education (SDE) to: (1) develop and implement a comprehensive program to address the mental health of Tier II students; (2) create a self-assessment tool for schools and school districts to determine the effectiveness of the program in helping Tier II students; and (3) develop a safe and supportive school framework. These provisions would increase the obligations of the Department by an undetermined amount dependent upon the costs to develop and disseminate to local boards of education a comprehensive program self-assessment tool, safe school framework, model protocols and best practices.

In addition, this bill will increase the obligations of each local board of education to: (1) commencing with the 2023-2024 school year, employ a mental health service coordinator to coordinate student mental health services throughout the local school system with specific focus on Tier II students; however, this is subject to appropriation by the Legislature; and (2) provide a needs assessment and resource map to the Department of Mental Health (ADMH) by September 30, 2023. The amount of the increased obligations would be dependent upon the compensation for mental health service coordinators. Based on information provided by SDE, there are 114 local education agencies that have been awarded grants in the amount of $40,000 to expand school-based mental health initiatives. The Governorís FY 2023 Recommended Education Trust Fund budget includes: (1) an appropriation of $10.08 million to the State Department of Education for the School Safety Security and Climate Program with $4.53 million earmarked 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 $3.5 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.

As substituted and reported by the Committee on Education Policy, removes the reference to Tier II students and replaces it with social-behavioral and social-emotional at risk students.

Tim Melson, Chairperson
Education Policy