BPS Board puts a price tag on school safety, mental health

Published: Aug. 7, 2018 at 11:44 AM CDT
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School starts this month, and the Bismarck school board has some big business to attend to, which includes school safety and mental health options.

Monday night, Interim Superintendent Jim Haussler outlined how much it might cost.

Haussler proposed a request for a three mil increase to provide aides, social workers and school psychologists across the district.

He estimates a cost of $1.4 million.

Bismarck public schools has more special education students than Fargo, West Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot.

But BPS has the lowest special ed paraprofessional to student ratio out of the five districts.

“A half time social worker, we're looking at since we are short, school psychologists, we're asking for two more. It wouldn't get us to the national recommendation but it would help us in an area that we are currently short,” saidJim Haussler, Superintendent.

The board wants to implement the school based mental health and safety proposal, without raising taxes.

“School based mental health and school safety are going to be a big topic at the legislature and who knows what's going to happen?” said Karl Lembke, board member.

Rumors of mils being allocated towards the issue during this legislative session swayed the board away from raising any mils.

“There's discussion of five to 10 mils being allowed, districts allowed five-10 mils for school based mental health and safety and probably the procedure for that is to have approval of the board and approval of the people,” said Haussler.

The board will keep mils flat and lower the district's end of year balance to fund the school based mental health and safety proposal.

On Tuesday the board will meet again to interview the final four firms to assist in their superintendent search.

They expect to make a final decision then.