Decision Package
Reduce School Counselor Ratio in All Schools
AgencyDirect Aid to Public Education (197)
Budget RoundAmended Bill
Bill VersionRegular Session
CategoryNew general fund spending initiatives
DPB InitiatedNo
Exclude from Bud DocNo
Source of RequestAgency
RegionMultiple Regions
Approp. Act Language Required?Yes
Legislation Required?No
Enterprise StrategyImprove educational success in struggling schools in high poverty communities and expand access to quality early education for all children
Last Saved10/11/201804:30 PM
Agency Description
Additional demands have been placed on school counselors, and the need for counselor support is anticipated to increase due to demographic changes and the implementation of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate.

The role of the school counselor has been impacted by expanding responsibilities, including provision of comprehensive services to address students' academic, social and emotional development needs throughout their K-12 experience. These responsibilities are in addition to traditional counselor roles such as providing one-on-one services related to academic and career planning. For difficult to serve populations, the school counselor is increasingly involved in the coordination of academic intervention services and dropout prevention.

The Profile of a Virginia Graduate intensifies the need for additional counselors, as academic and career planning will be enhanced at all grade levels, requiring more one-on-one planning time to work with students to select and review their pathways to graduation. Counseling roles will also be impacted in lower grades because these students will be expected to begin exploring career interests in elementary school.

The last change to the required staffing ratio for school counselors was in 1989, when elementary schools were first required to provide counselors. In 1983, the current staffing ratio was established for middle and high schools.

During the most-recent recession, language was added to the Appropriation Act that waived the requirement for school divisions to meet staffing ratio requirements for certain positions, including guidance counselors for new hires.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) proposes to reduce the staffing ratio for school counselors to 1:250 for all schools over a period of three years. In this decision package, VDOE proposes to make approximately 1/3 of the progress towards the total cost of the recommended staffing ratio in the first year (fiscal year 2020).
Consequences of not funding/Justification
School counselors will continue become increasingly unable to meet the demands of their jobs. It will become difficult for counselors to execute the duties related to the Profile of a Virginia Graduate.
Alternatives considered (must list at least one)
An alternative would be to implement the change to a 1:250 school counselor ratio over a longer or shorter period of time.
Explanations and Methodologies
The estimate was computed by lowering the school counselor ratio in the SOQ Model for high, middle, and elementary schools. The ratio in elementary schools was lowered from 1:500 to 1:375. Middle school ratios were lowered from 1:400 to 1:325. High school ratios were lowered from 1:350 to 1:300.

The additional positions also receive credit for the 3.0 percent Compensation Supplement that is funded in fiscal year 2020 in Chapter 2. The impact of the Compensation Supplement is $1.6 million within Program 17802.
Object TypeFY 2019 ReqFY 2020 ReqFY 2021 ReqFY 2022 ReqFY 2023 ReqFY 2024 Req
General Fund Dollars$0$36,198,845$36,198,845$36,198,845$36,198,845$36,198,845
Nongeneral Fund Dollars$0$0$0$0$0$0
General Fund Positions0.
Nongeneral Fund Positions0.
General Fund Transfers$0$0$0$0$0$0
General Fund Revenue$0$0$0$0$0$0
Additions to Balance$0$0$0$0$0$0
More Details
Program CodeProgram NameFY 2019 ReqFY 2020 Req
178State Education Assistance Programs$36,198,845
Fund CodeFund NameFY 2019 ReqFY 2020 Req
01000General Fund$36,198,845
More Details
Program CodeProgram NameFY 2019 ReqFY 2020 Req
File NameFile SizeUploaded ByUpload DateComment
School Counselors - Appropriation Act Language.docx12,906Edward Lanza10/2/2018