Friday, June 08, 2007

Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program Update!

From American School Counselor Association
Subject: Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program Update!



Thanks to the ongoing efforts of ASCA members’ calls, letters, face-to-face meetings with congressional staff and testimony on Capitol Hill provided by ASCA's President-Elect, Eric Sparks, and ASCA member, Lesli Myers, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS-Ed) rejected President Bush’s recommendation to eliminate the program and instead approved a spending bill for Fiscal Year 2008 that included the largest increase ever to the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) to $61.5 million.  This is an increase of 77.5 percent over Fiscal Year 2007!  In fact, this is the largest percentage increase to any education program found in the House LHHS-Ed FY 2008 Appropriations bill! 

What Happens Next?
The LHHS-Ed appropriations bill next goes to the full House Appropriations Committee on June 14 and then to the floor of the House of Representatives for debate and votes the following week.  The Senate will go through the same process later this month, and then the different House and Senate bills must be rectified into one final bill that is passed by Congress and signed by the President.

If the increase in funding to the ESSCP reaches above $40 million, the funding “trigger” will go into effect making the monies above $40 million available to secondary school counseling programs as well as elementary school programs.  This will be the first time in the history of the program that the funding level will be large enough put trigger into effect making funds available for secondary school programs.

Next Step for ASCA Members
We want to make sure that Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI), Chair of the LHHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee and Chair of the full Appropriations Committee, knows how much we appreciate his efforts on behalf of school counselors and thank him for acknowledging the important role we play in schools by increasing ESSCP funding. To help in this effort, we have drafted the attached letter template thanking Rep. Obey for his efforts and for and for his continued support.  PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO PERSONALIZE THIS LETTER AND FAX IT TO REP. OBEY’S OFFICE AT (715)842-4488 OR EMAIL IT DIRECTLY TO CONNOLLY.KEIGHER@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV

Also, spread the word and share this good news with other school counselors in your school and state. 



 <<Insert Date>>


Chairman David R. Obey

Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee

2314 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Obey:


On behalf of the <<INSERT YOUR SCHOOL NAME OR STATE SCHOOL COUNSELING ASSOCIATION>>, I want to thank you for your support to increase funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) to $61.5 million in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for FY 2008.  We commend you for your continued leadership and acknowledgement of the school counseling profession and your willingness to increase funding for the ESSCP by over 77% despite the President’s recommendation to cut the program altogether.  


The need for school counseling services at both the elementary and secondary school levels is clear. As you well know, school counselors take the lead in efforts to help students cope with the effects of bullying, school violence, and natural disasters. School counselors also help students with academic, personal and social and career development to enable them to become contributing members of society.   <<INSERT DETAILS ABOUT YOUR COUNSELING PROGRAM IN YOUR SCHOOL>>.


Currently, the average student-to-counselor ratio in America’s public schools is 479 to 1. The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and other organizations recommend a maximum ratio of 250 to 1 to adequately meet students’ needs.  Funding from the ESSCP has provided grants to hundreds of counseling programs, helping many communities improve these critical student services.  With funding now reaching above the $40 million trigger, ESSCP grants will now be available to fund secondary school activities which is very exciting.  <<INSERT ANY PLANS YOU MAY HAVE FOR HOW THIS FUNDING COULD BE USED>>


We are so thankful you saw the importance of the Elementary and Secondary School program even in light of the current tough fiscal climate.  We greatly appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to continuing to work with you on this important initiative.





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