Senator Nickel is fighting to provide funding for one school nurse in EVERY school in North Carolina. Wake County provides one nurse for every 1,689 students while the federal recommended ratio is one nurse for every 750 students. This needs to be a major budget priority in the North Carolina General Assembly. We can have more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy or we can invest in public education and the safety of our children.
“State Senator Wiley Nickel, who represents Wake County says he’s pushing for more funding for school nurses as he feels it’s a safety issue. Nickel has forty-two public schools in his district; he’s visited nineteen so far.
“I have not met a single nurse, not one.”
Instead, he says he learned it’s the front desk staff who often in charge of making sure kids get their medication or tackling the daily medical needs. He says the lack of a nurse in the building is one of the top issues school staff say they want action on during every tour.
“It’s also about mental health. The nurses are really the front lines of finding these students that have mental health issues and getting them the help they need. If you don’t have a nurse in every school, you’ve got kids that you are just missing,” Nickel said.
The one big obstacle missing to make sure a nurse is in every school is the money. To fund a school nurse for every school not just in Wake County but the entire state will cost millions.
If state lawmakers want to tackle the problem, this latest report says it could cost up to $79 million annually to have a nurse in every public school in the state. To meet the federal recommended ratio of one nurse to every 750 students, the price tag could cost up to $45 Million.
For Nickel, he says it would be money well spent.
“It’s just a question of our values, where we want to put our dollars, do we want to put it for more tax cuts, or do we want to you know, improve student safety, and have a nurse in every school,” Nickel said.”