Here’s a recent article that appeared on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting website.
This press release expounds further on these issues:
Senate Education Chairman Patricia Rucker Praises Student Success Act’s Funding for Mental Health Services
CHARLESTON – Senate Education Committee Chairman Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, today released a statement regarding the West Virginia Student Success Act and the benefits of the $30 million in additional funding to schools for mental health services, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the chair of the West Virginia State Senate Education Committee, I’ve taken a lot of heat for my role in the passage of the Student Success Act, especially from the leadership of the West Virginia Education Association and American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia. Even during my recent campaign for re-election, I was the target of a constant drumbeat of political advertising that accused me of voting to cut funding for education.
Fact: The West Virginia Student Success Act, otherwise known as the “education omnibus reform legislation,” added $130 million in funding to West Virginia schools. Of that increase, $30 million was directly appropriated for hiring either a nurse, counselor, social worker, or psychiatrist directly or by contract for these critical services. Though we had no way of knowing at the time, this was a most prescient move. These services have become an important addition to schools as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Like the rest of the world, the Legislature had no way to see that a pandemic with such far and wide implications would emerge. It would have been impossible to prepare for the changes we have all made in our daily lives. However, I am glad that the West Virginia Legislature was able to come together to produce a bill like the Student Success Act that provides broad, comprehensive reforms that make the school system stronger, more resilient, and better prepared for anything life throws our way.
No one can predict the future. However, we all can strive to make improvements to our school system with the goal of better serving every child across the state. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and House of Delegates this year to pursue even more ways to make our school system the best it can be.”