Carson City School District discusses possible benefits for social workers
Along with the Carson City School District Board’s approval of a newly proposed policy regarding the School Social Workers (Safe Professionals) Program — an integrated program of school social work to be an integral part of educational experience for students — the board is also considering benefits for social workers.
The Carson City School District Board discussed the issue at its meeting on Tuesday.
With 14 full-time positions, to employ social workers will cost about $1.4 million, said district personnel director Jose Delfin. If Carson City were to pay for benefits and split the fund, the salary for the district’s social workers would be about $42,000, which would mean the district would lead the state for school social worker pay.
Delfin said most social workers are young and unmarried with no children, as benefits would improve quality of life. However, the district is losing some social workers as some are getting married and starting a family — in which they prefer benefits.
With that, school social workers could be considered as employees or contractors within the school district. But board member Mike Walker said if that goes forward, they would need to consider the rest of their contractors.
“If we’re going to maintain them as contractors or employees, that benefit decision is different,” he said.
“We met with the state to discuss reimbursing Medicaid, and what social workers provide,” Delfin said. “There are different ways to provides services, such as speech, language, and physical therapy.”
Board member Ron Swirczek was concerned about the purpose of the state grant for social workers in schools, and how further funding can be promoted for emotional learning to alleviate bullying and violence in schools.
The concern comes about after Gov. Brian Sandoval called for $36 million to place a social worker in every school, with the legislature approving about $6 million in 2016, as part of the anti-bullying effort.
“It’s a tremendous value to be accepted as a student toward academic achievement,” Swirczek said. “This isn’t going away.”
Delfin said the district doesn’t know the extent of what’s available in those terms, however, the district is facing a lot more of anger management in students.
“Social workers do it out of the kindness of their hearts,” he said. “They take care of every single student that comes through the doors. It’s a national crisis.”
“We need to be active about this,” said member Stacie Wilke. “It makes more of an impact to directly talk to our legislature about this, rather than school boards. We hate depending on the legislature and we need to look at other ways to fund this, such as getting parents involved. When the governor is not in office in two years, I’m concerned of where things will go with this.”
Board members, along with Delfin, plan to update the fiscal impact of providing employee benefits to school social workers and reevaluate proposed options in October.