The Utah School Counseling Association has publicly announced their opposition to HB 299. We wanted to inform you of what the bill says and why we as an association took a stance against it.
HB 299 is a bill currently being talked about in the legislative session that would create a one-year pilot program to address mental health in schools. The bill itself would create a one-year pilot program meant to provide training and education on mental health to selected local education associations (LEAs). The State Board of Education would then be tasked with creating criteria for evaluating programs interested in implementing these pilot programs in our school district and choose up to 6 LEAs to participate in the pilot program. The funding for this program would be allocated just one time for the 1-year of the pilot program.
This program initially sounds like a great opportunity to help support our counselors that are serving in more rural school districts, but as you get further into the details of the bill and the behind the scenes for the creation of this bill USCA has some major concerns, that we feel need to be dealt with prior to giving our support or changing our stance on this bill. Our concerns for the bill include: