LEAD PHOTO:  Carson Sappington, age four, of Hartsburg, negotiates the price of a super-sized pumpkin with Cody Hackman on Saturday at the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival. For more photos, see page 12 of today’s Journal.

LEAD STORY:  SoBoCo staff frustrated with counselor-student ratios

“We need more help, and are overwhelmed, “said Karri Amelunke primary school counselor.

Amelunke spoke to the SoBoCo School Board during their regular monthly meeting on Monday evening as the board reviewed the Guidance Counseling Program Evaluation.

Currently, the school district employs one counselor per building in the Primary, Elementary, and Middle School. The High School has two counselors, and the Early Childhood center does not have a counselor on staff.

“Our whole district prides themselves as being in the ‘desirable standard,’ (as set by DESE) if you look at others like library, classroom sizes, everything else. We try to be there, but we [guidance and counseling staff] are not,” said Sharon Horton, elementary school counselor.

Board President Barrett Glascock agreed, “We are serving double the students than (DESE’s) Missouri School Improvement Program desirable standard.”

Though it is a goal of the board to hire additional counselors in the next fiscal year, the district hired 12 new employees for the 2018 – 2019 school year. “It was just not in the budget last year,” Superintendent Chris Felmlee said. But the counseling staff told board members this effort needs to be a priority.

“I don’t think people understand the need” said Dannette Liles, Director of Special Services “they [counselors] should not be crisis managing.”

Counselors told the board that they are faced with new types of crises – such as students with no utilities at home.

~ Read the full story in today’s Journal ~

By Carson Blake