The VPS board of directors today unanimously adopted the district’s 2015-16 budget. School will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 2, as scheduled.

The excellence and equity budget invests 95 percent of new resources in students and schools in order to improve student achievement. The budget also includes:

  • An additional 12.8 FTE elementary counseling positions, giving every elementary school at least 1.0 FTE of counseling support. This is an investment of approximately $1.1 million.
  • An additional 13.5 FTE secondary counseling support positions, adding a 1.0 FTE position to all secondary schools except Flex Academy, which will be increased by 0.5 FTE. Flex’s enrollment is projected at 75 to 100 students. This is an investment of approximately $1.15 million.

These additions, part of approximately a $2.5 million investment in the social-emotional well-being of students, give VPS a total of 118.1 FTE counseling support positions in 2015-16.

According to data published by the American School Counselors Association, the Washington state student-to-staff ratio is 517:1. The counseling target for the Vancouver Education Association student-to-staff contract ratio is 450:1.

With these additional counseling support services investments, VPS’ ratio, including Family-Community Resource Center coordinators and student success advocates, will be approximately 200:1. Excluding FCRCs and student success advocates, VPS’ counseling services ratio will be approximately 275:1.

The approved budget recommendations include an equitable 3 percent reduction in central administration costs, among other measures to fund the increase in secondary counseling positions.

If student enrollment meets or exceeds projections, these reductions will be restored after the district attends to instructional class sizes and overloads per the Vancouver Education Association contract.