FRANKFORT, Ky. — 29 school districts in Kentucky do not have a nurse, and several more don’t have a full-time nurse on staff. 

What You Need To Know

  • Lawmakers are discussing a $9 million proposal to hire more school nurses

  • The talks come as lawmakers work on a two-year budget plan this session

  • On the floor Tuesday, lawmakers passed three bills, moving them to the opposite chamber


Lawmakers on a House budget review subcommittee discussed a proposal from the Kentucky Nurses Association to spend $9 million in the upcoming budget on making sure the state has a full-time nurse in every school building.

KNA policy consultant Dr. Sheila Schuster said they haven’t heard from any lawmakers who disagree with the proposal.

“But unfortunately, thinking it’s a good idea and then putting some money in the budget to make it happen has just simply not happened,” she said.

Supporters of the plan said having nurses will lead to better physical and mental health for students, and ultimately, better grades.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. Steve Riley (R-Glasgow) said he’s open to the idea.

“There is a great need for these. There is a great need in all schools,” he said. “All schools are different, and they all have a need in some way, shape or form.”

General Assembly votes Tuesday

The House approved House Bill 44 unanimously on Tuesday, which is a bill requiring schools to give students an excused absence for mental health reasons, if they need it.

“It’s important because it brings mental health issues to the level of conversation without fear of any type of stigma,” said Rep. Bobby McCool (R-Van Lear), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Rep. Lisa Willner (D-Louisville) also co-sponsored the bipartisan legislation.

“The bill represents one important step in reducing stigma and supporting student mental health, but we know there’s more work to be done,” she said.

The bill was the only one to make it through the House on Tuesday, while the Senate signed off on two bills, including Senate Bill 11.

Sen. Ralph Alvarado’s (R-Winchester) bill would change several regulations with long-term care facilities.

“The purpose of this bill is to modernize Kentucky’s assisted living social model to align with the vast majority of states,” he said.

SB 11 passed 30-2, while Senate Bill 55, dealing with stroke centers, passed unanimously. All three bills now move to the other chamber.