Arkansas Schools Not Taking Advantage of Help

DECEMBER 11, 2006 - Posted at 7:19 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas officials want to expand a program to help poor students by putting state Department of Health and Human Services workers in some schools.  Only 27 of 50 qualifying schools are participating in the program.  Department director John Selig says the agency needs to improve efforts to follow up with eligible schools to encourage their participation.

The Transitional Employment Assistance Board alloted $2,340,000 for the current and past school years, but board staff members estimate only about $729,000 will be spent by the end of this school year.

The program is supported by federal funding.  The board reimburses participating schools the salaries they pay the human service workers.  At the schools, the workers promote health, physical education and nutrition; counsel students; encourage health among staff members and encourage community involvement.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)