Nurse in school bill fails in state House

Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 8:10 PM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A bill that would have placed a school nurse in almost every school in Arkansas was voted down Wednesday in the state House.

House members voted 52-16 against HB 1516, sponsored by Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley. Seven members of the House voted present, while 25 members did not vote.

The bill was approved Tuesday by the House Education Committee, sending the bill to the full House.

According to a story from Little Rock television station KARK, the bill was supported by lawmakers to address some concerns. While most districts have an adequate number of nurses, some districts have said they have a shortage. Meanwhile, opponents have said the policy change would create an unfunded mandate and place schools in a budget issue.

A principal at a Little Rock elementary school, Teresa Richardson, said she works three days a week as a nurse when the regular nurse is gone.

"If we have an emergency come up, then that's me," Richardson said.

Also, the district's coordinator of health service, Margo Bushmiaer, told KARK that while the district is okay with its number of nurses on staff, other schools face a difficult time on the issue.

"I know parents that have had to move to other districts so they could get someone during the school day to help take care of their student," Bushmiaer told KARK.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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