There aren’t enough registered nurses in Leon County schools. Candidates for the School Board’s District four seat each addressed that issue during Friday’s Political Perspectives show.
Parents are concerned that when children get injured at school or need medical attention for an ongoing condition, the schools don’t have adequate resources. Tallie Gainer, a challenger to incumbent Dee Dee Rasmussen, says he’s experienced this firsthand, having taken his daughter to the hospital for a neck injury because her school failed to help her.
He says, "I really think as a School Board member this is a classic example that these are things regardless of legislation, budgets, or whatever, parents are willing to make the investment for things that make sense to them. And a registered nurse in every public school in Leon County, it only makes sense."
Rasmussen’s second opponent, Patrick Cannon, is also mystified by the lack of nurses. He says he’s frustrated by the “penny-pinching” of the school board.
"We definitely should maximize every dollar in every aspect and it is surprising that we don’t have…not student nurses, but registered nurses in every school," says Cannon.
While her two challengers are seeking solutions to the issue of inadequate school medical resources, Dee Dee Rasmussen doesn’t think nurses can be a priority with the school district’s low budget.
She says, "I’m not trying to be a naysayer here, I would love to have a nurse, and a guidance counselor, and a social worker and and and. Unfortunately, the way our budget is funded though, is targeted at per-student allocation for the basic elements of education: reading, writing, and arithmetic, and testing."
All of the candidates want better school clinics, but whoever ends up with the District four seat will have to battle the budget before making any changes.