File #: Res 0827-2019    Version: * Name: DOE to provide one full-time school psychologist for every 500-700 students.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed (End of Session)
Committee: Committee on Education
On agenda: 4/9/2019
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Department of Education to provide one full-time school psychologist for every 500-700 students.
Sponsors: Robert F. Holden
Council Member Sponsors: 1
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 827, 2. April 9, 2019 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 4-9-19, 4. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - April 9, 2019

Res. No. 827


Resolution calling upon the New York State Department of Education to provide one full-time school psychologist for every 500-700 students.


By Council Member Holden


Whereas, With over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,800 separate schools, New York City (NYC) is home to the largest public school district in the United States (U.S.); and

Whereas, According to the World Health Organization, half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, and up to 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental disorders; and

Whereas, The NYC Department of Education (DOE) reports that of its student population, 19.7 percent are students with disabilities; and

Whereas, Studies have shown that neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people and, if untreated, they can negatively impact children’s development, their educational attainments and their potential to live fulfilling and productive lives; and

Whereas, Children with mental disorders face major challenges with stigma and discrimination, which increase social isolation and unmet needs for health care; and

Whereas, An analysis of New York State Department of Health (DOH) data by the New York State School Boards Association shows that opioid-related health facility visits by school age children have increased by more than 100 percent in the state since 2010; and

Whereas, DOH data show that an average of 79 children and adolescents, aged 10 to 19, died by suicide in the state from 2012 to 2014; and

Whereas, Childhood mental disorders, especially when diagnosed early on, can be treated and managed when everyone involved in the child’s treatment, including parents, teachers, coaches, therapists and other family members, work closely together to guide the child toward success, as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and

Whereas, A study published in February 2019 by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University found that over 12 percent of students-or, one in eight-who began kindergarten in fall 2012 experienced homelessness before fifth grade; and

Whereas, The study also found that homelessness can severely impact a student’s educational experience; homeless students change schools more frequently than permanently housed students and struggle with attendance, and homelessness often takes an emotional toll on children, affecting their classroom behavior and academic performance; and

Whereas, School psychologists, per the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), apply expertise in mental health, learning and behavior, and partner with families, teachers, school administrators and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally; and

Whereas, School psychologists are typically responsible for conducting student evaluations for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), which documents a student’s eligibility for special education services and formalizes the plan to provide special education programs and services that are appropriate for the student’s unique needs; and

Whereas, For Fiscal Year 2019, the DOE reported that there were 531 school psychologists, 26 bilingual school psychologists and three school psychologists on sabbatical, for a total of 560 school psychologist, some of whom serve multiple schools; and

Whereas, According to DOE data for the 2017-18 school year, 40,000 special education students-or 22 percent of all students classified as having disabilities-receive only part of the interventions they were entitled to or did not receive any extra support; and

Whereas, DOE school support staff generally feel overburdened and lament the fact that they do not have enough one-on-one time with students, and there is even a growing backlog of students who are overdue for an evaluation in whether their special education plans are meeting their needs; and

Whereas, The NASP Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services recommends a ratio students to school psychologists of 500-700:1; and

Whereas, School psychologists are vital members of school teams that help students navigate everything from class schedules to family crises; now, therefore be it

                     Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Department of Education to provide one full-time school psychologist for every 500-700 students.


LS #8861