• ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The staff is increasing at St. Louis Public Schools this year. Stacy Clay is Deputy Superintendent of Student Support Services. He says nearly three dozen counselors with Master’s degrees have been hired.

    “We know that our young people and our families are facing challenges that are far greater than just academic,” Clay says. “We know there are social and emotional needs, basic needs that we have to help families address and the counselors will be able to do just that.”

    He says principals had the choice to have a social worker or a counselor and most chose to have a counselor.

    “Counselors have understanding in addition to supporting students emotionally and socially, generally have more academic understanding than social workers do and a lot of principals like that,” Clay says.

    The change means each school building will have a counselor. Previously, one counselor would only spend 2 or 3 days a week at an individual school. The hiring was made possible by the passage of Prop 1 – the first operating tax levy increase to support Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) in 25 years.

    It is expected to generate an estimated $28 million per year for SLPS and Charter Schools in St. Louis City. District officials will use the additional funds for early childhood education, to improve security equipment, expand character education and alternative education options.

    Competitive salaries will be offered to teachers and support staff.