AUSTIN, Texas -- After a committee recommended Austin ISD put nurses in all of its schools, the district is now seeking proposals to make that happen. Nurses are spread thin across Austin ISD's 130 campuses.
Currently, AISD has only one full-time RN at campuses with 750 students or more. Smaller schools either balance a part-time nurse with a health assistant or have a full-time health assistant and a nurse, who treats patients through video conference.
"Working with the district we did expand the number of RNs that were in the current plan," said Greg Hartman, chief of external and academic affairs for Seton Hospitals.
Seton partnered up with AISD more than two decades ago to help provide health services for the district, but the funding has been challenging due to the state's recapture law.
"It actually gives half a billion or more back to the state for the property taxes it raises and so it has a real financial challenge to fund these services," Hartman said.
In the past few years, Seton has subsidized the cost to keep nurses on campus. This year, that cost Seton $1.8 million.
After the School Health Advisory Council recommended adding nurses on each campus, AISD issued a 20-page request for proposals, outlining the need for "high-quality, cost-effective and reliable health services."
Seton will likely submit a proposal, but the hospital is open to partnering with another organization.
"It's really going to require a community discussion among parents, members of the school board to figure out, 'OK, how much do we want to spend on student health services?' " Hartman explained.
The deadline for proposals on May 1. AISD School Board members will then evaluate and vote in June.
To read the full proposal, click here.