Guilford County Schools’ leaders certainly didn’t get everything they wanted in the county’s fiscal 2023-2024 budget; however, one thing the school system is getting is more school nurses. For years, Guilford County commissioners and others have known the nurses at schools were spread too thin – and the county has been slowly but surely attempting to remedy the problem.

In 2021, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners set a goal of achieving a “1 to 1 ratio of school medical positions to Guilford County public schools.”

The new county budget approved on June 15 provides $1.1 million to expand school health services by adding ten school nurses.

The new budget, which goes into effect on July 1, also includes $150,000 to “create a School Health Alliance partnership to support a sustainable model for school health clinics constructed during the $2 billion school construction bonds program.”

Thanks to voters approving a $300 million school bond referendum and a $1.7 billion school bond referendum in recent years, there will be new schools that need nurses.

In fiscal year 2021-2022, the county added 15 nurse positions to the school system, which brought the total up to 56 positions to cover 126 schools. That put the ratio of nurses to students at 1 nurse for every 1,265 students and it meant that one nurse had to cover more than two schools.

With the addition of 10 new positions in the newly adopted budget for the coming 12 months, those ratios will be brought down further. With 66 total nurse positions there will be – assuming those positions stay filled – a ratio of one nurse for every 1,020 students, and each nurse will have to cover less than two schools.