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Press Release
March 21, 2013
Contact: Daniel Collins
General Counsel & Press Secretary
Lucio Bills Supporting School Counselors Passes Senate

AUSTIN — Today, two bills filed by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) to assist Texas' public school counselors passed out of the Texas Senate. These bills are part of a package of school counselor bills filed by Senator Lucio.

"I am proud to support Texas public school counselors," Senator Lucio said of the bills when they were heard before the Senate Committee on Education earlier this month. "Professional school counselors across the state wear many hats. They are responsible for providing information on course selections, as well as advising students on college readiness and financial aid requirements. Most importantly, they provide links between student needs and community resources."

Senate Bill 401 would require public schools to notify parents and guardians if there is no full-time counselor on their children's campus. Notice of the absence of a counselor must be posted on the Web site of the school district, and the Web site of the campus, if the campus maintains a Web site. This notice should also be in bilingual form.

"This bill is about transparency. Many parents may take for granted that a school will have a counselor available to provide students guidance, as well as be on-hand in case of a crisis. If a school is unable to provide those services, parents should know," Senator Lucio said.

Senate Bill 715 is a "clean-up" bill intended to make all references to certified "school counselors" consistent throughout the Texas Education Code. Currently, the Code uses inconsistent terms to denote certified school counselors. For example, counselors are sometimes referred to as "guidance counselors" or "high school counselors." These terms are inconsistent with the State Board of Educator Certification (the state body which certifies school counselors), which uses the term "school counselors."

Now passed out of the Senate, Senate Bills 401 and 715 move to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration and ultimate passage.