Clinicians Rack Up State Wins Salary Supplement Approved in OK, Workload Guidelines Pass in VA ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   September 01, 2004
Clinicians Rack Up State Wins
Author Notes
  • Janet Deppe, state advocacy director, can be reached at jdeppe@asha.org.
    Janet Deppe, state advocacy director, can be reached at jdeppe@asha.org.×
  • Susan Karr, associate director of school services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at skarr@asha.org.
    Susan Karr, associate director of school services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at skarr@asha.org.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   September 01, 2004
Clinicians Rack Up State Wins
The ASHA Leader, September 2004, Vol. 9, 1-16. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.09162004.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2004, Vol. 9, 1-16. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.09162004.1
Clinicians in two states have improved their working conditions after advocating for legislative change, and other states targeted by ASHA are considering similar measures. In Oklahoma, state lawmakers passed a bill authorizing a salary supplement for speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and Virginia legislators approved a caseload reduction bill.
In Kansas, the state Department of Education plans to incorporate a workload analysis model for service delivery as a result of collaboration among these three state associations and ASHA’s State Education Action Team (SEAT). Two others-Rhode Island and West Virginia-continue efforts to gain salary supplements.
Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association (OSHA), in partnership with ASHA’s SEAT, convinced the Oklahoma legislature to pass a bill authorizing a $5,000 salary supplement for school-based SLPs, audiologists, and school psychologists. On May 18, Gov. Brad Henry signed into law the Student and Professional Investment Initiative (S.B. 1207). Funding for the new law was not approved during the session, but sponsors in both chambers are confident that funds will be approved next year.
“Our strong grassroots network proved to be the key difference in getting the bill passed this year,” said Janice Ray, OSHA’s grassroots coordinator. “It was a successful joint effort by OSHA, the National Association of School Psychologists and ASHA’s SEAT.”
SEAT provided OSHA with grassroots training and a calendar of timelines for contact with legislators. At OSHA’s fall conference, ASHA helped to launch the grassroots network through a sign-up list and letter writing campaign.
As grassroots chair, Ray enlisted volunteers to serve as regional leaders for phone trees. Leaders gave updates by e-mail or phone to about a dozen people, who notified others. The grassroots network has grown to include 15 phone trees with 175 members. At critical junctures, Ray would activate the phone network at the request of Richard Hutton, OSHA’s lobbyist, and Mona Ryan, OSHA advocacy committee chair.
“The hard work and dedication of so many volunteers really made a difference, and our voices were finally heard!” Ray said.
In addition to providing a salary bonus to all nationally certified SLPs, audiologists, and school psychologists employed in the Oklahoma schools, the advocacy committee believes that the supplement will serve as a powerful recruiting tool for district administrators.
Virginia
The Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia (SHAV) made significant gains reducing the caseloads of school-based SLPs from 68 to 60 during the 2004 legislative session.
“This is the biggest drop in caseload that we’ve had in Virginia in the past 10 years,” said Jessica Norton, SHAV vice president for governmental relations, noting that caseloads topped 75 a decade ago.
The Virginia Standards of Quality (SOQ) revisions package (which comprises two bills, H.B. 1014 and S.B. 479) passed the VA General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Mark Warner on April 15. The bills took effect on July 1.
SHAV members contacted legislators, attended budget hearings, and participated in a legislative Lobby Day. Since only partial funding was granted, SHAV plans to push vigorously next year for full funding of the caseload reduction provision.
“We succeeded because we persisted. We didn’t go away. Legislators got calls from the same people two or three years in a row,” said Jessica Norton, who is now on a first-name basis with her legislator.
But more work needs to be done, said Bet Neale, SHAV lobbyist, noting the importance of thank-you notes and e-mails reminding lawmakers of the need for full funding.
“With the help of the State Board of Education, which included caseload reduction in the recommended initiatives, and the K-12 community, we hope to see the remaining initiatives funded by the next budget cycle,” Neale said.
Kansas
The Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (KSHA) has made progress in offering training on the ASHA workload model throughout the state, and revising the state guidelines for school services to include this approach. This spring and summer, the SEAT and KSHA worked with the Kansas Department of Education Guidelines Review Committee on the revision of their statewide guidelines. The committee-which includes the Department of Education, SLPs throughout the state, and ASHA SEAT staff-plans to complete draft guidelines by fall.
Training continues on the workload model. In July, nearly 100 special education directors heard a presentation on the workload model, and other presentations are planned for the KSHA Convention in early October.
“The ASHA/KSHA partnership has really helped our workload initiative. The frequent telephone contacts and follow-up kept us moving ahead,” said Dixie Heinrich, KSHA coordinator.
For the second year, SLPs in the Harvey County Special Education Cooperative have piloted the workload model in their district. They met with building administrators to explain the workload approach and plan to implement scheduling changes in their schools this fall. “The SLPs are prepared to make scheduling changes on a student-by-student basis using the activity grid included in the ASHA documents,” said Mary Beasley, assistant director of special education who coordinates the effort. “I’ll be working with each of our SLPs to develop an individual plan for implementing the workload/caseload model at their assigned buildings.”
Rhode Island
Rhode Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association (RISHA) members continued their efforts to secure passage of legislation that would provide a salary supplement to ASHA-certified school-based SLPs. During the 2004 legislative session they attended fund raising events for key legislators, mobilized their grassroots network, secured and met with new bill sponsors, testified at committee hearings, and collected statewide data indicating the cost per district of establishing a salary supplement for ASHA-certified SLPs in the state. Two bills were introduced during the 2004 legislative session in the House and Senate. Although the bills did not pass this year due to state budget constraints, legislative supporters voiced optimism for 2005 citing the gains RISHA made this year in gaining new bill sponsors and educating legislators.
West Virginia
West Virginia continues to work toward a salary bonus for qualified SLPs and audiologists in the public schools. This past session, H.B. 4626, which would provide a 7% service fee (salary supplement) to all school-based providers that bill Medicaid, was narrowly defeated. The bill passed the House but was not heard in the Senate despite overwhelming support. The advocacy committee also has been working with the state Department of Education (WVDOE) to revise a recently developed policy to hire speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) in the schools to add to the numbers of qualified SLPs. For the third year in a row, WVDOE has identified speech-language pathology as a critical shortage area. Efforts continue to revise the policy, which allows SLPAs to practice independently while maintaining their own caseloads.
ASHA’s SEAT has also provided technical assistance, support, and resources to numerous members in districts across the country interested in salary supplement and caseload/workload implementation initiatives. To date, 37 districts in 13 states have achieved a salary bonus for ASHA certified school-based SLPs and audiologists and 13 districts in nine states have indicated they are utilizing a workload model for caseload management. Visit the Salaries/Benefits section for more information on local district successes.
Missouri Clinicians Win $5,000 Supplement

Missouri is the latest state to add up to $5,000 to the annual salaries of certain school speech-language pathologists. On June 25, Gov. Bob Holden signed a comprehensive education bill (S.B. 968) which included one section that provided a salary supplement for school-based SLPs who have maintained a valid MO license, hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), and have been employed in the public school system for at least five years. The content of the original salary supplement bill, S.B. 1021, which stalled in committee, was incorporated into the omnibus education bill in May 2004.

Creating a program known as “Missouri Career Development and Excellence Plan,” the legislature established a three-tier system of career advancement. Eligible SLPs will be placed on the third or highest tier equivalent to placement for teachers who hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). While participation in this program by local districts is voluntary, proponents argue that adoption of the new system will greatly enhance recruitment and retention of efforts of district administrators.

For more information, contact Eileen Crowe at ecrowe@asha.org or Janet Deppe at jdeppe@asha.org.

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September 2004
Volume 9, Issue 16