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Some Want Nurses in all JMC Schools

By Mallory Cooke
By mcooke@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn.--Jackson-Madison County Schools do not have enough nurses to put one at every school. They are stretched thin. The district said it is a funding issue.

13 nurses serve 27 schools in the Jackson-Madison County district. “The nurses, some of them serve one school some of them serve up to three,” said Annette Wilson, coordinated school health administrator. “That just depends on what the needs are in that building.”

Wilson manages the nursing staff. She said they cannot afford to put a nurse at every school all day. “Everybody's budgets are very tight,” she said. “I know ours is.”

Wilson said the state mandates one school nurse for every 3,000 students. Jackson-Madison County Schools exceed that requirement.

People in the county worry about the staffing situation. “The nurse may be somewhere when she's needed somewhere else,” said Edna Long, a Madison County resident.

To cut down on travel time the district says it tries to assign nurses to schools that are in the same area.

"I don't particularly have a problem with that personally,” said Madison County Commissioner Doug Stephenson.

Stephenson said it is up to the school board and superintendent to allocate funding they are given. "They can fund 27 if they want to do that,” he said. “Now what that means is they're gonna have to end up having to you know cut something else to do that.”

County commissioners are currently working on next year’s budget. “They can find money for everything else and our kids' safety is important,” said Long.

Wilson said nurses are always a phone call away. “We handle the job with what we have,” she said.

The district says each school has non-nursing staff trained to give out medication and perform CPR.

County commissioners say they just received the school district’s budget and have not had time to review it. The county has until late June to finalize funding decisions.