Thank you for your quick reply. We recognize the importance of H.B. 0233 for supporting our colleagues in special education. However, it excludes professions such as audiologists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, occupational, and physical therapists. We are curious whether this oversight will be addressed and, if so, when. We feel all licensed employees paid by the Special Education Purse be eligible for these funds. While we are appreciative of the fact that you ‘love special needs children and those who work with them,’ we struggle understanding why the bill stops short of supporting all licensed professionals.
The following is a response from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
Dear Representative Potter:
On behalf of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), I write to offer comments on H.B. 0233, which provides a teacher salary supplement for those with a degree in special education who are assigned to teach a special education class. I write to request that audiologists and speech-language pathologists (who are consistently paid on the teacher pay scale) also be included in this legislation.
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 198,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. More than half of the speech-language pathologists (54.6%) are employed in educational settings with over 1,400 residing in Utah.
School districts are using salary supplements to address significant recruitment and retention concerns not only with classroom teachers, but with special education personnel. As such, salary supplements must be considered for retention and recruitment of school-based audiologists and speech-language pathologists – whom must maintain ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). This certification is a nationally recognized professional credential that represents a level of excellence in the field, and is widely recognized by insurers, state licensure boards, and the U.S. Department of Education. These professionals must complete a challenging education and training program, a supervised clinical fellowship, and must pass a nationally standardized examination to earn their CCC.
Currently, 11 states have enacted state-wide salary supplement legislation for individuals who have obtained ASHA’s CCC. These supplements range from $1,750 (provided annually in Rhode Island) to $6,000 (provided annually in Mississippi and Delaware). In 24 states, there are 96 school districts providing salary supplements ranging from $500 to $8,320 annually (provided by the Pasadena school district in Texas). In Utah, at least one district (Iron County School District) is currently providing salary supplements to speech-language pathologists who hold the CCCs.
The CCC is recognized by insurers, including Medicaid, and allow school districts to bill Medicaid for medically necessary services for children with special needs. Salary supplements help school districts secure and retain highly skilled speech-language pathologists who are needed to provide those services.
ASHA urges you to amend H.B. 0233 to include eligibility for audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the salary supplement process. Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments on H.B. 0233. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact Eileen Crowe, ASHA’s director of state association relations, at email@example.com.
Elise Davis-McFarland, PhD, CCC-SLP
2018 ASHA President
Thank you for your attention and time to this matter.
Eric Dutson, M.S., CCC-SLP
USHA, President & USHA Executive Board