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REPORT: Replacing School Nurses with Health Aides Could Save Money

August 11, 2015

Replacing on-site nurses with health aides such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) would save a Kansas school district more than $75,000 a year, according to a recent audit (pdf).

Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437 in eastern Kansas stands to save $68,000 a year in salary and benefits, as well as $9,000 in pension payments, if it replaces four out of its ten nurses with a health aide, the audit says.

However, it notes that district officials “were concerned that replacing nurses with health aides would pose a safety risk to students.”

“Our parents just feel so much more comfortable” with nurses, Brenda Dietrich, the district’s recently retired superintendent, told the Topeka Capital Journal on August 4. “It’s kind of an expectation from their perspective that we take good care of their kids.”

Although Auburn-Washburn is unlikely to make the switch, the audit notes that two nearby school districts have already replaced some nurses with aides.

The audit was performed by the Legislative Division of Post Audit, a nongovernmental organization that provides bipartisan audits to the Kansas legislature.

— by Matthew Ozga

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