School nurse shortage leaves thousands of Brooklyn kids in danger

CITY HALL - Officials met Tuesday at City Hall to address a school nurse shortage that threatens to leave thousands of Brooklyn students in danger.State Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Bronx) says it?s a bad situation that?s getting worse. According to Rivera, there is already a shortage of 30,000 nurses. He expects a crisis in the next few years when an additional 40,000 nurses already in the system retire.Advocates say an absence of nurses is particularly worrisome in a place like Brooklyn, where many children suffer from asthma. Together with Rivera, they are proposing a law that would include a loan forgiveness program for each year nurses work in the school system. The law also allows for free tuition for school nurses who give at least four years to the system and would set up a nursing training institute. The perks would be paid for with unclaimed state lottery prize money. That requires passing another law that would allow the state lottery to divert the funds to nurses? education. The legislation will be introduced in January.

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