LYNNFIELD — At the April 14 School Committee meeting, Superintendent of Schools Jane Tremblay proposed hiring a full-time adjustment counselor for Lynnfield High School as part of the school department’s fiscal year 2016 budget.

Tremblay said the school department is currently using a part-time adjustment counselor contracted through the SEEM Collaborative. As part of the FY’16 school budget, she said school administrators decided to increase the adjustment counselor line item from $50,000 to $65,000 to address high schoolers’ social and emotional needs and because SEEM’s rates are increasing next year.

“We knew we were going to need more of the (counselor’s) time due to some situations we have had at the high school,” said Tremblay. “She has not been getting to everybody she has needed to see.”

Tremblay, Finance Director Tom Geary and Special Services Director Kara Mauro have been meeting weekly to discus the recommended FY’16 budget, totaling $21,880,786. During a recent meeting, Tremblay, Geary and Mauro determined that hiring a full-time adjustment counselor instead of contracting out the position via SEEM makes more sense.

“We realized that we could take that $65,000 and could get a full-time person who could be in our high school and work for us,” said Tremblay. “We would like to change that position from a contractual position from SEEM and make that a full-time position for Lynnfield High School.”

Geary agreed with Tremblay’s viewpoint in an e-mail sent to the Villager.

“We would likely get more services by having our own employee for the $65,000,” said Geary.

Tremblay said she decided to propose switching the contracted adjustment counselor position to a full-time position after some “recent incidents” took place at LHS.

“We think it would be a really good thing to do,” said Tremblay. “(The adjustment counselor) would be completely dedicated to our students, our teachers, and would be invested in our district.”

Tremblay and Geary both noted that the proposal would not have any impact on the school department’s FY’16 budget because the budgeted line item remains unchanged.

“We feel confident we could get somebody for that money that we have already allocated for,” said Tremblay.

Geary said an additional $10,000 might be needed if the adjustment counselor “decided to take health insurance benefits through the town’s plan.”

“Health insurance is not included in the school budget,” Geary added. “It is in a separate area. At the end of the year, some employees come onto our health plan and some employees drop off.”

Tremblay also noted Finance Committee Chairman Jack Dahlstedt is aware of the proposal and was planning to discuss it with the Finance Committee. Dahlstedt informed the Villager that the FinCom will be discussing the proposal at its meeting held prior to Town Meeting on Monday, April 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

School Committee member Salvatore Cammarata inquired what qualifications the school department would seek in a full-time adjustment counselor.

Tremblay said they still need to put together a job description for the adjustment counselor position, but she outlined a few qualifications.

“(The counselor) is not a psychologist and not a behaviorist,” said Tremblay. “It’s somebody with a counseling background who would be working with high school kids.”

Tremblay also said if the request is approved, the school department will be looking for an adjustment counselor who will fit in with the high school’s culture.

“We feel confident we will be able to do that,” she said.

School officials had previously recommended that the school department hire a full-time adjustment counselor to address students’ social emotional needs when the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey was presented to the School Committee last November.

“It really falls under what is in the best interest of our kids,” said Tremblay. “We have had some unexpected bumps in the road with some of our kids from a social-emotional standpoint. And not having a full-time person at the high school has not been in the best interest of our kids.”

Tremblay also noted that not having a full-time adjustment counselor has forced teachers, guidance counselors and High School Assistant Principal Kevin Cyr to handle a situation that would have normally been addressed by an adjustment counselor.

In response to a question from School Committee Vice Chairman Tim Doyle, Tremblay said the adjustment counselor would be part of the special services department. She said the counselor would report directly to Mauro and High School Principal Bob Cleary.

The School Committee is scheduled to vote on the adjustment counselor proposal at its April 27 meeting prior to Town Meeting. They will meet in the Lynnfield Middle School media center beginning at 6:30 p.m.