New money proposed for child health services in needy schools

New money proposed for child health services in needy schools

(Ohio) The highest-needs districts could receive millions in additional funding for mental and physical health services and after-school programs under Gov. Mike DeWine’s first two-year budget proposal.

While basic state aid to schools would remain the same, the new budget would provide the 122 highest-needs districts in Ohio with $250 per student for wrap-around services. The wealthiest schools throughout the state would receive a minimum of $25,000 in the 2019-20 school year for such services, and $30,000 in 2020-21.

Officials from the state teachers association said wrap-around services that help address children’s physical and emotional needs are critical to improving students’ overall outcomes.

“We are particularly pleased with the Governor’s proposal to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a special fund for schools to form community partnerships to help at-risk students,” Ohio Education Association president Becky Higgins said in a statement. “By acknowledging the need to address student health, trauma and related issues, the Governor has demonstrated that he has listened to Ohio’s educators.”

State and local policymakers throughout the country have moved in recent years to help address the plethora of challenges students face–especially those from low-income families. Some districts now offer laundry services on campus so that children can always have clean clothes; others provide additional snacks or meals for free school-wide; many have hired mental health counselors or have partnered with local mental health providers; and some even work with community groups to provide children with dental and vision services.

In announcing his proposed budget earlier this month, DeWine said the goal is to help free up teachers to focus on teaching, and to ensure students have access to mental health counseling, mentoring, after-school programs and other resources that will help them be better prepared for class.

Under the two-year proposal, $250 million would be provided in the first year, and increase to $300 million in the second year.

Every school district would receive a minimum of $25,000 the first year and $30,000 the second, with additional money distributed based on the percentage of children living in poverty in each district, according to state officials.

In the first year alone, Akron City schools would receive more than $5 million; Cleveland Municipal schools would get about $8.9 million; Middletown City schools would receive about $1.4 million; Springfield, close to $1.8 million; Parma City would get $1.3 million; Euclid City, almost $1.2 million; and Lancaster City would receive about $1.3 million.

The legislature has until June 30 to approve the budget more