School Districts Straining To Fund Student Mental Health Care Services
Mental health services for special education students are undergoing changes across California as responsibility for the services shifts from counties to school districts, the Sacramento Bee reports.
In October 2010, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) used his line-item veto authority to cut $133 million from mental health services for special education students by shifting responsibility for the services from counties to school districts.
Several advocacy and education groups filed lawsuits against the governor's veto, arguing that the changes would jeopardize the welfare of special education students (Lambert, Sacramento Bee, 4/18).
Effects on School Districts
As a result of the budgetary changes, many counties have stopped subsidizing mental health services at schools.
School district officials say they are not well-prepared to fund the services. Depending on the number of special education students enrolled and the type of services needed, school districts could be on the hook for thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mike Berg, superintendent at Central Unified School District, said school districts will need to consider all possibilities -- including layoffs -- to pay for mental health services (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 4/15).
Next Year's Budget
The amount of funding that the state will provide for mental health services in the next fiscal year remains undetermined.
Judy Holsinger -- executive director of the Sacramento County Special Education Local Plan Area -- Â said any funding approved in next year's budget likely would go to counties, which would determine how much to dole out. Holsinger added that mental health funding likely would be only half the amount allocated in the past (Sacramento Bee, 4/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.