When and how Douglas County’s district-run, charter and private schools will have access to a one-time set-aside of $10 million by the County for mental health services and school safety, and what projects and services are eligible for the funding, is now known.
Following an extensive public process, including collaboration with district-run, charter and private school leadership, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners today revealed more detail about the application process and eligible funding requests for the $10 million.
“Our Board’s review of funding recommendations from, and discussions with, the Supportive Mental Health for Students and Physical School Safety and Protection Funding Committees, led to the Board’s top recommendations, eligible for funding requests,” said County Commissioner Abe Laydon.
“Our charter schools are very grateful for the Commissioners’ efforts and for the opportunity to apply for funding to make immediate changes to further improve the safety of our kids,” said Alison Rausch for the Alliance of Douglas County Charter Schools.
The final Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee Recommendations and the companion Appendix, as well as the Physical School Safety & Protection Funding Committee Recommendations are located on the County’s website.
“We are most grateful for the tremendous work of the Committees and for the opportunity to collaborate with so many knowledgeable, accomplished subject matter experts and school leadership – all dedicated to the safety of students and school personnel in Douglas County,” said Board Chair and Commissioner Roger Partridge.
The top funding recommendations from the Commissioners are (not listed by priority):
- Assessments (school building security; and school climate and culture);
- School building security (limited and secured access; physical improvements to interior/exterior);
- Training for law enforcement, security guards, school personnel, parents and students (active bystander training/threat reporting/community engagement; emergency response coordination training; internal school training; youth mental health first aid in middle and high schools);
- Social emotional learning, mental health supports and services, and suicide prevention and intervention (curriculum and programming);
- Anonymous bystander reporting systems tied to mental health responses (expansion of the Text-a-Tip program and marketing campaign); and
- Emergency and standard communication measures (commonality of emergency communication across all school; alert system via app on cell phone).
Other funding requests will also be considered such as a pilot program for entryway security.
“Douglas County schools are safe and several of the safety and mental health programs and services eligible for funding are already occurring in Douglas County schools,” said Commissioner Lora Thomas, Board Vice Chair. “School access to additional funding creates the opportunity to enhance student and personnel safety and protection, as well as mental health services for students,” Thomas said.
Commissioner Partridge concluded with a statement that is a reminder of why the Commissioners unanimously stepped forward in an unprecedented, May 28, 2019 decision to set aside $13.3 million and stand with County schools after the May 7 STEM School shooting: “We are a Board that believes strong communities find common ground and unite for positive change during difficult times. What has been achieved – only three months later – would not be possible without the input we received from schools, individual citizens, Committee members and many other public servants.”
The application form is now available and accessible for completion online. All applications are due by 5 p.m. on September 17, 2019.
Please note the attached timeline: May 7, 2019 – July 16, 2019
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