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School Safety

Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee

Timeline May 7, 2019 through January 2020

Following the May 7, 2019, STEM School shooting, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners, at their May 28, 2019, public hearing, unanimously approved a resolution appropriating $13.3 million for school security and mental health services for students in Douglas County.  Of the $13.3 million, the Board appropriated $10 million of unassigned General Fund balance as one-time funding for school safety, including entry-way security technology in schools, and mental health services for children.

Additional resolutions adopted by the Board at the May 28 public hearing established two committees charged with making recommendations for the expenditure of the one-time $10 million – the Physical School Safety & Protection Funding Committee and the Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee.  Through the establishment of these committees, the Board recognized the importance of receiving input from key partners, including the Douglas County School District (DCSD), charter and private schools, Douglas County law enforcement, and citizens with expertise in physical school safety and mental health.

The Committee was composed of nine (9) members:

  • Two (2) representing the School District
    • Stephanie Crawford-Goetz, Director of Mental Health Services; Douglas County School District
    • Keith Sousa, Lead Behavior Specialist, Douglas County School District
  • One (1) representing a Charter or Private School
    • Julie Felske, Psychologist/Counselor, Platte River Academy
  • Three (3) appointed by the County
    • Sarah Ericson (Chair), Director of the Diversion Counseling Program; Deputy District Attorney, 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office
    • Shelley Sack, Chief Deputy Probation Officer; 18th Judicial District
    • Jason Hopcus, President/CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for Arapahoe/Douglas Counties
  • Three (3) representing the Community, as recommended by the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative and confirmed by the Board of County Commissioners
    • Sarah Davidson, Research Director, Mental Health Colorado
    • Erin White, Social Worker and Site Director, Manna Connect; Douglas County School District Parent
    • Mia Hayden and Melanie Zhou (rotating), co-founders, Oasis Mental Health; ThunderRidge High School

The Board established the Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee to bring together subject matter experts and those with lived experience to make recommendations to the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners regarding the expenditure of a portion of a $10 million one-time allocation from the County for school-based mental health and related programs, and those where the school is partnering with community organizations to serve school-aged children and youth. The County’s intention was that one-time funds for mental health-related purposes in partnership with the schools and community will begin to be distributed at the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year.

The Committee was charged with determining what supportive school mental health and social-emotional initiatives, programs, services, and approaches really work and recommending those that could be supported, expanded or implemented with one-time funding from the County in partnership with the schools and the community.  The Committee also made funding recommendations based on the programs or strategies endorsed by the Committee and based on the best available subject matter expertise and research. The Committee also served as a site selection committee for funding distribution based on recommended programs and strategies and funding levels as approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

The Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee worked through June 2019 and formulated its recommendations and supporting documentation to the Board of County Commissioners at a Special Work Session, on  July 16, 2019 in Castle Rock to hear funding recommendations and status reports regarding plans for the $13.3 million. Watch video.  View the Committee’s presentation and appendix to the Board of Douglas County Commissioners.

On August 7, 2019, County launches process for schools’ access to $10 million in mental health and school safety funds  Funding requests for eligible projects and services were due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2019.

On Sept. 18, 2019, the Commissioner announced “Remarkable Response” to Douglas County’s $10 million commitment to schools,  Requests represent majority of neighborhood, charter, and private schools in the County

On Nov. 21, 2019, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners, via a live-streamed news conference, delivered their Report to the Community announcing Physical School Safety and Mental Health for Students Funding Decisions.  View the presentation.

On Jan. 14, 2020, the Commissioners awarded $6.8 million to Douglas County School District and additional funds of $7.7 million for physical school safety and $990,000 to support mental health for students. The remaining $1.3 million of the total $10 million was set aside by the Commissioners for innovation and emerging technology.  Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA)of $6,823,182 between Douglas County and the Douglas County School District

View Meeting Agendas / Minutes, click on the drop-down box and select the Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee.