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Austin, TX: District "scrambling" for extra funds to keep on-campus mental health clinics open

June 19, 2018, Fox7, Austin, TX: AISD looking for funding to keep mental health centers open http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/aisd-looking-for-funding-to-keep-mental-health-centers-open Austin ISD health services staff are scrambling to find additional funding to keep mental health centers running at 16 school campuses. The district approved a contract with Seton Family of Hospitals to provide student health services, but that will affect the number of registered nurses and mental health centers at school campuses. A health service director at Austin ISD said there are multiple benefits of having mental health care on every school campus. “So we know that mental health in schools is vital to their success, not only academically, but attending school on a day to day basis,” said Tracy Spinner, director of health services for Austin ISD. Because of our budget deficit of $29 million and our recapture payment of over $600 million for the State of Texas, we don't have extra money to expend for other programs that are not really the main core mission of our school district, which is to educate children,” Spinner said. Monday night, the board approved a $7.1 million contract with Seton Family of Hospitals to provide student health services across the district. The contract adds some programs that have never been available before, like free immunization clinics, but other services could be cut back. “Because of funding and the lack of money we have in the district, we were not able to add on that $1.3 million for our school based mental health clinics,” said Spinner. 16 campuses could no longer provide mental health centers under the contract, though Austin ISD staff are optimistic about keeping the centers open. … “We're working diligently all summer to find alternative funding solutions, so that we also can continue to provide that continuity of care for mental health,” Spinner said.