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New York: Long Island school superintendents focus on mental health

Feb 1, 2020, NY Newsday: Long Island school superintendents seek ways to pay for mental health programs https://www.newsday.com/long-island/education/school-superintendents-state-aid-mental-health-1.41319530 The top priority for many superintendents across Long Island this coming budget season is figuring out how to cover the cost of addressing their students’ mental health needs while they face proposed minimal increases in state school aid, dozens of educators said at a forum on Saturday. “Ten years ago, [mental health] wasn’t even a blip on the radar,” said Charles Dedrick, executive director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. “One of the messages that we’re carrying around the state is that it’s important to keep in mind that this is not just a school issue — this is a community issue, this is a family issue.” A Journal of the American Medical Association report released last year said there were 47% more suicides among teens ages 15 to 19 in 2017 than there were in 2000, and there were more cases of anxiety, depression, social media use and self-inflicted injuries among adolescents…. The proposed 2020-21 fiscal year increase for school aid statewide is $578.5 million, the smallest increase since 2014-15, according to Dedrick’s presentation. Long Island public schools would receive a total hike of about $76.8 million under the proposal, according to the Association of School Business Officials New York…. Republican elected officials criticized Cuomo’s proposed funding plan as insufficient for Long Island's 124 school districts, which would receive a combined aid of more than $3 billion under the proposal…. The main concern for superintendents like Kevin Coster, superintendent for the William Floyd school district, is how to increase the number of school psychologists, social workers and counselors at the district's 10 schools in the Town of Brookhaven….