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No decisions made at meeting about health care in schools

Washington County Health Department and school system will crunch some numbers and meet again

June 09, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Stoner
Stoner

Washington County’s health officer and schools superintendent met Saturday to talk about the future of health care in local schools, three weeks before funding for a nurse program is scheduled to be cut.

Health Officer Earl Stoner said no decisions were made at Saturday’s meeting.

For now, the Washington County Health Department and the school system will crunch some numbers, he said.

Representatives from each agency will keep in touch by email and probably meet again within a few days, he said.

The challenge is how Washington County Public Schools can continue to provide medical care for students in its schools. That had been covered through a health department program in which nurses and assistants worked in the county’s public schools.

However, the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday to cut the $3.3 million in health department funding that paid for the nurse program.

The commissioners’ decision was based on a need to find $3 million to pay for new teacher-pension costs the county will have to pick up from the state.

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The county government has paid for the nurse program over the years, but was not required to do so, Commissioner William McKinley said on Tuesday.

Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox, who represented the school system at Saturday’s meeting, could not be reached afterward on his cellphone for comment.

Stoner said other health department and school officials also sat in on the meeting.

Summer school is scheduled to start on Monday. Stoner said nurses and assistants will be in the schools, as before, because funding for the program doesn’t expire until June 30.

A few days after the county commissioners decided to cut funding for the nurse program, the health department announced it would lay off 76 nurses and assistants in the program.

Stoner said Saturday that he still didn’t know if there was a way to save those jobs.

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