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Mental Health Programs in Lutz Schools on Board's Agenda

An agreement that might help open the door for more services for Hillsborough County school children is just one of the items up for consideration Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Hillsborough County School Board members will take up the topic of mental health when they meet Feb. 5.

On the board’s agenda is a proposed $21,000 consulting agreement between it and Dr. Bobbi Davis. If approved, the agreement will pave the way for Davis to help the district make sure mental health services are accessible to students.

Funding for the contract comes from a federal grant the district received for integrating schools and mental health systems, according to the agenda item’s supporting documents.

If hired, Davis will be asked to perform such services as:

  • Helping to increase student access to “quality mental health services” both inside and outside the school system
  • Facilitating more open communication between school-based mental health programs and those offered through other venues in Hillsborough County
  • Expanding and updating the information available to parents and students on the school district’s Wellness Integration for Students of Hillsborough website.

If approved, the contract will begin Feb. 6 and run through June 28.

While discussions about mental health programs in schools have become the focus of much attention since the Newtown, Conn., shootings, it is unclear at this point if this contract was influenced by the December massacre. In some states, such as Minnesota, there is a push on to dramatically increase funding for school-based mental health programs.

Other items on the school board’s agenda include:

  • Consideration of a teacher evaluation handbook
  • Several disciplinary actions
  • Numerous school-based construction and maintenance projects

The board meets at 3 p.m. Feb. 5 at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd. For a complete look at the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, visit the district’s website.

So, what do you think, Lutz? Can the school district can do a better job of offering mental health programs to students? What improvements do you think should be made? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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