Monday, 15 July 2024

County schools receive federal funding for counseling programs

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County schools are receiving funds from a federal program that is meant to help them enhance counseling programs that in recent years have been hit by cuts.


This week Congressman Mike Thompson's office reported that county schools would receive nearly $400,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Demonstration Program through the US Department of Education.


The funding will be used to hire school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists to reduce the number of disciplinary referrals, according to Thompson's office.


“As schools all over our district are struggling to maintain staffing for even the most basic services, I’m glad to know that kids in Lake County will have access to quality counseling services,” he said. “Counselors are an important resource for many students who are facing some challenges, and play a crucial role in our schools.”


The grant will be in place for three years, and will be used in elementary and secondary schools, Thompson reported.


“These funds will really make a difference in restoring needed services for our students,” Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck told Lake County News this week.


He said the Lake County Office of Education is very excited about the grant funds.


“State budget cuts have devastated counseling services to students in our county and these funds are going to go a long way towards replacing the staff and services that were cut,” he said. “Expanded counseling services will improve student’s attendance, academic performance and social skills development. Our students will benefit greatly from the services funded by this grant.”


Kandee Stolesen, administrative assistant with the Lake County Office of Education's human resources department, said the office's Safe Schools and Healthy Students Program lost several employees last summer because of budget constraints.


“We laid off 10 staff at that time, and that was a combination of schools counselors, interns, specialists and one intervention aide,” she said.


The Lake County Office of Education estimated that each of the county's seven school districts have had to reduce their staff by at least one counselor.


Thompson's office reported that a bill that would offer additional funding for teachers recently passed the House of Representatives in supplemental legislation.


The bill, for which Thompson voted, included $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to provide additional emergency support to local school districts to prevent impending layoffs.


If passed it's estimated that the Education Jobs Fund will help keep 140,000 school employees on the job next year. Thompson said the funding is fully paid for and will not add to the national debt.


The measure has been referred to the Senate for consideration, according to Thompson's office.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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