Here’s a notice sent out this morning (March 6) from District 4J’s communications coordinator, Kerry Delf:
Next year, the Eugene School District will change how it provides school nursing services, moving away from a model that concentrates resources in four school-based health clinics located on high school campuses, in order to funnel more support to elementary and middle school students.
The district currently operates school-based health centers at Churchill, North Eugene, Sheldon and South Eugene High Schools. 4J provides approximately $789,000 per year in operating support. Additional funds come from state funding, grants, donations and billings for service.
The district is considering whether a community medical provider could operate at least one school-based health center next year. “We recognize that our school-based health centers have allowed many students to have easy access to medical and mental health services right on their school campus,” said Cheryl Linder, director of 4J’s Education Support Services. “At the same time, we have a growing number of elementary and middle school students with chronic health conditions requiring nursing support.”
The district now has just over four full-time nursing positions assigned to cover 26 elementary and middle schools. That equates to 2,471 students for every school nurse.
Seven more nursing positions will be added next year, bringing the total to 11.65 full time equivalent nurses to serve the district’s nearly 16,000 students. Each high school will retain a school nurse. A nurse will also be assigned to serve each middle school and its two feeder elementary schools. The student-to-nurse ratio will be about 1,355 students per nurse. The National Association of School Nurses and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a ratio of 750 students per school nurse.
Many school districts have health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners and sometimes physicians and mental health therapists that can diagnose and treat some conditions, but the Eugene School District’s model has been unique. Eugene has one clinic at each of its high schools. The four clinics are staffed and operated by the school district, and heavily supported by the district’s operating budget. It is more typical for a school district to have fewer school-based health clinics, operated by an outside medical provider rather than the school district. For example, the Salem-Keizer and Hillsboro school districts each have only one school-based health clinic to serve students and families.
“The vision that prompted the district to provide a health clinic in each high school is certainly desirable, but it’s no longer financially sustainable nor does it meet the needs of our younger students today,” Linder said.
District staff began to consider other models for providing student health services this fall, prompted in part by new state requirements that would require the district to invest in new billing and electronic health records systems to meet state requirements. Grant funding to help support the clinics has declined and fewer students are now served at the clinics than in past years. That’s likely because the Oregon Health Plan now covers more students who were previously uninsured and underinsured, allowing better access to physicians and medical care.
“By reallocating resources, we can significantly increase the number of school nurses, improve the health services we provide to our younger students, and focus on helping our students and families access physicians and healthcare services in our community,” Linder said. “At the same time, we’re saddened to tell many valuable staff members that we won’t have clinic jobs for them in the future.”
Thomas Linzey is an attorney and executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. He spoke at the EMU Ballroom at noon Saturday, March 2, 2013, as part of the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. Thanks to Jan & Gary Wroncy of www.forestlanddwellers.org for providing this video.
Check out the latest from former Oregon public radio talk show host Jeff Golden and his web-based project at Immense Possibilities.
Chris Hellman is the military budget specialist and senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project. He said today that while many have focused on looming reductions to military spending, "in fact, the Pentagon is in a better position to absorb these cuts because of sizable growth in [its] spending over the past decade."
The group recently released the report "Sequestration, the Pentagon and the States," which finds: "Sequestration cuts discretionary spending to reduce the deficit. The military accounts for over half of all discretionary spending (57 percent). Military spending has grown by 35 percent since 2002, 48 percent if you include war costs. Domestic discretionary spending grew by only 8 percent over that period.
"Despite a modest 2.6 percent decrease projected in FY2013 — the first such cut in over a decade — Pentagon spending will continue to grow over the next five years if sequestration does not occur. U.S. military spending accounts for 43 percent of the global total, five times more than China, the second largest military budget. A $1 billion federal investment in health care would create 2.4 times more jobs than investing it in the Pentagon. Cutting Pentagon spending will not affect veterans’ benefits."
Jo Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project and said today: "The federal government will reduce or delay needed investments in education, food safety, and infrastructure projects. And some two million people will lose their jobs."
The group reports: "More than $700 million will be cut from Title I grants for disadvantaged public schools, affecting 1.2 million students. At the same time, 70,000 children will lose their slots in Head Start. ... Furloughs for public health officials will mean roughly 2,100 fewer food safety inspections and the potential for public health problems and shortages of some foods, as reduced inspections will slow production schedules. ... Treatment for adults and children with serious mental illnesses will be cut back, denying treatment for an estimated 373,000 patients. ...
"A $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending could fund five years of Community Development Block Grants AND five years of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) AND four years of Homeless Assistance Grants."
Local biologist and adventurer Dave Metz will be speaking at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 12, at REI. He lives in Cottage Grove. The Medford Mail Tribune did a story on him recently.
This Valentine's Day show at the Jazz Station is likely to sell out soon. See Jazz Station for online ticket sales.
Too late for the Calendar this week: We hear from Doug Card that he’s doing a free program at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Lane County Historical Museum at the Fairgrounds, on "Wiley Griffon, More Than a Mule Car Driver." Card will talk about recent research that “uncovers new insights in to the remarkable life of Eugene's first well-known black man, who lived here from 1890- 1913, as well as on the history of Eugene, both good and bad." This event is in honor of the centenary of his death and the kickoff for MLK events.
Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) and Community Supported Shelters will assemble two conestoga huts at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 3925 Hilyard St. in Eugene. Two houseless people who have been chosen to use the first Conestoga Huts will participate in their assembly.
The city of Eugene recently approved the simple, waterproof 6’ X 10’ conestoga huts as part of St. Vincent de Paul’s Car Camping Program. Episcopal Church has volunteered to be the first host site for two huts.
Speakers at the event will include Dan Bryant, OVE Board chairman and Pastor of First Christian Church; Michael Carrigan, OVE Steering Committee member and community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and a representative from the church.
People interested in helping construct the shelters or contributing cash or materials are invited to the event. Or checks can be sent made out to St. Vincent de Paul, designated for OVE and mailed to CALC, 458 Blair Blvd., Eugene 97402. Include an address so receipts can be mailed back. Phone number for more information is 606-3480 and the website is www.conestogahuts.org
Materials (new or used) needed include 1-inch cedar or Douglas fir planks, pressure-treated posts, 2X4s and 2X6s, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch plywood, doors and hardware, pier blocks, etc.