News & Events

Nursing staff cuts possible for school district

By Gerry Tuoti, Staff Writer
GateHouse News Service
Posted Dec 03, 2009 @ 10:29 PM

Taunton —
State budget cuts are having a negative impact on health services in the Taunton school system.

The School Committee learned Wednesday that the developments at the state level will result in a reduction in nursing staff in the schools, but Superintendent Julie Hackett insisted that students will still be covered.

“The details of this reduction are still being finalized, however, we do know that there will be a reduction in nursing staff,” she said. “Despite the reduction, at this point in time, there will still be at least one nurse in every school.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified Taunton and 12 other school districts in the state that 9C cuts at the state level have resulted in a reduction of money available for

Essential Schools Health Services grants. Taunton is seeing its grant amount shrink by 50 percent, or $65,000.

Additionally, the 9C budget cuts have also state Department of Public Health to reduce the amount of funding available for Friedman Middle School’s school-based health clinic, which Morton Hospital and Medical Center runs with support from state grant funding.

The state-level cuts mean that Taunton is losing $58,000 in funding for the clinic, which leaves only $21,000

“This funding is expected to last through December, and the Friedman school-based health clinic will remain open for the time being, and I will be meeting with Morton Hospital officials in January to further discuss the impact of this reduction,” Hackett told the committee.

The clinic was established to serve children throughout the greater Taunton area and is designed to help students achieve better health habits, improve access to health care and ensure that students are physically and emotionally prepared to learn.

The school-based health center is currently staffed by a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and a medical director. Services are provided free of charge to area residents who are uninsured or underinsured.