Dist. 84 loses mental health services

Staff photo of Fritz Busch Sleepy Eye Public Schools Superintendent John Cselovszki tells the school board Wednesday that he was notified last week that due to staffing issues, Southern Minnesota Behavioral Health (SMBH) of New Ulm may not provide staff to fulfill an agreement with the school district. Cselovszki said he is exploring other options this week.



SLEEPY EYE: Sleepy Eye Public Schools Superintendent John Cselovszki told the school board Wednesday that the school district is losing in-school mental health services from Southern Minnesota Behavioral Health (SMBH).

“SMBH notified us last week that due to staffing issues, they will not be able to provide staff to fulfill their agreement with the school district.” Cselovszki reported. “They asked the State of Minnesota to release them from our contract. The state gives them permission. Very disappointing. We are exploring other options.”

Cselovszki said he has emailed lawmakers and plans to speak with other mental health providers this week.

“The moment is inappropriate for me. The need is now greater than ever. This is a big concern.” Cselovszki said.

Additionally, Cselovszki said the school district has a long waiting list of students who need mental health services.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, school-linked mental health programs increase accessibility for uninsured and underinsured children and youth, improve outcomes for children and youth with a mental health diagnosis, and improve identification of mental health problems for children and young people.

Untreated mental health problems are a significant barrier to learning and educational success. Placing mental health services for children in schools provides a tremendous opportunity for mental health promotion, prevention, early identification and intervention.

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Mental health barriers include insurance, child care, transportation, job concerns, mistrust/stigma, past experiences, admission waiting lists, and stress.

The board unanimously approved the action items, motioned by Joleen Dittbenner, seconded by Casey Coulson:

• A high school principal contract for the 2021-23 school years with two percent salary increases in each of the next two years. The current high school principal salary is $111,491.

• The staff of the training camp after elementary school, as presented.

• Sleepy Eye High School Principal Shane Laffen said parent-teacher conferences for struggling students have been completed to ensure plans are followed.

• A fundraising solicitation for a softball program in which players will solicit public donations.

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