Facing the possibility of limited or no health care in its schools most of next year, the Albion School Board received a timely donation from a local health-care organization this week.
Thanks to a gift of $12,500 from the Albion Health Care Alliance and $5,000 the board agreed to put forth from its general fund, the district might be able to support a full-time nurse next year.
The district is facing the closure of the Wildcat Wellness Center at the high school Oct. 1 due to the denial of state grant money from the Michigan Department of Community Health.
The board considered hiring a part-time nurse for $12,500 through a new school nursing program run by the Calhoun County Health Department when Joyce Spicer, executive director of the Alliance, shook things up Monday night.
“Education is important, but the kids can’t learn if they’re not healthy,” Spicer said.
Spicer offered the board $12,500 from the alliance in the hopes that the district would supplement the rest of its share of $25,000 for a full-time nurse.
Through the program, the district would pay 40 percent of the $62,500 that will be needed for salary and supply costs, while the other 60 percent would be funded from grants from Calhoun County Health Department partners such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Board president Dan Skean said he would make appeals to the community and local nonprofits to help subsidize the remaining $7,500 needed for a full-time nurse.
Albion Health Care Alliance President Linda Armstrong said that process had already begun at Monday’s meeting, when “someone in the audience came forward with a sizable contribution.”
Rutherford said the nurse would be “extremely mobile and portable compared to what you might have had in the past” and the district can decide where the nurse should be placed.
The nurse will provide basic and emergency care services, administer medication when necessary and will be available to speak in classrooms about issues such as pregnancy, diabetes, obesity and bullying.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on June 16, 2011