Willow Bend Elementary School clinic won’t reopen

When students return to school in August, their parents will have one less option for treating them for the normal sniffles and childhood health problems.

The school-based health clinic at Willow Bend Elementary School will not be reopening its doors when school starts.

The health clinic opened in 2007, during Willow Bend’s second year in existence with grant money from the Department of State Health Services.

During that first year, it was available only to students of Willow Bend and Reese Education Center, but the next year, it was made available to students throughout the district, as well as their siblings ages birth to 18. Frenship district employees could also get some medication and immunizations at the clinic.

The first year, the clinic received $125,000 to start upc, while it received $90,000 and $65,000 in the two following years.

This year, the grant money dried up. When the district implemented the program three years ago, it hoped the clinic would ultimately be self-sustaining through payments from insurance and Medicaid.

But Michelle McCord, assistant superintendent of administrative services, said the clinic was not self-sustaining, and would have cost the district an additional $70,000 to $100,000 in the coming year’s budget.

“We just absolutely couldn’t afford to continue to offer the service from the grant,” said McCord.

McCord noted the district is not making a budget cut — the program was never funded from the school budget, but from the grant funds.

“We’re saddened by it,” said McCord, adding the district hopes to still provide support to students.

The board of trustees was notified of the program’s demise during its May meeting. McCord said the board is not required to vote on the discontinuation of the service.

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