The Superintendent of Scottsbluff Public Schools has sent an open letter to Governor Ricketts and the head of the state Behavioral Health Division asking for funding for a pilot Day Treatment School.
In the letter, Rick Myles notes that the nearest in-state facilities providing such services are hundreds of miles away in eastern Nebraska, and yet, Colorado has nearly 40 such school facilities that are inaccessible to Panhandle students.
Myles says the school district literally has to divert millions from the primary business of education for specialized mental health, drug and alcohol counselors, threat and suicide assessments, and a variety of other services to meet the needs of students facing emotional – behavioral challenges and disabilities.
Following last year’s Community New Year Resolution, the district and others worked to address student mental health, with ESU 13 developing a plan to partner with area schools for a Day Treatment Educational facility.
While the ESU has applied for grant funding for the pilot project, Myles notes in the letter that assistance has yet to materialize, and so he’s calling on the State for funding, for both the Governor and Behavioral Health Director Sheri Dawson to step forward and help the District do what’s right.
Myles says the issues faced by youth are not unique to Scottsbluff, Western Nebraska or even the entire state, but what is unique is the total dearth of State-supported facilities in the area to intervene.