Barry ISD receives $445,500 surprise from state
The windfall of $445,500 from the state to the Barry Intermediate School District will pay for new programs to help students with mental illness.
Barry ISD Superintendent Richard Franklin received confirmation of the grant this week.
The award was welcome news for educators, coming on the heels of a study commissioned by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, which called untreated mental illness a statewide crisis in Michigan.
That study indicated that Barry County is a “Mental Health Professional Shortage Area,” meaning that communities in the county lack sufficient mental health services for residents.
“Individual lawmakers decided this was important when they heard the need from their constituents,” Franklin said.
State information said the money, which is being awarded to every intermediate school district that applied and was confirmed to receive it, will “enhance and expand the availability of mental health services and supports to general education K-12 students in Michigan.”
“I don’t care who the kid is, if they need help, we’re going to give it to them,” Delton Superintendent Kyle Corlett said. “It’s nice to see that the state heard our request for more support and really put their money where their mouth is.”
Delton schools, which will receive $100,330, plans to improve support for mental health, Corlett said. They plan to increase contracted services through places like Pine Rest out of Hastings.
“We are so grateful to Rich Franklin and the BISD for their work with the grant,” Hastings Superintendent Dan Remenap said. “This will allow Hastings Area School System to employ mental health workers at both Hastings High School and Hastings Middle School, fulfilling a great need in our school community.”
Hastings schools, which will receive $194,170, plans to place a student support specialist at the high school and at the middle school.
Part of the $142,000 of the grant for Hastings schools also will be used for a behavioral health team pilot program. The program will be carried out jointly with Calhoun ISD over three years and will provide comprehensive needs assessment and asset mapping. The goal of the assessment and mapping is to show the individual need of each participating district to begin to identify students in need.
The program also will work toward capacity building in prevention, intervention, and what Franklin called “post-vention.” “Post”-vention training includes recovery, communication, and follow-up.
Prevention training includes policy, procedures, protocols, Michigan Model Curriculum, among additional training.
Intervention training includes crisis intervention and stress management, critical incident stress debriefing, and referrals for direct service delivery.
Another $9,000 of the grant will cover administration costs.
Franklin said the grant is unique because the same amount of money is being given to each intermediate school district statewide. Most grants are given on a per-pupil basis.
But, in this case, from Franklin's perspective, Delton and Hastings area school districts will be the best-served schools in Michigan because of the small size of the Barry ISD. That means the amount spent per student will be greater.
“This is really a chance for us to take advantage of being small,” Franklin said.
The ISD will be responsible for monitoring each district’s use of funds to ensure they are spent for the purposes that were outlined in their proposals to receive the money.
The grant funds can be carried over by each district until Sept. 30, 2022.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done something like this,” Franklin said. “But everyone across the state is doing it at once.”