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Brainerd Public Schools: Board renews Northern Pines contract for mental health services

By renewing its contract with Northern Pines Mental Health Center, the Brainerd School District reaffirmed its commitment to providing mental health services to its students and staff.

The KinderClub and Fun 'N' Friends programs at the Washington Educational Services Building are relocating to Riverside Elementary School for Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, due to water. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch file photo
The Brainerd School Board met for a special meeting Wednesday, June 26, at the Washington Educational Services Building. Brainerd Dispatch file photo

By renewing its contract with Northern Pines Mental Health Center, the Brainerd School District reaffirmed its commitment to providing mental health services to its students and staff.

The contract, approved during a special board meeting Wednesday, June 26, allows for full-time mental health professionals to be stationed at both Forestview Middle School and Brainerd High School. Right now, Assistant Superintendent Heidi Hahn said she believes there are eight stationed at Forestview and at least 10 at BHS full time. A total of 37 mental health professionals come and go throughout all the schools in the district depending on needs, she said.

"We're very aware of how critical access to mental health (services) is at this point," Hahn said.

Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative Director Jen Johnson, who worked with Hahn on the agreement, praised the amount of mental health services the district is able to offer.

"This is an incredible opportunity that we're providing for our students and our families," Johnson said, noting the last district she worked in was twice the size of Brainerd and only had one mental health provider at each high school and middle school.

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The district's cost for the mental health services contract-which runs from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020-is $151,000, paid in monthly installments of $16,777. Hahn said this is the same price as last year's contract.

In other business Wednesday, the school board:

Approved the hiring of new staff members: Shana Lee, early childhood special education teacher at Washington Educational Services Building; Anika Thill, special education teacher at Baxter Elementary; Marie Waschek, third grade teacher at Garfield Elementary; Ana Welu, early childhood special education teacher at Washington Educational Services Building; Stephanie Kluck, assistant cook at Nisswa Elementary; Donna Morris, food services at Brainerd High School.

Approved staff resignations: Spencer Frie, orchestra director at BHS; Aimee Jambor, certified nursing assistant teacher at BHS; Heather Pfannenstein, music teacher at Lowell Elementary; Jennifer Castle, district human resources director; Kathleen Glassman, paraprofessional at Garfield.

Approved a proposal from EduTrak Software, the district's new online system to collect student fees.

Approved a contract with CliftonLarsonAllen for fiscal year 2019 audit services for an estimated cost of $38,100.

Renewed the district's membership with the Minnesota Rural Education Association at a cost of $2,500.

Renewed the district's membership with the Minnesota School Boards Association at a cost of $12,738.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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