Davis School District cuts school nurse program

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DAVIS COUNTY -- The Davis School District is losing many of its nurses. That's because it has to cut millions from its budget, and the school nurse program is one of the first to go.

The Davis County Health Department contracts with the district to provide nurses in schools; they pay 40 percent, and the school district pays 60 percent. When the district announced they couldn't pay that much anymore, the health department pulled out.

The Davis School District is one of the last districts in the state to contract with a health department for its nurses.

"We wish there was a school nurse in every school full time, but we can't afford that and the state hasn't provided us with extra money to pull that off," said Chris Williams, community relations director for Davis School District.

Davis County Health Department Director Lewis Garrett said, "There has to be school nurses. The question is how many are we going to be able to afford under this new budget reality, and perhaps we're going to have to expand our use of less expensive providers."

District officials say despite the cuts, students in its schools will still be taken care of. If a student has a specific medical need, the Health Department says, at the parents' request, they will make sure an employee is trained to do that if a nurse is not available.

Over a dozen nurses will be affected by the cut and both the health department and school district say they will try to rehire as many of them as they have openings available. They plan to discontinue the program by the end of the summer.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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