Grant School Board Of Education Cuts Ties With Family Health Care
The very same Family Health Care organization Evart Schools is considering:
Grant school board votes to cut ties with health center
By Demetrios Sanders - June 20, 2023
GRANT, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grant Public School District is ending its contract with a health center inside of the district’s middle school. The decision came months after some parents raised concerns about a mural at the clinic, which featured LGBTQ+ symbols.
Monday night, Grant school board members voted to terminate the district’s contract with Family Health Care, which operates the Child and Adolescent Health Center. The decision will go into effect in 90 days.
“What I feel like I witnessed last night was complete disregard from the school board for the feeling and insight of the community in regards to the health center,” said Lindsay Mahlich, a Grant Public Schools parent.
Mural at Grant Middle School causes concern among parents
According to GPS superintendent Brett Zuver, a vote on the health center was not on the original agenda and was added by a board member. The decision left some feeling surprised.
“At our Board meeting Monday night there was a surprise motion made and passed by four GPS Board members to terminate the contract of the Child and Adolescent Health Center housed in one of our buildings. Unfortunately, it will negatively impact hundreds of children and families in our community,” Zuver wrote in a statement.
Those at the meeting say the board pointed to a number of concerns as the driving force behind the decision.
“All of the reasons that were cited by the school board were more in regards to operations and communications,” Mahlich said.
Last year, some parents also showed worries about a mural inside of the health center that displayed some characters wearing clothing with LGBTQ+ symbols.
Grant mural becomes backdrop for cultural conflict
Julie Tatko, the CEO of Family Health Care, said the company hadn’t received negative feedback about the artwork recently.
“We have not had continued conversations about the mural in regards to discontent about it or reactions,” Tatko said.
Last year, the health center served 658 patients. Tatko says getting rid of the service will have a big impact on children.
“Right now, they have a great resource where they don’t have to spend much time away from class in order to receive services and now it will require parents to come pick up their kids and take them to other healthcare,” Tatko said.
She now hopes to open a discussion on exactly why the contract was ended.
“We would like to understand better what the board’s objection is to the services, to find out if there’s any possibility for a positive way to move forward and we hope that the community is also going to be able to talk about the value of these services and what a difference it’s made for them and tell that to the board directly,” Tatko said.
The Child and Adolescent Health Center will continue to provide services at Grant Middle School until the contract ends....
Grant, Michigan is in Newaygo County, about 60 miles south west of Evart.
Grant Public Schools approves resolution to consider negotiations with Family Health Care
District may consider negotiations to keep health center open.
By Marisa Oberle - July 10, 2023
GRANT, Mich. — The Grant Public Schools Board of Education approved a resolution on Monday, which allows the district to consider entering into negotiations with Family Health Care, who operates a health center within the district’s middle school.
It was approved unanimously.
According to the resolution, the district’s superintendent and attorney can negotiate with Family Health Care or another health care service provider on a contract that meets the board's standards.
Ken Thorne, the board's vice president, said the district is not making a commitment to keeping the center open, but "starting the conversation."
It’s unclear if the district plans to negotiate with any other providers.
Last month, the board unexpectedly voted to shut the clinic down, upsetting many people in the community. Family Health Care says they recently received a notice that said they need to vacate the center by October 9, 2023.
Members did not say why they decided to do so, but some families have speculated it’s because of a mural within the clinic that features LGBTQ+ imagery and other misinformation about the care given.
According to Family Health Care, it helps 700 students annually. A $275,000 state grant covers the cost of staffing and supplies. A board member says the district pays approximately $5,000 a year for utilities.
At Monday’s meeting, the board also accepted the resignation of former school board president: Neil Geers. According to meeting minutes, he was not at the June 19 meeting which was when the vote to shut down the clinic happened.
Two ad hoc committees have been formed to interview the people who applied for his position. The school board says they have received more than 60 applications.
In a response to the school district's resolution, a spokesperson for Family Health Care told FOX 17:
"We welcome the opportunity to speak with the school about any concerns they may have about the health center, and how we can reach a common ground to continue providing these essential services to the children of the Grant community. We wish we could've been at the table prior to the board's decision to close the health center, but remain optimistic that we can work together to continue providing services."
Woke clinics at local schools are problematic on both legal and moral grounds.
Parents have strong resources to back their position here:
Insights into the federal agenda from the nationwide organization Stand for Health Freedom.
As the new school year approaches, we want to make sure you’re prepared to address the next threat to health freedom taking place in schools throughout the nation. As reported in our Battles ahead email, School-based Health Centers (SBHCs) are expanding across the country, thanks to recent federal action, including the June 2022 passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in Congress and quickly followed by millions of dollars in grants awarded to states by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for expansion of SBHCs.
Don’t let the name fool you (or your lawmakers). They sound old hat, but School-based Health Centers are not your typical school-nurse model of care where minor illnesses and injuries are treated. SBHCs are intended by the Biden-Harris administration to be the “medical home” for your child, including primary health care services, reproductive counseling, dental care, and mental health counseling, replacing what the child would typically receive from providers outside of the school. Even worse, the Department of Education (DOE) has proposed changing the process for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), removing the requirement for schools to receive parental consent before submitting Medicaid claims for reimbursement on behalf of their children. Their stated purpose for doing so is to streamline their process for reimbursement, overcoming a perceived administrative burden, while prioritizing Medicaid as the primary school funding source for providing legally required services to students with disabilities. When schools make Medicaid claims on behalf of the child, care and services parents seek outside of school risk being denied, preventing the child from getting the care he or she needs.
Since SBHCs are currently completely unregulated, there’s no set standard for who employs the providers, which services are offered, whether the services are provided to only students or also the community at-large, or how parental presence and parental consent are handled. Some schools are only asking parents to sign a single form at the start of the school year for their child to be seen in the SBHC anytime (and for any reason) throughout the school year. Other schools in states with minor consent laws are not only bypassing parental consent, but also intentionally withholding information in the name of “the student’s privacy.” There are also questions about which laws (if any) govern this health data since FERPA regulates student data, HIPAA regulates health data, and loopholes exist for both.
Some proponents of SBHCs argue that these in-school clinics promote better access to health care for children and relieve busy parents of the burden of taking their children to the doctor. But medical ethics do not allow physicians to treat minors without a parent or guardian present, which is why parents cannot simply drop their child off at the doctor’s office and come back later to collect them. As previously stated, neither the federal government nor any state currently regulates School-based Health Centers nor provides guardrails for parental consent, parental presence during the time of treatment, or student health data privacy within the SBHC.
What’s worse, we’re seeing a wave of states across the country filing bills to lower the age of consent to medical care from age 18 to as low as age 11. This means schools do not have to get parental consent to treat the child and, even worse, parental objection to treatment is meaningless. When you combine the push for health care expansion within schools (a place where children are away from their parents) with the push for minor consent laws (nullifying the need for parents), the anti-parent agenda becomes clear.
One example of this playing out in real time can be seen in California. In 2011, California passed a minor consent law allowing children to consent to their own medical care beginning at age 12. In July 2022, Harvard’s Center for Policy Law and Innovation and University of California, Davis jointly published their research showing that School-based Health Centers are even more effective at increasing HPV vaccination rates than state mandates. Pairing SBHCs with minor consent laws almost entirely eliminates the biggest obstacle to HPV vaccines: parental objection.
Parents who wish to engage this issue can find action items at the full article.
Two stories on the latest developments in the Family Health Care clinic in Grant Middle School:
Group seeks to recall Grant school board members over clinic vote
By Rachel Van Gilder, Amanda Porter - August 14, 2023
GRANT, Mich. (WOOD) — Recall petitions were filed Tuesday against four Grant Public Schools Board of Education members who voted to cut ties with the organization running the health clinic in the district’s middle school.
The petitions seek to recall Rachal Gort, Ken Thorne, Richard Vance and Sabrina Veltkamp-Blok, citing their June 19 votes to issue a letter to terminate the school district’s partnership with Family Health Care.
Some parents previously objected to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ symbols on a student-designed mural at the Child and Adolescent Health Center inside Grant Middle School. Though the board has not said so directly, many people think Family Health Care’s contract was ended because of the mural.
“The art, the mural on the wall painted by a student, it certainly seems like that is a grudge or an issue that they still have with the health center,” Joshua Stein, who is helping organize the recall effort, said at Monday night’s board meeting.
Board member Robert Schuitema seemingly agreed that the mural is the cause of the controversy.
“I am tired of sitting here month after month trying to figure out a solution that we can work together. I thought we had made a compromise to the painting, the mural, which on its face value when you look at it has no violations of our policies whatsoever,” Schuitema said. “And yet constantly from then until now, I have seen examples of discrimination, or discriminatory practices based on these criteria from several members of this board and I, for one, am not going to stand for it.”
Stein told News 8 the recall language was approved during a Tuesday morning hearing at the Newaygo County Courthouse. The petitions would have to gather 1,091 signatures for the recalls to make it to the ballot.
“Our preference is for them to resign, but will continue forward with the recall until they do,” Stein told News 8 Tuesday morning.
“Since they have not resigned or listened to the pleas of the community, the recall process will be moving forward,” Megan Wirtz, parent of a Grant student, said at the Monday board meeting.
Wirtz supports what’s being called the Grant School Board recall initiative.
“By recalling these board members — Rachal Gort, Sabrina Veltkamp-Blok, Richard Vance, and Ken Thorne — we can pave the way for new leadership that understands the importance of transparency, inclusivity and the well-being of our students and staff,” Wirtz asid.
High school junior Blake Curtis wants to kickstart youth engagement on this matter.
“It’s not our parents’ health center, it’s not the board members’ health center, it’s our health center. And I feel like that’s the way we need to portray this,” Curtis said.
FHC filed the challenge to the decision to end its contract, saying the school board may have improperly advertised the June 19 meeting and violated the Open Meetings Act. It also said the school board has not brought up any operational problems with the health center.
In July, the school board unanimously approved a resolution to enter negotiations with FHC or another provider to run the clinic.
At the meeting, a representative from Family Health Care spoke up about stalled negotiations.
“We are trying to work through these negotiations as quickly as possible as the clock is ticking with the new school year beginning in just two weeks. After the last school board meeting, we did not hear from the board and their attorney until recently, giving us very little time to negotiate prior to the start of school. We remain optimistic,” said Carol Burba, a program supervisor with FHC.
Health clinic still up in the air at Grant Middle School, some start process to recall four school board members
Parents and community members have started the process to recall four Grant School Board members while the district is still negotiating a contract for the clinic.
By Micah Cho - August 15, 2023
GRANT, Mich. — Before Grant's School Board meeting even started Monday night, a group of parents and community members gathered outside of Grant's Performing Arts Center announcing their efforts to recall board members Rachel Gort, Sabrina Veltkamp-Block, Richard Vance and Ken Thorne.
"It is my firm belief that the strength of any community lies within active engagement and collaboration of its members," said Megan Writs, who spoke about the petition Monday afternoon. "The recall process serves as a powerful tool to exercise our collective voice."
All four voted to end the contract of Family Health Care operating at Grant Middle School in June.
This came after some in the Grant Schools community raised concerns about a student-made mural inside the center last year.
Since then, there has been a ticking clock on how long the health care center will be able to operate with their last contract ending on Oct. 6.
Julie Tatko is the CEO of Family Health Care in Newaygo County. She says the current contract negotiations with Grant Schools makes the future unclear.
"Some of those have the opportunity to improve our contract, they address issues of school safety and security, as well as how we can help the school be in alignment of their own requirements, but we need to make sure that the revisions that are being proposed meet the program and legal requirements in order to run a health center," said Tatko.
The clinic was not on the agenda for Monday's school board meeting, but dozens expressed their leadership concerns during public comment.
While negotiations for a new contract are still ongoing, some in Grant voiced their opinion of the current board.
"The four of you are messing with my grandchildren's health," said one concerned community member. "Where am I going to take them? Where? Tell me? What doctor is prepared to take them today if they have an emergency?"
However, one person during the meeting did offer her support for the board.
"Just know you do have support, there is a quiet group of people, and you are not alone," they said.
Those leading the recall efforts said that there will be a meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the county clerk's office in White Cloud.
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