SAN ANTONIO — Some of San Antonio’s largest school districts are getting federal dollars to support mental health services.
Bexar County has $21 million from the American Rescue Plan act for school based behavioral health. $6.7 million was distributed to Edgewood ISD, Northside ISD, Somerset ISD and Southside ISD to fund services through the end of 2026.
The first round of funding was approved for San Antonio ISD, Harlandale ISD, South San ISD and East Central ISD back in October.
Southside ISD staff says the district has done a good job at addressing the high school level, but the funding will help expand services to lower grade levels.
“I have been working with Southside at one point doing more of the individual therapy in the school setting and it’s a pretty big need,” Iveth Pacheco, social and emotional coordinator for Southside ISD told KENS 5.
She says there is limited access to holistic behavioral health centers outside of the school district.
“We are rural, and a lot of the times that’s been one of the hinders in providing the immediate response of services to students,” Pacheco said.
“I am a former educator so its something I’ve been working on for years,” said Rebeca Clay-Flores, Bexar County Precinct 1 Commissioner. She says she’s tried fighting the school-to-prison pipeline since running for office.
The county says it fought for $21 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to be distributed to school districts.
“The hope is we’ll partner with ISDs and local non-profits to get more therapists and social workers in our schools so we can deal with issues for young people at an earlier age,” Commissioner Clay-Flores said.
Here’s how the $6.7 million breaks down for each of the districts who received funding today:
- Edgewood ISD: $1.04 million
- Northside ISD: $4.5 million
- Somerset ISD: $476,750
- Southside ISD: $90,000
The county allocates funding based on enrollment numbers, poverty data from each district, and area median income.
Pacheco has her hopes for what the money could do on the southside.
“We’ll be able to branch out all the way from the elementary school to the high school versus just having designated people in specific campuses, that because of sometimes lack of manpower we’re not able to distribute these services,” Pacheco said.
According to Commissioner Clay-Flores, she says county leaders have convened with all ISD superintendents in Bexar County to give them the choice of applying for the funding.
Each school district would have to approve its contract with the county. Bexar County recently hired a coordinator to work on best practices with each school district.