The Ocean Township school district is to receive $500,000 in state aid to support mental health services.
Several area school districts, including Ocean Township and Neptune, are scheduled to receive up to $500,000 in state funding to support mental health services in schools.
Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, successfully advocated for millions of dollars in direct state budget aid to Legislative District 11 public school districts.
“Our school districts are financially stressed and addressing the alarming spike in youth depression and other mental health issues has added to that financial pressure,” said Gopal, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and is the Senate Majority Conference Leader.
Gopal has been working in a bi-partisan effort with legislative leadership in Trenton to secure direct funds for the residents of the 11th Legislative District.
“These budget appropriations will help our school districts address mental health issues without being forced to cut other programs,” Gopal said.
The following Legislative District 11 school districts will receive state budget aid to support mental health services: Ocean Township and Eatontown, $500,000 each; Freehold Township and Red Bank, $200,000 each; Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Red Bank Regional High School, Shrewsbury Borough, and Tinton Falls, $100,000 each.
Dr. Raymond J. Boccuti, chief school administrator and principal of the Woodrow Wilson School in Neptune City, thanked Gopal enabling Neptune City educators “to address important needs that would not have been possible without the support.”
Gopal also successfully advocated for $40 million in the state budget for School-Linked Youth Services Programs, which are helping educators address student mental health and other student needs throughout the state. A portion of those funds are going to School-Based Youth Service Programs such as the SOURCE at Red Bank Regional High School, which provide important services including free mental health counseling and telehealth; crisis interventions and other services.
“This funding will be used to improve the educational experience of our students and promote everyone’s success and wellbeing,” said Red Bank Regional School Superintendent Lou Moore.
The budget also includes $250,000 for Keys Academy, a recovery high school located at Brookdale Community College, as well as $250,000 to support Brookdale’s new Social Impact Collaboratory to be located on the College’s Lincroft campus.
“Collaboratory programs such as master classes, skill development workshops, business pitch competitions, and project-based learning opportunities will bring faculty and students together with local entrepreneurs, small business owners, and non-profit organizations in a mixed-use space designed for business ideation, innovation, and acceleration,” Stout said.
Gopal also successfully advocated for a $25,000 grant from the state budget appropriation the Freehold Township Education Foundation, which supplements the curriculum in township schools by funding creative and innovative projects not covered in the school budget.