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When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unexpectedly slashed $133 million in student mental health services, local officials were worried that gutting the state funds could jeopardize other funding for kids in need.

San Diego County had two worries: It was short $4 million that it would otherwise have gotten from the state. And it feared that an additional $4 million in federal funding could be in jeopardy.

That second worry was wiped away today, when the California Department of Education announced it would allocate federal funds for counseling, therapy and other mental health services for students.

But the money is only a temporary fix. It still won’t solve the problems for San Diego County schools, which have relied on the county to handle and pay for mental health services. Alfredo Aguirre, who oversees county mental health services, said the funding will only cover them through December.

Roughly 1,600 students currently use mental health services provided by San Diego County. While at least one other county elsewhere in California has agreed to shoulder the costs for their care, San Diego County says it can’t keep providing the services without state money.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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