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Health board votes to cut Guilds’ School funding

The Spokane Regional Health District will move forward with a funding cut to the Spokane Guilds’ School and Neuromuscular Center.

In a 4-3 vote, the executive committee of the health board decided to offer family resource coordinator services to the Guilds’ School in lieu of the $195,000 in Department of Early Learning funding the health district has given the school in the past to hire their own coordinators.

“We need to make sure families have equal access to FRC services, so our goal is to try to even the caseloads,” said Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke, who sits on the board. “The health district has kind of decided that the best way to do that is to simply provide the services.”

Guilds’ School supporters rallied to preserve the funding, leveling sharp criticisms at city and county officials. But health district staff has maintained that the move will allow them to more equally allocate resources to its other providers and, in turn, reduce caseloads and local dollar need.

The money is a portion of the $579,890 provided to the health district by the Department of Early Learning, earmarked for family resource coordinators, which assist families with children who have complex medical needs that include disabilities and developmental delays.

The Guilds’ School has said the cut will hurt the children and families they serve because the coordinators it already employs are familiar with the children that use the program.

“We were just real disappointed,” Guilds’ Executive Director Dick Boysen said of the board’s decision.

“We didn’t see how they saved any money in doing it. They could have just done it cheaper at the Guilds’ School.”

The school can also use alternative revenue to continue to employ its own coordinators.

Boysen said no decisions have been made yet as to whether they will use health district coordinators or their own.

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