Funding Dispute Threatens Health, Counseling Program

(Calif.) School nurses, speech pathologists, counselors and psychologists throughout California face pink slips this spring as districts struggled to close a $600 million gap created by a withholding of federal funds.

The money, much of it owed to schools for services to low-income families going back years, supports efforts by districts to locate and sign up students eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program.

The funds themselves are used for a wide variety of efforts aimed at giving disadvantaged students access to social and health care services, especially students with disabilities.

But federal auditors discovered some improper claims dating back more than three years and began withholding reimbursements in June, 2012, according to a legislative staff report. As a result, hundreds of school districts statewide have been forced to use a portion of their general fund money to keep critical services going – something local officials say they can no longer do.

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Read our Issue Analysis of California’s ongoing school MAA program deferral…

View the ‘What’s New’ page on DHCS’ website for the latest in state-issued deferral updates…