Dorchester Dist. 2 to spend nearly $2M on mental health help

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) – Dorchester County School District 2 will spend millions of federal dollars to hire social workers and more mental health counselors in its schools, but that is not all they plan to do with the money.

DD2 currently has just over $35 million dollars left to spend of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, and part of the funds will be used to support students’ mental health.

The district received $40.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds when the $1.9 trillion bill was passed last year. As part of their spending plan, DD2 allocated $1.9 million dollars in ESSER III money to hire social workers and additional mental health counselors.

“We have increased the number of mental health counselors in our schools, and we are adding school social workers,” DD2 spokesman Matthew Kenwright said. “Currently, it is difficult to find social workers and mental health counselors.”

However, the district has not said exactly how many of these workers they are looking to hire using this money or what difficulties they are facing.

The grant was allocated to schools across the country to recover from learning loss coming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the money, the district also plans to focus on its summer programs, after-school tutoring, reading and math camps, as well as special needs camps for 2022 and 2023.

The district also plans to focus on hiring more permanent substitutes to work at their schools with this money and has until September 2024 to spend all of its ESSER III money.

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