Superintendent: Mental Health Issues A Costly Problem At St Johnsbury School – Caledonian Record

The St. Johnsbury School has a growing, costly mental health problem. That’s according to Supt. Dr. Brian Ricca who raised the issue Monday night with the St. Johnsbury school board. Ricca, as part of a discussion about a proposal to hire four new paraeducators at a cost of $105,000 for the school’s first-grade classrooms, talked about “the increasing need for mental health services for the students in this building.” Ricca said the problem is growing so large that the school is hiring fewer teachers in favor of more paraeducators and “behavioral specialists.”

“It was (school director) Mark (Avery) who pointed out at our finance committee meeting — and we are an accurate representation of this — the cost increases that are associated with education are less and less about direct instruction and are more and more about supporting better mental health for our students,” said Ricca. “More guidance counselors. More social workers … We’re doing everything we can to address needs here in-house and we’re not quite there yet.”

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