Oakland Co. to invest more than $47 million in services for K-12 students

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Oakland County is investing more than $47 million in resources for K-12 students this year, some of which will bolster school mental health services along with food and housing assistance, officials announced Tuesday.

County Executive Dave Coulter and Commissioner David Woodward, chair of the county's Board of Commissioners, announced the investment during at a 10 a.m. news conference to highlight how American Rescue Plan funds are bolstering school mental health, learning delay, food and housing assistance, and wraparound services for students and their families at the start of the new school year.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter is seen inside a conference room in front of the county's flag at the Oakland County Executive office building.

"As our kids go back to school, I knew it was a priority to boost the funding that we’re giving to districts to help with the mental health challenges students are facing, as well as provide resources to address learning delay issues brought on by remote learning," Coulter said in a statement. "With the COVID relief funding we got from the federal government in the last two years, we’ve been able to make critical and transformational investments."

Coulter and Woodward were joined by educators, students, and community leaders at the conference, held at the Pontiac School District Administration Building. 

"The students of today have faced challenges most of us have never experienced," Kelley Williams, superintendent of the Pontiac School District said in a statement. "Districts across our region have seen the toll these past few years have taken on our children, and the positive impact an investment in mental health resources has on their success. We are grateful to the county for their commitment to this initiative."

The United Way of Southeastern Michigan will administer the grants and applications should be available by the end of the month.

Of the $47 million, $5 million will put toward learning delay or learning disability grants. 

More than $10 million of the funds will go toward providmental health professionals in schools for the second year in a row.

Finally, the county will use more than $18 million in housing and food assistance for students and their families this year. 

The investments come on top of $10 million the county used in June 2021 for mental health professionals in schools. It also spent thousands more for wrap-around programs, mental health services, youth assistance and childcare training.

"Oakland County is proud to lead Michigan and lean in to make sure every student has the resources, support, and tools to succeed,” Woodward said in a statement. "Every dollar we invest in our students is a smart investment to create an unprecedented opportunity for all — now, and long into the future."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez