Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees discuss bond oversight and student mental health ahead of May 20 meeting

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At its May 13 agenda review meeting, the Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees discussed preliminary plans for a new Bond Oversight Committee, a district-independent organization that would review the implementation of the 2014 and 2018 DSISD construction bonds, which are funding ongoing construction projects in the district.

Superintendent Bruce Gearing said his recommendation to create such a committee was influenced by the presence of similar committees in other area school districts. He said he would propose a nine-member committee, with Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Scott Drillette serving as district liaison.

Trustees also discussed recommendations brought forth by DSISD’s Mental Health Task Force. Gearing reported the task force’s recommendation that, among other changes, a licensed mental health professional be added to the staff at Dripping Springs High School to assist with issues including crisis intervention. The superintendent cited barriers to mental health resources in Dripping Springs community-wide, noting that many professionals in the city do not accept insurance.

“The deeper we dig, the clearer it becomes to us that this is an urgent need in the district,” Gearing said.

The new high school staff member would handle an estimated case load of around 40 students.

The hire would be part of a tiered plan to address mental health in DSISD schools, including requiring mental health first-aid training to staff members across the district. Although Gearing said mental health crisis intervention would initially be prioritized, social and emotional skill-building should be increased over time to lessen the instances that require crisis intervention.

Both the proposed formation of the Bond Oversight Committee and implementation of the mental health task force recommendations will be presented at the next public board meeting on May 20, but will not be presented as action items accompanied by a vote until a later meeting.

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Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.
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