School eyes grant for health center

The planning grant process was unanimously approved by the board.

The South Whidbey School Board has decided to throw its support behind a planning grant for a school-based health center.

At a school board meeting Wednesday night, Superintendent Jo Moccia said the health center would be “inclusive of everyone, community and students alike.” Its proposed placement is the district-owned South Whidbey Community Center.

“It’s something we’ve actually talked about in our community for many years,” Moccia said. “This is the first time that the grant has come across as a possibility.”

Moccia explained that the State Department of Health grant would be in cooperation with the Coupeville School District. Its goal is to address healthcare challenges in a rural area.

“We know that there are many, especially access,” Moccia said.

Moccia said in an email to the Record that the school district is supporting Island County as the applicant to explore school-based health centers for both South Whidbey and Coupeville school districts, based on a categorization of “geographically medically underserved.” The grant amount totals up to $50,000.

Board Member Marnie Jackson said during Wednesday’s meeting that she thought it was “highly advisable” for the board to pursue this opportunity. The other members agreed.

“I think overall this is a really great opportunity for the district to look into, especially on a rural island and with a one-boat ferry system, where it’s really difficult to access healthcare,” student Board Member Audrey Gmerek said.

The planning grant process was unanimously approved by the board.