News

School district seeks new counseling provider for middle, high schools

ACS director: short-term counseling model at odds with nonprofit's focus

The Palo Alto school district has for the first time issued a request for proposals (RFP) for counseling services for its secondary schools, which will bring an end to a decades-long partnership with its current provider, nonprofit Adolescent Counseling Services.

After 37 years of providing on-campus counseling to Palo Alto Unified's middle and high schools, Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) does not intend to respond to the RFP, Executive Director Philippe Rey confirmed to the Weekly.

The school district is facing a multimillion dollar budget shortfall and is seeking to reduce its spending on programs and services, Superintendent Max McGee said of his decision to issue the request for proposals. At the same time, ACS had recently requested an increase in funding from the district.

"We put an RFP for new auditors; we put out RFP for legal firms," McGee told the Weekly in an interview. "Given that we're in a time where we really can't afford to increase our costs by the amount they were initially asking, (I thought,) let's put out an RFP."

From ACS' perspective, the shorter-term model of care the district has implemented in the last two years in response to student demand following a youth suicide cluster has been at odds with ACS' typical focus on long-term, comprehensive counseling, Rey said.

"Over the years, on-campus services within PAUSD have moved toward brief, therapeutic interventions and triage, and away from the intense, longer-term therapy and family-system care that ACS wishes to practice," Rey and ACS board of directors president Annette Smith wrote in a message sent to supporters Monday afternoon, announcing the nonprofit's exit from the school district.

Adolescent Counseling Services, which provides Palo Alto Unified's three middle schools and two high schools with a mix of part- and full-time licensed psychotherapists and counseling interns five days a week at no cost to students, has also increasingly struggled to raise the funds necessary to maintain its services, primarily due to a sharp rise in salaries, its leadership has said. The nonprofit's board decided to dip into its reserve last year for the first time to mitigate staff salaries.

The district's contract with ACS has seen $10,000 annual increases in the last several years, but that hasn't been sufficient to cover rising costs, Rey said in a previous interview. The district currently pays the nonprofit $100,000 for its services. ACS asked the district this year to contribute an additional $50,000. Adolescent Counseling Services also receives close to $25,000 from the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the five schools.

The school district and City of Palo Alto (through the Human Services Resource Allocation Process, which provides grants to organizations that provide direct services to residents) have historically covered approximately 30 percent of the funding for ACS' services, "leaving ACS to fundraise the majority of necessary funding from private donors, foundations, and corporations," Rey wrote in his message to supporters.

The RFP asks providers to submit proposals for a comprehensive, "short-term" counseling model for the 2017-18 school year for all middle and high schools. Under the contract, licensed therapists would be required to provide individual and group therapy, case management and education and outreach to families; participate in student meetings and as part of the school wellness teams; serve as a resource to administrators and school staff; and manage all intakes, assessment caseloads and discharge or termination of services. The district will also allow, as it currently does with ACS, for the provider to use interns to counsel students.

The RFP describes Palo Alto Unified students as facing the social emotional challenges of a "fast paced, high performance, technologically driven society" and living in a community that has experienced two youth suicide clusters in the last nine years.

"For the upcoming school year, PAUSD is interested in receiving proposals that address the ongoing issues that students face in light of these recent events," the RFP states. "Proposals should establish how (the) provider would work with school site personnel to support students toward wellness and balance in their lives."

It also requests a "specific explanation of how short term, school-based counseling will benefit individual students, student groups and families" and the scope of services, "making clear the distinction of short-term goal oriented counseling and when long term counseling might be needed."

The district estimates the new provider would at least initially assess 400 to 450 students throughout the year and individually counsel about 300 to 350 students.

According to ACS, however, the nonprofit has provided on average between 650 and 800 students with five or more therapy sessions each year across the five schools. McGee said the school district's estimates are based on services provided by licensed therapists and did not include interns.

Several local mental health providers already working in the district have confirmed they plan to respond to the request for proposals, including Counseling and Support Services for Youth, which provides counseling at eight Palo Alto Unified elementary schools, and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley, which serves Addison Elementary School. Another elementary-level provider, Acknowledge Alliance, said it does not plan to respond.

San Josed-based Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), which the district contracted with two years ago to provide counseling and parent education in Mandarin, Korean and Spanish, also plans to respond, according to interim president and CEO Sarita Kohli. As the demographics of the district have shifted, with a growing number of Asian students, Kohli said that "culturally sensitive services that focus on involving the family as well as the students are much needed in the district."

A spokesperson from Palo Alto youth mental health nonprofit Children's Health Council (CHC) said the organization does not plan to respond.

Local nonprofit Community Health Awareness Council, which provides on-campus counseling to Mountain View schools, did not receive the RFP and won't be responding.

Providers have until April 17 to respond to the RFP. The contract with the selected provider will begin on July 1.

In addition to its contract with Adolescent Counseling Services, the school district pays AACI $83,700 for three clinicians who speak Mandarin, Korean and Spanish to spend one day a week at each high school, as well as after-school clinic hours at the district office and parent-education classes in those three languages.

Stanford receives about $62,800 to pay for two child psychiatry fellows, supervised by a Stanford psychiatry faculty member, to provide short-term consultations to students and families for four hours a week at each high school. (Stanford does not intend to respond to the RFP given it doesn't have the personnel for what the district is seeking, said Steven Adelsheim, director of the university's Youth Center for Mental Health and Wellbeing.)

As part of potential budget cuts to address the ongoing shortfall, district staff have suggested cutting the Stanford and AACI contracts by half, leaving AACI services only at the high schools and eliminating the Stanford fellows program.

ACS, which has been providing counseling services to the district since 1980, will continue to serve three other local public schools, where Rey said ACS still provides a longer-term model of care.

Rey said his organization will redirect the approximate $330,000 it spends in Palo Alto Unified to develop a clinical training program for interns and to expand existing community services. Local students and families will still be able to access -- for a fee on a sliding scale -- therapy and ACS’ substance abuse treatment facility as well as Outlet, a free support program for LGBTQ youth.

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information about the amount of money ACS receives from school PTAs. The nonprofit receives close to $25,000 total from the five secondary school PTAs.

Comments

45 people like this
Posted by HolyCow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:41 pm

So let me get this straight - we gave outsized raises to the teachers, and cannot afford funding ACS?

This insanity in a town where it is already impossible to get a therapist? Has the board lost its mind?


This district has made plainly clear that students don't matter [portion removed.] All the money is funneled to staff, with as little as possible going to help kids.


45 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 12:05 am

Wow this is beyond disturbing and disheartening. ACS is a valuable resource with counselors that really "get us". Not like the staff and wannabe mental health professionals in the district. Pausd: You'll be sorry for letting ACS go and not investing in them more. As a student that has seen ACS for services, I couldn't have made it without the ACS support. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!!


32 people like this
Posted by retired guy who follows the schools
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:08 am

Geez, dunno what tone he was talking in, but McGee making a parallel between, on the one hand, auditors and legal firms, and these "first responders" who may be helping us save kids' lives, well, sounds pretty glib to me.

And isn't this gonna destroy a lot of relationships that, say, sophs and jrs might already have with counselors? How can this be very good, except from the money angle?

Feels like something here I don't understand. Are we expecting just to hospitalize more kids instead? Just do whatever it is they do "short term" for the kids who aren't hurting so bad ("triage") and expect to hospitalize the other kids, like in 2014-15, when we put 60 of our high school kids in hospitals?

Anyone who can make sense of this for me?


31 people like this
Posted by charlie
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 11, 2017 at 6:48 am

another move by mr mcgoo without looking at the full landscape and all the extended effects a. decision can have
- full day kinder
- name changes
- treating counseling like legal and accounting - RFPs

really our district should be doing RFPs in areas they arent
- i.e. for architectural design services - instead they hand over multi million dollar contracts to
the same mediocre architect that keeps delivering problematic work!

open your eyes mcgoo


59 people like this
Posted by Shocked
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 7:19 am

Unbelievable BS! Another decision made without student input or consideration. WE are the ones that use ACS. As long as I can remember I've know friends that have found support through them. Rather than investing in that ridiculous Wellness Center with untrained phony staff, they should have left ACS there as it was and invested in them. You have let your students down immensely.


14 people like this
Posted by ACS Donor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:08 am

Below is a copy of the letter I received from ACS yesterday:

April 10, 2017

Dear Pat,

We are writing to you today with news about recent changes and exciting opportunities for the agency and the clients we serve.

Since its inception in 1975, Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) has grown from serving a small number of at-risk teens in Palo Alto, to providing an array of programs that help local youth and families grow and thrive. In the spirit of betterment, our board and management consistently evaluate community needs so that we can proactively address pressing issues and learn about opportunities to best serve our community.

As ACS’s fiscal year draws to a close on June 30, 2017, we have made important decisions on how to focus our strengths, staff, and resources to optimize impact for our clients and grow our core competencies to better align with our mission.

Beginning in Fiscal Year 2017-18, ACS will:

focus on implementing a model of deeper, longer-term therapy for our clients with a specific emphasis on treating and supporting the entire family as a system; and
concentrate efforts on education and training for clinical interns and professional service providers.
To this end, ACS will no longer be providing on-campus therapy to students attending the five secondary schools within the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) beginning July 1, 2017. Over the years, on-campus services within PAUSD have moved toward brief, therapeutic interventions and triage, and away from the intense, longer-term therapy and family-system care that ACS wishes to practice. Over the past 37 years, ACS has invested approximately $15 million in the On-Campus Counseling Program within PAUSD. The City of Palo Alto and PAUSD have historically provided approximately 30% of the funding for the program, leaving ACS to raise the majority of the necessary funding from private donors, foundations, and corporations in order to provide PAUSD students with the professional, high-quality, compassionate care that they both need and deserve. Our fundraising efforts will now be focused on in-depth therapy, which is no longer in accordance with the direction school-based counseling has taken in PAUSD.

ACS’s Board of Directors, management, and staff are deeply grateful to PAUSD for this long partnership and the opportunity to help Palo Alto youth through the struggles of adolescence. ACS cares deeply for PAUSD students and looks forward to partnering with the incoming service provider to provide coordinated care. ACS is also excited and proud to continue to welcome all Palo Alto students, families, and stakeholders to our Palo Alto offices at 231 Grant Avenue where our award-winning Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT), Outlet, and Community Counseling Programs provide intensive, family-centered therapy.

ACS looks forward to this opportunity to grow our services in alignment with our core competencies. As a fiscally conservative organization, the funds we have raised to serve PAUSD with on-campus services will now be directed toward the development of a state of the art Clinical Training Program for Interns along with growth and expansion of our ASAT, Outlet, and Community Counseling services accessible to families throughout the Peninsula at our locations in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City and downtown San Mateo. Notably, ACS’s on-campus services will still be provided on three San Mateo County middle and high school campuses where circumstances allow our therapists there to provide care to clients in keeping with ACS’s mission and direction.

Although change can often be scary, ACS is confident that this new direction will make for a healthier organization. During our 42 years of existence, ACS has created and acquired new programs, such as our Outlet and Community Counseling programs, and closed residential programs. These changes have only strengthened ACS and allowed us to better serve our clients.

To donors like you who have graciously supported us for so many years: we hope that you will continue to support ACS as we grow and strengthen our core competencies and in-depth mental health services, support, and education.

We look forward to welcoming you to ACS’s luncheon on May 10th, 2017, at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto from 11:30 to 1 pm. Lunch is free! To reserve your space Web Link and experience the impact that, together, we make in the lives of our youth today and in the future!

With gratitude,

Dr. Philippe Rey, Executive Director & Annette Smith, President, Board of Directors


36 people like this
Posted by Shashona Williamson
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:33 am

Shameful! ACS diligently supports students for 37 years, asks for an insignificant increase in financial support and gets slapped with an RFP. All they asked was for an additional $50K to make their services to PAUSD financially viable... Come on Max! How much $ did some of yiur administrators get as raises in the past few years? Holly Wade? Brenda Carrillo? Others? All the approved raises add to way more than this puny $50K increase to continue to support students. This shows that ultimately this administration is not here for the students but for their own egos and rich pockets! Time for a change in leadership across the board!


45 people like this
Posted by WTH?!
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

"school district pays AACI $83,700 for three clinicians who speak Mandarin, Korean and Spanish to spend one day a week at each high school"..."Stanford receives about $62,800 to pay for two psychiatry fellows to provide short-term consultations to students and families for four hours a week at each high school."
So wait, PAUSD pays Stanford and AACI more for less onsite coverage. Yet ACS, a loyal longstanding provider gets a smidgen more for having counselors there 5 days a week! And they usually have 1-3 ACS counselors available daily! Seriously?! Is anyone else seeing the absurdity?


52 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

PAUSD: This is shameful. Must we remind you, it was ACS counselors that helped US THE STUDENTS through the aftermath of those terrible suicides. It was them that walked Gunn campus supporting us, sitting with us, holding our pain. They were the "first responders" on those tragic days. Only ACS. ACS knows and understands Palo Alto school culture. This is an ENORMOUS loss for the students. Shame on you!!!


13 people like this
Posted by Bedfellows
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 9:00 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


15 people like this
Posted by ACS Donor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:09 am

The link to ACS free luncheon on May 10 somehow doesn't work in the email from the Organisation I posted earlier. For those of you interested I hearing about the changes and exciting future of ACS, please follow this working link: Web Link

Pat


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

Perhaps the schools can hire counselors that can help with some of these challenges. I continue to be confused what the counselors at the middle school do to help the students. Seems like they get tasked with many other things versus helping with any social or emotional challenges. At others schools where I have been, the counselors were much more involved. It may be helpful to look at how the PAUSD hired counseling positions are set up at the schools as a first step. See what is there and what needs to be added to supplement the counseling services.

Just a thought.


5 people like this
Posted by Sue M
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:55 am


Perhaps the schools can hire counselors that can help with some of these challenges. I continue to be confused what the counselors at the middle school do to help the students. Seems like they get tasked with many other things versus helping with any social or emotional challenges. At others schools where I have been, the counselors were much more involved. It may be helpful to look at how the PAUSD hired counseling positions are set up at the schools as a first step. See what is there and what needs to be added to supplement the counseling services.

Just a thought.


19 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

@Sue M: its important for parents to understand the difference of the staffed (paid) "school counselors", which really should be more appropriately called Academic Advisors. They are responsible for helping kids with more academic related issues. They are NOT specifically educated or trained in mental health. This is why school districts outsource mental health services to agencies such as ACS, which staff "real counselors" that are actually trained and educated in counseling and social emotional issues. Most of these counselors are working their way to becoming actual liscensed mental health clinicians. These so called "school/guidance counselors" try to handle mental health issues, which are typically out of their realm of expertise. Just saying...


29 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 11:50 am

There are no other organizations uniquely qualified to serve adolescent students in the Bay Area. I'm not sure who PAUSD will be getting "bids" from, but I guarantee, they will not be local, they will require counselors to drive in and out of Palo Alto, adding to the traffic issues, and will be unfamiliar in working with the uniquely challenging Palo Alto community. Surely PAUSD can put their money where their mouth is in supporting our students and their families by paying for and collaborating with highly qualified counselors at ACS...


27 people like this
Posted by It's a scam!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2017 at 11:55 am

Plan now, board, on letting Glenn McGee's contract expire, and get a new superintendent search firm, any other than Leadership Associates. McGee did a good job following Kevin Skelly and his seven years of one failure after another, but outside of used-car salesmen techniques like Max Mail, he does not represent excellence in any way. There are plenty of very good superintendents who will come to PAUSD for $300,000 per year and nearly $2,000,000 in other benefits like loans and stipends (who doesn't need $500-700 per month to get around Palo Alto?) Watch out for the next hire for the HR Assistant Superintendent. The last few years have resulted in a bunch of mediocrity to meld with the administrators whose contracts should not have been renewed--like Holly Wade.


35 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Ron and Sue- Unlike PAUSD, MVLA has therapists who are district employees as well as a full-time psychologist, Dr. Susan Flatmo, on staff. This group is in addition to the CHAC counselors (our ACS-equivalent) who also provide counseling services. And- this will be mind-blowing to PAUSD parents- MVLA has proposed spending an additional $1 million dollars on new therapeutic services. See Web Link . I cannot believe that PAUSD would even consider bringing in a new provider given that ACS clearly has developed a level of trust and connection with the students, as expressed above.


43 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

"The district's contract with ACS has seen $10,000 annual increases in the last several years, but that hasn't been sufficient to cover rising costs, Rey said in a previous interview. The district currently pays the nonprofit $100,000 for its services. ACS asked the district this year to contribute an additional $50,000."

These are ridiculously small sums--relative to the whole district budget and for a community such as this--for something as critical as mental health support. This decision is a deeply shameful and short-sighted one, and I hope the community can rally to get it reversed. How about if the PTAs start working on this vs. worrying about whether to have bagels or pizza morale-boosting events?


31 people like this
Posted by Shaking My Head - AGAIN!
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Pathetic - for a surface treatment like a name change $50 k was declared peanuts by Max and the Board.


35 people like this
Posted by Dr.Laurie
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

How many meetings, group gatherings and community outcry does it take for our board to make mental health a priority? Depression is not a short term illness,Anxiety cannot be cured in 6 sessions. The programs they have spoken about using have waiting lists as long as 6 months to a year for their first session. Teachers are not trained to to be clinicians nor should they be expected to provide these services without training and additional pay. The administration should pay the price for the mistakes they made with a deduction in their pay rather than the students who are overstressed and underserved.


37 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Unlike legal service providers, etc. mental health service providers are something we should not be penny pinching on. I don't care very much how money could possibly be saved by a move such as this. I think value for money is of secondary importance to the fact that ACS has been doing the job that is required and are very experienced with the students needs. We can change legal service providers every year and the students' needs will not be affected. But changing from ACS to save some money is not in the best interest of the students.

The priorities in the district are so wrong at present. Spending huge amounts of money on changing school names and even the amount of time it is going to take to agree on potential new names should be so far down the priority list that we really shouldn't be bothering with it. Spending money on a quality, proven, medical service that is familiar with our students is so much more of a higher priority that it is impossible to come to terms with what the BoE is playing at.

Why are we talking about this at all?


18 people like this
Posted by short term triage
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm

ACS has certainly been a valuable partner and provided a very necessary service to the school district. I am very sorry to see them go.

That being said, I don't think the school district should be in the business of providing long-term counseling. The fact that full counseling services are difficult to find and enter into is a failing of the local health services. The school district should rightly concentrate on short-term intervention and triage with longer term counseling occurring elsewhere.

I wish ACS would continue with these services and that the district would fund them appropriately. But certainly if ACS wants to focus on long-term, family-based counseling (a worthy and needed pursuit), the district should not change its approach to fund this. That belongs within the healthcare realm, not education.

I do seriously question whether PAUSD will find any other organization that will provide the needed services "on the cheap". $50K additional to ACS will soon look like small potatoes.


33 people like this
Posted by Aghast
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 5:46 pm

The students at Paly and Gunn have every right to be extremely upset about this insane decision to let ACS go and take bids on a "cheaper" level of mental health services. All while the administrators and teachers give themselves fat raises. Students, and parents, have now received the message loud and clear from the district: the lip service about prioritizing students' health and well-being is total B.S. If the Board approves this change along with Superintendent Max, they are complicit. It's disgusting.


10 people like this
Posted by Responsibility
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm

I think parents should act more like parents by spending time with their kids, telling them to sleep at a reasonable time, and helping them with their homework instead of outsourcing their responsibility to raise their kids and blame others when their kids develop mental health issues.


13 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 11, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Short term triage: Youth who have been diagnosed with an emotional disturbance such as major depressive disorder often qualify for special education services. All California school districts are legally required to be solely responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities, as designated by their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), receive necessary mental health services. The districts receive monies through local, state and federal funding streams to provide these services. PAUSD is legally required to provide more than short-term intervention and triage for these students. I would also argue that it has a moral obligation, especially given the history of suicide clusters unique to the district, to provide services for children who are struggling but who have not been formally diagnosed.


12 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Our family’s experience with ACS proved them to be a group of poorly supervised interns. When we met with Mr. Rey to relay how distraught we were in how they dealt with our son and family he essentially told us ACS has procedures that are more important than facts and the well-being of students. [Portion removed.] Our experience: ACS has been a BIG part of the problem. It takes guts for PAUSD to stand up to an organization like ACS with its wealthy donors and political connections. So glad PAUSD is doing the right thing and looking for competent service providers. Our children will be much safer once ACS is gone from Palo Alto schools.


7 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 11, 2017 at 10:31 pm

@Anonymous: such bold words. How about putting your real name and what your son's issues were [portion removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Another Middle School parent
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2017 at 11:33 pm

I really don't get it -- while PAUSD has a lot of money to waste on renaming Jordan and Terman, we don't have money for our children's mental health?! This school district is so corrupted!!!


24 people like this
Posted by KidsArePriority
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2017 at 12:36 am

Board members and Dr. McGee, don't spend money on changing school names. Spend it prudently on our students. If you don't, then come this fall, when you wonder why donations for PiE dropped significantly, this will be one of the reasons!


6 people like this
Posted by Former Paly Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2017 at 10:05 am

@ ShortTermTriage, I agree that the schools should provide short term support including a referral to a long term therapy provider.

@Anonymous - our experience with ACS was they had well meaning, relatively unsupervised interns that listened and played games with the students.

@Sarah1000 - Students diagnosed with major mental health issues that have an IEP probably should not be seeing mere interns for their mental health issues.


12 people like this
Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

The Weekly ran a previous story “Behind the psychological safety net” about the web of nonprofits the district uses to support student wellness. It describes the programs and the costs for providing each program. Web Link
Of note:
“This year, the school district provided CASSY with $396,500, and the nonprofit raises about $38,000 itself to fully fund the costs, which it does in other school districts as well, Hayes said.”

“This year, the district is paying Adolescent Counseling Services $100,000, up from $90,000 last year. The nonprofit also receives $106,000 from the City of Palo Alto through the Human Services Resource Allocation Process, which provides grants to organizations that provide direct services to residents.”

In the current story Philippe Rey says ACS funds an additional $330,000 in services provided to PAUSD through donors.

CASSY serves 8 elementary schools at a cost of $434,500 for which PAUSD pays CASSY $396,500.

ACS serves three middle schools and two high schools at a cost of $430,000 for which PAUSD pays $100,000.

After subsidizing the district for years to the tune of $330,000 a year ACS asks for an additional $50,000 and gets shown the door? Am I missing something here?


5 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 12, 2017 at 10:55 am

Former Paly Parent- I agree. MVLA provided my son one period a week with a licensed psychologist. PAUSD needs to step up and provide students with the appropriate level of care as required by law.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 12, 2017 at 11:01 am

ACS didn't get fired; they quit. The district issued invited ACS to bid on the work they are doing now - all, some, certain schools, whatever they liked - and ACS decided not to in order to go in another direction. That's fine, and might reflect some underlying disagreement. And the district will now need to find another group or groups to do the job, perhaps at higher cost (though perhaps doing a better job). But it seems clear that the party walking away is ACS, not the district.


4 people like this
Posted by Help us understand
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 12, 2017 at 11:17 am

If that is so, then ACS may lose my financial support if they cannot provide good reason for stepping away from PAUSD.

I do wish Dr, McGee would lay out the pros and cons he considered more carefully. This is a critical decision, affecting many students and families.

Dr. McGee, a substantive explanatory letter to the community (not PR) would help us understand your decision-making process. I hope you will focus on explaining your decision and its rationale in your letter this month.



15 people like this
Posted by Barbara Spreng
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

Earlier in this thread, "ACS Donor" posted the letter she received from ACS, explaining the rationale for the decision not to submit a proposal. The Weekly's article also had more detail, including ""Over the years, on-campus services within PAUSD have moved toward brief, therapeutic interventions and triage, and away from the intense, longer-term therapy and family-system care that ACS wishes to practice," Rey and ACS board of directors president Annette Smith wrote in a message sent to supporters Monday afternoon, announcing the nonprofit's exit from the school district."

As a long-time ACS donor and concerned citizen, I am saddened that PAUSD students will no longer have access to ACS on their campuses. That said, I completely understand and support ACS's decision to protect and maintain their professional standards.


1 person likes this
Posted by service
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

@Bedfellows- Your censored comment can be found (before being censored) on the page I dedicated to the ongoing censoring. I copy and then post comments before and after they are censored here (only a tiny sampling).


If you want to check the comments I post before and after they are censored, please check: Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto before and after) .


At this point I cannot post from home as I am blocked. My IP address is recognized and blocked along other public WiFi which I have used.

"All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.” -- George Bernard Shaw

“… The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary.
Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady.

Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness..." -- George Orwell

Both Georges (above) were removed by the moderators quite a few times before.

Yours

\/ill/\ge foool


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

According to this article, "Local nonprofit Community Health Awareness Council, which provides on-campus counseling to Mountain View schools, did not receive the RFP and won't be responding."
Why was CHAC not given a RFP? They do a fabulous job, they helped my son who was a student at Paly when ACS let us down, even though we lived in Palo Alto. They do amazing work in Mountain View, and are extremely professional. I am shocked that they did not even receive a RFP.


27 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Apr 13, 2017 at 1:03 pm

So disappointed with PAUSD. Have only lived here for 9 months with 2 kids in Jordan and cannot believe the poor academics, hostile social environment, overcrowded class rooms, stressed and unsupported teachers, etc. This district is a huge mess and not at all reflective of the high academic achievements (which are only the result of after-school supplemental tutors and academic programs). This district's lack of strategic vision, budget management and common sense simply amaze me! Within this school year, it seems to be going from bad to worse!


4 people like this
Posted by Do the right thing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Dear Weekly,
I would really appreciate some quotes from Dr McGee and the district from the special election in which we approved a multimillion dollar tax. I seem to recall that there were promises in regards to the money being needed because of our student mental health crisis - it seems the district should bite the bullet and renegotiate the bribe, we, three year contract in order to keep its peomises. This is just shameful.


7 people like this
Posted by Erin
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 13, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Wow, this certainly appears that our Superintendent and his hangers-on crowd clearly do not know what their top priority is, students well being, duh.

The benefits of these services priceless if it saves just one life, and the cost for these services is peanuts in the scheme of things. Unless I'm mistaken, $150k is significantly less than one paycheck within McGee's inner circle. When considering benefits and other perks, probably quite a bit less than half of one of those pay checks. Actions over the past few years suggests that PA tax payers are NOT getting much value for some of those over bloated pay checks.


4 people like this
Posted by julia
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 13, 2017 at 8:58 pm

I'm glad, there were many problems with ACS that were covered up and they were not helpful to all students, especially students of color (like myself). We should be looking at alternative providers because having ACS clearly did not do anything


3 people like this
Posted by FYI
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Weekly,
Los Altos elementary schools use CHAC as well as Mountain View. They are very good, and when you have a great intern, they can make all of the difference. I think the article just says MV uses CHAC.
Just FYI.


2 people like this
Posted by priorities
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 16, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Clearly providing mental health care to students who cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for one of the local therapists (nearly none of whom accepts insurance) is not a priority for PAUSD. Rather than seeking other, low-cost providers, perhaps the school board should consider allocating more resources for student mental health so that experienced, credentialed psychologists and social workers (NOT interns) could be hired. I'd suggest that this would be a better way of spending scare district resources than changing MS names.


2 people like this
Posted by Gina Dalma
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm

I appreciate Sup. Max McGee's effort to look at expenses and make sure that we are being fiscally responsible. I agree with the Weekly's editorial on the issue - I would add two additional elements that were not mentioned. 1)many students that are getting ACS long-term services need these services. ACS staff has built trusting relationships with students that are not easy to rebuild. 2) PAUSD's Local Control Accountability Plan which is part of the state's mandated Local Control Funding Formula requires the school district to engage communities to define funding priorities. Mental health is such an important issue for our district and community members, that I find it very surprising that this decision was taken in this way without community input. It is not only the change in provider that I object to, but the change in the nature of the services.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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