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updated: 3/28/2014 8:42 AM

District 116 to vote on leasing space for high school health center

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  • Bill Johnston

      Bill Johnston

 
 

Round Lake Area Unit District 116 board members on Monday will be asked to approve a lease with a Lake County agency for a high school-based health clinic.

If the lease is approved, the path would be cleared for Round Lake High School to have the first-of-its-kind health center in Lake County that has been in works since 2010. The lease would be with the Lake County Health Department.

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Monday's District 116 meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. in Round Lake High's library media center, 800 N. High School Drive.

Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Bill Johnston made clear District 116 would not be in charge of the health facility. Officials have said the clinic would use a collaborative model, with staffing from the health department, Nicasa, Advocate Condell Medical Center and Vista Health System.

"A school-based health center is essentially a doctor's office inside a school run by an outside entity, not the district," Johnston said. "The district will not be responsible and has not committed any dollars associated with the construction of the space and ongoing maintenance and operation of the center."

Space at Round Lake High would be leased to the county's health department starting Jan. 1, 2015. The health department received a $500,000 federal grant to help pay for building the clinic.

Officials said a lease must be in place before construction begins. In a memo to the District 116 board, Johnston said the health department is ready to break ground.

Pupils would need a consent form signed by a parent or guardian to enroll at the health center. The Illinois Department of Human Services requires the centers to offer minor injury diagnosis, physicals, reproductive health services, abstinence counseling, cancer screening and other services.

Last year, the District 116 board voted to allow the clinic to offer students contraception to prevent disease and pregnancy.

Contraception availability is recommended for school-based health centers but not required by the state. Illinois law allows for a minor to receive an abortion referral from a medical provider, including school clinics, without parental notification.

At a similar clinic at Evanston Township High School, students receive medical services regardless of ability to pay.

Proponents have said the Round Lake High health center is needed at a district where two-thirds of its 7,000 students qualify for free or reduced price lunches because they are from low-income families.

However, opponents have contended birth control always has been the primary goal of the health clinic plan.

About 70 percent of the student body is Hispanic.

Lake County Right to Life President Bonnie Quirk has been among the proposal's public opponents.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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