Message to MIYFS Foundation Donors and Community Members:
May 1, 2019
The MIYFS Foundation and MI Schools Foundation made a short-term commitment to maintain a full-time mental health counselor in every public school until a long term funding solution could be found. Collectively we felt compelled to offer emergency bridge funding before any counselor sought employment elsewhere, based on the understanding that the City did not have funds to cover those costs. At the time, we expressed hope that the City could contribute some or all of the cost of this position after conclusion of the Management Partners review and the final reconciliation of accounts for the 2018.
Last night, the City Council of Mercer Island announced that the MIYFS Department had underspent its 2018 budget by $170,000 and realized additional savings of $65,000 in 2019 from early attrition in a position slated to be cut in 2020. The Council voted to apply those monies as one time funding to restore the elementary school mental health counselor positions slated for elimination from September 2019-through December 2020 and to reinstate from half to full time an administrative position that had been cut, but bridged by the Foundation for the first half of 2019. The money pledged by the MIYFS Foundation and MI Schools Foundation to retain the MIYFS school counselors for the 2019-2020 school year is no longer needed and the City rejected our offer.
The Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation is dedicated to supporting the full range of services offered by MIYFS and will reevaluate Department needs guided by the MIYFS Department Director to redeploy that funding to its highest and best use. We will also strive to build a firm footing that will enable the Foundation to ease the pain of further budget cuts to core services as the City continues to address the structural imbalance that have occasioned the cuts to the MIYFS programs.
We offer ardent appreciation for our community of generous donors who care deeply about the full range of MIYFS services, and to Mercer Island Schools Foundation for your significant offer to support MIYFS Mental Health Counselors in every public school.
Jody Kris, President
MIYFS Foundation Board of Directors