A Leavenworth County commissioner proposed Tuesday that commissioners schedule a work session to discuss a proposal for funding a mental health program for schools.

A Leavenworth County commissioner proposed Tuesday that commissioners schedule a work session to discuss a proposal for funding a mental health program for schools.

This past summer, Kim Knight, an assistant principal at Leavenworth High School, appeared before the County Commission with a proposal for a program for school districts contracting with a mental health provider to provide services for area students for suicide prevention and other mental health issues. The program would provide services to students in the Leavenworth, Lansing, Easton, Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie school districts.

Knight asked that a question appear on an election ballot to see if voters would approve a 2-mill increase to the county’s tax levy. She proposed that, if approved, the money generated through the tax increase would be used to fund the program.

Mills are used in determining property taxes.

County Commissioner Doug Smith proposed having a work session with stakeholders to discuss the program.

“We all know there is a problem,” he said. “Nobody is denying that.”

He discussed the issue Tuesday during a County Commission meeting.

The issue was raised Tuesday by Commission Chairman Louis Klemp.

Klemp has expressed opposition to the county’s mill levy being used to fund the program. He has argued funding can be sought from the school districts.

“It’s funny how all of this falls back on us,” he said Tuesday.

He said county commissioners have to show they are frugal with taxpayer money.

Smith noted that the County Commission has increased funding to The Guidance Center, a community mental health center that serves Leavenworth County.

“We need to fund The Guidance Center,” Smith said.

But Klemp said the commission does not need to increase the county’s mill levy by 2 mills. He said a 2-mill increase would generate more money than what commissioners were told is needed to fund the school mental health program.

Smith said school districts need to have line items in their budgets to help fund the program.

“Everybody needs to be involved with this,” he said.

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