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Letcher County facing school nurse cutbacks

MGN Online

MGN Online

LETCHER Co., Ky. (WYMT) - Students in Letcher County with asthma, diabetes or other health concerns may notice a change when returning to school.

Budget restraints are forcing the district to cut five school nurses, affecting nine schools in the county.

Nurses at the Letcher County Health Department and Superintendent Tony Sergent said student health is their main concern.

Sergent said budget cuts are forcing the district to go from eight to three school nurses.

"Previously our health department provided those nurses at a cost of $5,000 per nurse," said Sergent. "We budgeted $40,000 for eight nurses. The price of that tippled from 5,000 to $15,000."

Matthew Combs is the county coordinator at the Letcher County Health Department.

Combs said this situation is out of their hands.

"It was hard the ones we had to cut to let them go," said Combs. "That was their life's work during the day, to help those kids in need and provide those services to them."

Combs said nurses will split their time between schools.

Sergent said because of distance some schools may be affected more than others.

"The biggest problem is that between Martha Jane Potter and Fleming Neon middle school," said Sergent. "There is about four miles apart, so that'll be a little tougher."

Lisa Collins a school nurse.

She said this transition is difficult and will require everyone to pitch in.

"We're just not going to have the man power to be in all the places all the time, but we will give the best quality care that we can," said Collins.

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