SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ — Almost every year, the South Brunswick School District (SBSD) faces the possibility of losing crucial state funding for student mental health services, namely the BRIDGE program.

But it seems like the state has decided not to put the district through the same grind every year.

The Department of Children and Family has informed the district that the BRIDGE program will not be put on the chopping block during the governor’s budget, Superintendent Scott Feder told the community.

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“We believe that the yearly process of telling us we are losing money for that program might be done,” Feder said during the last BOE meeting. “We might finally have convinced Commissioner (Christine) Beyer.”

Feder credited parents, administrators, teachers, counselors, and clinicians for taking “this battle to the end” and winning.

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This move comes at a crucial time when the district is facing financial woes due to constant state aid cuts. More: 2024-25 South Brunswick School Year Could Be In Jeopardy: Officials

“At a time when we are looking at a massive budget cut coming up, that’s over half a million dollars that we will be able to hopefully count on going forward,” Feder said.

Last year, South Brunswick Schools was among 62 school districts that faced the closure of mental health programming. More: Schools Could Lose Mental Health Center Funding In South Brunswick

The district was set to lose over $550,000 in aid, resulting in the closure of the BRIDGE program in the high school and middle school.

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The state’s move to defund school-based programs came after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the creation of regional “hubs” for student mental health services, in the 2023-24 academic year.

After much advocacy from the community, the state decided to continue funding the program. More: Plans To Cut School Mental Health Program In South Brunswick Halted

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