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Mon Schools wants to be an official part of the opioid settlement talks

A letter from Monongalia County Schools will be going out in the next couple of weeks or so, requesting admission to an exclusive, critical club in the region.

The district wants to be part of the ongoing discussion involving Region 4 governmental representatives over the disbursement of monies garnered in last fall’s opioid settlement cases.

And, it also wants to be a recipient of some of those dollars — which it says could bolster ongoing outreach for its students and families directly impacted by the Mountain State’s ever-growing drug crisis.

“We’re talking millions,” Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said of the outlay during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

As networks are presently being formed to aid in the disbursement of funds in coming weeks, Mon Schools, he said, should be considered “just as much an entity” as anyone else in those initial talks.    

That’s because the scourge of addiction can’t help but cast a lengthy shadow in the school building, seconded Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico.

What happens in the living room, she said, travels in a direct conduit to homeroom during the school day.

“It all comes back to the school system,” she said.

Making Mon Schools an official part of the proceedings, the deputy superintendent said, could hone the mission of turning that angst into altruism.

“We’re asking for a seat at the table,” she said.

Such a place, she said, could also be a springboard for more-effective partnerships.

Effective partnerships, she said, would make for more-effective spending of the settlement.

“Your voice and your leadership would enhance these discussions,” she said.

As per protocol, district administrators had to ask board president Ron Lytle for permission to draft the letter.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Lytle said.

“It’s one of those things,” he said of the disbursement process, “where if you don’t get out in front, they’ll start expending it elsewhere.”

Which, he said, would mean no dollars and no dialogue.

Besides, fellow board member Nancy Walker said, the district has already put in the data-mining work much-needed for the process.

The district, she said, has files of demographic information for households making up Mon’s economically and socially diverse population, all of whom can be impacted by opioids, no matter what.

“We have direct access to the families that should be the recipients,” she said.  

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