“The students are not losing out on this,”

Claims D51 school board president Andrea Haitz’ after she and two other board members downvoted a potential health clinic for grand junction high school last week.  That despite Marillac clinic’s proven success at Central High School and despite two long standing board members who voted for it. 

“It’s inequitable.  There are children who don’t have the access and we just shut that door.”

Says Marillac CEO Kay Ramachandran.  

“Three of us, we don’t all agree, but we tend to kinda look at it one way and then two other board members just look at it a different way,”

 Haitz explained when asked why the 3 newest board members voted opposite of the two longer standing board members.

The controversial decision left many families and students disappointed, with several speaking in favor of the clinic at a recent meeting.  Despite that and hard numbers proving the success of a similar Marillac clinic at central high.  Haitz claims parents were against the clinic but despite pointing us to an unscientific poll in the local paper the district has yet to show KREX any evidence that is true.  

“Our primary role as a school board is to listen to our local community,” 

Haitz claimed to KREX many local parents may not trust medical professionals but could not point us to any overwhelming survey of parents proving that is the case for grand junction high school or D51.  

“After the pandemic, we had started hearing from a lot of our community around the hesitation you know just within what’s happening in our medical community,”

Haitz says the distrust she and two other board members perceived from one vocal faction of parents about the pandemic influenced them to offer Marillac an alternate deal, to locate near GJHS, but off campus.  An option that was never really an option.

“If the clinic is off campus, it doesn’t qualify as a school-based health center, so I cannot access federal funds, I cannot access state funds which is the foundational funding for a school-based health center,”

Explained Ramachandran.

Haitz told us Marillac never responded to that new offer.  

“They never even came back to the table to continue that conversation,”

But that isn’t true.  Marillac CEO Kay Ramachandran says she did in fact counter Haitz offer making serious concessions to ease the minds of leery parents.

“I said I am willing to carve out all the services that require minor consent and not provide it on the premises.”

When I confronted Haitz on the disingenuous claim D51’s PR representative stepped in.

As I inquired,

“So, then they did respond to your offer, they did give you a response to the offer, it just wasn’t a response you were wanting.”

The PR rep interjected,

“You don’t have to answer that on camera if you don’t want to.”

After I was told to end my questions about the health clinic due to time, Haitz went on to answer questions about the school boards’ later vote to close east middle school and possibly two elementary schools despite overwhelming outcry from students, teachers, and parents.  Although Haitz claimed public opinion was the primary reason for voting down the health clinic at GJHS, Haitz said for the school’s shut down, a demographer’s recommendation and finances outweighed parent’s opinion.

“Now with the closures, we do have to look at it from a fiscally responsible standpoint as a board.  That is actually one of our main things we’re supposed to do.”

Haitz claimed, contradicting her earlier statements regarding the health clinic, asserting parents should have the ultimate say in decisions about their kids. 

“I mean the parents are the primary stakeholder in their kids’ moral, educational upbringing.” 

With contradictory or in some cases untrue statements and a serious lack of solid data, the D51 board members who voted the clinic down have come under fire.  A series of troubling incidents led experts to determine GJHS was the school most in need of a health clinic, but as it went under construction, Central’s was built first. 

Doug Levinson weighed in saying,

“It’s at no cost to us. From a cost point of view, there was no reason not to.  From a health benefit to kids, even if there were a cost, I’d say it would be worth every penny.”

Now the school whose students need a health clinic most will go without, and the question remains, why.