March 6, 2003
Governor Says State Budget Backs-up Commitment to School Health Programs
Charlotte, NC –North Carolina Governor Mike Easley says his proposed state budget reflects his commitment to wellness and prevention programs outlined in his State of the State address. Easley spoke of the critical role school health nurses play in our community's overall health during a visit to Charlotte today.
"School nurses are extremely important, especially for children with chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma," said Easley, "we'd like to have one in every school."
With Mecklenburg County Health Department school nurse Hilda Diaz at his side, Easley praised work of school health programs in keeping North Carolina's children healthy and in the classroom. Easley noted his proposed State budget includes $5 million to help put more nurses in schools.
While admitting that $5 million wouldn't immediately achieve such a goal, Easley said committing that kind of money to school health would show that the State is serious about reaching it.
Easley said he chose Charlotte and Collinswood Elementary School because Diaz was and other school health nurses like her set the example of providing not just treatment but education about preventive health measures that will make an impact on the children's long term health.
"Prevention is what it's all about," said Easley, "promoting check-ups and physicals now so you don't have to go to the doctor for treatment later…that's what's going to save us money."
Money Easley said could be spent on education.
Mecklenburg County tax dollars alone currently fund the Health Department's $3.5 million budget for school health nurses. Easley said he was still unclear as to how his $5 million budget item would translate into an increase in school health nurses in Mecklenburg County.