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South Brunswick will challenge decision to cut funds that support BRIDGE Center, healthcare professionals

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – South Brunswick schools will not see any relief from Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget.
“We learned that Gov. Murphy’s proposed budget for the coming school year cuts all funds to school-based youth programs statewide,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said in a message to the community on Sept. 1.
“For South Brunswick schools, this decision means the end to the BRIDGE Center and the seven healthcare professionals who serve our students. To replace this program we will need to find $500,000 plus,” Feder said.
The BRIDGE Center (Building Respect, Independence, Diversity, Growth, Education) provides counseling, substance abuse education and prevention, employment counseling, health awareness, and linkage to other supports at no cost to the student, at Crossroads Middle School North and South, and at South Brunswick High School.
It is funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, with services provided by Rutgers University Behavioral Health in collaboration with the school district.
“In the wake of the pandemic, there has never been a more important time to support the mental health and well-being of our students. Trenton’s lack of understanding and commitment to our schools has caused a roller coaster ride throughout the summer and learning of such a huge loss, a week before schools open, is tragic and shameful. We plan to join leaders statewide to challenge this decision,” Feder said.
Feder asked residents to sign a petition at tinyurl.com/SBSDSOS to help the district challenge Murphy’s decision. There is a list of political leaders in Trenton and local legislators who residents can contact, as well as a sample letter and phone talking points.
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