As one of the largest employers in Midlothian, the Midlothian Independent School District has been seeking ways to provide more benefits to its faculty and staff.
One benefit that may be coming soon is counseling services. The MISD board of trustees is expected to take action on an agreement with a local counseling center at its next board meeting.
Last year the board approved a district partnership with Methodist Health System for the MISD Express Care Clinic, which provides district employees and their dependents with access to low-cost and convenient health care. Since then, assistant superintendent Kaylynn Day told the MISD board of trustees at a recent meeting, teachers and other staff have been inquiring about counseling and other support services.
Day said the district has been negotiating with Creek Bend Center for Counseling in Midlothian over the last two or three months over the possibility of setting up a program for employees. The center already has an agreement with Ellis County to cover its workers, Day noted.
Day proposed a plan where MISD employees can receive counseling. Family members can also receive the benefit, but the district would partially cover the cost for the employee only. The cost would be $75 for five sessions, and for the first five sessions the district would pick up $35 of that cost for the employee. Day said the $75 is a reduced rate from what the counseling center charges.
According to its website, Creek Bend Center for Counseling opened its doors in February 2015 through a partnership with First Baptist Church of Midlothian. The counselors are independent and are not a part of the paid staff at FBC Midlothian.
“They have a variety of counselors,” Day said. “If someone needs marriage counseling, or grief counseling or whatever they’re going through that they need counseling with, there’s a variety of people there. They have the option to pick different counselors that can help support whatever they would have an issue or concern with.”
Day said that, unlike the express clinic where the district pays a monthly fee, the district would only pay if an employee attends counseling sessions.
Trustee Andrea Walton suggested taking action on the agreement and approving it immediately, but board president Matt Sanders said the benefit would not begin until the end of January, after the next board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Day also said Creek Bend is still reviewing details of the agreement and there still may be some adjustments to be made.
The next scheduled regular meeting of the board has been pushed back a day from its normal schedule because of a conflict with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.