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Change in leadership creates uncertainty with Healthy Start

Healthy+Start+coordinator+Judy+Rauzi+uses+a+thermal+thermometer+to+take+junior+Arron+Potts+Collier%E2%80%99s+temperature.+
Healthy Start coordinator Judy Rauzi uses a thermal thermometer to take junior Arron Potts Collier’s temperature.

Healthy Start coordinator Judy Rauzi uses a thermal thermometer to take junior Arron Potts Collier’s temperature.

Stephanie Jimenez

Stephanie Jimenez

Healthy Start coordinator Judy Rauzi uses a thermal thermometer to take junior Arron Potts Collier’s temperature.

She couldn’t breathe.

“I was scared, I didn’t know what was going on,” said sophomore Jasmine Khan.

Her lung had to be deflated for a surgery a few years back and now, sitting in band class, that lung was acting up. She was sent to Healthy Start.
Doctors had her do stretches as they diagnosed her difficulty breathing was caused by a muscle cramp surrounding her lung.

One may primarily know Healthy Start as a convenient way to get a physical. But the clinic that has been around for 20 years oversees cases like Khan’s on a daily basis.

Healthy Start has been praised by local school districts as a model for comprehensive health care access for students. However, the poster child for student health services in San Joaquin County is facing the shadow of an uncertain future.

Healthy Start coordinator Judy Rauzi will be retiring this year. The center will also lose a Delta Health Care nurse as well a clerical staff. Rauzi worries next year Stagg will not have access to Planned Parenthood services.

Rauzi has followed the journey and growth of the center since its conception in 1996. “This is my second home,” Rauzi said.

The last few years have not been easy for Healthy Start. The center has not had a budget for the past three years. Rauzi estimates the yearly cost for Healthy Start to operate is close to $100,000. The center has had to rely on the Local Control and Accountability Plan for grants. In the past Rauzi was able to extend a three-year budget to five years as well as find different sources for funding.

Healthy Start has been desperate to stay afloat. With no funds, Rauzi worries Healthy Start may have to resort to tapping into the school’s general fund, a budget that is highly allocated to specific needs and barely has room to fund beyond basic school supply needs.

Health Services administrator at Stockton Unified School District, Mary Jo Cowan, is aware of these concerns.

The district wants to reaffirm that “Healthy Start is a priority,” Cowan said. “I don’t think anyone can replace Judy, but we are working to find the most qualified person for the job.”

Cowan couldn’t give specifics regarding a suitable replacement for Rauzi, nor how Healthy Start would sustain itself in years to come, especially since LCAP funds are expected to run out after next school year.

Khan can’t imagine Healthy Start changing. Healthy Start “was there for me,” she said. “I can’t see it really changing. (Rauzi) is always there, she’s always nice.”

The district is trying to bring as much light into the issue and continue to keep Healthy Start’s lights on.

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Change in leadership creates uncertainty with Healthy Start