(WICHITA, Kan.) — Bowing to public pressure and the work of community leaders, four of nine Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services offices schedule to close will instead stay open.
The four offices that will remain open are: Lawrence, Fort Scott, McPherson and Pratt. The other five offices, Coffeyville, Garnett, Lyndon, Marysville and Wellington, will close by September 30.
Under the arrangements, cities and counties have agreed to pay the state’s costs to keep the offices running. Expenses include rent, utilities, copy machine rentals and other business costs.
SRS is in the process of merging six administrative regions into four. The agency says this balances population, caseloads and staffing across the regions while streamlining management.
“Unlike previous administrations, we were more than willing to meet with local governments to work out deals to keep SRS offices open. They keep their local office and SRS meets its budget cutting criteria. Everyone wins,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.
From 2003-2010, the agency says 64 local SRS offices were shut down without giving local communities the option keep their service centers open.
All of the agreements to keep the offices open are valid for two years. The agreements are void if the local governments do not provide the money, or if the legislature decides to appropriate funding for those offices at any point during that two-year time frame.
SRS says the agreements are similar also to the arrangement the state judicial system has with local governments for county courthouses.