Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Budget cuts will mean job cuts at the Sedgwick County Extension Office.
Extension Director Bev Dunning announced the cuts during Wednesday's Sedgwick County Commission meeting.
Sedgwick County cut funding for extension programs by 18 percent in the 2013 budget . That follows a 12 percent cut in funding in 2012. Two extension employees will lose their jobs, Dunning said, and a vacant full-time position will also be eliminated.
"The board had to prioritize things and, come the first of the year, we'll be laying off some people," Dunning said.
The loss of nearly $177,000 in the 2013 budget brings Sedgwick County's funding of extension programs to its lowest level in 20 years. As a result two specialists -- one who works with extension agriculture programs and another who works in family and consumer sciences -- will lose their jobs at the end of this year.
The 24-member Sedgwick County Extension Council also eliminated a third position.
"But it was frozen because the individual that had that position retired and last year we knew of our cut for this year, so the executive board froze that position," Dunning explained.
Fulfilling a request from county commissioners, Dunning outlined for them Wednesday how funding cuts will affect extension programs. The agriculture professional being let go has coordinated several successful environmental education programs in the county.
"That person has done a wonderful job with things for homeowners associations," Dunning said. "How to manage storm water drain-off and things of that type."
Extension was one of several county services and agencies to receive funding cuts as County Manager William Buchanan worked to eliminate a nearly $9 million shortfall in the 2013 budget.
"I understand they're having to balance the budget," Dunning said. "I guess my disappointment has been the fact that we've been cut more severely than many other departments have been."
Dunning says these cuts will affect county residents who may not even take advantage of extension programs directly.
"We're the background people of education for a lot of the agencies in the community," she said. "So it affects a lot more than they realize."