Topeka Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Rob Siedlecki said Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to keep the agency's office open in Pratt.
Siedlecki said that Pratt city leaders agreed to pay the state's portion of rent for the office in south-central Kansas for the next two years. The agreement is similar to one reached with Lawrence and Douglas County to keep an office there open.
Under the agreement, Pratt will pay $59,827 a year for office rent and SRS will keep 12 workers on staff.
"The city of Pratt came to us with a proposal and we were more than willing to work with them," Siedlecki said. "Their proposal will help SRS to meet its cost-cutting objectives, as set by the Legislature, while keeping the Pratt office open. This arrangement works for everyone."
SRS announced this summer that it was closing offices statewide to save approximately $1 million from the agency's budget. The Pratt office was scheduled to cease operations Friday.
SRS plans to close offices in Garnett, Lyndon and Wellington on Friday, Coffeyville on Sept. 9, Marysville and McPherson on Sept. 16 and Fort Scott on Sept. 23, absent agreements with local officials in any of the communities.
The Lawrence agreement calls for the city and county governments to pay $450,000 to keep the Lawrence office open for two years. It was reached after public protests over the decision and the impact it would have on the community if SRS services weren't readily available.
Spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said there was no new information about a possible agreement to keep the Fort Scott office open in southeast Kansas. City officials there were considering spending $84,000 to keep the office open.
Siedlecki said that after 2013 SRS would make a "good-faith effort" to get funding from the Legislature to keep the Pratt office open. The new agreement with the city would be nullified if legislators provide funding before 2013, or if the city fails to pay its share of the office costs.