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Letters to the Editor

Fear and facts

July 15, 2011

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To the editor:

“…office closures do not appear to be having a negative impact on access to SRS services.” “As the agency gains experience in providing access through technology and a redesigned service delivery model, additional offices may be closed. Opportunities have been identified already through collaborative efforts in communities.” — SRS Secretary Janet Schalansky in her testimony before the Senate Ways and Means Committee in January 2004.

In 2003, Gov. Sebelius embarked on a plan to close 62 SRS offices across the state over a two-year period as part of her directive to improve government efficiency and reduce budget expenditures. An article in the April 4, 2003, Journal-World estimated these closures would affect 300,000 Kansans. Schalansky also provided the following statistics from the 30 counties where offices were closed in 2003 as compared to the remaining counties with open SRS offices. Counties with closed offices: 75 percent experienced increases in Temporary Assistance for Families cases; 80 percent experienced increases in food stamp cases; 95 percent experienced increases in child care cases. Counties with offices: 50 percent experienced increases in TAF cases; 87 percent experienced increases in food stamp cases; 87 percent experienced increases in child care cases. The statistics would indicate that office closure had no bearing on access to SRS services.

With that said it would seem the current rhetoric and accusations being tossed about are quite disingenuous and appear to be driven by pure partisan politics. This seems to have become an irrational debate rooted in fear and ignorance and fueled by hysteria rather than fact.

Comments

grammaddy 3 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Zook, I sincerely hope you never need their services.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 5 months ago

Your argument, like all others, is a moot. The head of the SRS in Topeka has decided that the ones he slated for closure will close. He has spoken. No more discussion and no more facts. It is done. He said so. He is the decider and without community input and without debate he has decided. DONE! Next.

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

Democracy at work. Roll over and take it? I'll bet you don't vote either.

WilburM 3 years, 5 months ago

Your time period includes the worst recession in the US since the great Depression. You measure inputs, not outcomes. Demand was great and people did what they had to do. You have no measure of the quality of service, those left out, the cost of service.

All you can say is that in time of great need, there is great demand. And there is great need in Lawrence right now -- for actual services, not successful applications.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

The other interpretation is that the fat from SRS was already removed, 7 years ago. So the current round of cuts is purely political.

jafs 3 years, 5 months ago

According to my wife, who has a fair amount of contact with SRS, they are understaffed and overworked.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 5 months ago

From all the many posts on the many threads related to the SRS closing, there has been a common theme that the closure will hurt people AND that the closure was done for purely political purposes. This letter, if all is true within, seems to be a compelling counter-argument to the theory that it was done for purely political purposes. Again, if all is true within, and I have no information that it's not, perhaps the discussion as to whether or not politics was involved can be put aside and the discussion can move forward as to whether or not people will be hurt with the SRS closure.

xclusive85 3 years, 5 months ago

What he writes is true.

"Early in her first term, Governor Kathleen Sebelius implemented Budget Efficiency Savings Teams, or “BEST” Teams, to review state expenditures and recommend ways to increase efficiency in public services. In 2003 a BEST team recommendation was implemented to consolidate SRS regions from eleven to six. In addition, some county offices were closed. These changes were made to save money and improve services, allowing the agency to do more with less."

http://www.srs.ks.gov/agency/Pages/history.aspx#2000

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