As president/CEO of Southwest Developmental Services, Inc. (SDSI) I feel compelled to respond to the front page article entitled “Sunflower struggles to continue infant services” that appeared in the March 20 edition of the Great Bend Tribune.
We have confirmed the article was written and submitted by a local public relations writer hired by Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc.
The article was printed under the byline “Special to the Tribune” but presented itself the same as other front page news stories written by staff reporters. Consequently facts were not checked and I do not feel it presented all sides of the issue.
SDSI is the Community Developmental Disability Organization (CDDO) serving over 1,000 individuals in 18 counties in central and southwest Kansas.
We have offices in Great Bend and Garden City.
As the CDDO we have a number of responsibilities and duties we perform including eligibility determination and assistance in selecting services and providers.
SDSI requested $169,330 from Barton County for 2011 and was awarded $135,138. This was an increase from 2010 and brought Barton County more closely in line with the other two highly populated counties in which SDSI provides services.
The article stated, “The local taxes were sent to Southwest Developmental Services, Inc. in Garden City” implying that all or most of the funds left Barton County never to return.
In 2010 SDSI received $80,750 from Barton County which was pooled together with county funds from the other 17 counties in our service area.
From this pool SDSI paid out $234,950 in county funds to the direct service providers located in Barton County. These funds are used to cover costs not reimbursed by the state and to enhance the services provided to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
In last Sunday’s article, in reference to the funding not approved for Sunflower for 2011, Jim Johnson stated, “It appears that less than $9,000 of this $54,000 in local tax money will be returned for services in this area . . .” but based on 2010 actual payments it is unclear to us how Mr. Johnson arrived at these numbers.
SDSI believes early intervention services are very important to infants and toddlers but it is not our role to fund these services.
Both SDSI’s and Sunflower’s requests to the county commission should always stand on their own merit and any changes in funding should not be viewed as taking from one and giving to another.
Mark G. Hinde,
Southwest Developmental Services, Inc.,