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Services, job cuts at LCDD: Group trying to get funding levy on primary ballot

The Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities said on Friday that due to the failure of their levy on Tuesday’s ballot, they were forced to cut services effective Friday for children, students and adults, as well as lay-off employees.

LCDD had requested an additional 2.5 millage levy that would have helped to maintain as well as expand services to roughly 500 people in the county with developmental disabilities. The levy failed by 354 votes, with 6,950 voting against the levy and 6,596 voting for it in Tuesday’s election.

The agency was forced to adjust their budget due to the lack of funding.

“We were hoping to delay layoffs as long as we could,” said Julie Monroe, superintendent for LCDD. “But after meeting with the finance committee and reviewing our future funding, we realized that it was not going to be possible.”

Cuts to the agency include laying off two educators in the school program, a specialist in the early intervention program, a secretary, a custodian, a service and support administrator, a fiscal specialist and eliminate contracted receptionist services.

Student enrollment at Open Door School, a school that provides special education to students from all school districts in Lawrence County, is expected to freeze enrollment, eliminate its adaptive physical education program and eliminate community activities for students, such as field trips and community engagement activities.

Along with a freeze in activities for students, LCDD will not be able to provide anymore services to anymore adults in the county that are on a current waiting list, as LCDD is expected to match the cost of those services with Medicaid funding.

“Transportation services, in-home care, enrollment in day facilities — they are all going to have to freeze,” said Tim Nunnery, communications and resource development director.

A community group called M.O.M., which stands for Moms On a Mission, plans to get signatures to get the levy on the March primary ballot.

If the levy passes on its next run, LCDD officials say that they can complete a budget revision to begin reinstating employees and services. However, if the levy fails again, further cuts would need to be made to the agency.

Officials from LCDD plan to meet with the county commissioners next week to discuss their options.