Ark Regional Services
Facilitating opportunities for people to live, learn, work, and play since 1963.
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To start, let me state the obvious: the disabilities support system in Wyoming is underfunded. Across the State providers are struggling to maintain the high level of support that is expected while also maintaining a balanced budget. We are seeing organizations cut benefits, staff, and wages, and eliminate budget items that only a few years ago would have been considered untouchable. The State of Wyoming is aware of this situation and they have acknowledged that community providers across the state are quickly approaching a funding crisis. Unfortunately, the State does not have a solution on the horizon. More money is not coming any time soon.
The challenge facing Ark Regional Services is clear. We must maintain the exceptional services that the people we support deserve while significantly decreasing costs. We must do this in a way that does not affect the health and safety of our clients and respects the commitments and dedication of our staff. Any cost savings measures that we implement must have a long term effect on decreasing our overall expenses. We looked at a variety of possibilities but many, such as the ones being implemented by other organizations, could have devastating impacts on our ability to provide high quality supports, retain good staff, and recruit new employees. We believe we have a path that will lead to a balanced budget without experiencing the hardships that often occur with budget reductions, but it is going to take a tremendous team effort in order to achieve these goals.
With over 80% of our budget committed to personnel costs, there is no path to significant budget reductions without decreasing staff costs, but don’t panic! Your leadership team and supervisors have a plan that, if we work together, will result in the cost savings that we need without decreasing wages or benefits, and no one loses their job!
Here is our plan…
1. No one loses their job Our turnover rate is very high. We hire about 100 people a year. For the first time, we are going to use this to our advantage. We should be able to reduce our staff hours through attrition. We will gradually decrease the number of hours worked as people choose to leave the organization and we find creative ways to provide the supports that clients need with less staff. This will not be easy and those of us that remain will be asked to do more to make up for a smaller workforce, but this is the only way to reduce staff costs without decreasing wages or benefits.
2. More Opportunities Our Education Program and Equestrian Center are committed to increasing opportunities without adding staff. This will result in a decreased need for staff during the week day hours. This could result in slight adjustments of shifts but, if we do this gradually, over time we can decrease staff hours while minimizing the impact on our staff.
3. Less Transportation Our Language Arts Program will move from the Parkside facility to the CPD building. This will require that our training department relocate to the Headquarters Building but will result in our educational facilities being within walking distance of each other. This will lead to a decreased need for daytime transportation.
4. Doing more with less These changes will require tremendous teamwork, creativity, and sacrifice. We will need to communicate and share resources. We will need to rely on each other and solve problems as a unified force. Failure, as they say, is not an option.
Ark Regional Services finds itself at a crossroads. The people we support, their families, and our community count on us to be here to provide the services that people need. We have an obligation to remain financially strong in order to ensure that the people we support can live their lives as independently as possible and be part of a thriving community. I will provide updates throughout this process, but if at any time you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
1150 North 3rd Street, Laramie, Wyoming 82072 ~ 307-742-6641 ~ 1-855-282-7753 ~ TDD:1-800-545-1833 ext. 308 ~ email@example.com