County hears of more changes in Extension

More changes will be coming to Minnesota Extension Services.

The commissions were presented with the changes at their May 27 planning meeting.

Regional centers that house all of the regional Extension educators, funded by state and federal dollars, was the major change. Programs and services will be delivered from regional centers that will address critical issues of Minnesotans. Each of the approximately 20 centers will have a regional Extension director.

• Local customized programs, services and positions, funded by counties and others. Counties and other local agencies, non-profit, etc. will have the choice of contracting with Extension to augment these regional programs. They may choose to contract for the programs, services and positions that their counties most want and can afford.

• Locally funded satellite offices could include locally funded Extension educators and programs contracted in accordance with Extensions mission.

• And, something that won’t change, campus-based faculty will continue to provide the rich research base and program development efforts for the regional and local/customized Extension programming.

As explained to the commissioners, there will probably be no end to the changes in Extension. One of the main reasons is budget constraints.

Moving to the regional office concept is expected to cut Extensions staff by 60 to 65 percent.

The question facing the commissioners now is to determine what, if any programs they may want to retain in Morrison County.

The county presently supplies $145,000 to the Extension Office Budget. The county will be responsible to pay salary and compensation packages for any personnel retained in the local office.

At this time no decision had been made as to where the regional offices will be located, but they are expected to be chosen by mid-June and to be up and running by Jan. 1 2004.

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