Proposed Sioux Falls budget cuts drug prevention funds

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Funding for the Sioux Falls School District's drug prevention and intervention program will see cuts under Mayor Mike Huether's proposed 2017 budget.

The Argus Leader ( reports that Prairie View Prevention Services is largely funded through the Sioux Falls Police Department, and has seven employees who work in the district's schools. Police Chief Matt Burns on Tuesday presented city councilors with a budget that cuts the money for the program in half. The other half of the funding would be cut in 2018.

Burns said the services offered by Prairie View are valued but he questions whether the department can continue funding the program on behalf of the school district.

Several council members say they want to see the money restored before the city budget is finalized next month.

"I'm going to be working to restore full funding for Prairie View Prevention, because it helps them when they slip off the path," council member Pat Starr said.

Councilor Rick Kiley wants next year's funding restored, too, but said the question about who pays is worth asking. The police department budget is about $34 million, but more than $29 million of that is personnel.

Prairie View represents about 4 percent of the non-workforce police funding, he said, even if the services are needed.

"I think we're all in agreement that it's a good program," Kiley said.

Council member Rex Rolfing shared similar concerns about the source of the funding. He's not quite ready to restore the money.

"We need to take a look at that situation," Rolfing said. "I think there are other options we might want to look at."

Prairie View Director Darcy Jensen said the agency also competes for state grant funding, which pays for services as they're rendered. As a result, Jensen said the budget cut wouldn't shut down the agency's programs, but could alter them.

"We value the funding we get from the city. I'm hopeful we can find some resolution," Jensen said. "I think it has an impact, and our work with the resource officers is important."


Information from: Argus Leader,

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