State budget cuts will mean reduced hours at Shawnee Indian Mission starting in September

The Shawnee Indian Mission will have its hours reduced starting this fall.
The Shawnee Indian Mission will have its hours reduced starting this fall.

One of the many impacts of Kansas’s financial woes will be felt in northeast Johnson County this fall as the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway is forced to reduce its hours after having its funding cut.

The Kansas Historical Society informed the Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation last month that it was cutting its budget for the 2016 fiscal year by more than 50 percent, leaving the mission with about $43,000 in operating funds for the year. As a result, site administrators are planning to reduce the hours at the site from its current Wednesday to Saturday schedule to just Friday and Saturday starting September 8. KHS will then close the site entirely from November 1 through the end of March.

Current plans call for the site to reopen April 1 with its previous Wednesday through Saturday schedule.

Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation Chair Nancy Wallerstein said the group has hopes that KHS will allow the mission to accommodate weekday field trips for students if the schools can give the foundation enough advance notice to arrange for volunteers to man the site even after the reduction in hours.

“That is how it was handled through the interim between the retirement of our previous site administrator until a new one could be interviewed and hired,” Wallerstein said. “So hopefully KHS will agree to that, though it has yet to be discussed.”

Wallerstein also said that volunteers will be manning the site for the annual Christmas Tree sale at the mission that runs from the day after Thanksgiving through the weekend before Christmas.

This isn’t the first time budget pressures have forced a change in schedule for the mission. Several years ago the site was open Tuesday through Saturday each week, but budget cuts resulted in the removal of the Tuesday hours.