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Ruling raises questions about Cabell County library funding

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

CHARLESTON -- There's no official word yet on whether a West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decision about Kanawha County Schools' obligation to allocate funds to that county's library will have an impact in Cabell County.

The court decided Friday that the Kanawha County school board is no longer forced to fund the Kanawha County Public Library.

Cabell County Schools spokesman Jedd Flowers said the Cabell school system plans to consult with its attorneys on whether the ruling affects Cabell County.

"Right now, there are more questions than answers," Flowers said Monday.

The Cabell County Public Library System gets funding through the school system's excess levy, which is up for renewal from county voters every five years. The most recent became effective during the 2010-2011 school year.

The amount the Cabell library receives changes each year because it's based on property tax revenue. This year, it's expecting to get almost $1.4 million, or 37 percent of the library's budget, said Judy Rule, executive director of the Cabell County Public Library.

Rule said Cabell, Lincoln and Wood counties' library systems are different from others throughout the state in that their funds come through excess levies, but she doesn't know whether that will affect the impact of this court ruling on future financing.

"We have a good working relationship with the Cabell County Board of Education, and I would hope that they will continue to recognize the importance of the public library in the education of children. ... It takes all of us working together," she said.

Media outlets have reported that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decision Friday ended a decade-long legal battle against being forced to give millions each year to the Kanawha County Public Library.

Funding from the Kanawha school board amounts to nearly 40 percent of the Kanawha library's annual budget.

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