Kanawha school board president Pete Thaw said Phares' call for boards to continue financial support of libraries was "outrageous." He said the state superintendent of schools "doesn't have a dog in the fight."
"I don't think he understands our situation. It's unfair for a person who doesn't live here -- doesn't pay taxes here -- to make any recommendations because he doesn't understand the burden that's put on us," Thaw said.
Thaw said the school board shouldn't have to spend any more money on the library, since they've already spent more than $270,000 on lawsuits trying to break free of the funding law tying them together.
"The most addictive thing in a bureaucracy is OPM -- other people's money. They can never get enough of it, and that's what Mr. Phares is," Thaw said.
Kanawha school board members will meet in public session for the first time to discuss library-funding plans at a meeting Monday at 4 p.m.
School board member Robin Rector said she does not know what the board will decide, but she hopes they will be able to help support the library in some way -- at least through the end of this fiscal year, which ends in June.
"I don't think it was our intention with any of this to knock the legs out of the library or cause it to crumble. We've got to figure things out. We're in new territory -- we've not been here before," Rector said. "It's going to take some discussion and negotiations, and I'm just hopeful that everyone will be open to that."
School board member Bill Raglin said important discussions will be had at today's meeting, but the future of the library may still be unclear.
"We certainly want to find some way that we are called upon to work with the library to ensure some funding, but to voluntarily come out and say we're going to is no way of ensuring a string of funds are going to be long-term," he said. "It's not our intention to shut the libraries down. But, there are powers outside of the school board that could play a significant role, and I think they should."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.