CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County school board members voted Thursday to contribute more than $1.9 million to help support the Kanawha County Public Library through the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The school board also voted to pursue an excess levy on behalf of the library that would bring in taxpayers' dollars to support library services past that date. The vote for the levy will come up during the November election, and is in addition to a pre-existing excess levy that supports the school system.
Both votes were 4-1, with board President Pete Thaw voting no. Thaw has long opposed funding the library with school system dollars.
Mike Albert, president of the Kanawha County Public Library's Board of Directors, said Thursday that the $1,987,000 the school board committed to for the upcoming year would be enough to keep all of the library's branches open, but "it would be tight."
"That could carry us through the next fiscal year," Albert said.
Library branches' Sunday hours have already ended, and next year's West Virginia Book Festival was canceled in an attempt to save money.
Kanawha schools Superintendent Ron Duerring said he and library officials came to the $1.9 million figure together, and the money will come from the school system's "permanent improvement fund."
Library director Alan Engelbert agreed, saying he worked with Duerring to come up with a reasonable compromise.
In February, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school board in its decade-long funding dispute with the library, declaring that a special act that forced the school board to use money from its budget to support the library is "unconstitutional and unenforceable."