CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha County library system isn't ready to give up its funding fight.
The library board of directors voted Wednesday to approach Kanawha County Schools for a new library-specific levy in the general election.
According to board president Michael Albert, the board has drafted a letter to Kanawha County Schools requesting time to present its proposal during the county's regular board of education meeting in February.
The county's library system lost 40 percent of its total operating budget when the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the county school system no longer had to financially support it. Kanawha County Schools ran a levy in November requesting $24.4 million for schools and $3 million for libraries, but voters overwhelmingly voted against it.
The KCPL does not have the authority to run its own bond. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper told the Gazette in November that he would not support a library levy alongside the county's public safety levy in May.
"I don't think there's any thought that we would want the primary ballot to look like a Christmas tree, with an ambulance and bus levy already on there," Albert said.
According Alan Engelbert, KCPL director, the agency chose to approach the county schools again because of the longstanding relationship between the two, and because of the rules governing school levies -- a county schools levy can pass with a 51 percent majority, but a county levy must have 60 percent of the vote to pass.
"We've had a relationship with the Kanawha County board of education since 1909, and we've been continuously funded by them since 1911," Englebert said. "We've had a long relationship, and so they are our first choice."
The board has vetted several plans moving forward in the wake of the budget cuts. While the KCPL has not made any layoffs yet as a result of the looming decrease, Albert said nearly 40 employees have resigned or retired since the beginning of the 2012-13 fiscal year. The library system had roughly 160 employees before the losses; as a result, it has been forced to reduce hours at its Sissonville branch and close the technology department and cut the programs and hours of the children's department at the main branch.