CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Public Library officials are hopeful the Kanawha County Board of Education will agree to host another, "modest" excess levy election on its behalf in November.
Last November, voters overwhelmingly rejected a joint levy that would've brought in more than $24 million for schools and $3 million for libraries. This time, the levy would only be for library costs -- raising just over $3 million in fiscal year 2015-16 and more than $3.5 million by 2020 if passed.
"The Board of Education founded this library. The Board of Education has funded it since 1911. The Board of Education should continue to fund it and should put this levy on the ballot," Library Director Alan Engelbert said Monday. "It's the only responsible thing to do. We expect them to do it."
The county's library system lost 40 percent of its total operating budget when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kanawha County Schools last year, declaring that school systems do not have to financially support their county's libraries.
Since the court decision, the library has had to decrease operating hours, among other cutbacks, and has warned of the potential closing of up to six branches.
If passed, a levy would restore that level of funding the school board was mandated to give to libraries for decades.
But because the library is not legally a levying body, it needs another agency -- such as the Kanawha County Commission, the county school board or the city of Charleston -- to sponsor another attempt.
The KCPL board of directors passed a resolution Monday to officially request that the Board of Education again sponsor a levy on its behalf.