CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County school board members voted 4-to-1 Thursday to continue supporting the library for another year.
The school system will contribute $1.987 million to the library for the next fiscal year, and will let the library system take a levy to voters under the school system's umbrella.
That figure is substantially less than the funding the library currently receives from the school system -- nearly $3 million.
But Michael Albert, president of the library's board of directors, said it would be enough to keep the doors open.
"That would carry us through the next fiscal year," he said.
The school board has been struggling to redefine its relationship with the library system since February, when the state Supreme Court decided that a 1957 law forcing the school system to help fund the library was unconstitutional.
That ruling ended a decade-long legal battle and left library officials scrambling to come up with about $3 million -- 40 percent of their operating budget.
The loss of that funding would have resulted in branch closures, programs ending and layoffs, among a slew of other cost-cutting measures. The library has already cut Sunday hours at the main branch in Charleston and the branch in St. Albans.
Albert has said that, even with the additional funding from the school system, the budget will be tight -- some of those cost cutting measures will probably stay in place.
Officials hope that, in November, voters will support a property tax to create a stable funding source for the library system that is not reliant on the school system.
The school board is facing its own budget woes -- a projected $ 4.5 million deficit in 2014 -- and has considered running an additional levy of its own. Most board members have said they will support that move, but, notably, not board President Pete Thaw, who was also the only member who opposed extending funding for the library.
"I'm not going to vote to give any more money," he said. "There is no end to this. Sooner or later Dr. Deurring isn't going to be able to use his magic, his intelligence, to find more money for the library."
Board member Bill Raglin took issue with that, and said the board has a responsibility to account for the library's well being.
"I do no believe that when I was voted into office I received the authority to shut the library down through my actions," he said.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.