Cumberland Times-News

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April 16, 2014

Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

Levy funding $13,000; state recommended $55,583 allotment

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

Of the $18,000 for the Keyser library, $13,000 is coming from the levy and the additional $5,000 will come out of fiscal 2014 carryover funds, according to Superintendent of Schools Rob Woy.  

During an April 1 board meeting, Connie Sutton, library director, provided an email from Joe Panetta, State Board of Education assistant superintendent, that recommended that the board give the Keyser library $55,583.

“That would enable us to stop losing state funds, to meet the increase in minimum wage and will keep us operating without reducing staff and hours,” said Sutton.

The board indicated that it could not give the Keyser library the $55,583 that Panetta recommended.

“Although the Mineral County schools has not come up to the standards of Mr. Panetta, we have made good-faith efforts to try to support the library with the best efforts that we could,” said Woy. “I would certainly like to be able to recommend that we provide funding sources as Mr. Panetta suggested, but in light of the fact that we are cutting staff ourself and in light of the fact that we have other financial obligations in the county, I don’t see how we can do it.”

Similar to the library, federal funding sources for schools are constantly being cut. Most of the primary schools are requesting Title I reading staff and those staff were cut because of funding sources at the federal level, according to Woy.

Terry LaRue, board member, and Craig Rotruck, board vice president, echoed Woy’s sentiment.

“I think it’s important that we do what we can but as Rob said, we have to be realistic. We have a sports complex that we are obligated to take care of, we have a new primary school and the QZABs (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds) that we are obligated to take care of and bills that we have to pay,” said LaRue.

“We are strapped in our needs and hopefully what we have been doing in the past can continue,” said Rotruck.

Sutton’s request for library funding was for fiscal 2015 and every year after.

“We really need to stop bleeding state funds,” said Sutton. “The library has gone to the city and the county and we are lucky that the county didn’t cut us. The City Council has restored some of the cuts they made last year.”

The library is facing more than $10,000 in funding cuts for fiscal 2014 because of a requirement that mandates that state funds must have a local match.

Math and an English language arts staff will have to be hired at the Mineral County Technical Center to embed those subjects into the curriculum there, according to Woy.

“With that being said, the question is how are local school boards going to afford two additional staff in technical centers across the state,” said Woy. “The answer has been muffled a bit. Our funding sources are becoming more limited.”  

The board also gave the Keyser library an additional $5,000 for this year to add to the $13,000 from the levy, which it is required to give, according to Steve Peer, associate superintendent and treasurer.

“The board of education has been very good to us and we appreciate it,” said Sutton.

Woy stressed the importance of the levy funding.

“If we ever lose that levy, it will be lights out in Mineral County ... as far as education goes,” said Woy.

The board also approved the levy rates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The board has already received approval from the state tax commissioner for the levy rates. 

 Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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