For more than a decade, the Kanawha County Board of Education and the county Public Library have been wrapped in a legal battle over the constitutionality of funding legislation originally passed in the 1950s. Now, the case is being heard by the state Supreme Court of Appeals and their decision could affect the funding of public libraries in eight other counties in the state.
“The question before the court can be distilled down to this: does the West Virginia legislature, which has plenary power and a responsibility under the constitution, have the power to direct that these tax levies be provided and spent on public education through the medium of the public library?” Attorney Christopher Winton, representing the Public Library Board, said as he addressed the court.
The court’s decision in this case, expected in the next few months, will determine whether or not the Legislature’s changes are enough to establish a compelling state interest in the differential treatment of the nine special act counties. That decision could play a role in how public libraries in the other 8 counties are funded in the future, including Berkeley, Cabell, Hardy, Harrison, Lincoln, Ohio, Raleigh, Upshur and Wood.
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Court Filings (via WV Supreme Court of Appeals)
- Circuit Court Order
- Petitioner’s Brief – Kanawha Co. Public Library Board
- Petitioner’s Brief – WV Board of Ed. and Dr. Marple
- Brief of the Respondent
- Reply Brief – WV Board of Ed. and Dr. Marple
- Reply Brief – Kanawha Co. Public Library Board
- Amicus Brief – WV Library Association
- Amicus Brief – Ohio Co. Public Library
- Complete Docket and Links