Fayette library seeks levy 12.23.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette’s Normal Memorial Library board is moving forward with a levy effort in hopes of increasing revenue following state cuts.

As a school district library, permission for the levy must come from the Fayette Board of Education, and approval was given at the Dec. 14 meeting.

The next step, explained school treasurer Kelly Bentley, is for the county auditor to approve the issue. Finally, the levy request will return to the school board for placement on the May 4 ballot.

The library board seeks a five-year, 0.75-mill operating levy in the May 2010 election. If approved by school district voters, the first collection from the levy would come in May 2011.

Library board president Mike Figgins explained to the school board in October that the levy would bring in about $30,000 annually and cost a typical homeowner less than $15 a year.

The decision to ask for levy approval followed a large reduction in state allocations to libraries. Fayette’s state aide is expected to come in $41,000 less than the 2008 level of $152,500.

In mid-September, Normal Memorial Library trimmed 20 hours from the weekly schedule, with evening hours offered only once a week and no Saturday hours. Some Saturday hours have been restored because of a new school program at the library.

Library director Sally Canfield told the school board that the reduction in hours is especially difficult for patrons during tough economic times when internet service is important for job searches. Due to layoffs, many area residents have been forced to cancel their home internet connection.

The vote will be the first attempt for a levy by the Normal Memorial Library board.

BOARD MEMBER—The board met in a closed session to interview two people who expressed interest in serving on the school board. No one filed to replace the retiring Paula Schaffner in the November election so board members will appoint a new member in January.

CUSTODIAL—The board voted to bring back part-time custodian Dana Hanna to clean up after athletic contests and perform other duties.

She was laid off in June due to a budget  shortfall, but hiring her on a part-time basis will save the district money rather than paying full-time custodians at an overtime rate.

Hanna will work 20 hours a week through the end of June.

FUNDING—The Ohio General Assembly came to an agreement with Governor Ted Strickland late Thursday to address the state’s $851 million shortfall. This cancels the threat of cuts in education spending.

“This is a great relief to school districts in Ohio,” Fayette superintendent Russ Griggs said. However, he added, it doesn’t address any future budget problems that might arise.

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