CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A judge has denied a motion to dismiss a petition to prevent Cabell County libraries and parks from losing funding from Cabell County Schools.
The school district filed the motion regarding a petition intended to prevent parks and libraries in the county from losing funding after the Cabell County Board of Education voted unanimously in August 2023 to approve a new budget for the new school excess levy that slashed the funding the CCS provides for libraries and parks.
The excess levy that includes that budget will go on the ballot in May.
The budget brought to the table in August will cut funding for the Cabell County Libraries from about $1.7 million allotted in the current excess levy to approximately $195,000, a nearly 90% cut.
For the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, their funding will be completely cut from the $550,000 they currently receive to nothing.
Along with the cuts to the parks and libraries, funding cuts for outdoor learning spaces, facility maintenance and reducing employee salaries were also in the levy budget.
The Cabell County Public Library and the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District filed a petition in September against the county board of education asking for full funding.
The full statement from Cabell County Schools regarding this ruling is available below. WOWK 13 News has not heard from the Cabell County Public Library or the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District as of publication, but will update this article as their statements become available.
While we respect the court’s decision to deny our Motion to Dismiss the Library and Parks Petition, we are disappointed with the outcome and hold the view that it may not comprehensively address the essential equal protection analysis crucial to this case.
Our position maintains that the Cabell and Lincoln Special Acts already dictate the placement of library funding in the excess levy—a crucial distinction that we believe the Judge’s rationale does not adequately address. This perspective is underscored by the precedent set in Kanawha II, where a comparable legislative attempt was rejected on equal protection grounds.
Recognizing the need for a more thorough examination of the equal protection analysis to achieve a fair and just resolution, we plan to pursue an appeal of the court’s decision. Our commitment to upholding the constitutional mandate to provide a thorough and efficient system of schools for our students compels us to take this matter to the Supreme Court.
In fighting for what our schools need to provide the best education for the students of Cabell County Schools, we believe this appeal is crucial to ensuring the principles of equal protection under the law are upheld.Cabell County Schools