Dade County public library on Tuesday's ballot - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dade County public library on Tuesday's ballot

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DADE COUNTY GA. (WRCB) -- The Dade County Public Library is in the process of moving to a new home, but no one knows how long it will last.

"I'd hate to have grand opening and then a grand closing," says manager Marshana Sharp.

Earlier this month the Dade County Board of Education voted to stop funding the library more than $37,000 a year. Now library officials say they risk losing state grants if local funding drops below a certain level.

"If we lose our state funding there's no way we'd be able to stay open with what we've got," Sharp says.

As it stands, the public library receives about $65,000 from the county and about $30,000 from the city.
 
School Superintendent Shawn Tobin says they just don't have the money to fund it anymore. "It's a direct result of the state of Georgia has been cutting public education for ten years," Tobin says.  

The state cut $1.7 million and the county school board cut $1.6 million. Tobin says the school system has cut 18 programs and positions to keep up with the depleting budget.

"It kind of boiled down to do we continually fund or do we continually cut personnel in the school system," Tobin says. "As a superintendent my main purpose is the direct instruction in front of the kids."

On Tuesday voters may help decide the future of the library. In a non-binding question, voters will vote on whether the Dade County Commission will dedicate a fixed portion of county property taxes to the funding of the Dade County Library.

"It would be an answer to our problem," says Sharp.

The community has donated more than $10,000 to help keep the library open for another year. However, officials say if a tax is not imposed the public library will shut down by June, 30 2013.

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