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Keep Library Funding, School Board Asks

Pottstown's library.

Pottstown Public Library.

POTTSTOWN PA – Maintain funding for the Pottstown Public Library. That’s the gist of a message members of the Pottsgrove School District Board of School Directors intend to send to politicians in Lower, Upper and West Pottsgrove (PA) townships within the week.

The school board, meeting Tuesday night (Dec. 2, 2008) at Pottsgrove High School, informally decided to send letters to commissioners in all three townships urging their continued financial support of the library. Some townships, all of which are dealing with higher costs and declining revenues as they prepare their 2009 budgets, have discussed reducing or eliminating funds they contribute to the library in support of patrons who are their residents.

In Lower Pottsgrove Township, commissioners have proposed halving the library donation from $60,000 this year to $30,000 next year.

School board President Michael Neiffer was blunt in his opposition to such proposals. “The children of our community are getting screwed” by cuts in library funding, he charged. “They’ve got absolutely nothing to do with the state of our economy, and as a school board member I think we need to say something because we’re here to protect the interests of the community.”

This board-to-boards communication has its risks, school board member Fred Remelius cautioned. “You’re starting down a slippery slope when you get into that discussion,” he said, creating anger over political interference or even possible reprisals in the future.

Board member April Kontostathis was undeterred. “I really want to press the townships on this,” she added.

District Superintendent Dr. Bradley Landis asked Assistant Superintendent Shellie Feola to draft a letter for board review. Given the fact that township budgets must be finalized by Dec. 31 – and that Lower Pottsgrove’s budget approval is scheduled for Dec. 18 – the board has only 11 working days to craft, agree upon, and mail its plea.


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