Eric Douglas Published

Cabell Parks, Libraries Funding Cut After High Court Decision

A picnic shelter at Ritter Park in Huntington. It's a sunny, cloudy day with green leaves on the trees. The picnic building has a red roof.
Picnic Shelter at Ritter Park in Huntington.
Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District

Parks and libraries in Cabell County can now have their budgets cut dramatically after a decision from the state supreme court. 

Last summer, the Cabell County Board of Education announced plans to cut the funding the county parks and libraries receive from the Board of Education Excess Levy by $2 million. 

This decision came from a unanimous vote from the county board. 

Lawsuits eventually made it to the state Supreme Court of Appeals. The high court issued a decision Thursday in favor of the board of education. 

The library system said losing $1.5 million from a $4 million budget would be catastrophic. The parks commission said losing a half million from its budget would require looking at cutting park offerings and free events. 

In 1967, the state legislature added funding for the Cabell County Public Library System onto the school levy. In 1983, they added funding for the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District to that same levy.  

A Cabell County School Board representative said in August that the end of COVID-19 funding along with declining enrollment and rising costs made the school board prioritize levy money for the students. 

The education excess levy is up for election every five years. It will come before voters in the May primary election this year.