Our school library listserv has seen a lot of messages lately about proposed budget cuts to SC Public Libraries and ETV.
Here is the South Carolina Library Association plea:
Dear SCLA Members:
On yesterday afternoon, Thursday, June 10, the SCLA Legislative Committee Chair, Dr. Curtis Rogers shared with the Listserv SCAPLA Action Alert regarding the current budget situation. I think it is necessary as individuals and residents of South Carolina to express our concerns about the future of libraries and library services in South Carolina. Please see the message below and act accordingly:
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
The Governor’s vetoes (Veto 31 and 92) will be considered by the House on Tuesday, June 15. If the House does not override the vetoes then the Senate will not even consider them. So, at this time, we must focus exclusively on the House, and we must be relentless. If we do not “win” on Tuesday then over $6.5 million in State funds (including stimulus) is GONE, and we jeopardize losing $2.7 million in Federal LSTA funds.
Here are the details:
Veto # 31 on page 14 of the Governor’s memo is Aid to Public Libraries – $4,653,933
Veto #92 on page 28 of the Governor’s memo is Federal Stimulus Funds – $1,172,758 (.29/capita)
Here is the Message:
Cutting funds to public libraries will kill the economy. Public libraries provide crucial educational and employment assistance and if this funding goes away so does our ability to educate and prepare students and the unemployed for the workforce.
Aid to Public Libraries is funding that supports direct public services; [Insert how you spend State Aid here]
Federal Stimulus is used at the discretion of the County Library Boards to bridge gaps in technology, programs and the collection.
Here is the Contact Information:
South Carolina House Contact Info: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/html-pages/housemembers.html
When you look at the list of Representatives you will see that the home county of each Representative is in bold. We are asking you to take responsibility for those whose home county is your service area. House Fax Number: 803-734-2925
ALSO, Please remember: SCLA’s Legislative Action Alert page has CapWiz which allows you to contact your legislator. http://capwiz.com/ala/sc/home/
Rayburne J. Turner
Here is ETV’s plea for assistance:
Your help is needed now! Contact your legislator before the Tuesday, June 15th vote.
Governor Sanford has proposed a cut of over $5.2 million from South Carolina ETV’s $9.6 million state budget appropriation. This is a 52% percent reduction. This would have a devastating impact on ETV and the services provided to public education and to every citizen.
If the legislature does not override these vetoes it would have a crippling affect on services and programs.
- ETV provides technology training and learning opportunities to 65,000 teachers, all 86 school districts, and their students. In addition, over 6,500 K-12 teachers receive hands-on, face to face training annually. This service would be drastically impaired or eliminated.
- ETV would be forced to discontinue its public safety and local government training. More than 13,000 law enforcement personnel – this includes local police and sheriff departments, SLED, and corrections officers.
- ETV’s local and national programming would be significantly impaired, and some services eliminated all-together. Television and radio programs that focus on SC issues and concerns would be in grave jeopardy.
- ETV is a valuable asset available to every South Carolina citizen, a key component in the state’s educational, cultural and economic development. Many deem ETV as a jewel of South Carolina and a good example of what is good about our state.
Your help is critical to our ability to retain core educational service for every SC citizen. It’s imperative that these vetoes be overturned. We need your help – please contact your legislator today to save ETV!
Here is the letter I sent to my representatives:
Dear Representative Ott:
It has come to my attention that there is action pending from our illustrious Governor Mark Sanford to cut funding for both public libraries and public television (ETV). Services I’m almost positive he’s never needed to use, but a vast majority of South Carolina’s citizens do use and depend upon on a daily basis. While the sad state of our economy is forcing many hard decisions, I don’t understand how these funding cuts will benefit our state or our citizens.
Public libraries are a refuge for many people who have been hurt financially by the economy. The library provides entertainment (books, DVDs, CDs, storytime, etc.) as well as programs to assist the homeless and unemployed (resume writing, interviewing skills, money management, tax services, etc.) The library provides services and materials and works with public schools, colleges, and universities to assist students and educators. Cutting funding, specifically Veto #31 and Veto #92, will also jeopardize our state receiving federal funds such as Federal LSTA funding. Local/County funding alone cannot support an adequate library system, much less the exemplary ones I’ve been fortunate to use so far in my years as a South Carolina resident: Richland County Public Library, Orangeburg Public Library, and ABBE Public Library.
Public television (ETV) provides technology training and learning for education, public safety, and local government. ETV is an asset to our educational, cultural, and economic development. Cutting funding would mean valuable TV, online, and radio broadcast programs would have to be eliminated. The services they provide to our schools – both on air and via school visits – would also be reduced and/or eliminated.
On a personal level, the economy has affected my own ability to make ends meet. I utilize both the public library and ETV to help save money. I patronize the library for professional as well as pleasure reading, since I can’t afford to buy books. Inter Library Loan is wonderful at finding me the professional books I need to stay current. I borrow movies since the cost of movie admission is exorbitant for a family outing. My students and I use the databases provided by both the public library and through DISCUS in our research projects.
As a library media specialist, I utilize the free ETV technology workshops at the ETV studios, as well as those given at conference and through ETV site workshops, to keep myself and my fellow teachers up to date in areas of technology and best practices. I can’t afford to take college classes and even the tech school classes are out of my price range. I/We also use the ETV programming in our school to supplement and compliment our curriculum; thereby saving money to spend on more pressing funding needs.
In short, cutting funding for public libraries and ETV would be devastating to the people of South Carolina. Please support libraries and ETV by not allowing these budget cuts to be passed.
And since you’ve gotten this far, how about stop cutting the education budget, too! It is bleeding and on life support already.
I also sent one to Senator Hutto. Feel free to use/adapt if you want. I wasn’t very politically correct, in fact I was a bit snarky, but this whole situation is getting out of hand. I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat, or a part of any party, but by gosh, we need to stop the insanity. Raise taxes and put education funding back as part of property tax and not sales tax. So what if people complain about paying school tax when they don’t have kids. Or library tax and they are fortunate enough not to have to patronize the public library. The kids they support through taxes will one day be the politician, bankers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, police and rescue workers all working/supporting us. I don’t know about you, but I’d sure want the doctor of my future to have the best darn education he/she can have and that I can help pay for so I receive the best of care. How about you? And whose is to say this economy isn’t going to get so much worse that you’ll loose your job and need to cut back on your cable, ISP, movie night out, and book buying habits? You’ll sure be glad the public library is around then now wont you?