Library still on course to be school-funded

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Public Library is waiting until after this Saturday’s major library fundraiser before continuing to discuss the possibility of converting its facility to a school district library.

Last fall, officials from the library and the city initially discussed whether the facility could become a school district library funded by Greater Johnstown School District taxpayers. The move could be beneficial financially to all entities involved, library officials say. The city budgeted $283,000 for the library for 2017.

The library’s Board of Trustees met last week, but library Director Erica Wing said Monday the school district library idea was not discussed.

“There was nothing his time around,” Wing said.

She said trustees have decided to wait until after its top fundraiser this weekend to discuss the school library concept further.

“Then we’re going to refocus,” Wing said.

The fifth annual Johnstown Classic — the Johnstown Public Library’s biggest fundraiser — will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the library. The event involves mini-golf played in the library and raffled themed baskets.

Wing said the library hasn’t yet hired a consultant to explore whether the Johnstown Public Library can transition into a school district library.

Library officials said in January it had narrowed its choice for a consultant to three possible firms..

But trustees still haven’t formally voted on whether to support a move to make the longtime public library a school district library.

The Board of Trustees meets next at 7 p.m. April 19 at the library.

Kathryn Zajicek, president of the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education, said Monday that the next move is the library’s.

“It is my understanding that the library comes to the school board and asks to come on to the [public] ballot,” she said.

Any decision on whether the library will become a school district library may not be made for some time.

An original timetable has already been altered somewhat by delays in hiring a consultant.

Wing and the Board of Trustees commenced strategic planning in spring 2016. An original timeline indicated the library wished to hold public meetings and focus groups to educate the community starting in May, but that schedule may now be off.

The library planned to gather and submit signatures on petitions to form and fund a new library by November and nominate board members. According to the timeline, a vote on a library proposition would occur in May 2018. By June 2018, the library would apply for a new library charter and dissolve and transfer assets of the old library. School tax bills would be sent and paid by September 2018, and collected and sent to the library from the district by November 2018.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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