Ashland schools salvage summer books program

The Ashland School District and city government are teaming up to provide a summer reading program in school libraries.

Under a proposed plan, the school district's middle school, high school and three elementary school libraries would each be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. one day per week.

Only students who are enrolled in the Ashland School District would be allowed to check out books, though preschoolers, homeschooled students and other community members could look at the materials.

On Monday night, the Ashland Citizens Budget Committee — made up of the Ashland City Council and residents — authorized increasing taxes by up to one penny per $1,000 of assessed property value to raise $17,800 for the summer reading program in school libraries.

The city and school district can offer the summer reading program at a low cost by using support staff rather than certified librarians. The staffing cost is about $5,800, Superintendent Juli Di Chiro estimated.

"We've ensured that young people have a reading program," Mayor John Morrison said.

The budget committee authorized the City Council to place a levy on the September ballot that would cost up to 58 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value, or $96.86 for a home assessed at $167,000, the county average.

If Ashland voters approve that levy, the Ashland Public Library would reopen by mid-October.

On April 6, all 15 library branches closed because of a loss of federal timber payments. Earlier this month, county voters rejected a library system funding levy that would have cost 66 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value.

However, 73 percent of Ashland voters supported the failed county levy.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or

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