Library group concerned about Pinellas budget cuts, too
Add another group to the growing list of those unhappy with proposed budget cuts in Pinellas: the Pinellas Association of Library Information Specialists. It recently sent this stern letter to superintendent Julie Janssen and the School Board, urging them to back off from a potential hit to library services in middle schools.
As part of a plan to absorb $14.4 million in class-size reduction costs, the district is recommending that middle school media specialists teach two classes.
That "sounds harmless enough, but it effectively closes middle school libraries to all middle school students for three periods each day (the two class periods plus a planning period)," the group writes. That will cause "significant, school-wide harm" and hurt black and Hispanic students the most, it says.
The group doesn't buy the notion that volunteers can fill the vacuum: "Volunteers have no professional training or certification to assist struggling readers, collaborate and teach 21st Century information literacy skills or support curriculum-based information technologies such as Scholastic, Learn 360, the Gale databases or Smart Board technologies," the letter says.