9486 in the collection
Library backers urge school board to reconsider cuts
Ohanian Comment: This story comes from a hotlink on The Media Bullpen, wherein the pro-charter/pro-choice Center for Education Reform gives a percentage score for accurate a news item is. They offered this ignorant comment on the issue:
Emotional pleas to save school librarians as Salem-Keizer faces $54M budget gap. Glazes over a key stat: only 1 in 3 OR 10th graders meets reading standards. So are they effective with that performance? Real focus should be how to improve reading for all students by evolving traditional libraries into core learning centers.
They gave the story a 36% reliability score on reporting the budget cuts.
I would send the folk at Media Bullpen Stephen Krashen's research on librarians and literacy, but I don't think it would do any good.
by Stefanie Knowlton
Librarians and library supporters turned out in force Tuesday night to testify at the Salem-Keizer Budget Committee hearing.
More than 100 people lined the streets in front of Claggett Creek Middle School before the meeting holding signs that read "Librarians = Literacy," "Don't pull the plug on technology" and other slogans.
"I came out because I love my librarian," said Clear Lake Elementary third-grader Dariun Harris.
Inside, a sea of red shirts, the color for librarians, dominated the crowd of more than 200. Thirty-two people signed up to testify, and most urged the committee to reject a proposal to eliminate all elementary and middle school librarians in the face of a $54 million general fund shortfall.
The move would save about $3.8 million.
The heavy hitters in the librarians' corner included State Librarian Jim Scheppke, Salem Public Library administrator B.J. Toewe and a parade of elementary students who received standing ovations after their testimony.
Scheppke pointed to a grim statistic: Only one in three Oregon 10th-graders reads at grade level.
"You will make the problem much worse if you eliminate librarians from our elementary and middle schools," he said.
Toewe warned the district that the public library cannot pick up the slack.
"As much as the public library would like to," she said, "there is no way that we can fill the void that would be left by the elimination of elementary and middle school library programs."
But it was Anthony Booth, a 9-year-old from Candalaria Elementary, who brought the house down when he testified for his school librarian.
"How would I get the type of knowledge I'm learning now and how am I going to do Battle of the Books if there is no librarian?" he said to the loudest applause of the night.
Salem mom Carrie Hare urged the committee to think carefully about the decision to cut librarians because once it's gone from the budget, the program might never return.
"It might be forever," she said.
Several other audience members testified against the district's proposal to close three small schools next year, which would save about $600,000. About two dozen people stood up when asked to show support for Fruitland and Bethel elementary schools.
Eric Kuenzi asked the committee whether it really makes sense to close small schools that the district already owns in order to build larger ones.
"Whatever pot of money you pull from," he said, "it's all the people in this room who pay for it."
Others testified in support of English Language Learner programs and keeping as many bilingual teachers as possible as the district looks to cut 228 teachers.
Eduardo Angulo, the chairman of the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, said ELL students are U.S.-born citizens who also bring in an extra 50 percent allocation in state funds to the district.
"Cutting ESOL endorsed and bilingual teachers will negatively impact these vulnerable students and further impede their academic progress."
INDEX OF OUTRAGES
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