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No Media Specialists in New Port Richey Schools?

Plans to spike the positions from the Pasco County School District’s roster to save money are meeting resistance. What do you think about the move?

A cost-saving measure meant to help the Pasco County School District close a portion of an anticipated $23 million funding gap is meeting with resistance.

Media specialists from around the county and their supporters don’t agree with a plan to eliminate that position in Pasco County schools. In fact, they came out in force to tell the Pasco County School Board just that during the March 19 meeting, according to The Tampa Tribune.

School Superintendent Kurt Browning unveiled a plan to close an anticipated $23 million budget shortfall about two weeks ago. That plan calls for eliminating media specialist positions across the county. School media centers would be staffed instead with a single media technology assistant. The district has said it would try to find current media specialists classroom jobs rather than lay them off.

Media specialists are tasked with a number of duties. Not only do they help students find books, they also address technology concerns in classrooms, work with children who need inspiration to get them reading, organize school-wide events, such as book fairs, and more.

Land O’ Lakes High School media specialist Kris Keppel turned out to the March 19 meeting to urge school board members to visit schools to see specialists in action before they approve the plan to strike the position from the books.

Belinda Pope, a media specialist at Sand Pine Elementary School, had this to say:

"Our classroom is the biggest classroom in the school,” The Tribune quoted her as saying.

The board has begun the budget process for the 2013-14 school year. A final budget should be put into place sometime this summer.

The district has faced multi-million-dollar budget cuts for the past few years and has had to shed hundreds of positions to close the gaps.

What do you think, New Port Richey? How important are media specialists at your child’s school? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

See Also:

Pasco School Layoffs Are Under Way

Pasco School Budget Cuts: Are You Worried?

Do the Math on Pasco School Budget Cuts

School Budget Cuts Are Deeper Than Pasco Anticipated

Pasco School Board Cuts 513 Positions

Mary March 23, 2013 at 01:32 PM
I think the school board is loosing focus on the children and the educational support they need! Literary coaches and media specialist are so important to the childrens education. The school board wants Pasco County kids' test scores and education improve, but they are eliminating important positions! It doesn't make sense!
George Medley March 23, 2013 at 06:30 PM
While I understand the need for the school to cut costs....I have found that those businesses (and don't fool yourself - a school is a business) that DON'T have someone to be the media face are run by fools. I can promise you this, no matter how media savvy the Superintendent thinks he / she is - they don't have the time, to say nothing of a serious lack of media savvy, simply because most Superintendents are by nature teachers first and politicians second - but they are LOUSY media types. Schools need a media specialist to ensure the message is properly put forward - without a media specialist, all is lost when controversy hits.
Jim Slaughter March 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Typical Republican activity! Cut what helps the most vulnerable so they can give me to their rich benefactors. Shame on you Curt Browning!
Jim Slaughter March 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM
that should say give money, not me! haha.
Jimmy James II March 23, 2013 at 07:10 PM
I think media specialists are unneeded gravy. Frivolous. Unessential. Their contributions can be easily absorbed by other staff members, if needed. I saw them in action many time in close contact and wondered why they were called "specialists."
Dorothy Petrie March 24, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Media specialists used to be called school librarians. They are now called media specialists because students need more than books to do research, they need to know how to access and notate all resources-books, videos, online resources, magazines (online and print). Media specialists review, order, add to a library's collection, see that materials circulate, account for missing materials, and keep the collection is usable condition--updating materials as need indicates. This is in addition to the usual and unusual work of librarians, reading to children, teaching about different genres of writing, helping children learn how to find materials in a library (teaching students about Dewey Decimal and how books are categorized and shelved by it). The more unusual work now falls under test prep--reading, writing as dictated by standardized test formulas, giving literacy support to classroom, ESOL, reading, and special education/inclusion teachers. When schools are required to improve test scores, eliminating media specialists is very, very short-sighted. The money saved will never equal the staff and money lost when schools fail.

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