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.
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