The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Samantha Loza
I would like to make the community aware of upcoming budget cuts at the Antioch Unified School District. This Wednesday (March 20) at 7:00pm there will be a School Board meeting in the board room at the district office. At this meeting, the district will propose cuts to be voted on.
Among these cuts will be $775,000 worth of classified staff. Around 29% of that will be Library Media Technicians (elementary school librarians). In the past when budget cuts were made, library tech’s were laid off. Full time school libraries were not staffed. Some schools only had a library open two days a week.
When this happened, there was a drop in reading scores, love for reading, and books in general. We are seeing the result at the middle school and high school level now. Since library services have been restored, reading scores have began to improve. Some of our students never hear a story read to them aside from in the library or the classroom. Others are not able to afford to purchase books because it is just not in their budget.
Books are treasures to students who sometimes need to escape the hard realities they are living in. Libraries are a safe place for students, and librarians in our district are not just librarians. We do not just read to kids. We participate in PBIS programs such as Tool Box or Mindfulness. We plan activities and stories to support what is going on in the classroom. We teach literacy. We feed the inquiring minds of students daily. We process books and keep open schedules to accommodate teachers and students. We do yard duty in the mornings and after school. We plan fundraisers, book fairs, and family events. Some of us participate in PTO’s/PTA’s at our school sites. Others sit in on School Site Council meetings, and more. We are valuable.
If, as a community, we can agree that reading is important and has a place in everyday life, how can we not then say that libraries are not just as important? Let’s face it, we all know that cuts need and have to be made because at the end of the day, the budget is the budget. However, why do the librarians have to feel close to 29% of that cut? Why aren’t there more cuts being made to the high paid employees at the district office? Why aren’t we looking into programs such as the organics program offered by Republic Services as the Benicia School District and many restaurants in the area have adopted to save money? Why do our students have to suffer?
Our students will lose instructional assistants, reading teachers, librarians, and more.
Out of 92 classified classifications, librarians will take 29% of the hit? Do not sit by and just watch this happen. Let your voice be heard at the meeting Wednesday night. Afterall, We are AUSD.
To view the agenda item (14-B), please visit the AUSD Website