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Center Grove Schools moving librarians to teaching positions

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Parents in the Center Grove school district are fighting a plan that moves librarians out of the library.    The district said the move makes financial sense as budgets get tighter.

It left some parents, students and fellow librarians passing out badges and signs in outrage during a school board meeting Thursday night.

Leslie Sering, a Center Grove parent, is spearheading the movement.

“Unfortunately, they’re trying to strip our school system to the bare minimum academically,” she said.

Sering’s 9-year-old son, Harry, is a third-grader at Sugar Grove Elementary School. He loves to read in the library.

“It is his favorite spot. He loves librarians in general,” said Sering.

The School Board voted to fire Lin Coffman, a media specialist for the school district for 26 years, because he did not have a teaching degree.

“You’re told that it’s about the bottom line as the kids get lost in that bottom line,” said Coffman. “The intangibles of getting that kid the right book that they need is lost in a lot of that.”

Sering said the math doesn’t add up, especially after the school hired five new administrators to the school system.

“Librarians teach them research skills. They teach them critical thinking. They know a vast knowledge of children’s literature,” said Sering. “Most importantly, they teach them how to sift through all the media they need for the 21st century.”

“We’ve got to look at our budget and see where we can place for the best student teacher ratio,” said Jack Russell, Center Grove School Board President. “With the change in teacher evaluations and stuff, there’s a need for more administrators.”

Russell said as school budgets get tighter, they need to prepare for more state-funding cuts.

Sering doesn’t believe it should come at the cost of their children.

“I just think that it’s awful that they are adding layers of administration at the expense of the actual personnel who are in there working with our children on a day-to-day basis.”

The school district’s libraries will remain open and staffed by uncertified library assistants. Russell said they’ll be giving more training to those staff members once they make the shift.


  • martinstucky

    Sounds like the school board president needs to go back to school…AND STUFF!
    Education administrators are the biggest group of educated idiots in the world, and they are in control of our kid's education.

  • Joyce Howell

    Let's trace things back a bit farther … our state legislators have become so concerned with education that they require some of the most ridiculously complicated evaluations to be filed on every teacher. I think an administrator has to observe each teacher in their classroom something like 5 hours each school year. Then there are all the statistical reports that have to be filed each month. The corp. probably does need additional administrators to do that paperwork. In addition, school budgets keep being cut back. Our legislators have gotten so wrapped up in making the teachers accountable that the teachers no longer have time to teach and the schools can't afford the support personnel that they need to help teachers and students. So we lose art, music, libraries. I've noticed that we don't lose sports though. And, statistically, only .4 % of our students will make a career out of athletics ….

    • martinstucky

      To go back further, the State decided teachers sense of entitlement and lack of performance needed to be reigned in. Steps were taken to do exactly this and they will work if allowed to fully develop. In the real world it is simply not acceptable to under perform. In the educational world they act as if they should be exempt of any responsibility. There are good teachers and there are great teachers, and unfortunately there are extremely ineffective teachers as well who in one year can handicap a child for their entire life. The quality of teachers needs to be consistent to keep children engaged and progressing. Once they fall a year behind it is too late.
      Does your boss review your work? Are you allowed to maintain poor work quality at work without being fired? Why would you not expect the same for teachers?

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    >they’re trying to strip our school system to the bare minimum academically

    And the problem with that?

    In these days of red and slashed budgets some things have to go.

  • Edd Harney

    If we want to improve our education system, we really need to put our money where our mouth is. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, Center Grove voters recently turned down a referendum that would’ve helped the Centergrove school system.

    I do believe we are generally overtaxed as a populace, primarily at the federal level, but I would be happy to pay some more to have more educational opportunities for children.

    So, if we want the librarians back we should be prepared to pay for that. I’ll be the first to put my support behind any such proposal.

    • Guest

      I did vote for the referendum. It still doesn't change the fact that our school board repeatedly cuts educational programs while supporting athletics more often. As a collegiate athlete, I understand the importance of sports, however I never would have attended college without the grades. The meeting last evening was laughable at best. We get a new football field because our school board president keeps tripping over the seams while dressed as the school mascot. Not once did they talk about the cost of upkeep for the field. We were told the last field would last 15 years and here we are replacing it 10-11 years later. It's not about a referendum alone. It's about changing the mindset of our school board.

      • MLM

        We don't need to change the mindset of the board members we have. We need to vote new people in next time, Because the ones we have are not for our children!

    • martinstucky

      There is such a thing as a free lunch and likely 25% of the students get one every school day.
      Take a close look at your teacher contracts. Free insurance, perks, fully funded retirements, etc..etc..etc.. Cut the fat there and keep the library.
      Sorry teachers union, time to go.

      • mediaspec

        Teachers don't get free insurance (now, administrators often get a great deal), and our retirements aren't fully funded. We don't get insurance after retirement, either.

      • martinstucky

        Have you read the contract. The school will pay over $11,000 a year for health insurance and the teacher's part is $1.00
        They also have provisions for insurance after retirement.
        I assume you are a teacher. It is sad they did not teach you how to read your union contract.

  • Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer

    We should not have to make these terrible choices on shoestring budgets while the state has never restored the full amount that they cut during the recession back in 2009-2010. Politicians are deciding that public schools are not worth helping. They talk of "school choice" and abandon our kids' Constitutional right to high-quality public education! This is about taking away our public tax dollars from public schools at the state level and handing them over to private schools through vouchers! On Wednesday they are going to vote in the Senate on a bill that will take $26 MILLION more out of our public schools' budgets in this state and basically redirect them to private. This is outrageous. Have you written to the state senators yet? Here is an easy link to their emails:

  • Trojan Supporter

    Let's face it – as long as rich arkanoff (who isn't literally competent himself) is in charge of CG they'll continue to go as backwards as edinburgh did when he was there! CG needs someone who can run their school system successfully into the future…not into the ground.

  • mediaspec

    It's also true that sometimes districts lash back when referendums fail and cut things to "make it hurt". They often use the ploy to cut the arts and libraries.

  • mediaspec

    How literate, Mr. Russell, to refer to "teacher evaluations and stuff". Do you not realize that when a classroom teacher works with a librarian, that class size is cut in half?

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