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.

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