Dayton Public Schools is eliminating the positions of 10 library aides who serve elementary schools, and is working on a new plan for how school libraries will function next year.
The school district will keep certified library specialists at its six high schools. But 20 DPS elementary schools have been served by the 10 uncertified paraprofessionals, who split time between schools.
“A group of preK-8 principals are re-examining how students are using library media centers and how the centers can contribute more effectively to student achievement,” district spokeswoman Jill Moberley said, adding that the 10 aides “will be absorbed into other vacant positions” for next school year.
District officials say existing literacy teachers funded via federal Title 1 money will do reading intervention work in school libraries, but the scope of their duties is still being discussed.
Cassandra Young, a volunteer at Louise Troy PK-4 School, said she worries that students will lose library time and valuable lessons.
“Our librarian goes between two schools already, but this lady does an excellent job,” Young said. “She teaches them how to read well, how to listen and understand the news, keep up with current events. … If you want to promote citizenship, where are you starting that?”
Moberley said each DPS elementary school has Title 1 teachers, and the new configuration will not require those teachers to split time between schools.
But with the district review still going on, she said she could not yet answer questions about how often school libraries would be available next year, or whether any school would not have a library.
The state school board recently eliminated the “5 of 8” rule that required minimum combined staffing levels in art, music, gym, library, nursing, counseling and other fields. Some say that change will lead to cuts in those areas. But Ohio Department of Education assistant legal counsel Sharon Jennings said Thursday that paraprofessionals like those DPS is eliminating never counted toward the 5 of 8 rule.