Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Parents Paying for Library Instruction

It seems when K-12 schools in the United States have budget problems, the school library is always hit first. Fewer books are bought and many librarians are laid off and replaced by volunteers or paraprofessionals who are cheaper or cost nothing to employ. This is not always the case but it does seem to be common.

So, I was surprised to see another option. The article When Parents Pay Up by John Canalis has examples of instances when parents pay for instruction that the school can not afford normally. Wrote Canalis, "Fremont is not alone in covering teacher salaries. Though donations from PTAs, foundations and endowments have long financed classroom supplies and field trips, they are increasingly going toward paychecks throughout the LBUSD. For the last few years, parents have scrambled to offset funding shortfalls brought on by declining enrollment and state cuts. In Fremont's case, the school had also lost federal funds that go to students with poorer populations because higher home prices in the area led to demographic changes."

And some parents are paying for library instruction. Canalis wrote, "Gifts typically pay for "supplemental" instruction in subjects not normally offered in primary school or finance extra days of instruction in areas parents want more of, such as an extra day of library instruction at Los Altos' Minnie Gant Elementary ($115,00 raised last year)."

115K for library instruction for one day? The program must have been more substantial than that. If not, I want in on the freelance instruction librarian business. Regardless, it is nice to seem parents who are willing to raise funds to see that their kids get some decent library instruction programming.

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