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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Duval County poised to cut most media specialists

As the school board seems bound and determined to keep nine percent, or three times what they are required to, in budget reserves, you just knew something was going to be cut. Well friends it looks like it is going to be the county’s media specialists.

The scuttlebutt is principals have a choice whether to get the Testing Coordinator/Curriculum teacher position -- or keep their Media Specialists. Based on the heavy emphasis this state puts on learning-by-testing, guess which one principals are picking?

Education Matters also received the following e-mail:

Latest news on media specialists in the budget

I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but my principal told me on Friday that all high school media specialists have been cut from the budget. She said that Title I schools will have the option of paying for the position out of their Title I funds. All of this news is such a shocking and drastic change from the plan to have a full time media specialist in every school.

I believe these cuts stem from the School Board workshop which was held last Tuesday. I heard on the news last week that the Board wants a larger reserve fund (an additional 3-5%) than is required by state law (3%). I am sure that cuts must be made in order to achieve the larger reserve fund. I don't think that the timing of the budget workshop last Tuesday and the news about cuts to our positions is a coincidence. There is another Board budget workshop scheduled for this Thursday so the budget is still in flux.

Mind you above was from a district media specialist not from a member of the district staff but if it is true it certainly is troubling and is the opposite of what the district has been saying. I also wonder how the people in Jacksonville will feel about the district sitting on 50 million dollars and cutting librarians.

For a district with a reading problem, getting rid of the county’s media specialists seems incredibly short sited.


  1. This is an mischaracterization of the situation. The proposal was to put 4% in a rainy day so if something happened they could use the money to fill a hole or an oversight or an unforeseen emergency. You are trying to lump in the 3% that is set aside as a state requirement. Frankly the state required set aside is unusable and shouldn't be lumped together with a rainy day fund. If for some reason there is a "budget shortfall" in 14-15 that would eat in to the state required reserves the Board would be faced with raising taxes or really significant cuts. Even if you are for raises taxes, I think they are taxing to their max authority.

  2. The Principals do have some flexibility on issue. If you are a great Media Specialist you will find a place.

  3. The Times Union said they were looking to keep 9%, 3x what they have to and I haven't heard differently. 9% would be 50 million more than they had to.

    Regardless if it is 3%, 4% or another number cutting media specialists is a monumentally bad idea.

  4. Are you saying that the Times Union has an agenda and only tells you what they want you to hear? Amazing. I never thought of that.

  5. Are you missing the point? The libraries will close, books will gather dust, there will be no deep research, there will be no pleasure reading!
    We are talking about LIBRARIES, friends.
    I will say that the story is NOT out there in the mainstream media.
    How short-sighted to say that if you are an excellent media specialist, you will find a job. DCPS is poised to cut middle & high school librarians - where do you suppose they will find a job? Can Clay & St. John's county absorb them all?

  6. I'm a Duval County high school teacher. We have no librarian. The librarian is teaching classes.

    Our students cannot check out books, and cannot use the Internet to research at school.

    Many students do not have the Internet at home, and do not live near a library. The school library is the only resource they have, and Nikolai Vitti has taken it away from them.

    Dr. Vitti may have some good ideas, but he is extremely pigheaded and has everyone scared to death for their jobs if they're not a yes-man to anything he says.

    So he plods forward with everything, whether or not it makes any sense.

    No matter who you are, if you're closing all the hign school libraries, there is something wrong with the budget.