The governing board voted Thursday to adopt the district’s budget for 2011-12, which included funding for three librarians.
All nine district librarians were among the more than 60 certified employees after the governing board met in March.
During the March meeting, the board directed Superintendent Ralf Swenson and his staff to put together a plan to keep libraries staffed.
Swenson presented his plan for the district’s library services during Thursday's meeting, before the governing board voted 4-0 to adopt the budget—trustee Gary Woods was absent from the meeting.
“The discussion was long and passionate on the issue around and where to go with that,” Swenson said in reference to the March meeting.
Swenson said he has met with Grossmont Education Association representatives to discuss library services since his announcement on May 26 that revised budget plan enabled the district to rescind layoff notices to 23 teachers and 24 classified staff employees.
Although Swenson said there is still a “level of uncertainty” in regard to state funding, he and his staff recommended three certificated librarians serve nine of the district’s schools next year. One librarian would serve , and El Capitan; a second librarian would serve Granite Hills, Grossmont and El Cajon Valley and a third librarian would serve Valhalla, Monte Vista and Mount Miguel.
Swenson noted that discussions about library services have revealed "a lack of clear understanding" about the services that are being provided in the district's libraries.
Therefore, he said district staff, site administrators, teachers and librarians will “begin a long dialogue” to define what today's students need from library services on June 28 and 29, when administrators meet for training purposes.
“We will establish a process…for defining our commitment to and our expectations for library services in the Grossmont Union High School District,” Swenson said. “We also have assured GEA (Grossmont Education Association) that if the state budget restores flat funding as compared to the 2010-11 funding, we will bring back librarians to our campuses for the next school year while we continue the process of studying and evaluating what we want our library services to be in the future in our district.”
Trustees Priscilla Scheiber and Richard Hoy, who voted against the resolution to issue layoff notices to librarians in March, were pleased with Swenson's plan.
“I think this is a good start, so thank you for bringing this back and starting conversations with the teachers and staff,” Scheiber said.
Hoy added: “I think this is a good process, and I think we do need to take a look at it, but if a recommendation comes to this board that without the fiscal problem, that a decision is being made to eliminate librarian services, then I think there needs to be a rationale for why it would be better to not have librarians.”