6 library positions to be eliminated at Cabell County Schools
The remaining six elementary school librarian positions will be eliminated in Cabell County, come fall.
"We have tried to develop a balanced budget with also understanding we're 20 professional employees over our state funding formula. Eliminating positions is never easy but we have to be able to make our decisions that help us be faithful stewards of our taxpayer dollars," explained Cabell County School Superintendent Ryan Saxe.
Saxe says they made the decision several weeks ago to help balance the budget for the first time in several years without dipping into the school system's rainy day fund. He expects it to save $450,000 annually.
"We've had 10 elementary schools operate for a number of years without elementary librarians and they've been very successful," Saxe added.
But several librarians, parents and students spoke out against the decision at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
One by one, a dozen speakers voiced their opposition. That includes Joan McPherson, a librarian media specialist at Spring Hill Elementary for eight years.
"They go to middle school not knowing how to use a library, not knowing how to do research," explained McPherson.
"It's going to negatively effect the kids," added Lauren Hensley, a librarian media specialist at Guyandotte Elementary and Explorer Academy.
It's why Hensley says she started a petition two weeks ago.
"It was shocking. I was expecting a couple hundred maybe. I would be happy if we got like 200," said Hensley.
But they got way more. As of Tuesday night, more than 600 signatures have now been signed. However, Saxe says it's a little too late.
"All the employees had the opportunity to request a hearing before the board to sort of fight for those positions and they didn't opt for that at that time," Saxe said.
Saxe said the affected people will not be laid off – but transferred and placed into other positions.