Dear PTA Presidents,
I apologize I am having to reach out to you one more time to help in the effort to save school libraries. Collectively we have done a terrific job advocating for school libraries. The Council of the Whole FY13 DCPS budget recommendations noted the “decision that the Committee has heard about the most, through testimony and emails, is the reduction in school librarians.” The issue of school libraries has received press coverage on WAMU, by Washington Examiner columnist Jonetta Rose Barras, and The Washington Post (article expected on Thursday). The president of the American Association of School Libraries has written to the council (attached). But one last push is required. We are asking parents across the city make calls on Thursday to show their support for school libraries.
On Wednesday, we received from the DC city council their budget markup (attached). They recommended DCPS take $1million of the $10 million currently allocated for the “Proving What’s Possible” grant program and put it toward school libraries. There is nothing binding in the request and the sum proposed would not even preserve the existing status quo, which is grossly inadequate. Even if the Chancellor were to act on this recommendation, there would still be schools with no librarian. And no progress would be made on the considerable weaknesses that exist in the resources of most school libraries.
We are asking you to ask your parents on Thursday to call Council Chair Kwame Brown, Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright, and your elected council member to let them know you support school libraries. These three calls should take you no more than five minutes. We have provided a sample of what to say when you call, and the phone numbers of those who should be called. We ask that you post this information on your list serves, and share with others who care about school libraries.
“My name is ______________. I am calling to express my concerns about the support DCPS is providing to school libraries. In my opinion, the recommendations from the Committee of the Whole on the FY13 DCPS budget do not go far enough in supporting school libraries. I request the Council recommend DCPS:
1. Require all schools to have a librarian;
2. Move the librarian position out of the flexible spending account; and
3. Provide funds to update the book collections and buy new technology such as computers and eReaders.
Now is the time to make investments in our school libraries. Thank you.”
Who to call:
Tommy Wells–Ward 6