Franklin County Schools plans to end all its librarian positions due to financial challenges

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Monday, May 13, 2024
Franklin Co. Schools looks to end all librarian positions
This is part of the proposed 2024-25 school year budget.

FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Franklin County Schools is looking to eliminate all its librarian positions.

As part of a proposed budget plan for the 2024-25 school year, the school board will move its library media coordinators into teaching positions. The district will still have active libraries and provide media programming, but media assistants will staff it.

Superintendent Rhonda Schuhler released a video message in April, explaining the reasoning behind its plans.

Ultimately, it is a cost-saving measure as federal COVID funding comes to an end, along with population growth and inflation.

"Over the past four years, we've relied on $30 million in ESSER, or COVID relief funds to support various aspects of our operations from staff recruitment to instructional support to technology and HVAC upgrades," Schuhler said. "These funds have offset our funding request to the county. However, this resource is set to expire in September of 2024."

Here's a look at how much the district is asking for from the county:

  • Increase of $3.36 million in local funding
  • Increase of $1.85 million in per-pupil funding

In total, the county is being asked to fund $5.2 million more than last year to serve students of Franklin County Schools and charter schools.

Schuhler said they have found over $400,000 in budget cuts to help alleviate the impact on their local budget request of $3.36 million.

The North Carolina Library Media Association is against this decision. The organization released a statement saying:

"The unconscionable decision that Franklin County Schools made to remove all of their certified School Librarians and deprive every student in Franklin County of a certified School Librarian is one that weighs heavy on all of us. It is particularly disheartening that Franklin County Schools chose this period to eliminate certified School Librarian positions, thereby denying students the benefits of their expertise."

Franklin County Manager Kim Denton will present the proposed budget to the Board of Commissioners on May 20.