D97 won't cut media assistants

District librarians had been staunchly opposed to the possibility of cutting positions

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Oak Park District 97 officials announced last week that they will not get rid of the eight part-time and two full-time media assistants employed in the district. Earlier this year, district administrators had been considering cutting the positions in an attempt to modernize the library spaces, according to Amy Warke, D97's chief academic and accountability officer.

District librarians were vocally opposed to the cuts, with many former and present librarians speaking out against the district's plans at a regular meeting on May 23. 

Retired librarian Judy Chrisman was among those who argued that cutting the assistants would mean that current librarians would have less time for teaching and would be spread too thin trying to do other tasks, like shelving and checking out books. 

"There is just no way that you can run a library with only one staff member," Chrisman said. "Volunteers are wonderful, but there is much they cannot do and some things they should not do."

In a statement released June 8, District 97 officials said that they decided to restore the media assistant position at all 10 district school buildings for the 2017-18 school year.

"We are in the process of contacting the individuals who served in these positions this year to gauge their interest in returning, and plan to recommend their re-employment as part of the personnel report being presented for action during the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, June 13," the statement reads.

"Any positions that remain open following the completion of this process will be posted with the goal of filling them prior to the start of the school year. At this time, we can confirm the need to post for the position at Whittier Elementary School because the person who occupied it retired at the end of the year."

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com

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Nick Polido  

Posted: June 14th, 2017 8:59 AM

Why in the world would we expect district 97 to act as a fiscally responsible institution when they can always come back to the well...asking input from retired librarians and library staffs opinions on these cuts is like asking current and retired letter carriers how a reduction in their service would effect the public......

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