EAST GREENWICH- Now a few weeks into the school year, students at East Greenwich High School remain unable to access a main resource in their school— the library.
Since the first day on Aug. 30, high schoolers have found the doors to the library closed, after budgetary constraints required multiple staff layoffs throughout the district, including the library media specialist at the high school.
Even though the school committee openly discussed the fact that the high school would be without a library media specialist for the school year, parents and students were surprised to see the library completely closed since the plan was to rotate other library media specialists in the district to keep all libraries in EG schools open. According to superintendent Victor Mercurio, schedule changes made sharing library media specialists across the district difficult.
“There was hope that we would be able to share resources across schools, but that didn’t work out,” said school committee chair Carolyn Mark. “The school committee will be getting fully briefed on the impact of cuts in our schools at our meeting on Sept. 19, including the library.”
The decision to cut a library media specialist from the budget was not made lightly, and after receiving a level funded appropriation from the town council and many discussions during budget workshops, the position was cut from the district out of necessity in early June due to financial exigency. Other positions that were cut include paraprofessionals, a chorus teacher, a special educator, nurse and a .5 senior project coordinator, among others.
“Level funding of our school district forced us to make significant cuts to programs and services,” said Mark. “We had only bad or worse options.”
“Of course, our hope is to restore this position as soon as it is financially…