Frankfort High School will lose its full-time librarian next year due to budget cuts, but the school’s principal says the library will remain open with help from clerical staff.
The school’s council voted a few weeks ago to reduce the position to two class periods a day. The librarian will also spend four class periods teaching reading to students who are falling behind.
The change required approval from the Frankfort Independent Board of Education, which agreed to a one-year waiver of its staffing policy at a meeting Thursday.
FHS Principal Michael Godbey told school board members that a clerical staff member would monitor the library in the librarian’s absence. Certified teachers will be required to supervise their students while they use the facility.
“This is the best we can do with what we have,” he said. “We’re basing our decision on what’s best for students, and it’s the best use, we feel like, for the (staffing) allocation we have.”
Gayle Gray, who has worked as the FHS librarian for 16 years, asked school board members earlier this month to “consider the consequences” of altering her duties.
Gray said she has helped students check out more than 2,500 books this year, research assignments online and in print, and learn about new technology.
State law requires that all public schools employ a librarian, at least part-time or shared with another school. Gray said 92 percent of schools statewide employ a full-time librarian.
She also told school board members that Kentucky Department of Education guidelines recommend a full-time librarian and a part-time clerk for a school the size of FHS.
Changes to the librarian position are one of several cuts planned for next year.
Council members voted to eliminate three full-time teaching jobs in English, reading and computer applications, and a part-time position teaching media technology. They also cut a full-time office manager and reduced a music teaching position to part time.
Council members made the decision after district officials asked them to reduce certified staff by nearly 20 percent. The layoffs, along with several other changes, will save the school approximately $200,000 next year.