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Officials Plan Reopening of Libraries at Middle Schools : Education: Part-time clerks will replace more costly full-time librarians, who have been reassigned as teachers.

February 04, 1993|HOWARD BLUME | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Compton school officials plan to reopen middle school libraries by using part-time clerks to replace more costly full-time librarians.

The librarians, who were reassigned as classroom teachers in the fall, will receive an extra-duty stipend to assist the new clerks about two hours per day.

Newly appointed Deputy Supt. Thelma Moore presented the library reopening plan at last week's school board meeting, and the concept won immediate board approval.

The new library assistants will be supervised and trained both by the district's library administrator and by one of the former librarians, who will travel from library to library. This traveling librarian will also catalogue books and buy new materials.

Administrators have already begun screening applicants for the library assistant jobs. Officials hope to reopen the libraries around the beginning of March.

Last fall, the school board closed all middle school libraries as part of $4.9 million in emergency budget cuts. Since then, the school board has come under heated criticism about the closed libraries from parents, employees and community leaders.

Soon after making the cuts, officials pledged to reopen the libraries. Proposals to do it developed slowly, however, partly as a result of districtwide turmoil, including the December dismissal of Supt. J. L. Handy.

The district had hoped to save $300,000 by reassigning the librarians. The new library plan will eliminate an estimated $51,000 of these savings.

Other recent events also have eaten into the $4.9 million in cuts. First, the personnel cuts did not take effect as quickly as the district had hoped. Then an administrative law judge ruled that the district had erred in the way it laid off nurses. The district decided to rehire the nurses rather than face costly litigation.

In addition, the board's decision to buy out Handy's contract and other recent administrative changes have led to unanticipated expenses. District officials said they are cautiously optimistic that the increased costs will not jeopardize the district's solvency.

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