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Class Size Reduction Squeezes Libraries

VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Simi Valley

June 08, 2000|MILO PEINEMANN

Class size reduction in Simi Valley schools has helped teachers and students but caused an unexpected casualty--the schools' libraries.

And parents don't like it.

Parents from Hollow Hills asked the school board recently for a portable building to use as a school library. Books at Hollow Hills Fundamental line the walls of a multipurpose room that is also used for assemblies, lunch and other events.

"If anything happens at school that conflicts, then the kids don't get their library time for the week," parent Kathi Mangel said.

Simi Elementary School keeps its books in the hallway. Berylwood Elementary keeps them in the auditorium.

"There are many schools that don't have room for an adequate library, or room for a computer lab or anything of that nature," Trustee Janice DiFatta said.

Because smaller classes mean more classrooms are needed, school officials say all extra space, such as that used for pullout classes and other programs, is disappearing. So libraries are just one among many concerns.

"We have needs right now for housing students, and of course that has to be a priority," Assistant Supt. Lowell Schultze said.

Still, Hollow Hills, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School, needs help, said Principal Leslie Frank.

And that may mean turning to the taxpayers to finance schools' library needs.

The district can only raise money by selling off land or by asking voters to support a school bond.

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