Wednesday, September 21, 2011

REPORT FROM THE STACKS: Will the last one out of the library please turn the darkness on?


posted by smf to 4LAKidsNews

ALSO SEE - PARENTS AREN’T READY TO QUIT: They are scrambling to save L.A. Unified libraries: By Steve Lopez, LA Times columnist

Following up on last week’s  Steve Lopez article THROWING THE BOOK AT SCHOOL LIBRARIES – and the ongoing /well documented campaign to do away with school libraries -  4LAKids and another parent troublemaker asked for a status update on Library Aides from Franny Parrish, the RIFed library aide at the Julie Korenstein Library at Lowman Special Ed Center – a self-confessed overactive union member and volunteer member of the CSEA (California State Employee Association) Negotiating Team.

Skid-a-marink no more? >>

It may be apocryphal, but an LAUSD minor functionary once asked Franny why the students at Lowman (who are specially challenged) even needed a library?  ‘"Many of them will probably never even learn to read.”   That poor gentleman is probably still missing his deep manly voice!    She’s that librarian.

Franny reported on Saturday:

Sorry… I have been in crisis mode - what with the failed un-negotiations with the District yesterday and planning a protest in front of a school and more media coverage …and an alleged melt down from Superintendent Deasy over the Lopez article.

Okay, now, what can I tell you?

  • Given the choice whether to "buy" (pay for) elementary school librarians/library aides - 304 out of 544 elementary and Special Ed schools in LAUSD (56%) bought nothing.
  • There are 33 6-hour/full day positions that were bought at schools. So 6% of LAUSD Elementary Schools have full time librarians.
  • Two 8 hour positions were bought, probably at ITLSS offices.
  • Last Year here were 490 Library Aides at least 50-60 were hired in February/March as subs. (Library Aides at 90% of schools)
    • Starting at the number 251 we were given RIFs. They begin September 26th
    • Our last day is this coming Friday the 23rd.

The District has issued yet another stellar Bulletin which sounds great for the first two pages stating that NO ONE, volunteers or Ed Aides, or Teachers Assistants, Teachers, etcetera can do our jobs

….then you get to page 3 and it says:

“In the event there is no Teacher Librarian or Library Aide assigned to the library, Integrated Library & Textbook Support Services (ILTSS) will provide training at the start of the school year.

Training to include:

· Check out/check in of library books

· Basics of shelving

· Procedures for purchasing shelf-ready library materials from ILTSS approved vendors Procedures for reporting any issues related to circulation Schools will receive “limited access” circulation privileges, i.e., Library Volunteer accounts. ILTSS will provide these schools with overdue library book reports, import of vendor cataloging disks, and appropriate related technical assistance.

To sign up for training, go to “

UPDATE FROM FRANNY MONDAY SEPT 19: Since this bulletin came out our union has filed a complaint due to the contradictory, once again dear folks, language in the bulletin.   

Fred Elliott, from the Integrated Library Textbook Support Services, who claims to be a big fan and supporter of Library Aides (though his name is at the top of the bulletin),   expressed dismay to a gaggle of Library Aides at the new Destiny system training on Thursday.  

Why, he could  not believe it, ever since this  bulletin came out 2 days before, his phone has been ringing off the hook  with principals wanting to send volunteers and Teaching Assistants to the training ASAP!  

Wow....tsk, he just couldn’t get over it.  Wowee zowee girls.   My hands are tied he said as he crossed his fingers and toes.  Pinocchio has  nothing on anyone who works in the belly of the beast, LAUSD.   

It IS LEGAL for the district to eliminate a position entirely for lack of funding.  

It IS ILLEGAL and against our contract to lay off the employees under this pretext and then fill the position with lower paid, lesser educated Ed Aides, Teachers Assistants (TAs)- paid for with Title I funding.  

That is a bit like ‘bait and switch”.  

Title I (federal government) funding has guidelines how the money may be spent.  The local School Site Council (SSC) then votes to not fund a position (Library Aides and office workers), but instead buy TAs and Ed Aides to fill those positions.  

The job description and purpose of a TA is to be IN the classroom working 1 to 1 with children at risk.  

So now the school has lied in it’s paperwork in order to get those Federal $$ so that they can still provide the service of a Library Aide/Librarian/Bibliotechnician to the school.  

All with the misguided thinking that anyone can do the job, a warm body.   

Meanwhile, back to reality, they have just committed fraud with government money.  F R A U D.  If I did that I would go to jail.   

VOLUNTEERS, we need them we love them but it is against the law and the California Ed Code to eliminate a position for lack of funding and then fill it with volunteers. 

When the volunteers whine (and I was a faithful one for 17 years) but what will their children do without the librarian or access to the library, 

I can only hope they will take their arguments to the powers that be.   But then, Deasy will begin his “We TRIED to get the union to the table....”  

I was there and it was......insulting! 


franny’s earlier report continues…..

Wow! And they don’t understand why Library Aides AND Teacher Librarians are so upset?  My union has already started the legal process. 

Tell me, help me to understand…

It would be so much easier to believe that Deasy is evil.  He drank the Kool Aid right?  He really believes all that corporatization of schools that he is promoting? 

In negotiations yesterday my anger was at a level just short of explosion.

John Bowes and Dick Fisher (The LAUSD negotiator and attorney, respectively) extolled the virtues of giving schools choice over their own money.  

oh whoopee s**t.  

I pointed out that once again as always, we are encouraging schools to be the haves and have-not’s. 

The example I gave was Coldwater Canyon:  almost a 1,000 kids.  Due to Title I they have full on Music Teacher, art programs, flat screen TVs in the classrooms, aides in every class, a nurse, etcetera.  

Then there is Valley View Elementary, 220-240 students, no music, no art, no flat screen TVs, no nurse, a 4 hour office tech and a principal.  They have nowhere near the money that Coldwater does.  

Bowes boasted that schools like VV need strong parent groups to raise money.  

My question back to him was why should it be incumbent upon the parents to make up for the budget deficits and bad decisions by the adults of LAUSD?

What happened to the Williams Settlement and the problems with inequity in provision of services?  It is discriminatory.  It is the District once again not seeing any of this as logical.  It is repeating itself and it is beginning to feel like we are in a Sci-Fi time-warp-loop.  

To quote Julie Meyers, one of the Library Aides, “This ain’t Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, it is the heart of darkness and desperately wicked.”

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