District 81 librarians stand to lose in proposed budget cuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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District 81 librarians stand to lose in proposed budget cuts

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SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the librarians who stand a lot to lose in District 81's proposed budget cuts is Susan Barnes.  She's been with Spokane Public Schools for nearly 20 years, teaching elementary school students the basics - from the Dewey Decimal System, to card catalogs.  She says what she does is the first and only stop for many kids on the road to learning useful research skills.

Because of the budget shortfall, however, libraries - and librarians - could see their funding drastically reduced next year.

"The people in our community don't realize what's happening," said Barnes.  "The best thing they can do is contact their legislators and demand they fund basic education for the kids."

Superintendent Brian Benzel said the proposed cuts make up a small amount of the overall budget picture, and are necessary for the district's survival.

"This set of recommendations makes about a three percent reduction in the instruction and a 20 percent reduction in support services," said Benzel.  "At some point, the reduction in support services starts making the instruction program harder to successfully complete."

Dr. Benzel said March 8 that there's a chance the $10.5 million budget shortfall could shrink if the state Legislature acts on certain issues.  But, he adds, pass or no pass, the district will definitely see some cuts.