Fund Our Library Media Specialist

Fund Our Library Media Specialist

323 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

Why this petition matters

Started by Forrest Helvie

Note: Please include your street address when you sign this petition so we can show that Newington residents support their schools' library media specialists to our town leadership!


We, the undersigned, petition our town manager, council members, board of education members, and NPS leadership to reconvene discussions to identify funding for the library media specialist to ensure that there is no loss in support for our students in the elementary schools.

First and foremost, it should not go without recognizing that the Newington town leadership from our town council, the board of education, the mayor, town manager, and the superintendent of schools were able to find a one-year solution to avoid the layoffs of any active Newington Public Schools staff through a memorandum of understanding of giving back NPS funds later in exchange for sufficient town funding to meet minimal budgeting needs. This MOU is now Board of Education approved and will be considered at the April 19 Town Council meeting. It would seem we could look past the ever-challenging budget season to begin addressing other concerns now that the books are balanced.

While the compromise offers something positive, we cannot walk away so quickly from the discussion about the funding of our schools’ staff when certain positions are being left unfilled – in particular, one of our district library and media support specialists. During the April 6, 2022 Board of Education meeting, several of our residents spoke to the immense impact our library and media specialists have on the students whom they serve. You can hear their first-hand experiences as parents and colleagues here. 

Roughly speaking, the cost to hire a new library media specialist would cost the district and the town approximately $75,000 for both salary and fringe benefits. While this is a lot of money to individual taxpayers, it represents only a fraction of a percent of the budget and would not constitute any shift in our mill rate, which is used to determine tax rates. And yet, we cannot understate the sort of shift this individual could have on the quality of learning and the development of the children in their school.

Again, we can and should applaud the collective work to avoid laying off any of our current NPS staff. However, we cannot walk away from these budget discussions thinking those cuts didn’t occur. When schools do not fill staff lines, that is a cut. When our four elementary school library and media specialists drop down to three, and the four elementary schools no longer have a solely dedicated staff member to support their media and library needs, that is a cut, and the students and classroom teachers in each grade level will feel it.

Our leaders compromised to balance the 2022-23 budget. Now, we call on them to collaborate further to ensure all of our elementary students have full access to a library and media specialist to help them grow in their love of reading and further develop their information literacy skills that will serve them well throughout their lives in Newington and beyond.



323 have signed. Let’s get to 500!