Sunday, June 14, 2009

Easton Library in Danger of Closing!

A very disturbing article is posted below about the Easton School District's proposed severance of our public library from its budget after over 100 years of operation. Our library is one of the oldest in the nation and houses many historic documents, aside from regular library books and periodicals. The library is also one of the few places in town where residents who are unemployed or simply low-income earners can get access to computers and internet access. The School District accounts for 60% of the library's annual budget, and is threatening to cut them off, while Mayor Panto says that the City of Easton cannot afford to step in an afford to fill the gap. This is a serious issue that we need to weigh in on right away:

Michael Duck Two Rivers Blog Article on Possible Closing of Easton Library

Please post your comments here!


Dennis R. Lieb said...

As far as I'm concerned, the closing of the library would mark a definitive point in the city of Easton's demise as a legitimate community that anyone would want to live in. I'd like to be clear that the outrage over this possibility should be directed clearly and pointedly at the EASD. It is no wonder that the average citizen avoids contact with this organization like the plague.

I attended EASD for my entire public school career. As a high school student, I went out for baseball and supported all the major athletic teams as well; not missing a football game, basketball game or wrestling match during my entire sophomore through senior years - home or away.

Unfortunately, sports seems to have become too near and dear to the hearts of many school board officials and today we have a gold-plated sports department and sports facility infrastructure at the expense of other crucial needs like the library. There can be no greater affinity than the one between a public school system and a public library to serve as a catalyst for learning outside the classroom. I for one hope this is nothing more than a bad joke and someone gets serious about the real business of cost control at EASD.

As an aside, I often have talks about what the city needs to do to reach our goal of attracting solid middle class families back to the West Ward. One thing that I always bring up is that without good neighborhood schools, available to all the city's neighborhoods, we are very limited in successfully achieving that vision.

I often think that seccession from the EASD, which has become a wholly suburban-centric organization (now with the administrative operations leaving the city it is a physical reality as well) would serve the city well. Despite the Governor's recent call to consolidate school districts, which in theory sounds good but may offer diminishing returns in our coming energy-poor ecomomic climate, Easton could benefit from separating from the Forks/Palmer stranglehold on the decision making process.

It would require bold leadership and doing without a lot of the fancy facilities of the suburbs...perhaps reusing existing buildings as charter schools. The overriding challenge to any attempt of this nature - and likely defeat of that attempt - would be the overwhelming din of protest from the high school sports lobby, who would scream bloody murder if we ever tried to dilute the talent pool of the football and wrestling programs by pulling out of the district.


Nikki said...

It's really sad how our school system has completely lost sight of reality. Only willing to focus on breeding the next big sports star or machine capable of passing the pssa's and sat but have no actual knowledge...our school systems need to be completely demolished and rebuilt from the ground up!

L. Avin said...

Reading, Writing & Arithmatic? Well, writing and arithmatic are in pretty sad shape these days. No such thing as "penamanship" anymore, and as for adding & subtracting, well, let the cash register do it for you! So, why not just get rid of reading as well. Who needs liberrys, anyway?

L. Avin

L. Avin said...

Oops. some typos there in trying to make a point...corrections:

Arithmetic ..

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with both posters above. I have long felt that the EASD is out of control, spending money on overpriced building projects. The actions of such folly are now coming back to them as they nickle and dime the budget in what is clearly panic.

Public libraries are the heart and soul of a community. A library card is a cherished item in most people's wallets. I love mine. For the district to propose severing support for the library is simply another indication of their lack of focus on what matters; learning.

Changing focus a bit I again state that the EASD is the worse slumlord in our West Ward. The deplorable condition of Cottingham stadium continues to affect it's surrounding neighborhoods. Falling down rusted fences, weeds, cracked sidewalks and garbage everywhere show the lack of respect the EASD has for the neighborhoods.

hopeunseen said...

Looks like the EASD is floating a balloon to see what the public response is. More so, given the politics, this is probably a distraction so we should be keen on what is happening behind closed doors to whatever extent possible.

Mike Fleck said...

I agree with hopeunseen. This is probably being done so that the district board members can pass a tax increase because of the past wasteful spending and blame it on the Library. I don't believe they will actually close the library. It sounds crazy, but just in case we should keep a close eye on the situation as it develops.

Anonymous said...

Don't count on anything. This school board is capable of doing anything -- including the closing of the "district" library. Education is a lifelong activity. The EASD needs to understand that they are their to serve us, not their own special interests. This was again handled very poorly. Come on, an email to the Mayor. It's time that the EASD really becomes a community school ditrict for all of the sending municipalities. Their physical plants should be open to the public and not closed at 3 every day.

noel jones said...

Great points. Check my latest post on EASD accreditation for yet another variable in the mix on this issue...