Secretarial/Support staffing in schools

Last night I had to vote on the abolishing of several positions in our school board.  I voted YES.

And within seconds I already had my first text message suggesting that I had been “weak” in making this decision.

Let me start by saying that it would have been easy, and politically correct to have voted NO for this.  But I don’t think I was elected to make the politically correct choice.  I think that I was elected to make choices based on the facts that I have and choices that are in the best interests of serving our population.

The fact is that we are in a deficit position.

The fact is that we spend WAY more than the provincial average on these support services, and DOUBLE what Laval boards spend, on average.  Some other English school boards in Quebec spend ZERO on librarians.

The fact is that even after these cuts, we will continue to spend more on “librarians” than any other school board.

So – we’re in a deficit position, and we know we need to make cuts.  So – we ask our management teams.  We talk to our unions.  We ask them to prioritize what they feel that they need.  They’re on the front lines, so let’s do the right thing and get their take on things.  Lists are made…  and at the very bottom of the list; the *LAST* thing that local school management says it needs:  librarians, or “Office Clerk Class II”, the official title.

In fact, when asked where they felt they should cut, the consensus was, from THEM, that librarians should be cut.

So – we’re in a deficit.  We spend more than anyone else on librarians.  Our school’s management thinks that we should cut them.

What’s the right decision to make?

At this point, I suppose I should say, “Well, I know better than them” and take the easy way out?

No, I know that we asked Management to make cuts based on the priorities that they understand from the “front lines”.  I know that we’re in a deficit position, and that we need to get it back in line.  I know that we’re spending way more than others on this specific line item.   Summed up:  I believe that I made the right decision.

Almost ten years ago, one of my first big arguements with the school board was to gain more librarian time in our schools.  Last night’s vote was NOT an easy decision for me to make.


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