Report: Beaumont ISD lacking library funding, not meeting standards

The State Legislative Budget Board released a report saying Beaumont Independent School District is not meeting state standards in certain areas for the district's libraries.

The report says Beaumont ISD decreased library funding by 40-percent in the last 12 years.

In 2001, BISD funded $167,476 to libraries and last school year only funded $100,853.

Melanie Leonard has two children in the district. She spoke to the school board Thursday night at the district's budget hearing.

 "I was unaware of how widespread of a problem this was until the management performance review came out from the State of Texas," she tells 12News.

Here's what the state found:  

The district hired paraprofessionals to staff libraries instead of librarians at 14 of the 16 elementary schools.

Roy Guess and Pietzch-MacArthur are the only two elementary schools with certified librarians. The state put the district below standard program development in this area.

The study also found library books are aging or outdated.

"Books should be about 15 years or less in our school libraries and there are several schools that are much older than that," says Leonard.

According to the study, 9 of 16 elementary campuses have books that are 15 years old or older.

One out of seven middle school campuses fall below state standard based on book age.

At the high school level, two out of three campuses do not meet standards due to outdated collections.

Two campuses, Sallie Curtis elementary and Marshall middle school house books over 20 years old.

Trustee Tom Neild says he's addressed the problem in the past and the report confirms what he's tried to fix.

"The administration needs to come back and explain in detail what we're gonna do, how we're gonna address that issue and what we can do to correct it," he says.

The study also found that $100,000 was allocated to new schools in the district and that library staff at those schools reported not receiving those funds.

The district says a decrease in state funding is behind this and that it's a problem at districts across Texas.

The district says it plans to look at ways to prioritize library funding to meet state standards.


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