LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Lawrence Public Schools Board of Education may have found a way to make needed budget cuts and only lose a maximum of two librarians.

Going into Monday night’s board meeting, 12 librarians’ jobs were on the table as the district looked to cut more than $600,000 from that department. As it stands now, one librarian from each elementary school and middle school will be eliminated.

Originally, closing schools was on the table as the district tries to make up a state funding gap due to a decline in enrollment.

Before the meeting, supporters rallied for the librarians and the district’s hourly workers outside district headquarters.

“What’s unfortunate is people who don’t know what the librarians do are making those judgements without our input, and that’s where we really are very concerned about that,” librarian Fallon Farokhi said.

The librarians came up with their own plan to cut their budget, and many spoke at Monday’s meeting.

“Libraries matter to students. Show us that you meant what you said,” one librarian said to the board.

The district is cutting more than $6.4 million in spending. Roughly half is the state funding shortfall, and the other half will go to increasing pay for certain staff and to build up reserves.

At the meeting, a motion passed that would take money away from administrative spending and funding for learning coaches.

This meant that two librarians and roughly four library assistants will be let go instead of twelve and nine, respectfully.

The board sent the plan back to the administration to make adjustments.

“I do have some concerns there,” Superintendent Dr. Anthony Lewis said. “We’re already a small administrative team here and we do provide a tremendous amount of support to our buildings. And so, when you think about some of the additional cuts that we’ll have to make, it does give me pause to think about where can we find those additional cuts?”

The administration will bring their plans back to the board in April.

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