EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 13, 2013

Parents rally for librarian for elementary school

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Lori Stalteri, the media specialist who serves students in all five of the town’s elementary schools, has had a “spectacular impact on kids,” according to one of her supporters.

Yet Stalteri, who functions as the librarian for the elementary schools, could lose her job if the School Committee limits its budget increase to 3.75 percent. Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson recently presented a budget of $39,863,136, which is 4.12 percent higher than the amount approved last year.

Hutchinson called this a “level services” budget, meaning it provides students with the same services they are now receiving. The fiscal plan also retains the elementary school media specialist position for all schools.

Town Manager Andrew Maylor indicated last fall he would recommend a 3.75 percent increase for all town departments. If the School Committee goes along with that, the media specialist position is on the list of possible reductions recommended by Hutchinson. So are two high school teaching positions. Maylor is expected to present his budget recommendations Feb. 25.

The School Committee is scheduled to meet at 6 tonight in the library at North Andover High School. The board held a hearing on the budget Thursday night and is expected to vote on the spending plan tonight.

The elimination of the media specialist job is “not at all” a fait accompli, Hutchinson said.

“We would love to have a Lori in every elementary school,” said Kristi Hale, a parent who coordinates library volunteers at Sargent Elementary School. Stalteri does a lot more than merely check books out of the libraries, she said.

She has developed catalogs for the elementary school libraries, updated their collections and taught students research skills.