JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fewer media specialists are on the front line in Duval County schools as administrators had a choice to make between hiring test coaches or media specialists.
A printout of staffing in Duval County Public Schools show only a handful of middle and high schools this year have a media specialist.
That leaves libraries for most part unstaffed with volunteers, teachers or para professionals carrying the load.
Details provided by the school system show 20 fewer full time specialists this school year, with 85 positions covering all schools compared to 106 last year.
Elementary schools are staffed for at least half of the day: not the case in middle and high schools.
In budget talks this summer, board members brought up their concerns about library support.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told the board, according to district notes of the meeting, that principals at secondary schools preferred to have a test coach than media specialists.
Vitti told the the school board it would cost $3.2 million to have a media specialist in every middle and high school.
The superintendent says he values media specialists, but there are only so many dollars available to the district.
He did point out that 76 elementary schools compared to 62 last year have media specialists and that all Duval County schools for the first time have reading coaches.
First Coast News