SPRINGFIELD, NJ - At Monday's Springfield Board of Education (BOE) meeting, the board members heard from a group of Springfield residents, parents and library specialists advocating for what they say is a needed increase in the number of media specialists in the district.

The group is advocating for librarians trained in media research or media specialists to be hired for the four buildings in the school district without a full-time media specialist on staff. The buildings in question are Edward V. Walton School (Grades Kindergarten through grade two), James Caldwell and Thelma L. Sandmeier Schools (grades three through five) and Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School (grades six through eight).

According to Bonnie Lafazan, one of the Springfield residents who spoke in the public comment section, their issue comes from what the group sees as a de-emphasis on research skills by the school administration.

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In her remarks to the BOE, Lafazan said that what she and others found was a lack of emphasis on physical placement and physical resources expended by the board in Springfield Schools. She has been coming to BOE meetings regularly since voicing her displeasure with the current situation at the beginning of the calendar year. 

After the meeting, Lafazan said to TAPinto that she feels as if the board is understanding what she has to say, but she doesn't know if they feel it is important enough to respond to.

"I think they've been listening all along," Lafazan said. "I just don't know that they find it important enough to make any change."

She added, "I'm going to continue my advocacy work until there is at least one more certified media specialist in our school district."

BOE president Scott Silverstein said that while the group and the board are in agreement that media literacy is important, the board feels that the current allotment of resources is more effective 

"I think the issue of media literacy is an important one, Silverstein said. "It's one that we stress throughout the curriculum in this district. And the question of how the administration recommends that we allocate resources in terms of whether a media specialist is needed in each building is a different question from the question of media literacy.

Silverstein added. "That is infused through our technology, and to me ultimately, that's what's most important is that our kids have that media literacy background."

The next Springfield BOE meeting is March 4, 2019.