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[Susan notes: Steve Krashen points out that while the school in the Kansas City suburb budgets $57 per child for the school library, nearly three times the national average, this letter writer's school gets about $3.40 per child. California has budgeted $1.53 per child for school libraries.

Either polity makers don't know or they don't care about the consistent finding that school library quality is directly related to reading achievement.


Published in Austin American-Statesman

To the editor

This past weekend I attended a national conference for librarians in Dallas. I met a librarian from a suburb of Kansas City who mentioned that she likes to buy six copies of popular book titles for her 600 middle school students.

When I asked what her annual library materials budget is, she said, "$34,000." I almost choked. As a librarian of an Austin school district middle school of 800 students, last year I received a budget of $2,700.

Although I'm thankful my budget has increased for this school year, it is still woefully behind what is needed to provide my students access to the books they want to read and the materials their teachers need in the classroom.

It's pretty sad when Austin is classified as a "rich district," having to give away millions of tax dollars to others, when so many of our students live in poverty.

Instead of fixing the crisis in school funding last year, our governor and Legislature gerrymandered the one politician, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who represents my views, out of my district. When will we elect people who will give us the tools we need to educate our children?

Sara Stevenson

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