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Nearly two years after opening, Liberty Ranch High School finally receives the funding to stock its library

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Audrey Kilpatrick

Brian Deis

Gus Prouty

Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:54 am, Thu Mar 31, 2011.

This time next month, Liberty Ranch High School’s library shelves should be stocked with books — nearly two years after the Galt campus opened.

During the process of building Liberty Ranch High School, items were removed from the budget due to funding changes and budget priorities for the project as a whole.

“Unfortunately, library books were one of those items that were cut out of the project budget,” Audrey Kilpatrick, the district’s chief business official, said in a recent email. “They are now being funded with alternate funds.”

At the beginning of March, she ordered approximately $95,000 worth of library books to fill the now-empty shelves of the media center which also houses the school’s computer lab.

Principal Brian Deis was told by the supplier last week the books should be delivered the week of April 25.

Len ReidReynoso, president of the Galt Citizens’ Independent Bond Oversight Committee, said the now-defunct group had no financial say in anything except the building.

Personally, he is disappointed that his son, who is a freshman at Liberty Ranch, has had to go elsewhere to check out books.

“We are a family of avid readers. In our house we have 10 bookcases,” he said.

But former trustee Gus Prouty, whose son also attends Liberty Ranch, said books should be the district’s last concern given the state of the education budget.

“As I parent I think it’s unreasonable to expect the school to provide books for pleasure reading. Research, yes. A quiet place to catch up on homework, yes. But pleasure books? Let’s be real,” Prouty said. “Computers for research, yes. Please, not books in these (budget) times.”

Longtime Lodi Unified School District librarian Carol Grenko knows from experience that starting up a library can be expensive. She opened Bear Creek High School’s library in the early 1990s.

“We didn’t have much money for books, yet we needed computers too, so which do you choose?” she said, adding that she accepted book donations to help fill the shelves in the first few years. “To help afford more computers, we were able to do a lease-purchase. It all worked out over time, but I know what it feels like to have a half-empty library when you are first starting out.”

Galt Joint Union High School District trustee Kathleen Amos has mentioned the lack of books in Liberty Ranch’s media center before. In January 2010, she addressed the issue when the board voted to spend $2 million for an agriculture building.

“There is such a high lack of resources on campus, they are calling the library a media center because there aren’t any books,” Amos said at the time. “There are shelves, but nothing there — the money should go into the library.”

However, the money received from the federal government could only be used for construction and funding for books had to come from another place, according to Kilpatrick. She hoped the district would have books in place by the beginning of the current school year.

Construction at Liberty Ranch, which opened in fall 2009, has had more than a few setbacks.

The district started construction on so-called “Building 700” in 2008 when Liberty Ranch was being built, but had to delay the project because funds were frozen by the state in December 2008. They money was not released by the State Allocation Board until last June, and the school board voted to repay a bridge loan that paid for the building’s completion.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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  • Patrick W Maple posted at 6:44 pm on Thu, Mar 31, 2011.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    So Gus...then WHY didn't you vote to fund 1/2 the library and only stock it with "research books"? What happens when a family cannot afford a computer or the internet? Libraries and librarians are the window to the school...many students go there as a refuge or to talk to the librarians about important things in their lives...talk to one sometime...like Mrs Nunez...your perspective will change. Gus clue me in on my agenda again....I am not very clear on it. As far as meetings with the "budget committee" it was more of a CF than a meeting to take input...the decisions on spending had already been made. One othe point...most students do not go to the library during their lunch period, before or after school...when is all of this "pleasure" reading being done?

  • Gus Prouty posted at 10:13 am on Thu, Mar 31, 2011.

    Gus Prouty Posts: 4

    My comment was with respect to his expressing the need for hard copy books. He and I both were at multiple budget meetings in the library/media room over the last two years and he made comment more than once about the bookless shelves while in the room he states I haven't even been in. Not sure how he can remember so much but forget that very simple fact. Oh ya, he likes to embellish at every opportunity.
    His comments about the funding follow the same pattern as his about my not ever being in the library,,,, total crapola like usual. He just says whatever he thinks will get people excited about his personal agenda.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:03 am on Thu, Mar 31, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mr Prouty stated...As I parent I think it’s unreasonable to expect the school toprovide books for pleasure reading. Research, yes. A quiet place tocatch up on homework, yes. But pleasure books? Let’s be real,”Prouty said. “Computers for research, yes. Please, not books inthese (budget) times.”

    Mr Prouty, I agree completely with this statement and sentiment... however, I do not understand the relationship between your point here and Pats point about “how” something was funded... can you please clarify? Im confused.

  • Gus Prouty posted at 8:30 am on Thu, Mar 31, 2011.

    Gus Prouty Posts: 4

    I understand Pat is a generation or two ahead of me so I understand his concern for paper copy books. However times are changing and paper books are well, old school like Pat. There is an absolute wealth of cutting edge pleasure reading material available on the internet for little to no cost that provides a 1000 times more variety than 100k in high school library books can offer.
    Additionally, the school needs to focus on the supporting its core offerings as I stated for the article with computers and research material, where the most up to date material is found. Pleasure reading is available on line or in the local library. Having it at the school is redundant and unnecessary.

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 6:40 am on Thu, Mar 31, 2011.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    Mrs Amos is right! The money for the library went into the new Ag building...stop lying about how it was funded...the reserves were raided, maintenance funds were stolen and your vaunted Ag grant had to have $180K in costs to get $40K. Gus Prouty once again shows his ignorance of education and business...he probably never stepped foot in a library...this is the most disgusting group of elected officials...the test scores are in the tank...because of them...the school financials are being taken over...because of them...and soon the entire District will be under the thumb of the state. I must say though, the state taking over is ludicrous...they are even worse and are in worse shape!



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