Panelists urge Montana ed board to keep ratios for counselors, librarians

The Montana Board of Public Education heard from expert panelists Wednesday as the rulemaking process for school accreditation standards nears its public comment period, which begins in October.

Librarians as well as former school counselors and administrators spoke of their opinions on the rule changes as recommended by the Office of Public Instruction and fielded questions from board members. Later in the afternoon, board members worked on clarifying the language of the revisions.

Dana Carmichael, a retired librarian from Whitefish, spoke during a Board of Public Education meeting on Sept. 14 about the importance of maintaining adequate library staffing ratios.

Overwhelmingly, their comments raised concerns about student-to-staff ratios for positions such as superintendents, principals, librarians and counselors being eliminated from the OPI’s recommendations.

“I think we need to really pause and think about when we’re talking about student ratios and staffing of libraries and counselors and administrators,” said Dana Carmichael, a panelist and a retired librarian who worked with the Whitefish School District. “The ratio is similar to setting a standard for how many students you have in a classroom.”

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