OGDEN -- Amy Jamison felt mixed emotions Wednesday as she surveyed tables packed with colorful cupcakes and other bake sale treats.
"It's all for you and the other librarians," said a Bonneville Elementary School student just tall enough to hug Jamison around the thighs. "It's so you can stay."
Jamison, on the faculty at Bonneville Elementary, is one of the Ogden School District's 20 certified media specialists/librarians told in late April their jobs were being eliminated as a cost-cutting measure. All school media centers will be staffed with non-benefited part-time assistants starting next school year. Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith has said the plan is expected to save the district $990,000 in wages and benefits.
"I'm surprised and a little overwhelmed at the parental support," Jamison said, of the bake sale held in support of the district's certified librarians. "I'm also not surprised, because the parents care so much about their kids. I'm not surprised they are fighting this fight."
A second bake sale was held at Hillcrest Elementary School, and parents and staffers at Horace Mann and Taylor Canyon elementaries and Highland Junior High also contributed baked goods and cash.
The bake sale idea came from Bonneville Elementary mom Amy Church, after she heard that Superintendent Smith was moved when Mount Ogden Junior High student Emery Young suggested that student fundraisers could raise money to help keep the OSD librarians.
"He said it almost brought a tear to his eye," Church said. "So I thought these bake sales could work as a gesture from the community to ask him to please reconsider. If there's any way to keep the librarians we love, please rethink the plan. We would love to keep them."
Church got the idea last Friday, and worked through a network of school moms to get the bake sales up and running. She sent fliers home with students, to alert potential customers to the sale.
"My kids made posters," Church said. "They feel like they can make a difference, and they are so proud."
Sabrina Hymas, of Ogden, decorated cupcakes while other moms handled sales.
"I watched my kids learn to love the library and reading when Mrs. Jamison arrived," Hymas said. "She takes her students on an adventure through reading. She is the reason students at Bonneville Elementary love reading. The school board is going to take away the librarians, and the older kids are going to think the school board doesn't care about them."
Church said Wednesday that if various plans to save the librarians were unsuccessful, she would ask the district to use bake sale money to benefit the district's libraries. "Even if we only raise $100 for books, that's $100 we don't have now," Church said.
On Thursday morning, checks, coins and crumpled bills had been counted, and the total from the two bake sales was $797.15. Church attended Thursday night's Ogden School Board meeting to present the certified check.
"I know this is a far cry from the $990,000 you need," said Church, her voice breaking with emotion. "But this check is the result of a one-hour bake sale at two schools. And this is strong evidence of what the citizens of Ogden want. Please don't cheat our children out of the quality education they deserve."
Jamison said Wednesday that she appreciated the parents' and students' work on the fundraising bake sale.
"My students give me hundreds of hugs every day, and this feels like it is a huge hug," she said.
Jamison said she was disappointed to learn the school district undervalues the many skills certified librarians teach to students.
"I have been on such a roller coaster the past few weeks," she said. "I've been angry and frustrated, and had a hard time driving to work without sobbing. I come in every day knowing I have to start saying goodbye."
Jamison paused to help divide a jointly owned cereal treat purchased by two of her young students.
"I honestly do think this will make a difference," she said, of the busy bake sale stretched out before her. "I don't think it will save us, but it may save some other program in the future. It might make the district think twice about cutting something else that is important.
"But also, I'm an optimist, so I see something like this and I think, 'Maybe I will be here next year.'"