HOT-TOPIC_03A decision by the Little Silver school district to terminate its two media specialists at the end of the year has stirred some passion that may get aired out this week.

Superintendent Carolyn Kossack told parents and teachers in an April 2 letter that the two-school district had decided to eliminate the positions of media specialists at the Markham Place and Point Road school libraries and replace them with Science, Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) teachers.

“This is not a simple staffing ‘swap'” of media specialists for STEM teachers, Kossack said in her letter. “It is a budgetary decision to enable us to offer other needed programs.”

The change, effective with the start of the 2015-’16 school year, will enable the district to eliminate “redundancy” while offering students more 21st-century readiness skills, Kossack said.

“I ensure you that the content of what is being taught in the Media Centers is being addressed in other areas,” Kossack wrote. “The majority of the standards are being taught within the English Language Arts curriculum. The research component, in particular, is addressed in Technology labs and in Science and Social Studies classrooms. So moving forward, your children will not be missing information.”

Here’s the full text of Kossack’s letter: LSPS letter 040215

A teacher who asked not to be named said the staff was “blindsided” by the move. One of those impacted by the decision is a media specialist hired away from a tenured position elsewhere in Monmouth County in late 2013, the teacher said.

An online petition , said to have been launched by “parents of Little Silver students,” calls the move “a grave mistake” and asks the district to reconsider.

Elizabeth Flynn, a retired borough schools teacher who has grandchildren in the district, told the board of ed in a letter sent on Monday that the effects of the decision “will be devastating to the education of the children in our community.”

The action “demonstrates either a lack of understanding or a total disregard for what the librarians actually do in our schools, and reflects only vague thinking of what could take their place,” Flynn wrote in the letter, which she shared with redbankgreen.

The board next meets Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Markham Place School library.