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Education foundation fundraisers saves P.E.

'23 for P.E.' drive boosts $52,400 donation made to physical education classes
By: Chelsea Foster, Special to the Loomis News
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The Loomis Union School District's physical education program was threatened this year. The district qualified for a state physical education grant, but that grant was cut by one third due to state budget cutbacks. However, the community rallied alongside the Loomis Basin Education Foundation to save P.E. for local students. The "23 for P.E." fundraiser organized by the Education Foundation asked parents of students to donate $23 per child to save the P.E. program. Carolyn Petree, Education Foundation treasurer, said she was amazed at the flood of donations that came in. "Within only a couple months, the gap (in the budget) was met," Petree said. According to Valerie Rathbone, secretary for the Education Foundation, parents as well as community members donated over $27,000. The Education Foundation matched the funds raised in "23 for P.E.,” bringing the total to $52,400. Additional funding came from the Giving Campaign, Holiday Home Tour, the e-waste collection drive, and the MandaRun run and walk, which is coming up on Oct. 16. District Superintendent Paul Johnson said that without this contribution students would likely have had their P.E. time cut by about 30 percent, and teachers would have had less preparatory time. "I am grateful on behalf of the students to the community and the foundation for stepping up. This is a silver lining in a difficult time," Johnson said. According to Johnson, six schools in the district benefit from the donation, including H. Clarke Powers Elementary, Loomis Grammar, Ophir Elementary, Penryn Elemenrary, Placer Elementary and Franklin Elementary. Zach Strutz, who teaches P.E. at Placer and Franklin schools, said, "We're fortunate to live in a community where people care and donate. It's definitely showing and making a difference for the kids." This year students will play soccer, lacrosse, volleyball and basketball along with running, calisthenics and stretching, depending on the equipment available at their schools. Workouts are designed to help the students stay fit while having fun and learning skills like teambuilding, Strutz said. The P.E. program also gives teachers preparation time so they can teach effectively and collaborate with other teachers. Peter Muth, who teaches mathematics and science at Franklin School, is grateful that the P.E. program has continued this year. "I do get some prep, and it helps. But it is not much. Thirty-five minutes every other day. It does allow for more collaboration between me and Mr. Shrieve (another math and science teacher at Franklin)," Muth said. According to Strutz, equipment is constantly in short supply. Even with the donated funds closing the gap in the budget, many schools in the district do not have funding to purchase new balls, nets or jerseys. With large class sizes, more equipment is needed than what is often available. "We need just about everything," Strutz said. Many students get the opportunity to thrive under the sports instruction provided, and Strutz hopes to see that continue through the coming years. "This year, as in years past, they get to learn more about different sports. I like to get kids involved in sports they've never played. Lacrosse was a big hit with my classes at Placer, and now 30 kids are going out for the lacrosse team. They're taking the skills home with them, and it's great to see that," Strutz said. The Education Foundation plans to repeat "23 for P.E." this year to continue to bridge the budget gap, Rathbone said. The funding could mean additional prep time for teachers, more learning for students and perhaps even some of the equipment on the schools' wish lists. ----------------------------------- EQUIPMENT NEEDED BY DISTRICT SCHOOLS Soccer balls Portable volleyball net systems Basketballs Jerseys (to distinguish teams) For more on the wish lists for specific schools, view their websites: franklin.loomis-usd.k12.ca.us powers.loomis-usd.enschool.org loomisgrammar.loomis-usd.k12.ca.us penryn.loomis-usd.k12.ca.us placer.loomis-usd.k12.ca.us