Parents step up to save school programs

Educationo Foundation has raised $30,000 so far
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Loomis Union School District families are concerned about budget cuts and have decided to take action. They are raising money to save programs that the state can no longer afford to fund. Jenine Windeshausen is president of the Loomis Basin Education Foundation, a parent of district children and Placer County treasurer-tax collector. The Education Foundation board of directors recently heard a Loomis district budget presentation by Superintendent Paul Johnson. “I applaud Paul Johnson for explaining what’s happening with the budget and for rallying the parents. Now, we need the community and parents to step up with their ideas, efforts and dollars,” Windeshausen said. The Education Foundation is working with parent teacher clubs and parent volunteers to save the physical education program, which has been eliminated for the 2010-11 school year. Windeshausen said the Education Foundation has been building up funds to support district programs and has raised more than $30,000 from the MandaRun and holiday home tour. She said the Education Foundation will match up to $26,000, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of money brought in by school groups, with the combined goal of raising $56,000. Families, she said, will be asked for a donation of $23 per student for the campaign, which will begin in April. Johnson informed parents at a budget meeting in February that it costs approximately $23 per district student, per year, to equal the pay and benefits of a PE teacher. Kimberly Ross, H. Clarke Powers Elementary parent, volunteered to serve on the parent task force to save PE. “Our PE teacher gets the kids to really enjoy fitness. It’s an important part of a healthy life. It goes hand-in-hand with education. Having fitness in schools is important, especially since our kids spend so much time on electronics,” Ross said. According to Jay Stewart, assistant superintendent of finance, the total PE budget is $166,494. He said the state allocates the funding through an ongoing physical education grant. “This program was cut by 19.84%. The District received $117,395 this year,” Stewart said in an e-mail. Stewart said the district has two full-time and two part-time PE teachers. He also said the state “stiffed” the district $140,000 for the PE grant for a previous year and the state said the money will never be paid. A Franklin Elementary parent saw the handwriting on the wall last fall and decided to do something to save physical education in his school and district-wide. Ultramarathon runner Greg Bomhoff plans to run for 24 hours on April 22 to raise money to save physical education. He and his group of Franklin parent volunteers are calling it “Go The Distance.” “We believe the health and fitness lessons learned as a child, shape their future outlook towards wellness as an adult,” he said. Another Franklin parent, David Beseler, is putting together another district-wide fundraiser. Beseler, a mortgage planner, is creating a directory of area businesses that agree to donate a portion of their sales from district families to the Education Foundation. He called it a “win-win for all involved.” “Vendors get additional business that is closer to home. Customers get the added benefit of knowing not only that their dollars are going to help a local business, but that they will be helping schools at the same time,” Beseler explained. Families may feel overwhelmed by the immensity of state budget cuts to education, but they’re doing what they can to make a difference locally. ------------------------ HOW TO GET INVOLVED Loomis Basin Education Foundation: Go the Distance 24-hour run: Business directory: Ideas: