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Volunteers raise money to save PE

Loomis Union looking at eliminating program
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Volunteers are racing to generate funds to save the physical education program at six schools in the Loomis Union School District. Loomis Basin Education Foundation members and an ultra marathon runner, who’s going the distance, plan to raise the money needed to rescue PE. Valerie Rathbone, Placer School parent and secretary of the Loomis Basin Education Foundation, said the state cut $52,000, or one third, of the physical education grant to the school district. Then, the district was forced to eliminate the remainder of the PE program, using the funds instead to balance the budget for the next school year. “I think PE is really important,” said Rathbone, a runner and sports enthusiast, when asked why she’s leading the charge. Franklin fifth-grader Dillon Dwyer said he loves PE and would hate to lose it. “School would be boring without PE. We play fun games like capture the flag, dodge ball, soccer and basketball,” Dillon said. According to Dillon, he’s tied for the fifth-grade push-up record. Prior to being in the district PE program, he said he could only do a few push-ups. Amy Peterson, an H. Clarke Powers parent, is volunteering with Rathbone and said, “I want my children to be active. I want them to be playing more than sitting. “PE teaches them early on why activity is so important for our health.” Rathbone, parent volunteers and the parent teacher clubs at five of the district schools are spearheading the drive they’re calling “$23 to Save PE.” Rathbone said the drive kicks off this week with sponsor cards hung on school fences and information sent home to families. According to Rathbone, $23 for each of the district’s 2,257 students is needed to replace the state money that affords the children weekly physical education taught by qualified teachers. The Education Foundation board of directors voted to match funds raised by the schools up to $26,000. Franklin Elementary School won’t be participating in the drive as plans were already underway to raise money for health and fitness programs with a 24-hour run by Greg Bomhoff, a Franklin parent and ultramarathon runner. Bomhoff’s “Go The Distance” 24-hour run will begin on Thursday, April 22. A 5K Fun Run will be held that evening to allow the community to join Bomhoff in his efforts. Bomhoff, a former professional waterskier, said he expects to run almost 125 miles. He said he started running in 2005 “purely for the challenge” and has completed two 100-mile runs and 13 ultra marathons, the majority of which were over 50 miles long. Bomhoff said his team of volunteers is working on logistics, sponsorships and publicity while he trains. He has averaged running 100 miles per week and is now in a rest mode until the event, he said. “You push beyond your comfort zone and you just suck it up and do it,” Bomhoff said, when asked how he forces his body to run so far. He also said over the course of the run he will consume 7,000 calories in the form of a pre-mixed food replacement gel. He will “eat” every 20 minutes. Bomhoff said his team has secured $15,000 in sponsorships. He said proceeds will benefit the Education Foundation to help save PE and Franklin’s health and fitness programs. “I still don’t consider myself a runner. It’s not for the love of running. I love the challenge of it,” Bomhoff said. -------------------- $23 TO SAVE PE What: Fundraising drive Where: Placer, Loomis, H. Clarke Powers, Penryn and Ophir Schools Sponsors: Loomis Basin Education Foundation and school parent teacher clubs. Donations: At schools or online at LBEF.net -------------------- GO THE DISTANCE 5K What: 5K Fun Run/Walk When: 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 22 Where: Franklin Elementary School Cost: Adults $15, kids $10, Chicken dinner: $5, served 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration and information: gothedistancerun.com