Aiding aides; students take budget woes into their own hands

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - When budget cuts put their reading aides on the chopping block, students and parents at one local elementary school decided to take matters into their own hands -- and feet.

For the past three years, the Scenic Elementary PTO has organized a walk-a-thon, where students collect pledges for a month, the spends one morning walking on a trail from Broadway to Connected Lakes State Park. While they usually spend the money on things the school doesn't have like camera equipment, this year they decided to use it to make sure something they already have continues to be there.

Scenic Elementary has a saying : WHBN, which means work hard, be nice -- a phrase students recently put into action.

For much of the past month, they've been working hard to raise walk-a-thon pledges. And Wednesday, the fruits of those labors allowed them to be very nice to four reading aides at their school, who thought they were out of a job when District 51 cut their funding.

"We're committed to making sure we could still provide a great service for our teachers and our boys and girls," said Doug Levinson, Principal at Scenic Elementary.

"We're very proud," said Jenny Hall, PTO President at Scenic Elementary. "The kids did a great job this year."

The students were able to raise $13,500, which when combined with $15,000 the school receives in intervention funds will fund the reading aides for the rest of the school year.

"[The aides] support our teachers and our boys and girls in our classrooms," said Levinson. "They work with small groups of kids or one-on-one to help support their learning."

Levinson calls the aides invaluable and says they're essential to the student's success and growth in school.

"Whatever we generate to pay them, they're worth ten times that," said Levinson.

He says this year's record setting fundraiser proves that the students, parents, and teachers feel the same way.

"Boy I can't say enough because I know times are hard," said Levinson.

The school says in addition to the money students raised on their own, several local businesses donated to the walk-a-thon.


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