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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  • by Anonymous on Oct 13, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    Nice try of tugging on the heart strings 51. The answer still and always will be NO on 3b.
  • by Boogerball on Oct 13, 2011 at 06:42 AM
    The idea that the district would even consider closing one of its best performing schools is one of the many reasons people won't vote for this override. There is a serious lack of trust many parents and voters have with the leadership, senior staff and elected, at the district. Instead of lifting-up schools that are performing, they always talk about additional resources (money) needed for the schools that aren't. Once this override gets defeated, I truly hope that we can come together and address some of the real concerns people have about the state of our public education in the valley.
    • reply
      by Old on Oct 13, 2011 at 08:27 AM in reply to Boogerball
      This is Bureaucracy 101. When faced with budget cuts, bureaucrats cut things that would cause the maximum amount of pain to their "customer base". The don't cut the fat, waste, and perks. The bureaucrats think that if they cause enough pain to the students, drivers, homeowners, whatever the target group is, that they will dig deeper into their wallets and come up with the money to keep expanding the bureaucracy. The press is usually complicit in this strategy by failing to provide clear and understandable information on the bureaucracy's finances while disseminating the bureaucrat's propaganda as "news". (Probably more sloppy incompetence than evil intent.)
  • by Lil Location: Tortuga on Oct 12, 2011 at 07:27 PM
    My daughter attends Scenic and has for the past 4 years...It is one of the best elementary schools with the most wonderful, personable staff in the valley. The principle recognizes each and every student and even remembers the parents. Not many schools have the one on one interaction with the students and families and I must say that if the Grand Valley looses Scenic, it will be very heartbreaking and emotional for every family that has become part of the W.H.B.N family. Way to go Walk-a-thon!!! Great work and great support.
    • reply
      by Scott on Oct 12, 2011 at 07:46 PM in reply to Lil
      Ditto, ditto, ditto... We were at the walk-a-thon today. I wish I had schools like Scenic when I was a kid. Our kids are fortunate to have such a great school, teachers and staff.
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