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Efforts to save school programs take grass-roots twist

From e-mails to garage sales, Forest Grove community tries to boost school budget
by: Chase Allgood Forest Gale Heights resident Donna Benefiel and her daughter, Alexandra, 14, hosted a garage sale Friday, Saturday and Sunday to benefit an effort by Sandra Garcia, who teaches Japanese at Forest Grove High School, to retain world language classes that were cut in the 2011-12 district budget proposal.

The classified ad in the News-Times last Wednesday pulled no punches.

A garage sale, slated for May 20-22 on Ammon Way in Forest Gale Heights, was raising money for school district programs cut in the recently-approved 2011-12 budget.

Specifically, proceeds from the sale would be donated to help save foreign language classes at Forest Grove High, the advertisement noted.

Even though the district Superintendent said Thursday she intended to reinstate a half-time foreign language teaching position at FGHS, parent Donna Benefiel felt compelled to help Japanese language instructor Sandra Garcia raise money for her program.

All told, the sale produced about $426.95 over its three-day run. Benefiel said she would turn a check, written to the Forest Grove School District, over to Garcia for safekeeping.

Garcia is trying to raise enough money to pay for one teaching position through direct donations solicited online.

Benefiel was inspired hold the garage sale because she saw it as an easy, low-cost way to help. 'Maybe somebody will see this and do it, too,' said Benefiel, whose daughter Alexandra, a freshman at Forest Grove High, is a second-year Japanese student.