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Parents, teachers try to stave off cuts

Fundraisers and rallies set to protect P.E. and other programs

Before school wraps up for summer, teachers, parents and students are rallying and raising funds to protect the programs they love from the budget axe.

• Peninsula K-8 School in North Portland is holding a rally Friday, June 9, to keep their P.E. program from being reduced from its current one full-time teacher to a .375 position next year. The school's art and music programs are also looking to be reduced, and the library will likely be staffed by a teacher rather than certified media specialist.

PTA president Nicole Leggett says parents are particularly frustrated with the cut to P.E. During the past two days, she's collected 55 signatures to maintain bi-weekly P.E. in next year's schedule. 'Parents (other than the PTA and site council) have not been informed and are upset by the news,' she says. The rally is set for Friday afterschool at 2:15 p.m.

• Bridger K-8 in Southeast Portland is raising funds to keep the school's Playworks coach of two years, which could be cut next year.

The national nonprofit serves several low-income schools in the district, providing kids guidance on the playground for organized play while reducing conflict and teaching social skills like sharing space and taking turns.

'Playworks' philosophy is to get kids active and working together so that when it is time to go to class, students are focused and ready to pay attention and learn - and it's working,' says Jay Flewelling, Bridger's Playworks coach.

Supporters can help out four different ways: buy cash value gift cards from the Bridger PTA, make a direct donation through the Save Playworks at Bridger website, buy a Playworks T-shirt or shop at Amazon.com using the link on the Save Playworks at Bridger website, http://bridgerpta.org/playworks.

• Tony Nitz, founder of the 19-year-old tradition called Earthstock, is looking to gain nonprofit status to keep the program afloat and allow donors to get tax breaks since it is entirely supported by private donors. The dance for students with special needs hosts about 700 students from around the region each year at the Crystal Ballroom.

Nitz - a former Madison High School teacher now at Harrison Park K-8 - is looking for people to assist in the financial cost of forming a 501(c)3, which is $850 plus another $50 business license fee.

To help, visit www.earthstockpdx.com .