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Linwood jog-a-thon races against school funding gap

by: PHOTO BY: SARAH BUDD - From left, Ellen Budd, 9, Trey Niggemann, 5, Brock Neeley, 5, Brayden Neeley, 7, participate in last year's inaugural jog-a-thon at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie.Linwood Elementary School’s funding this year faces a double-whammy.

For the sixth year in a row, the North Clackamas School District’s multimillion-dollar deficit will keep all school budgets at as basic a level as possible. Balancing finances for the 2013-14 school year by June 30, as required by state law, will force officials to further trim an already gaunt budget.

And with 76 percent of Linwood students from economically disadvantaged households, meaning they qualify to receive either free or deeply discounted school meals, they are not in a position to contribute monetarily to help fund school programs.

In an attempt to help bridge the gap, Linwood’s PTA is organizing a Jog-A-Thon on Wednesday, April 17. All 315 students are expected to ask friends, family, neighbors and parents’ co-workers for pledges based on how many laps they complete, or for a flat donation amount.

Every kindergarten through fifth-grade student will get 20 minutes to run/walk/skip as many one-third-mile laps as they can. Among the volunteers who have agreed to track the students’ laps are Milwaukie City Council members Dave Hedges, Mark Gamba and Scott Churchill. PTA members promise to announce participation of more Milwaukie “celebrities” in the coming weeks.

Last year the event raised $4,300, and each Linwood student would have to raise at least $30 in pledges to reach this year’s goal of $9,000.

“For many families, this might be asking too much,” said organizer Ane Roth. “This is why we are reaching out to the community and local businesses to give generously.”

Roth said the Jog-A-Thon serves two purposes: First, it gets the kids excited and motivated to be active. The second purpose is that the Jog-A-Thon is a low-cost fundraiser for both the school and the PTA. That’s how organizers can say every dollar pledged will be directly reinvested in the students via technology, science materials, field trips, safety, family-fun days and resources.

The Jog-A-Thon will be held at the Linwood Elementary School’s outside track from 9 to 11 a.m. For more information call, 503-653-5537.



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