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West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation well underway in largest campaign of the school year

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jules Walters encourages people to donate to the Count Me In Campaign to help decrease WL-WV class sizes and add additional programs. The West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation has raised slightly more than $30,000 in an effort to hire additional teachers for the 2018-19 school year.

As part of the annual Count Me In Campaign, the education foundation — a volunteer group of parents, teachers, students, community members and administrators that raise funds to help hire new teachers in the WL-WV School District — has set a lofty goal of raising around $150,000 by the time school ends in June.

"We want to increase the number of donors that we have," said Jules Walters, president of the education foundation. "We get a very good donor response but we'd like to make sure that every person in the district is aware we are here and knows what our mission is, especially as the district grows."

It's quite common to see the campaign lawn signs or to receive emails from principals encouraging the community to support the funding of teachers as it is the foundation's largest fundraiser of the school year.

Last year, the education foundation handed the school district a $113,000 check — money raised from its three fundraisers: the Count Me In Campaign, Honor our Teachers Campaign and Night with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"People often ask if the foundation money truly means the addition of extra teachers or if that money goes into retaining teachers previously hired with foundation dollars. Since the foundation was formed, the district has ensured that any foundation money truly does go to the addition of new teachers," said Andrew Kilstrom, WL-WV communications director. "If you added up all the money donated by the foundation over the years you would quickly see the tremendous impact they have made in reducing class size and providing the best educators for our students."

And Walters said she's been impressed with the generosity of the community.

"They recognize how important it is to contribute to the district," said Walters, adding that the campaign picks up speed closer to the end of the school year.

As a mother of four children who have gone, and are going through the WL-WV School District, Walters is passionate about giving back to the schools. She said the goal of giving additional funds for hiring new teachers is to decrease class sizes and increase

the number of programs available.

"I'm constantly overwhelmed by the dedication that the teachers have for the success of every student in the district," Walters said. "I think raising money to hire additional teachers makes it easier for the teachers we already have to lighten the load and give them more individual attention to each student."

Walters said if the goal for this current campaign is met, the amount of money raised — including the foundation's other fundraisers — would be enough to give the district about $200,000 "which would be enough to hire three teachers — our goal for the last several years," she said.

Reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281.

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