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Forum: ‘Big hearts’ fund-raising; Eatonville schools budget

2:28 pm March 14th, 2013

A huge “thank you” to each and every person and business who donated to the Gary Sokol auction and spaghetti feed, the dinner at Elbe Bar and Grill, and who so generously gave while we were on the street corner. The generosity of the people of Eatonville, Mineral, Morton and the surrounding areas was truly unbelievable. Each event was extremely well-attended, and the love for Gary was obvious. There were over 100 people and businesses that donated items to the auction, so individual names would be impossible. Please know that each and every donation was truly appreciated. Additionally, there is a handful that must be recognized:
• Steve and Betty and Arrow Lumber for their support and willingness to help us with anything needed.
• Tammi and John Bratholm for organizing and preparing the spaghetti dinner, and Steve for auctioneering.
• The Singing Bus Boy and Cool Daddy and the Hot Flashes for their wonderful music.
• Joy and First Citizens Bank for providing the credit card machine.
• Key Bank, Morton, Gypsy Wagon, Eatonville Town Hall, Mineral Grocery, Elbe Bar and Grill, and Rainier Connect for selling tickets to the events.
• Elbe Bar and Grill for giving us full reign of the bar, and to “Beam” for cooking an incredible steak dinner.
• Ellen Roix and Billie Sue Caverly for the rounding up of over 200 donations for auction.
• Rainier Connect for supplying all of the food for the spaghetti feed.
• And last but not least, to each of our helpers at these events (including Eatonville High School students). We could not have had either event without your help. I, personally, am very grateful to each of you.
This is just the tip of people and/or businesses who contributed to making these events possible and successful. Coming together for the good of Gary and his family truly define what “small towns, big hearts” really is all about. On behalf of the Sokol family and the Friends of Gary Sokol committee, please accept this thank you.
Beth Byrd
Committee chairwoman, Friends of Gary Sokol

Does Columbia Crest deserve to stay open? Do our wonderful young teachers deserve to keep their jobs? Do our students deserve small class sizes?
Yes, of course. But the sad truth is-Eatonville School District can no longer afford all these things. We’ve been using the district “savings account” to keep our classes small and our teachers in the classroom since the legislature started cutting money for schools three years ago. Now, we are out of savings and the legislature has not increased funding; more students haven’t enrolled in our schools; and we are left with tough choices to make that will impact our whole district. The district needs to cut about $900,000 from next school year’s budget. The following year the district will need to keep those cuts and cut another $900,000 .This will go on for at least the next 3 years unless enough funding comes through from the state.
 Now the School Board is making those tough decisions. Where do we make those cuts? Unfortunately, the biggest portion of the district budget is teachers, so teachers will have to be laid off. This, of course, means bigger classes and, perhaps, loss of programs. The more cuts made in other areas , the fewer teachers we lose.  So, now we need to ask ourselves, what does our community deserve from its schools, and what can we afford?
If you would like to know more about this, please attend the next school board meeting at Weyerhaeuser Elementary ,Wednesday, March 13 at 6:00 p.m.
Paulette VanCleve
Editor: Ms. VanCleve wrote this on behalf of her fellow staff members at Eatonville Elementary School, where she is a teacher.

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