Madrona K-8: Overcoming 'humble financial circumstance'

On a crisp afternoon in early October, Madrona residents were greeted with more than just low prices at the Madrona Grocery Outlet. Madrona K-8 school students, parents, guardians and teachers offered hot dogs in exchange for a donation to benefit the school. Madrona K-8 raised $550, which the Outlet matched. The Outlet also donated food and utensils.

"You give a customer a hot dog and a pop and that's really neat. You're doing something for the community," said Steve Mullen, operator of Madrona Grocery Outlet.

Helping the community is an important part of Mullen's business philosophy. Helping students succeed academically is the school's purpose.

The Madrona K-8 "Panther Partners" is a parent/guardian-teacher-student association committed to overcoming what 2005-06 Fundraising Committee chair Leslie Olson calls the "humble financial circumstances" of the school. The Panther Partners are three weeks into the planning stages for a Fundraising Plan, which will be proposed to the school board this November.

The Panther Partners identify needs at Madrona K-8 that will not be covered by the school budget alone.

In 2004, 64 percent of Madrona K-8 students received a free or reduced-price lunch, according to the 2004 Annual Report for Madrona K-8. Qualifying for the lunch is a complicated process that sometimes results in the necessary paperwork arriving late. Principal Karen Andrews and the Panther Partners cannot bear to let kids go hungry. Funds have already been allocated toward that end in 2005.

Then there are the four students who go to music class without instruments. There is the library with reference materials dating back to 1992 and a library budget of $1,000 for nine grades. Teachers pull money from their own pockets to fund in-class learning projects. Olson commended one teacher's ability to make holiday costumes that cost 18 cents per student.

"The resourcefulness of our teachers is just...I truly am in awe of them," said Olson.

The Madrona K-8 Panther Partners will meet many needs through an Annual Fund comprised of donations from family members, local businesses and other community members. The goal of the Annual Fund is to raise $80,000 -to date, the fund stands at $66,000.

A few additional fundraisers are in the works.

Olson said that a book drive will take place later this year. Parents will receive a list of criteria for reference materials and other books to be donated. The goal is for the library to be capable of offering one or two books to every child.

The student body is currently finishing a Kathryn Beich candy, magazine and wrapping paper drive to raise money for the school.[[In-content Ad]]