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Henderson school raises enough money to save teacher position |

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Henderson school raises enough money to save teacher position

New numbers from the Clark County School District show there are about 320,000 students enrolled in valley schools this year.

That's about 2,000 less than projected but still enough to keep overcrowding at top of mind in schools across southern Nevada.

Despite the overcrowding issue, schools are being forced to trim their budgets and cut teaching positions.

But at least one school's efforts to save jobs is paying off.

"I was really happy that we met the goal," said Bonnie Mason, parent of 1st grader.

Mason has a daughter in first grade at Twitchell Elementary School. She's one of several parents who came together to raise $62,000 in just a matter of weeks -- all in an effort to save staff positions.

"We all want to do what we can to help the school and everybody seemed to be pretty inspired to jump in, including myself. I donated," she said.

Three teaching jobs at Twitchell were on the chopping block due to lower than expected student enrollment this fall.

The $62,000 raised will be a full salary package and allow one teacher to stay.

Principal Michele Wooldridge spearheaded the fundraising campaign and is overwhelmed by the support.

"It wasn't easy, people gave whatever they could give, and we're just grateful for whatever we got. Every penny mattered in this case," Wooldridge said. "What better cause to raise money than for the greatest resource that we have, which is a teacher."

The school is excited that they've saved one teaching position, but the harsh reality is that they'll still be losing two educators.

"They are amazing teachers and our kids will be missing out," Wooldridge said.

While CCSD is happy Twitchell will retain one teacher, it does not encourage fundraising as a way to do so.

"Our concern is that some schools do have the neighborhoods around them that can fundraise to save a teaching position, but many schools do not, and we don't want to create an inequity here," said Kirsten Searer, CCSD spokesperson.

The two staff members who are leaving teach first and second grade so those class sizes are going up.

"Already my daughter has said, 'We have two new students in our class,'" Mason said.

But school officials say it's still a victory they're not losing all three.

"We just couldn't stand by and let that happen," Wooldridge said. "It was just too big an impact."

CCSD and Twitchell Elementary administrators say what really needs to change is how schools are funded and that parents and other stakeholders need to take this issue straight to the state legislature.

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