Girl donates savings to help school

March 14, 2011 4:52:59 PM PDT
Budget cuts also mean program cuts at many schools. We talked to one elementary school student who was willing to sacrifice to keep her favorite class.

To 8-year-old Elodie Giles, art class isn't a budget extra. It's what she looks forward to every week. She's just not certain she can look forward to it next year.

Giles may be just a third grader but she is wise enough to know that budget cuts will cut into what she likes best.

It is one of the possibilities as her school, Houston ISD's Travis Elementary School, looks to cut $200,000 from its budget.

Giles doesn't want the cuts to be that severe and she wanted to help.

"I get $6 every week," she said.

She has to give at least a dollar of it to a needy charity.

"I was thinking about Travis and how good a school it was. Then I thought about how it was losing money and then I thought I could donate my money," Giles said.

The $20 she saved up was put in an envelope for the principal.

"It says, 'Money for Travis, for whatever you need it for,'" Giles said she wrote on the envelope.

"And then it says 'I love my school. Love, Elodie Giles,'" Travis Elementary School principal Suzy Walker said. "Every $20 makes a difference."

But it's not enough to save jobs. Giles knows that. Walker does too and knows that it's likely four or five of her employees will find out next week they are being fired.

"It's their education; how can you mess with that?" said Giles' mother, Mandy Giles.

Giles' mother didn't know her daughter was planning on the gift until she asked for the envelope Friday morning.

It was a gift of a child's savings at a time the state is seemingly unwilling to spend its rainy day savings.

"What is it there for? This sounds like an emergency to me," Mandy Giles said.

"I like art and I like music and I like creative movement, so can you please give us a little money so we can keep our enrichment teachers?" Elodie Giles said.

It's not likely any lobbyist in Austin ever said it so effectively -- or that any child showed so clearly how grownup fights get overheard by very young ears.