The Principal’s Emergency Checkbook Fund (PECF) was started in 2008 by Congressman Denny Heck and his wife, Paula, Craig Ottavelli, and other outstanding community members affiliated with the OSDEF. The PECF fills an important resource gap for principals and educators. Each school in the district is provided with funds to help quickly meet emergent basic needs for students, with a minimal amount of paperwork. The PECF resources remove common barriers for low-income students maximizing their potential.
How can we expect students to be able to focus on learning when they are distracted by not having the basics covered? 33% of the student population in the Olympia School District is living in poverty and over 500 students are currently homeless. Teachers and principals are often the first to identify when a student has needs. Giving them a resource to quickly address those needs has proven invaluable. The funds have been used for clothing, hearing aids, housing, transportation, food, fees for school activities, school supplies, and much more. Something as simple as a new pair of shoes can boost confidence leading to higher grades and attendance or a pair of glasses for student, who can now succeed in the classroom and participate in athletic opportunities as a result. Great latitude is given to school principals, ensuring that they feel comfortable accessing these resources.