Six-year-old girl helps elementary school after million dollar o - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Six-year-old girl helps elementary school after million dollar operating levy fails

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Rory, 6, gave $75.49 to her elementary school after an operating levy failed last week. Rory, 6, gave $75.49 to her elementary school after an operating levy failed last week.
Triton Elementary School is in Dodge Center. Triton Elementary School is in Dodge Center.
Principal Nick Jurrens praised Rory's selfless act. Principal Nick Jurrens praised Rory's selfless act.
Rory was saving up her money in case something bad happened. Rory was saving up her money in case something bad happened.
DODGE CENTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

When a million dollar operating levy did not pass in the Triton Public Schools last week, a six-year-old girl took matters into her own hands.

Rory, a first grader at Triton Elementary School, told her mom she wanted to give her year's worth of savings to her school.

"One of the big things I want to teach our kids is how to be great people. Rory really exemplifies that in her selfless act," said Nick Jurrens, the principal of Triton Elementary. 

At first, Principal Jurrens told Rory's mom he could not accept her generous gift. But after speaking with her and hearing how denying the gift would break Rory's heart, the school accepted.

"For a six-year-old to give up all of her savings is pretty selfless," he said.

Rory thought she had $42 and some odd cents, but she actually had $75.49 in her piggy bank. When asked if she found the money, Rory said no, the money was hers. She said if she hadn't donated her savings to the school, she would have put the money in her bank account instead.

When Rory first heard about the levy not passing, she felt sad. Rory wanted her school to stay the same and not lose any teachers or extracurricular activities. 

"If it won't be the same, I think everything will change. Some of the teachers will get lost," said Rory.

The operating levy was needed to maintain the school's current funding levels. The school board had proposed to increase its general education revenue by $750 per student. In all, the levy would have cost taxpayers one million dollars. In order to pay for it, property taxes would have increased for residents near Triton Public Schools.

If the referendum had passed, the money would have gone towards continuing the school's current programs, not adding anything new. School officials said that would have made them financially secure for the next decade. 

However, since the levy did not pass, it means some teachers could lose their jobs. Extracurricular programs could also be cut.

Only 24 votes kept the levy from passing.

Principal Jurrens said the next step is to have a meeting with staff and administrators to decide what has to stay and what can be cut. However, he said with Rory's donation there will hopefully be fewer cuts.

"We have to make up for some money not coming in. Right now, we're proud of small class sizes. Without the funding needed to maintain that, we need to look at eliminating positions."

For those wondering, Rory's donation was 100% her idea. She asked her mom if she could donate it; her mom did not see a problem. 

Rory believed most kids would have kept the money for themselves, but when she saw the need she stepped in to do what she could.

"I feel good and proud." And rightfully so.

"I think if you ask the students and staff, they would absolutely say that Rory is a hero," said Principal Jurrens.

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