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Parents will bike to Sacramento to support Oakland schools

on May 6, 2010

On May 8th, a group of public school parents and supportive community members will ride 100 miles from Claremont Middle School to Sacramento to demonstrate their commitment to public schools and petition the state legislature to restore funding for K-12 education.  (Oakland North tagged along for a recent practice ride to bring you the above video story.)  The group is also using the ride as a unique fundraiser to support the PTA-funded programs at North Oakland’s largest middle and high schools: Claremont Middle and Oakland Technical High School.  At Claremont these include the digital arts elective, school music program and environmental science initiative.  At Tech such programs include the journalism club, the lacrosse club and the African American Student Action Planners.  Close to forty people are expected to complete the ride, though some will be joining 35 miles in from a rendezvous point at the Pittsburgh Bay Point BART station.

When they arrive in Sacramento, the riders plan to hold a small rally and present one of Assemblymember Sandre Swanson’s legislative aides with a petition and a packet of letters from Claremont students asking the government to better fund public education.  Hundreds have signed the petition, which asks Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oakland’s representatives in the state government to restore vehicle license fee rates to pre-2003 rates and apply the additional revenues to public education, and to support ballot initiatives that would allow voters to decide whether to rescind super-majority requirements for state budget approval and tax increases.

The group is calling the event “Ride for a Reason,” and is still collecting donations and signatures through their link on Claremont’s website.  Paul Vetter, who said that he and his wife were committed to sending their young children–now students at Chabot Elementary–to public schools because “we’re public school people,” is on of the May 8 100-mile riders.  Vetter, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said it was important for him to show support for public schools because of “the value of public schools and what they offer to not only kids but a whole neighborhood.”  On Saturday, he’ll have 100 long miles to do just that.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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