More than 200 East Bay residents rode their bicycles to Sacramento on Saturday to raise money for six Oakland schools desperately in need of additional state funding.
Saturday marks the 8th annual Ride for a Reason, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Oakland K-12 schools in the past, according to a news release. This year’s ride raked in $88,659, according to organizers, which will go toward what California considers “extras,” including a part-time librarian and digital media classes.
The riders, who start the journey between 5 and 7:30 a.m., are typically a mixture of community members and students. Many opt to do the full 109-mile route from Oakland Technical High School, while others prefer the less rigorous 45-mile journey from Vacaville. Both sets of riders meet at the state capitol.
On Saturday, California State PTA President¬elect Dianna MacDonald and Oakland School Board Member Jody London spoke after the ride about underfunded California schools. They cited the differences in California’s spending versus the national average.
Each year, the state spends about $8,900 per student at Oakland Unified School District. The national average is $11,841.
“We’ve been doing this for eight years now because California still isn’t really prioritizing public education,” Paul Vetter, a lead parent organizer, said in a statement. “Believe me, there are easier ways to raise money for individual schools than gutting out a hundred mile ride, but we need to inspire other people and our elected officials. Our sweat makes us harder to ignore.”
Money raised will benefit Oakland International High School, Westlake Middle School, Brewer Middle School, Claremont Middle School, Emerson Elementary School and Oakland Technical High School.