Teachers, parents, and students of California’s first and oldest charter school will run from San Carlos to Sacramento to raise critically-needed funds and draw attention to the dismal state of funding for public education in California. The 140-mile relay run, called the Run for Funds, by the San Carlos Charter Learning Center begins May 16. It culminates with a rally on the steps of the state capital on May 18, the day before the statewide vote on Proposition 1B, which affects money allocated for K-14 education. The runners say that because the San Carlos Charter Learning Center is the state’s founding public charter school, they have a mission to literally lead a charge through the streets to bring this message to California lawmakers.
“We are running on behalf of all public charter schools in California and for public education and educational choice in general,” said Chris Mahoney, director of the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, known as SCCLC. Mahoney noted that runners from other public charter schools along the route are expected to join the group along the way.
“Our school’s funding crisis demonstrates the catastrophic lack of public education monies across California. Education is what builds productive and rewarding lives for our children and keeps America competitive. With each step we take toward Sacramento, we hope to increase awareness and motivate action to save our school and schools around the state.”
Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, said: “We all understand that children are our future and yet as a nation, we are not investing in their wellbeing. California’s lack of emphasis on school funding is an example of what’s wrong. I commend this effort to make public education a priority for the legislature and the public.” Children Now, based in Oakland, is a national non-profit organization for people who care about children and want to ensure they are the top public policy priority.
Tom Timar, Ph.D., is director of the UC Davis Center for Applied Policy in Education and professor of education in the UC Davis School of Education. “Strong and consistent commitment to funding of public education is essential for preparing California’s children to succeed. Investing in public schools should be a fundamental part of state policy.”
SCCLC must raise $40,000 in order to ensure it can open for classes in September. The school seeks to raise another $60,000, as well, to preserve Spanish-language and library programs.
SCCLC eighth-grader Alexander Merian said: “Our teachers and parents will be running to Sacramento to help to preserve our school and other schools, too. I hope Governor Schwarzenegger and the politicians will listen to them.”
Matt Kowitt, parent of two SCCLC students and a school board member, said: “Between now and May 16, we will be training hard so we can go the distance and get to Sacramento with our message. We encourage everyone who cares about education in California to support this cause, either by running with us, sponsoring a runner, or calling your legislators to tell them to support funds for public schools.”