Ad campaign aimed to save schools

March 18, 2008 1:19:26 PM PDT
A massive grassroots effort is underway to save Alameda schools from the budget ax.

The district could be short by $4.5 million dollars next year. So, a large part of the community is trying to raise money and awareness with a very clever ad campaign.

On Central Avenue in Alameda, garbage cans display a bright yellow decal on their sides.

The message: school athletics are too valuable to throw away.

By Tuesday, 19 garbage trucks will have an even bigger sign. The campaign's theme is "public education is too valuable to throw away."

Kevin Lee owns "Wrecking Ball," an advertising agency based in Oakland. He came up with this theme.

"What are we really doing? We're throwing away our valuable resources, that became the work in line," said Kevin Lee from Wrecking Ball Ad Agency.

Kevin Lee stood inside a trash can. He lives in Alameda and has a daughter in a public school.

On Saturday, dozens of volunteers helped put together hundreds of signs.

On Monday, they are still being distributed from home to home to raise awareness about the district's proposed $4.5 million dollar budget cuts for next year.

The signs are displayed on lawns and businesses.

The Alameda Education Foundation is a non-profit, in charge of the campaign. The idea is to spread the word throughout the community and to raise money for schools.

"We're facing not only the loss of high school athletics and music education in the elementary schools and things like that but also massive layoffs and school closures at this point," said Brooke Briggance from the Alameda Education Foundation.

All the time spent on this campaign, all of the resources and materials were donated by the advertising agency, by local businesses and by parents. If you were to put a price tag on all of this, it would end up costing between $80 and $100,000 dollars.

"So our effort right now is to educate the community so that they understand that this isn't just a line item in a budget it's real programs, it's our children's future," said teacher Patricia Sanders.

The hope now is that this ad campaign will also help push a parcel tax to appear on the June ballot to help fund schools. In times like this, getting it passed may not be easy.