Calif. company’s donation allows Oakland high school newspapers to publish

CALIFORNIA —- Eight Oakland high schoolnewspapers will be hitting the press this fall thanks to a last-minute donationby Working Assets, a San Francisco credit card and phonecompany.”Working Assets has done a great service,” said PaulAugust, a journalism teacher at Oakland High School. ”By saving thenewspapers, every student is affected.” The $40,100 given byWorking Assets this month is the exact amount the Oakland School District spentto print the high schools’ newspapers last year. Due to budget cuts madeearlier this year, the district was no longer able to afford thecost.Working Assets decided to donate the money after reading an articlein the Oakland Tribune about the newspapers’ plight, said AudreyProteau, acting spokeswoman for Working Assets.Each year, Working Assetsdonates a portion of its revenue to nonprofit groups working for peace, humanrights, equality, education and the environment. The company gave away $4million last year to nonprofit organizations that its customers had nominated. The $40,100 donated to the Oakland School District did not come from thecompany’s regular donation pool, Proteau said.In return for thedonation, the company is asking high school journalism students to help registerpeople to vote.August, who is also the adviser to the school’snewspaper The Aegis, said he was looking into joining Working Assetsservices. He said the school had received nearly $3,000 in donationsfrom alumni and other community members, but that was not enough to publish thepaper.Without the donations from the community and Working Assets, thiscould have been the first time in 117 years The Aegis did not publish,August said. The Aegis, established in 1886, is the oldestschool newspaper west of the Mississippi River, August said. As a student atOakland High in 1895, author Jack London published his first short stories inThe Aegis, he said. August said Working Assets’ donationwould allow his students to concentrate on the newspaper’s content insteadof fund-raising efforts. This fall’s first issue of TheAegis covers the budget cuts and introduces new teachers to the school,August said.