The project was initiated after OUSD found elevated lead levels in certain water fountains at McClymonds High School in Summer 2017. The district then moved quickly to remove all fountains with elevated lead at all OUSD schools and replaced them with lead-free fixtures.
Soon after, OUSD requested assistance in funding for water stations at 15 high schools, 14 middle schools, 54 elementary schools, and 28 child development centers.
Oakland’s Sugar Sweetened Beverage tax, established by Measure HH, will provide $371,000 in funding for the stations. Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan is also allocating $100,000 from Measure A discretionary funds toward the cause.
The combined funds provide the school district with the necessary dollars to purchase and install water stations.
“Children and youth are better prepared to learn when they are drinking water instead of sugar sweetened beverages,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. “It was an easy choice to propose $100,000 from the County for Oakland schools. The bottle filling stations will make drinking water even more attractive.”
“The goal of the soda tax funding is to provide children with healthy choices and educate the public on the risks associated with soda and other sugary beverages,” said Oakland Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington, author of the soda tax.
“These new hydration stations not only ensure students drink safe water, but it encourages students to drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages,” she said.
The new hydration stations will allow students to fill reusable water bottles and cups. The stations will provide clean drinking water to students and discourage the use of disposable water bottles, thereby having a positive environmental impact.
“Brita has already donated 12 hydration stations to Oakland Unified for 10 schools and those that have already been installed are very popular with students,” said John Sasaki, OUSD Communications Director.