The Schools Plus meeting at Santa Rosa High

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
There was little news to come out of the public meeting convened by Schools Plus on Tuesday night at the Santa Rosa High School auditorium.
The meeting was attended by about 120 people and lasted nearly 90 minutes, the last 20 of which included questions from the audience. Schools Plus is a volunteer-based, nonprofit program that has donated more than $3 million to sports, music and arts programs in Santa Rosa City Schools in its 20-year existence.
Schools Plus is hoping to raise money to help save spring sports at the city’s middle schools and high schools next year. The Santa Rosa School Board voted in February to cut $5.6 million from the 2010-11 budget, including $250,000 that goes to fund spring sports.
The majority of Tuesday’s program featured Schools Plus founding member John Bribiescas discussing the organization’s history and mission while introducing others who stepped to the stage to speak on behalf of Schools Plus.
Various speakers discussed Schools Plus’ Web site (schoolsplus.org), Facebook page, financial structure and fundraising efforts, which has included a student-created salsa label. In a partnership with SavorStart, a local food manufacturer, 75 percent of salsa sales will be directed to Schools Plus. Bribiescas and others called for community ideas and involvement as well as financial support. Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, a former two-sport athlete at Santa Rosa High, discussed the impact of athletics on his life and pledged to support Schools Plus.
Santa Rosa school board president Bill Carle again stressed his belief that spring sports will be saved next year, largely due to an energy savings program. Carle said PG&E will present the school board with a $25,000 rebate check at its meeting on April 28. The check is a result of Piner High’s unrelated energy-conservation-related rehabilitation program, which was conducted a few years ago. The money will go to save spring sports.
Carle did express his concern about continuing budget cuts — he said an additional $14 million could be cut from the budget over the next two years.
“That’s next year and next year only,” he said when expressing his optimism that spring sports will be retained next year.