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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 15 - 18

‘Fitness and well being facility’ is not a stadium...

EDITOR: This is an urgent request to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board of

Trustees to reconsider its allocation of funds from the Measure E facility bond issue. It is ridiculous to allocate such a high percentage of funding to install a new football stadium and other athletic facilities at the expense of academic facility needs. The facility is not a “fitness and well-being fields” as the board is trying to describe. A “fitness and well-being field” would not need grandstands for between 1,500 to 2,500 spectators nor lights. It is a football stadium in an era of declining football participation. There has been a 30 percent drop in participation in youth football between 2008 and 2013 according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. In California, 28 high schools have dropped their football program the past five years.

Football programs are on the decrease because of high risk of injury due to concussions and other injuries as well as the high cost. A recent example of the danger occurred a recent Friday in Santa Rosa at a football game at Cardinal Newman. There is a young man in a medically induced coma at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital due to his injuries to his head. There are also increased head injuries and concussion risks for soccer as well.

We would like to see the School Board be responsible for providing facilities to increase the brain power of its students rather than providing facilities that cause head injuries. Science, library, and performing art facilities are in need and would be a vastly superior choice compared to a football field.

We voted for Measure E for school facilities because we have always supported education despite the fact that our children are grown and have moved on. If it were your intention all along to allocate $32 million of the $120 million Bond funding to athletic facilities, we feel like you used “bait and switch” tactics due to very deceptive and misleading ballot wording and advertising. We assume that you have done this as well by calling the stadium a “fitness and well-being field” instead of a football field. Despite the fact that we have raised this question in many letters to the Board, and in many letters to the editor, neither the Board nor the administration has responded. We believe the best solution for you is to honor what was promised in the campaign and then put another initiative on the ballot for athletic fields for the general public to vote on. Please reconsider your priorities. It is a decision you need to live with and be responsible for.

Kevin R. and Kay M.Austin

Sonoma