Starting next fall, students in San Benito County will suddenly
have a second option for high school football after the Aromas-San
Juan Unified School District approved a budget item last Wednesday
to install a program for the 2011-12 school year.

Starting next fall, students in San Benito County will suddenly have a second option for high school football after the Aromas-San Juan Unified School District approved a budget item last Wednesday to install a program for the 2011-12 school year.

The move comes after the Football Fundraising Committee, which was seeking $25,000 in initial start-up costs in order to simply field a football team by the fall season, received donation pledges of more than $41,000. The higher-than-expected figure will not only allow Anzar to start a football program next fall, but will also cover the expected sustainability costs of $15,000 for the following year.

In other words, the Football Fundraising Committee hit paydirt.

“It’s a done deal,” said David G. Moore, chairman of the Football Fundraising Committee, which sought the $25,000 amount after receiving similar figures provided by Marina High School ($23,338) and Trinity Christian High School ($22,725) of Monterey, each of which has established an 8-man football team with similar funds in recent years.

“There will be football on that field at Anzar starting in the fall of 2011,” Moore added.

Last Wednesday’s budget item, which was narrowly approved by a 3-2 vote, was the culmination of a year’s worth of planning that began in December of last year, when the school district established the Football Advisory Committee to evaluate the functionality and feasibility of the contact sport at Anzar.

Bill Hunter, along with Magdalena Medina, voted against the budget item last Wednesday.

“I voted against it because it wasn’t something that was supported by the staff,” said Hunter, who was also a member of the football feasibility committee earlier this year.

Hunter, who felt the process was rushed through, noted Anzar’s place as a college preparatory school, and how some honors-level classes are increasing in size.

“It seems to be the need for a few parents,” Hunter said of the football program. “But they did raise lots of money and I’m hoping it is a positive thing. We just have to see where it goes. But I know the staff is pretty much amazed.”

Hunter later added, “It seems to me that the staff should have a lot more say than anybody else.”

With pledges coming from individuals and businesses spanning from Pajaro Valley to Hollister, the Football Fundraising Committee raised enough initially to be solvent for the first two years, without ever tapping into any revenue sources like concessions and gate receipts, or other traditional fundraising efforts like bake sales and raffles.

“We’re good for two years out,” said Moore, who also wanted to thank the community and to those who pledged. “We’ve already met the seed-money costs and the sustainability costs for the following year. It allows us to go into normal fundraising efforts.”

Furthermore, Moore said the FAC has also received an oral commitment from one benefactor for $25,000 a year for the next three years, a sum of money that could allow Anzar to build proper fencing, install bleachers and build a practice field in between the current football and baseball fields.

A new football field isn’t needed, of course, as the high school is already equipped with one, including goal posts and an electronic scoreboard, thanks to the San Benito Cardinals of American Youth Football and Cheer.

“We’re ready to go with it now,” Superintendent Willard McCabe said on Monday.

McCabe and the school district will now petition the California Interscholastic Federation for a spot in the Coastal Athletic League, an 8-man football division that currently includes Trinity Christian of Monterey, Pinewood School of Los Altos, Crystal Springs Uplands of Hillsborough, Woodside Priory of Portola Valley, Stuart Hall High of San Francisco, Cornerstone Christian of Antioch, and Anchorpoint Christian of Gilroy.

From there, McCabe said, the school will go about purchasing equipment, all in an effort to prepare for kickoff in the fall of 2011.

“I’m in favor of anything that will connect the kids to the school,” said McCabe, noting the leadership qualities developed through sports, as well as the involvement students have while competing in extra-curricular activities.

Currently, Anzar only offers girls volleyball and cross country during the fall months, the latter of which both boys and girls can compete.

Meanwhile, Moore said the next step for the Football Fundraising Committee is to begin collecting the more than $41,000 in pledges, which will be done after Jan. 1.

“We were shooting for $25,000 in initial seed money,” Moore said. “But a lot of people really came through, and the rest is history.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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