SAN DIEGO — A North County school is concerned it may lose access to sports facilities it rents from Oceanside after a new draft proposal by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department could change what organizations have priority for city-owned facilities.
The draft proposal would reclassify its “user group classification guide,” a system of organizing what local organizations should have priority to use places like recreation centers and fields. The current guide has not been updated since 2010.
Coastal Academy High School, a charter school that is a part of the Oceanside Unified School District, uses these city-owned facilities to run their athletics program since does not have any of its own.
If the proposed draft goes through as it is now, hundreds of students would no longer be able to play their desired sport.
“We may potentially lose our sports program,” Frank Contreras, softball coach and parent, Coastal Academy High School told FOX 5.
Coastal Academy said it is currently listed as a Class “C.” Under the current draft proposal, it would move down to a Class “E” tier, giving them less priority to facilities within the City of Oceanside.
“(Coastal Academy) is unbelievably below non-resident for-profit organizations,” said Samantha Bartrom, principal of Coastal Academy High School. “If that were to stand in its current draft, it could essentially lead to the end of our athletic program as we know it at Coastal Academy High School.”
“We rely on our partnership with the City of Oceanside to acquire our soccer field for example, the pool our aquatic team practices at,” she continued. “The truth is athletics prepare them for their future and it makes me angry and sad that that opportunity for students is in jeopardy.”
But, Oceanside officials told FOX 5 that they will likely go back to the drawing board on the proposed reclassification.
“The dynamics of sports use has changed since (2010), so we all recognize that we need a new document,” said Manuel Gonzalez, director of the Oceanside Parks and Recreation Department.
The school said its CIF Division 5 Champion Softball team could no longer have a place to play, but Contreras said this concern is more than just about sports.
“It’s so much more than just a field, its about relationships, its about trying to bridge a gap from a generation, to a younger generation so we can do things better,” he explained.
Dozens of students, parents and faculty members showed up to the Parks and Recreation Department meeting on Tuesday to share how this draft would impact them, and make sure their voices were loud and clear to the decision-makers.
“Sports changes their lives,” Contreras said. “It gives them dreams, it gives them hope.”
Gonzalez said the committee who created the draft was also made up of community members, and the committee hosted public workshops. He said the city will ensure Coastal Academy has a seat at the table in making revisions, as this draft will head back to the drawing board.
“We’re going to take the time necessary to get a final product we are proud of,” Gonzalez added.
There is no official deadline of when the department will have its new draft completed, but said it will be more of joint effort with members of the Parks and Recreation Department.
When the new draft passes the department, it would need to be finalized by the Oceanside City Council in order to take effect.