The City of Santa Rosa is one of five organizations bidding on a $1 million contract to run the after-school programs of the city's largest school district.
But some council members have questioned whether the city should be expanding its programs for low-income kids and competing against nonprofit organizations that offer similar services.
Vice Mayor John Sawyer said he supports the safe and nurturing environments and activities offered by after-school programs. But he said he was uncomfortable approving a major expansion of the city's after-school obligations without first discussing whether the city should be in that business.
“The question is, ‘Is that our job? Is that the job of the City of Santa Rosa?'
The city's Recreation, Parks and Community Services Department has for the past decade run after-school programs at four to eight Santa Rosa City Schools campuses, said department Director Marc Richardson.
It currently operates programs attended by 450 students at Brook Hill, Helen Lehman, James Monroe and Steele Lane elementary schools.
The Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County operates programs at six schools in the district, programs it took over after district officials terminated the contract of Carney Educational Services.
The Sonoma County Family YMCA runs a program at one school.
Most are funded with state money through the After School Education and Safety Program. Voters in 2002 approved Proposition 49 to improve after-school programs for disadvantaged youth.
Beginning next school year, in part to save money, Santa Rosa City Schools wants one provider for all of its after-school programs.
The deadline for applications was Friday, and five organizations submitted applications.
The three current providers all applied, as did Able Academics, an after-school tutoring program based in Valencia, and Bay Area Community Resources, a San Rafael-based group that runs after-school programs in 54 Bay Area communities.