Santa Rosa City Schools officials Wednesday night approved the application for a $2 million grant district leaders hope will be the foundation for preschool and parent education programs to be located on the Cook Middle School campus.

Sonoma County's largest school district is working in partnership with Community Action Partnership Sonoma County to create preschool, health and family support programs on the Sebastopol Road site. CAP Sonoma has applied for a $1.7 million grant to pay for staff and programs.

The Southwest Santa Rosa Early Childhood Campus & Family Resource Center could potentially operate year-round by 2018, according to district officials. CAP Sonoma would fund employees, so there would be no impact on district staffing.

"I would like to see this thing up and operating very, very quickly," trustee Ron Kristof said. "I really do think it's our future."

Associate Superintendent Doug Bower reminded trustees that last week the Cook campus was identified as one of the top three options identified by board members as potential homes for the new Spanish-language dual-immersion program slated to open in the fall.

There are "several potentially competing interests for space on that campus," he said.

The proposal calls for buildings to be constructed on the south end of the Cook parking lot.

The grant recipients are expected to be announced in June.

Board President Bill Carle was absent.

Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press or on Twitter @benefield.

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