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I like high school sports.

I like kids playing high school sports.

I like kids playing multiple high school sports.

So when looking at the question of whether Sonoma County’s largest school district should add another sport — in this case, lacrosse — to its slate of offerings, my first inclination was something close to, “Heck yes.”

But with consideration and some mixed feelings, it’s actually “Heck no.” At least right now. And here is why:

The proposal being floated by a group of active and well-intentioned supporters to add lacrosse as a spring sport at Santa Rosa City Schools campuses has some holes. And the holes are: Elsie Allen, Piner and Santa Rosa high schools.

The backers, largely made up of members of the Santa Rosa Lacrosse Club, have pitched their financial support behind bringing lacrosse to the district, but only at Maria Carrillo and Montgomery, at least at first. Under the proposal, those two schools would join the fledgling North Bay League and play the likes of Windsor, Rancho Cotate, Casa Grande and Petaluma, along with Cardinal Newman and Sonoma Academy.

This would give other schools time to gin up enthusiasm and potential players, they said.

Backers say Maria Carrillo and Montgomery are the epicenter of existing interest in the sport at the club level. They also say, with only 140 current club players in their system, they are too small to take on a larger financial obligation to the district.

I get it. That is a lot to ask a nonprofit sports club. But the district isn’t asking. This is an extra. And it needs to be fair.

I don’t think we would see a mass exodus from one campus to another because of where lacrosse is offered, but even if kids don’t leave one school or another, it’s a public relations nightmare. Another example of the haves and have nots.

Of Maria Carrillo’s student population, 19 percent qualified for free or reduced priced lunch in the most recent state statistics. Those numbers are the federal determiner of poverty. At Montgomery, the percentage is 40.5. At the schools not being backed for a team, Santa Rosa’s rate is 39 percent, Piner’s is 60.4 and Elsie’s is 91 percent.

It’s important to remember that the proposal to start with Maria Carrillo and Montgomery was based on existing interest, nothing nefarious. Also, the club offering support at all is no small gesture.

It’s not chump change we are talking about to kick start this thing.

A district-produced report presented at Wednesday night’s school board meeting came up with a figure of $37,712 to start up both a boys and girls program at one high school. Multiply that by five and it’s $188,560. That’s a lot of cash for a district that not too long ago cut library hours and school days from the calendar to save money.

Even if, as some argue, those are inflated estimates and a team can be established for much less, we are still talking about a lot of money.

Santa Rosa club officials have followed the lead of organizations and sport backers in Windsor, Rohnert Park and Petaluma, who are helping cushion the financial strain on school districts by doing some pretty heavy subsidizing right out of the gate.

They say they can’t afford to help support more than two programs. I sympathize.

But I also sympathize with a kid at Piner who might want to play, too. And in a public school system, a Prospector has just as much right to play lacrosse as a Viking.

One might argue that every school in the district has something different to offer; programs that are meant to set a school apart and draw kids in. Carrillo has a unique culinary program, Santa Rosa has ArtQuest. But sports (and I’m not saying this doesn’t happen) should not be the reason kids drive across town to go to school. That’s not the business the district is in.

As frustrating as it is for parents and athletes, I understand why district officials are taking it slow. It’s maddening if you are a sophomore dying to play for your school, but it’s prudent if you are the financial manager of the largest school district in Sonoma County when schools are doing better fiscally, but still aren’t exactly flush with funds.

It’s not, as one backer said, a “Build it and they will come” deal.

It remains unclear how much actual participation these teams would garner.

The survey presented on Wednesday night has some serious question marks. The survey found that 30.5 percent of Montgomery’s respondents were interested in lacrosse. But only 246 of Montgomery’s approximately 1,700 students answered. And only 423 of Santa Rosa’s 2,000 students answered the question. Of those, 8.5 percent expressed interest in lacrosse. Were they boys? Were they girls? Unclear.

If you don’t know the question or how it was asked, the answer doesn’t hold much water.

I talked to Maria Carrillo sophomore Jacob Herbstman, who clearly and eloquently laid out why he wants to play lacrosse for the Pumas.

“It’s a pride thing. It’s more fun to play for your school,” he said. “It’s a little more personal than the club where several schools compete on the same team.”

I get that completely. Suiting up for your school is a special experience and one that encompasses so much more than just the athletic event at hand.

That opportunity should be afforded to all students, at all schools.

The inequities between schools across the district and across the county are readily apparent. And it’s not just sports. Some schools simply have more support than others.

But to establish a program that right out of the gate solidifies those inequities strikes me as the wrong path to take.

I applaud the lacrosse backers for their enthusiasm and their patience in navigating the quagmire that can be the decision-making process in the public school system. They are going to bat for kids and athletes and opportunities and they should be applauded for it.

I want to see this happen too. I hope they get it. I hope I get to cover it.

I just want it to happen for all kids, at all schools, at the same time.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”