Anonymous donor saved RSF School tennis team’s season

R. Roger Rowe School
(File photo)

The R. Roger Rowe School tennis team’s season had been in jeopardy until an anonymous donor stepped up to pledge $10,000 to keep kids on the courts.

Over the last month, the Rancho Santa Fe School District had been working on what to do as the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club had limited court time and the tennis program’s cost had increased from $7,000 to $17,000 this year.

“Here’s a consequence of State Assembly Bill 5, where people who were contractors are now needing to be full-time employees, namely the coaches,” said RSF School board President Scott Kahn. “The fees this year are considerably higher, thankfully offset by a generous anonymous donor.”

Rowe’s after-school tennis program includes 10 varsity players, 13 junior varsity members and about a dozen students in the morning developmental program, who will now be playing pickleball at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, school and all extracurricular activities were canceled as of March 16.

At the Association board’s February meeting, Rowe parent Bruce Kleege came before the board to express his concerns that the tennis team could be kicked out of the local facility due to increased fees and the lack of available court space, encouraging the board to work with the school to make sure the program continued. Like the school, the RSF Tennis Club has also been impacted by AB5 and has had to adjust its fee schedule for tennis pros, lessons and clinics.

“Courtney Le Beau, president of the Tennis Club and the Association, wanted to make this work,” said Assistant Principal John Galipault, also the school district’s athletic director. “They were very responsive to making this work…With AB5 we can look ahead with how to provide a tennis program within our fiscal means and we’re in a good position because of the relationship that (the Association and Tennis Club) wanted to continue.”

At the RSF School District board’s March 12 meeting, Vice President Kali Kim noted that the district can’t expect a $10,000 influx every year and asked that they consider how they can maintain the program in coming years. Kahn had requested an agenda item about the district’s athletic program at a future meeting to consider how the district’s sports teams as a whole affect the budget.