District Support Vital for Pre-K 4 SA Program to Work
According to Interim Superintendent Rey Madrigal, Harlandale ISD is growing each year despite a lack of new housing developments. He said this year enrollment increased by 217 students.
For city council members, this means neighborhoods are being revitalized with younger families, and also more children to fill pre-K classes.
Madrigal said more than 1,200 three-year-olds and four-year-olds are enrolled in the district’s pre-K program, but there are still 200 pre-K ready kids can’t get into the classroom who are on a waiting list because his space is limited.
“Any way we can be able to get more funding or more ways that we can get more of our kids in classrooms, that’s a win-win situation for us,” said Madrigal about the how the city's Pre-K 4 SA program would help.
If approved, Pre-K 4 SA would direct an estimated $31 million into four education centers with an eighth of a cent sales tax increase.
The centers could help relieve overcrowding like Harlandale is experiencing, but it won’t work unless there is community support, said Assistant City Manager Peter Zanoni.
Zanoni said the city is talking with school boards because they play a vital role. He said the city is not an expert in education, but they know the school districts "are the experts in the business. This is us partnering with them to create a better workforce for San Antonio.”
For Harlandale, where 88.7 percent of the children are considered economically disadvantaged, Madrigal says the quality of education at his district is on the rise.
He said his district takes pride in what it does, "It’s just a way we do things, the way we go about things, really knowing our kids, knowing what our needs are, really looking at our data and making our classrooms engaging, meaningful and relevant."
Madrigal said Pre-K 4 SA could lift a big burden on the district, with so many three-year-olds and four-year-olds needing an early education advantage.