San Antonio school districts taking part in the early education measure known as Pre-K 4 SA have until Friday to submit the names of the children who will attend classes.
Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni credited the districts for their expertise in enrolling kids. Many of the districts are also concurrently enrolling children for their own pre-K programs.
He said Pre-K 4 SA needs to finalize its enrollment list to get ready for the first day, which is Aug. 26.
"What we've explained to them, to their superintendents, is that this is brand new for us and we have a lot of things for the first time we're doing, like transportation and meals, and special education and English versus Spanish language instruction," Zanoni said. "And so we want more time to prepare all those ingredients or elements."
The completion of enrollment varies from district to district, where some are finished. Others have a long way to go.
In San Antonio ISD, a district spokesperson said as of this week 95 of its 208 allotted slots have been filled. In Northeast ISD, 66 of its 83 slots are filled. Southwest ISD is nearly halfway done, with 12 of its 25 allotted slots filled.
Harlandale and Northside ISD both filled their limits with 51 and 181 slots, respectively.
Edgewood, which has 45 openings, and South San, which has 37, have not reported how many students they have left to enroll.
According to Zanoni, Pre-K 4 SA officials are not concerned about the enrollment figures. He said there are 1,000 children the city knows of that will be able to fill the 700 slots the program will serve in its first year.
Exactly who the children are remains to be seen.
"In the end, it's all about the kids of San Antonio," Zanoni said. "It's not about what district is doing a better job or what city is doing a better job. It's about making the city a better place to live, and that's what we're working together to do."
Of the 70 tuition-based slots, Zanoni reported to the City Council Wednesday that all of those children have been identified and the list is finalized. It’s the 630-free slots still in limbo.
An SAISD spokesperson said having just 46 percent of its slots filled could be the result of the program being more popular in districts that don’t offer a full day pre-K program or those that only offer a half-day program.
A spokesperson from another district that is participating in the program said other factors could include family vacations or difficulties in reaching certain socio-economic populations who may not speak English or those who move frequently.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley told the city council today that if a district does not fill all its slots, those spaces will go to another district.