Mayor Julián Castro reads to children at the Northside model education center of Pre-K 4 SA following the announcement that McDonald's is donating 3,000 books to children in the program, and 7,000 overall to students in San Antonio.
Happy Meals at McDonald's this month will feature books instead of toys and to kick off a month of literacy, local owners and operators of the fast-food chain donated thousands of books to San Antonio's new Pre-K 4 SA program.
Local McDonald's owners and operators like Ned and Fabiola Stagg are giving 3,000 books to the program's children, and 7,000 to kids at schools throughout the city.
Pre-K 4 SA CEO Kathy Bruck updated the board Tuesday on the struggle to fill the two education centers to capacity. So far only 537 of the 700 slots are filled -- 229 students are enrolled at the Southside center, and 308 are enrolled in the North Side center.
Bruck believes some families will be better served with centers closer to their homes on the East and West Sides, which open next year.
She also said it's partly because it is a brand new program that many families still don't know about.
When Pre-K 4 SA opens its doors for the first time ever, there will be no school bell like there might be in a traditional school setting, but there will be a lot of excitement.
Pre-K 4 SA, which started as Mayor Julián Castro’s Brainpower Initiative, has been nine months in the making. Voters approved the measure in November with nearly 54 percent of the vote, which officially raised the city’s sales tax to the state cap of 8.25 percent.
The sales tax revenue will generate $31 million each year for the program.
The City of San Antonio’s new Pre-K 4 SA early education measure will be extending two contracts worth $540,000 to two curriculum programs.
Texas-based Frog Street Press will serve as the main curriculum for the 700 children at the initial two model education centers when school begins in the fall, and Maryland-based Teaching Strategies will act as a supplemental program.
Although Pre-K 4 SA's first two model education centers aren't yet open, the board of directors is now submitting a request for proposals from developers to begin looking at two additional sites on the east and west sides of town.
The remaining education centers will fulfill the requirements of the eight-year Pre-K 4 SA program, which is expected to see 22,400 students over the initial life of the program.
This August the first two centers, one on the Northwest Side and the other on the Southeast Side, will open.