Among the most talked about issues this election season is San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro’s proposed Pre-K 4 SA program. In August, City Council members voted to send the measure to an election, and although the majority of members supported the initiative, several were against.
All but District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan, District 8 Councilman Reed Williams, and District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules agreed to the creation of a corporation that would oversee the tax revenues of the initiative, should voters approve it.
San Antonians are heading to the polls to vote for candidates in a number of races and the Pre-K 4 SA proposal – to raise the sales tax one eighth of a cent to pay for a full day pre-kindergarten program that proponents say will help turn around the city’s dropout problem.
Mayor Julián Castro is the biggest supporter for Pre-K for SA and says it’s not a silver bullet, but a big step in the right direction.
Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff opposes the proposal because it raises taxes and he says there are too many unanswered questions.
Groups on both sides of the Pre-K 4 SA measure are engaging in competing messages as early voting continues, and from the steps of City Hall on Monday, the San Antonio Family Association, along with members of the Tea Party and South Texas Alliance for Progress, shouted that Mayor Julián Castro's measure just won't work.
One member likened the program to a car buyer not being able to test drive the vehicle or look under the hood before purchasing.
Whether Mayor Julián Castro's Pre-K 4 SA early education initiative will pass or be voted down is too close to call at this point in early voting, but with all the debate over the issue, Castro doesn't seem surprised.
"I always assume that any election is going to be a close election," said Castro Monday at the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse. "I want folks to know Pre-K 4 SA is supported by our seven biggest Chambers of Commerce, by all seven living former mayors, by our biggest employers. There's a reason for that."
It’s the first day of early voting and Bexar County Residents are flocking to the polls. TPR's Joey Palacios talked to a few voters outside the Wonderland Mall polling place about which presidential candidate they support and Pre-K for SA.
Mayor Julian Castro continues his push for his Pre-K 4 SA initiative at every opportunity. Monday, he spoke to the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce about educational challenges the city faces.
He told business leaders that San Antonio is a rapidly growing city with educational challenges that will only grow more with the population increase.
Over bacon and scrambled eggs, he said Texas and San Antonio repeatedly ranks in the bottom-tier of educational achievement. "The challenge for San Antonio is that we can't abide by that anymore in the 21st Century," he said.
Since his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has become a national political figure. This morning, Castro was on NBC's "Today Show" talking about education.
The Pre-K initiative would add one-eighth of a cent to the sales tax generating $31 million per year to fund pre-K for 22,000 4-year-olds in the city. Mayor Julián Castro said Pre-K 4 SA would be the first of its kind in the state.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has gone national with his Pre-K 4 SA initiative, proclaiming at the Democratic National Convention that it’s one way he is invested in education for the youngest of his constituents. Castro is counting on the measure to pass in the general election to give thousands of four-year-olds a quality, full-day early education.
Rutgers University’s Dr. Steven Barnett, who is the director for the National Institute for Early Education Research, thinks the program will make a difference, despite what critics say.