One of San Antonio’s largest school districts has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city on the Pre-K 4 SA program.
The San Antonio Independent School district’s board of trustees unanimously approved the partnership with the city last night. SAISD Spokeswoman Leslie Price said the agreement will be the framework between the district, city, and Texas Education Agency:
While President Barack Obama did not mention San Antonio or Mayor Julián Castro by name, he did talk about early education initiatives during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
For a moment in the president's address, it seemed like one of Mayor Castro’s Pre-K 4 SA campaign rallies.
Obama: "Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.”
The first steps are in motion that will take Mayor Julián Castro’s early education initiative from the ballot box to the classroom.
On Thursday city council officially appointed the new Pre-K 4 SA Board of Directors. They also voted to hire a recruiting firm to look for the top positions within the initiative, and they adopted the ordinance to implement the sales tax increase.
As the buildings are beginning to be identified for the Pre-K 4 SA initiative approved by San Antonio voters in November, city council is busy making their selections for the 11-member board of directors.
City staff members are busy putting together the program that will offer full day pre-kindergarten to thousands of four year olds next year.
The building selections are underway that will serve as the model education centers, the finances are being worked out, and perhaps the most important task is assembling the board that will oversee the program.
At Thursday’s city council meeting, Mayor Julián Castro said San Antonio is doing something it has never done before.
Early returns had Pre-K 4 SA in a dead heat in early voting numbers, but votes supporting the measure gained ground as the election-day results were tallied.
The early education tax increase passed with 53 percent of the vote; early vote totals showed votes supporting the proposition only 87 votes ahead of votes opposing.
The crowd at the Castro election headquarters was jubilant as Mayor Julián Castro said early in the evening that he believed the measure would pass, “and I think San Antonians have made the right decision tonight.”
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña are going the distance for a program they say is going to change the educational trajectory of the city.
Starting from Lions Field Park on Broadway, children from the George Gervin Academy helped the two start the run, where 5,700 of their steps represent the number of San Antonio’s four year olds that are not currently served by a quality, full-day pre-kindergarten program.
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.