Advocates, opponents debate Mayor's Pre-K initiative

Program would raise sales tax by one-eighth of a cent

SAN ANTONIO - In November, voters will head to the polls to vote on a number of candidates and issues. 


One of them is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's Pre-K 4 SA initiative, which would require voters to approve a one-eighth of a cent sales tax increase to expand the city's early childhood education program.

As election day draws closer, advocates on both sides of the issue continue to debate the program’s merits. 

Many advocates in favor of Castro’s proposal attended the 14th annual “Congress on Children in San Antonio” on Friday. The yearly event focuses on childhood programs and education.

"The research is so clear,” said Libby Doggett, with the Pew Home Visiting Campaign, “that children who get Pre-K end up doing better in school, they graduate from school, and they go on to become taxpayers."

Talking about the importance of early childhood programs, organizers used the opportunity to make their case.   

“We have such a wonderful opportunity in this community to do something really historic,” said Kathy Fletcher, with Voices For Children. “Which is to take in hand, as a community, the education of our youngest children."

But aside from the event, not everyone is on board. 

Bob Martin, president of the Homeowner Taxpayer Association, said the community already pays their share of taxes, and adding more would ultimately hurt taxpayers.

“I know the mayor is trying to rally the poor to come out and support his program,” Martin said. “But hopefully they'll understand that it's going to hit them in the wallet just like everyone else.”

And though both sides have made up their mind about how to vote, it's now up to voters, to do the same.

“We're not just going to walk, we're going to run to the polls," said Martin.  “Voters really need to hear both sides before they make a decision.”

Early voting begins on Oct. 22.


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