On Wednesday, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will lay out his plans for stemming the city's classroom crisis and ask the city council to help him convince voters to raise taxes.
The mayor is asking for the city to make an "educational investment," something that has been done before but not in San Antonio. Oklahoma City, Seattle and Denver have made similar investments.
"This is the most important thing San Antonio needs to tackle for its future prosperity," Castro said. "We have a city today where almost 40 percent of our young people don’t graduate from high school."
Along with a task force of business and education leaders, the mayor is recommending the city council implement a sales tax increase to fund schools. If they agree, in November voters will be asked to pay an additional eighth of a cent to fund pre-kindergarten classes.
"That's how urgent the situation is for our city, we need to start early, we need to do a good job with these students, no matter where they come from in the city, and ensure that as a community we're more prosperous in the future," Castro said.
He said the increase has been necessary for a long time.
"The fact that the legislature is not funding education in the fastest growing state in the nation, the way it should be funded, makes it more imperative that San Antonians control their own destiny," the mayor said.
The tax increase would cost the average household $7.81 a year. If passed, two model centers of pre-k would be set up and school districts and non-profits could compete for city pre-k funding. There are 20,000 4-year-olds that would benefit, and parental involvement would be required.