City leaders share opposing views on Pre-K 4 SA

Public forum held as part of St. Mary’s University Community Conversations

Published On: Oct 22 2012 10:51:02 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 22 2012 11:43:38 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

It was standing room only Monday evening at St. Mary’s University where Maylor Julian Castro and Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff took the stage to share their opposing views on the Pre-K 4 SA initiative.

Both agreed that the current education system is broken.

“It is not worth waiting on Austin or Washington to do something for San Antonio,” said Castro.

The plan would increase San Antonio sales tax by one-eighth of a cent, which is estimated to amount to a $7.81 annual increase for the average household.

That money would fund full-day pre-k for students citywide, says Castro, who adds that there are roughly 5700 San Antonio children currently not receiving a pre-k education.

The program would also build or renovate four pre-k centers located in the city’s four quadrants. Castro says that buses would meet students and parents at central locations in those areas to drive students to those centers.

Commissioner Wolff argues that the program is redundant and effectively creates another school district.

“The difference is, while it will have the exact same infrastructure, it will be an infrastructure that you don’t get to elect,” said Wolff. “This will be an appointed board. It will be an appointed superintendent."

Wolff adds that, if passed, people in suburban cities or unincorporated areas would have to pay the increased tax, but would not benefit from the program.

"It is not all inclusive. And any time you’re going to create a program, the key to success is to include everyone,” argues Wolff.

To that, Castro says all families in the city limits can participate in the pre-k program and that he hopes to create a joint venture in the future to include those outside areas once San Antonio sees the success of Pre-K 4 SA.

"This is not a perfect plan,” said Castro. “But it’s a strong start. And you got to start somewhere." 

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