SAN ANTONIO – Voters in San Antonio will have a chance to choose whether to continue providing sales tax dollars to Pre-K 4 SA, which would effectively decide if the free prekindergarten program will be able to continue.
The San Antonio City Council voted 8-1 on Thursday to order an election on whether to extend the 1/8 cent sales tax for eight more years. The issue will appear on the May 2 ballot. The current tax, which voters approved in 2012, expires in June 2021.
District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry was the lone vote against ordering the election in May. District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia and District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez were not present for the vote.
Many council members indicated their support for the program from the dais.
“We would be cheating ourselves as a city if we didn’t support this program and help it grow,” said District 9 Councilman John Courage.
The program runs four centers around San Antonio that offer free and reduced-price prekindergarten education, professional development for educators and provides grants that support students in other programs.
More than three-quarters of the program’s funding comes from the sales tax revenue. Without the tax money, Pre-K 4 SA CEO Sarah Baray said the education program would not be able to continue in its current form.
“And whether there could be other options would be something that would need to be explored, but it certainly wouldn’t be what it is today,” Baray said.