The proposed Pre-K 4 SA program would provide more then 22,000 four-year-olds an opportunity to attend full-day pre-k classes at new education centers around the city over the next eight years. To help fund the program, the city would raise sales taxes an eighth of a cent. A town-hall meeting was held Tuesday night and there were plenty for and against program. "We've all had a lot of learning to do and we've learned a lot," one of the panelists said.
The panel, which consisted of some of the most influential leaders in education and business in the city, had three minutes to explain their view about the program.
Jeff Judson, a public policy consultant in San Antonio, says the program isn't necessary because of the programs already in place. "This pre-k plan is more about politics than it is about children," said Judson. "It is more about building four mega centers which will, no doubt, be adorned with the names of local politicians or their mothers who are still living."
John Folks, a former superintendent for the largest school district in San Antonio, says the Pre-K 4 SA program is absolutely vital for children in San Antonio. "We have to have our kids prepared and ready to start school at a pre-k level," he told the crowd. "Let me tell you, their academic career begins at the pre-k and kinder level."
The panel opened the floor for questions and comments which centered around the cost of the program. "If you're going to do something like this," the woman told the panel. "Spend half the money on the existing programs and use the other half to educate young parents who are having children in San Antonio too early." Audience members who support the program say the children of San Antonio are worth the investment. "There's been a lot of talk about money being put in buildings, which it's not, it'll have the correct buildings and as a preschool teacher, we know that that's needed."
If the Pre-K 4 SA program passes in November, the sales tax could go into effect April first.