SAN ANTONIO --“This is a challenging new idea, new initiative. I think it’s time,” said former San Antonio mayor Lila Cockrell.
Cockrell was speaking to the current city council, bordered by two other past mayors: Ed Garza and Henry Cisneros.
The trio was part of more than a hundred people who signed up to give their two cents on a proposed tax hike to fund a city-run, pre-kindergarten program.
The council voted Thursday night to put the 1/8-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.
“It’s a significant step toward creating the kind of educated workforce that will fuel San Antonio’s future economic prosperity,” Cisneros said.
Mayor Julian Castro said the plan would create roughly $30 million a year to help put nearly 5,000 four-year-olds through an all-day education program.
Despite pre-K and federally-backed Head Start programs in local schools, Castro says there are at-risk children across the city that could benefit from new, city-backed education centers.
The mayor’s initiative relies on studies that show pre-K is the critical age in creating a successful student.
Besides scores of people, pages of letters of support were entered into the record at Thursday’s council meeting. The letters are from Texas lawmakers and local school districts, applauding the increased tax proposal.
But opponents said who in those groups--educators and lawmakers-- would say “no” to extra taxpayer dollars providing education to 4-year-olds?