Texas Public Radio’s Pre-K 4 SA town hall meeting

As mentioned earlier, Mayor Julian Castro is promoting his early childhood education initiative, Pre-K 4 SA, in advance of a November 6 vote on a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to pay for full-day preschool, primarily for disadvantaged four-year-olds.

Texas Public Radio is hosting a public town hall meeting about Pre-K 4 SA at the Pearl starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18. The meeting will be broadcast on KSTX’s “The Newsmaker Hour” at 8 p.m. on September 23.

I imagine the town hall meeting will be lively. Pre-K 4 SA has been a hot topic in education news in San Antonio.

Last week, the leaders of seven local chambers of commerce posed with Pre-K 4 SA yard signs at a press conference to show their support. “Seven chambers backing Pre-K proposal”, Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, September 13, 2012. Until recently, local chambers have taken a somewhat hands-off approach to education issues in the political arena, despite having staff and committees dedicated to education. By contrast, the Austin Chamber of Commerce supported Austin ISD’s controversial decision to invite IDEA Public Schools to convert Allan Elementary into IDEA Allan. “Parents say AISD not listening”, KXAN, December 19, 2011 (quoting Drew Scheberle, Senior Vice President of Education and Talent Development).

At the beginning of the week, City Manager Sheryl Sculley and her team answered questions from the Northeast ISD board about the impact from Pre-K 4 SA. “NEISD grills city on mayor’s Pre-K plan”, Maria Luisa Cesar, San Antonio Express-News, September 11, 2012. Northeast ISD leaders are concerned competition: losing four-year-olds and early childhood teachers for Pre-K 4 SA’s “Centers of Excellence”. The article notes that Northeast ISD has lost money due to state budget cuts and that “school districts are competing for students with charter schools and watching as conservative lawmakers push voucher programs.”

Last month, Rick Casey’s “Last Word” addressed complaints that citizens who live outside the boundaries of the city of San Antonio will pay the tax when they shop in town, but can’t vote on Pre-K 4 SA and may be ineligible for the program. Casey says “quit whining”: the whole metropolitan area will benefit. Early Education – Who Benefits, Texas Week with Rick Casey, August 24, 2012.

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