Committee recommends another resolution for Pre-K 4 SA
Board chairman disagrees with support for an initiative to raise taxes.
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 16:10
The Academic Accountability and Student Success Committee on Tuesday recommended a resolution that recognizes the importance of improved prekindergarten education but does not support the Pre-K 4 SA initiative before San Antonio voters.
The resolution will be forwarded again to the Alamo College board of trustees for approval at the regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Killen Center.
The Pre-K 4 SA initiative, spearheaded by Mayor Julian Castro and requiring approval of San Antonio voters in the Nov. 6 general election, would improve the quality of preschool education by serving 22,400 local 4-year-olds over eight years.
The initiative would be funded by a one-eighth of a cent sales tax increase and state and federal funds.
The board tabled a resolution at the Sept. 18 regular board meeting in support of Pre-K 4 SA because outside legal counsel William Armstrong needed to revise the wording.
Two Education Excellence Centers would open in August 2013 and August 2014, serving 500 students a year with a student-to-teacher ratio of two teachers per 20 children.
After a motion to forward the recommendation to the board of trustees by District 5 trustee Roberto Zarate and a second by District 1 trustee Joe Alderete, District 9 trustee James Rindfuss, board chairman, said he still did not approve the board supporting the initiative.
“I think it is totally inappropriate for another taxing entity to pass any kind of a resolution for or against a initiative of this nature,” he said. “It gives me concern that I want to be above any question that we have somehow inappropriately as elected officials that control taxpayer dollars and even student revenues for a particular initiative to increase other people’s taxes.”
District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante, committee chair, said the board would not be violating any election code.
District 8 trustee Gary Beitzel wanted to know the intent of the board approving a resolution for the initiative.
Rindfuss said no other entities are really getting involved, and he thinks there is a reason.
“The entity, Alamo Community College District, I don’t believe should be in the business of endorsement,” he said. “I do not feel it’s appropriate for Alamo Community College District to pass a resolution of this nature.”
Bustamante said on Monday, Harlandale Independent School District passed a resolution similar to the one being recommended to the board.
Beitzel said after reading the background on the minute order and the resolution, it seems like there is only one intent and that is to have the board support the initiative.
“That would be a violation of the state law,” he said.
Armstrong said the resolution was not drafted to be an endorsement or rejection.
“Districts can’t support voter turnout and it was just to encourage that this is an important issue and that voters ought to study it,” he said.
District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz said Pre-K education plays an important role in getting students ready for college.
“We know from the research that when students have accessibility to pre-kindergarten programs that are highly structured to be strong educational academic programs, that they will be successful or have tendencies to be more successful throughout their entire college career,” she said. “What we are saying is that this is an important issue in our community and that we as stewards of this educational enterprise, are asking the people of the community to really take a long, hard look. We can educate people and that’s what we’re doing.”
Katz also said the college presidents have already been involved with working with the initiative.
Dr. Adena Loston, president of St. Philip’s College, and Dr. Ana “Cha” Guzman, former president of Palo Alto College, were part of the task force that created the initiative.
Castro held a press conference to launch the campaign for Pre-K 4 SA Sept. 21 at the early childhood center at this college and a YouTube video featuring children from the center was made to promote the initiative.
College Council voted Oct. 9 to encourage the board to approve a resolution in support of Pre-K 4 SA.
On Friday, Castro will hold a forum to discuss the Pre-K 4 SA initiative at 9:30 a.m. in Room 201 of the chemistry and geology building.
For more information on the initiative, visit www.prek4sa.com.
For more information on the board meeting, call board liaison Sandra Mora at 210-485-0030.