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Progress And Setback In First SA2020 Report Card

Ryan Loyd
Texas Public Radio

The first report card for San Antonio's goal-setting and transformation program, known as SA2020, has been released and city leaders will be pleased that many areas are making progress, but there is still work to be done.

The report ranked progress on each line item with one of five marks:

  • Met & Exceeded - SA2020 goal already achieved
  • On Track - Making progress at good pace to achieve goal
  • Progress - Improving, but not fast enough to achieve goal
  • Under Review - Currently developing target or assessing indicator quality
  • Off Target - Not making progress, even declining

Police and fire response times have met and exceeded the goals, as has the teen pregnancy rate, which according to Metro Health has declined by 27 percent between 2008 and 2012 in Bexar County.
But leaders at Metro still say the teen birth rate here was higher than the national birth rate last year, with 42.7 births per 1,000, compared to 31.3 births per 1,000 nationally.

Graduation is another area that has met or exceeded the SA2020 goal.

"If you're looking at it from an average perspective, 85 percent was our graduation target rate, and we've actually gotten to 92 percent across the board. Does that mean that we stop? No," said SA2020's Molly Cox. "That means what? We're losing about 2,000 kids per year that are dropping out and I don't know that that's acceptable to the community at large, right?"

The report card is tracking the progress of 65 metrics in 11 vision areas. While it says many are doing well, the report says bus ridership, water and electricity conservation, and voter turnout are lagging behind.

The report found that while civic engagement has increased, voter turnout is stubbornly low at around 7 percent. The goal for 2020 is 15 percent turnout in city elections.

Still, Cox said she’s excited there are real numbers to work with.

"This is an idea that the mayor had. We all got together and talked about how we can make our city better, and now we're actually doing the work to make the city better. That's crazy. This is no longer an idea. It's a real life, living, breathing thing."

This summer, residents will have the chance to give their input during a series of public meetings. In the fall, another report card will be issued.

Credit SA2020
Learn more about SA2020 progress at www.sa2020.org/this-is-progress

The report is divided into areas with summaries listed below:

Arts & Culture: The economic impact of the creative sector reached $4.6 billion in 2011, placing San Antonio well on track to reach its goal of $5 billion by 2020. At the same time, however, attendance at arts programs dropped from 1.95 million in 2011 to 1.86 million in 2012.

Civic Engagement: The city has exceeded its 2020 goal of having 90 percent of city residents represented by neighborhood and community associations and is on track to increase the number of candidates running for city council to 42.

However, voter turnout in municipal elections remains low and must double from around 7 percent to 15 percent to reach the 2020 goal.

Community Safety: Police and fire response times are already exceeding targets set for 2020 and perceptions of public safety are on track to reach desired levels.

But the number of confirmed child abuse and maltreatment cases increased to 11,443 from 2011 to 2012, a trend that must be reversed.

Downtown Development: Downtown housing units grew by 881 between 2011 and 2012 and San Antonio is on track to reach the target of 5,000 new units by 2020.

Economic Competitiveness: Job growth in nearly every traditional sector has exceeded 2020 targets, but annual per capita income declined slightly to $21,356 in 2011, stalling progress toward the goal of $25,710 by 2020.

Education: The high school graduation rate hit 92 percent in 2011, well above the 2020 target of 85 percent. Yet the number of students scoring well on 3rd grade reading tests hovers well below goals set for 2020, as does the percentage of adults with at least a 2- or 4-year college degree.

Environmental Sustainability: The percentage of recycled material and San Antonio’s renewable energy capacity are on the rise, but so are ozone levels and household usage rates for water and electricity.

Family Well-Being: San Antonio reduced the number of unsheltered persons (a measure of the number of homeless) by nearly 50 percent from 2010 to 2012, just shy of its 2020 goal. However, the poverty rate grew slightly to 15.8 percent of families, more than double the 2020 goal of 7.5 percent.

Health & Fitness: Goals for obesity rates are still under review, but adult obesity rates hovered at 35 percent and adolescent obesity sat at 15 percent in 2010, a number that the city must work much harder to reduce. The number of deaths attributed to diabetes increased slightly from 2010 to 2011, another area where much work is needed.

Neighborhoods: The amount of park acreage as a percentage of city area has declined steadily between 2010 and 2012. Renovation and new housing permits declined slightly to 2,454 from 2010 to 2011. The 2020 goal is 3,560.

Transportation: Public transportation ridership is on the rise in San Antonio with more than 48 million boardings in 2012, but is still far behind the 2020 target of 125 million boardings. The number of car accidents per 100,000 people decreased by 157 between 2010 and 2011, but San Antonio needs to continue reducing this number by at least 107 accidents per year to reach our 2020 goal.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.