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Opponents of Pre-K 4 SA Hitting Message Hard During Early Voting

Groups on both sides of the Pre-K 4 SA measure are engaging in competing messages as early voting continues, and from the steps of City Hall on Monday, the San Antonio Family Association, along with members of the Tea Party and South Texas Alliance for Progress, shouted that Mayor Julián Castro's measure just won't work.

One member likened the program to a car buyer not being able to test drive the vehicle or look under the hood before purchasing.

"So the question to you, the question to me, the question to all citizens of San Antonio is, would you buy this car?" the speaker asked. "Would any reasonable person buy this car?"

A resounding "No!" came from the crowd.

Patrick Von Dohlen with the San Antonio Family Association said the measure fails to identify which children would be selected for the program, and he believes it doesn't give families a choice.

"Once they are chosen," said Von Dohlen, "[we want] to give them an option to choose what Pre-K program they would like to go to that's closer to home, that doesn't require at least a 30 minute bus ride on city transportation; but also one that would allow more parental control and supervision over the program."

He said although the San Antonio Family Association, of which he is a board member, is non-partisan and non-faith based, he recognizes some options could include churches.

He said any number of other programs would still have to meet city standards to exist, but supporters say the program gives the best outcome for the cost.

Vanessa Lacoss-Hurd, the San Antonio Children's Museum Executive Director, said that she believes the program is the right investment for the city.

"If we don't make these kinds of investments in our future workforce and our children," said Lacoss-Hurd, "we're going to continue to struggle with our dropout rates, and continue to struggle filling some of our high-skilled positions."

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