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Pre-K Board Green Lights Study Of East Side Facility To Complement Program

Frederick Gonzales
City of San Antonio Photographer

The Pre-K 4 SA board has voted to initiate a six-month study on a facility at St. Philip’s College.

The purpose of the study will be to find out how the facility could assist San Antonio’s new education initiative in providing educational benefits to the city’s four-year-old population.

"The St. Philips site is not really a fifth site because the footprint is much smaller," said Elaine Mendoza, the board’s chairperson.

The first two model education centers, located on the North and South Sides, will open up in August. A third center on the West Side has been approved near Highway 90 and 151 and an Eastside center is still up for consideration. The east and west locations will open in the fall of 2014.

Mendoza said the St. Philip’s site, which is located on the Eastside, could act as an experimental venue and serve up to 160 more children.

"We're looking at it as a potential lab school, just see if there's any creative, innovative things that we can do given the confluence of the federal dollars that they have in the Promise Neighborhood [Grant], under the Choice [Neighborhood] Grant," she said.

The grants are part of a federal program to improve education and living situations for children and their families. San Antonio is the only city in the nation to receive both grants at the same time. Mendoza and the board felt it would be the perfect opportunity to explore how to make the grants work in conjunction with Pre-K 4 SA.

"That's the question at hand is: Is there something that we can do?" Mendoza asked. "That's really the thrust of the study."

Mendoza said the study will not cost any extra money because it will be done in-house. The city itself will help conduct the study, and will not require a third party. Mendoza said there is not extra room in the budget for such a study.

But with all the factors involved with the new early education measure -- and the Promise and Choice Neighborhood grants -- Mendoza said it is worth investigating the possibilities available with the St. Philip’s facility.

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