SA2020 is one year away from its goal of improving San Antonio.
The organization, whose focus is improving quality of life for area residents, released its 2018 impact report, highlighting the major programs that still need addressing. The program was launched by former San Antonio Mayor, and now Democratic presidential candidate, Julian Castro in 2010.
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“Seventy percent of the indicators are moving in the right direction,” said SA2020 CEO Molly Cox of the 60 indicators they measure. “Our data is about a year or two behind so even though we will have a report in 2020, that will be the 2019 report so our 2020 report will come out in 2021.”
For example, high school graduation rates have gone up and unemployment has gone down, according to the 2018 report.
Baseline metrics were set nine years ago when SA202 first launched. In 2010, high school graduation in Bexar County was at 78 percent. The goal by 2020 was to see 85 percent of students graduate. As of 2018, it’s at 87 percent. The report, however, notes that graduation rates vary by school district.
Voter turnout in 2011 for municipal elections was just below 7 percent turnout in 2010, according to data from the city clerk’s office. The goal by 2020 was to increase it to nearly 15 percent. As of 2017, voter turnout sits at a little over 13 percent.
“Teen pregnancy rate has gone down by over 40 percent in our community; voter turnout has more than doubled. Even though we’re still only in the teens for municipal voter turnout, we’ve doubled it since 2010,” she said.
However, there are areas that have not improved or have fallen backward. Among them are childhood education, mobility on streets and sidewalks, affordable housing, and family violence prevention.
For example, there were over 10,000 domestic violence cases in 2010. The goal for 2020 is to cut that in half. But as of last year, it's increased to 11,000 cases.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there are programs being developed by Metro Health to help address it.
“We’re actually working on it diligently with our Metro Health department as well as our criminal justice system on that issue in particular,” he said. “And you’ll see some strategic initiatives come out of Metro Health and the work they’re doing on adverse childhood experiences.”
On affordable housing, SA2020 measured the number of cost-burdened residents and rising rent and mortgage payments. In 2010, renters and homeowners were spending about 34 percent of their income on housing. The goal for 2020 is to reduce that to rate to 29 percent but — as of this year — it remains the same at 34 percent.
SA2020 measured five transportation indicators, ranging from increasing complete streets — which are streets with sidewalks, bike lanes, and near a public transit stop — while decreasing vehicle miles traveled and commute times, while eliminating traffic fatalities, and increasing the use of alternative transit. However, none of those metrics saw improvement over the last nine years.
“It’s a sobering look at the reality of San Antonio. I think we can take a lot of positivity and hope from it in that where we have focused our efforts we’ve made a big difference,” Nirenberg said.
Nirenberg has taken several steps to address housing and transportation by launching the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force, which became city policy in September and ConnectSA, which has its own goals of improving transportation systems in San Antonio.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules