Sales Tax for San Antonio Pre-K

Dedicated Funding Streams & Financing

  • Taxes

San Antonio, Texas

In 2009, in an initiative called “SA 2020,” Mayor Julián Castro asked San Antonio residents to consider what they wanted their community to look like in 10 years. To consider where the city should put its resources to achieve their collective vision, Castro established the Brainpower Initiative Task Force, composed of business and community leaders and scholars. This task force recommended that the city fund high-quality prekindergarten for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

In 2012, 54% of San Antonio voters approved a referendum to fund Pre-K 4 SA through a one-eighth-cent sales tax. Annually, the tax raises $36 million for preschool funding each year.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Stable, robust funding is essential to expanding and improving early education. Unlike K-12 education, early education has historically been supported through a fragmented – and largely insufficient – set of federal, state, and local funds. Research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality approach to early education across the mixed-delivery system – and for better financial and professional supports for the educators who serve children and families each day; creating dedicated funding streams can therefore help states and cities address these needs and achieve these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about San Antonio

Context matters. Visit the San Antonio profile page to learn more about the city landscape.

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  • The city population is 1,451,853
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 58%
  • The median family income among households with children is $53,700.00