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Pre-K 4 SA Update

The Pre-K 4 SA program is a high quality early childhood program is funded by 1/8₵ sales tax that was approved by the voters in November 2012.

The Pre-K 4 SA business model includes:

1.  Four education center facilities serving 500 students each at full capacity with full day Pre-K instruction.

2.  Competitive grant awards to local independent school districts and other education providers to educate 1,700 children annually beginning in 2016.

3. Professional development for Pre-K through 3rd grade educators.

Pre-K 4 SA is governed by an eleven-member board of directors appointed the by City Council.  Our business model is one of partnering with seven independent school districts where we receive their four-year olds and state funding and in return we educate the students and provide their educators with professional development. The seven partnering school districts account for over 90% of all four-year old pre-k students in our area.

Pre-K 4 SA places a strong emphasis on family engagement in early education. Each Pre-K 4 SA education center has a staffed family resource center that provides families access to a wide range of resources including educational workshops, family oriented events, and individual family counseling.

Another important feature of our program includes a high quality after school enrichment program from 3:00pm to 6:00pm for working parents.

Finally our program offers free bus service through student bus depots strategically located throughout the city.

To gauge success in development and implementation of the program, Pre-K 4 SA has secured an eight-year agreement with Rutgers university’s Edvance research center to conduct an independent evaluation of our program on an annual basis. I will highlight their first year assessments shortly.

Student performance from year 1 (august 2013 to may 2014)
Pre-K 4 SA began in august 2013 with two education centers each serving 350 students for a total of 700 students. Pre-K 4 SA’s independent evaluator (Edvance) found that the students entering Pre-K 4 SA fell below the national standard for growth levels in cognitive, literacy, math, oral language, physical, and socio-emotional behavioral skills for their age.

However, after a year one evaluation of our program, not only did our students get up to speed, they passed a national peer group.

The year 1 evaluation found that students exceeded a nationally sample of students in cognitive, literacy, and math skills, and met the standard in oral language, physical skills, and socio-emotional behavior.

Student enrollment
Last week on February 2, Pre-K 4 SA began accepting applications for the new school year that will begin this august. The early application period will close on April 5 and on April 8  1,700 students will be selected by a lottery, we will also maintain a wait list.

As of February 12, the program had received over 1,000 student applications.

We expect to service 80% of students free of charge and 20% through sliding scale tuition payments this coming year.

Our learning environment at our four education centers are appropriate, and while it may appear our students are having fun, our students are focused on learning from our high quality early childhood curriculum.

Curriculum at the Pre-K 4 SA centers

Let me give you some examples of the curriculum that our students learned last month in three areas, math, science, and literacy.

Math focus: student learned counting, geometry, measurement, and patterns. Students created shapes, worked to recognize heights and lengths of people and objects, and sorted similar objects and patterns.

Science focus: students focused on physical science and the motion of objects and sources of energy. They learned about the characteristics of organisms, and life cycles. Students compared and discussed earth materials and their properties.

Literacy focus: students engaged in pre-reading and reading related activities; they combined syllables into words, and recognized letter sounds.

Upcoming council actions
There are two upcoming actions that city council will address:

According to the Pre-K 4 SA bylaws, the Pre-K board adopts the budget and the city council approves the board adopted budget. The current fiscal year budget is $32 million. The fiscal year for the program begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 each year. The board will consider adopting the new fiscal year budget in April and city council will consider approving the budget in may.

The Pre-K board is appointed by city council and serve staggered two-year terms. As a result odd numbered city council district positions and the Pre-K 4 SA board chair appointments will be considered by city council this year in april. The city council governance committee will select appointments in march, and city council will approve the appointments in April.

The Pre-k 4 SA program has had many successes in its early years. Pre-K 4 SA looks forward to continue providing a high quality early childhood learning program for the children of San Antonio.

2014 Spurs Championship Celebration

Congratulations to the 2014 NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs!

San Antonians are invited downtown this Wednesday, June 18 to help the San Antonio Spurs and the City of San Antonio celebrate a fifth NBA Championship. A river parade community celebration begins at 6 p.m. on the River Walk.  Following the river parade, the celebration will move to the Alamodome for a special ceremony beginning at 9 p.m.

Both events are part of the 2014 Spurs Championship Celebration, presented by H-E-B and BBVA Compass.  The City of San Antonio is hosting the celebration for the Spurs and the entire community. Rio San Antonio Cruises and the Paseo del Rio Association are also providing support for the event.
The events will be broadcast live by several local network affiliates.  In addition, the events will be webcast live online at  Event information is also available at

The river parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the Arneson River Theater, travel through the River Center extension, and end at the Navarro Street Bridge. Barges will carry Spurs players and coaches, Spurs officials, former Spurs players, City and Bexar County officials, live musical entertainers and others down the San Antonio River.

Spurs players, coaches and local officials will address fans at the Alamodome and show off the latest championship trophy.

The doors for the Alamodome celebration will open at 4:30 p.m.  No tickets will be needed to enter the Alamodome.  Fans who arrive early at the Alamodome will be able to watch the victory parade broadcast live on an LED video wall, as well as the highlights of the Spurs 2014 NBA championship run.

Questions regarding licensing and media credentials for the Arneson and the Alamodome should be directed to Carlos Manzanillo/Spurs Sports & Entertainment at (858) 344-8620,, or Julie Shussler/Spurs Sports & Entertainment at (210) 867-6825,

Boarding Homes Update

Ordinance related to “Boarding Homes” went into effect on March 1, 2013. Since the effective date, more than 2,000 properties have been investigated to determine if they meet the definition per the Ordinance.

Referrals have been received from the San Antonio Fire Department, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Adult Protective Services, Texas Department of Aging and Disability, and the Development Services Department’s boarding home “hotline”.

  • Of the properties investigated, 96 were identified as boarding homes
  • 45 properties are currently operating as boarding homes
  • 51 properties are no longer in operation due to withdrawing, voluntarily closing, reducing number of residents below three, or City has closed them
  • City has closed six (6) properties, due to numerous life safety issues; these properties housed 93 residents who were voluntarily relocated with assistance from City’s Department of human Services and Adult Protective Services

Development Services Department will continue to actively monitor and inspect boarding homes within San Antonio. The department encourages residents and other agencies to report potential boarding homes to our boarding home hotline at 207-8511.

Alamo Plaza

Under the guidance of The City Council, the City is undertaking a comprehensive master planning effort for Alamo Plaza that is respectful of the plaza and the Alamo’s history.

On March 6, 2014, City Council passed an ordinance approving a process, strategy, and next steps for the development of a comprehensive master plan for Alamo Plaza and the surrounding area, to include the establishment of a 21 member Alamo Plaza Advisory Committee.

The Committee is charged with updating the 1994 Alamo Plaza Study; creating a vision and the guiding principles for the redevelopment of Alamo Plaza and the surrounding area; assisting in the development of an RFQ for the comprehensive master plan; and providing general oversight of the development of the master plan.

The committee had its first meetings on May 9th and has help 6 meetings since. All meetings have been posted in advance and are open to the public.  The purpose of these meetings has been to gather information on the current operations, history, perspectives, and relevant plans pertaining to the plaza and surrounding area. These work sessions will begin on June 23rd in Room 206 at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.

The Committee realizes the importance of Alamo Plaza to our community, so the public will be invited to provide feedback on the Committee’s progress during a public meeting on August 26th in Room 103 at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.

The Committee will submit its recommendations to City Council at the September Quality of Life meeting before proceeding to a City Council B Session in November. The goal is to request endorsement of the proposed update to the 1994 Alamo Plaza Study and authorization to proceed with the RFQ process in late Fall 2014.

For more information on the initiative please call Sarah Esserlieu at 207-0108.

San Antonio Fire Department

The San Antonio Fire Department has partnered with the United State Army South-side Battalion to combine recruiting efforts. Starting in Mid-October this partnership will create a career pathway for military personal exiting their military career.

Currently the average enlistment lasts only 4 to 5 years; this program would connect with candidates to provide information about the department and the need for qualified candidates with their skills and values.  Currently the Battalion consists of over 80% minority enrollment and has the potential to connect with the San Antonio Fire Department goal of increasing the number of minority candidates.

The department has a 4 step approach for recruiting those within the military, as well as those contemplating a career within the military.

  • SAFD in conjunction with the military will work together recruiting at high schools.  They will work together to make presentations to high school seniors on the opportunities within SAFD and the military.  They will also set up recruiting tables at the high school with information on the department.
  • SAFD will also create a connection with those military individuals waiting for their orders.  SAFD can provide information on opportunities as a Fire fighter, which will allow SAFD to create a connection with the military individuals throughout their career.
  • That connection will create a mentorship that will exist throughout their career in the military.  SAFD will maintain constant contact with them to keep SAFD in the forefront of their minds.  This will create a long term engagement with SAFD, as well as a communication link for the soldier.
  • Once their career has been completed in the military, SAFD will help plan an exit strategy and provide them with information on starting a career with SAFD.

San Antonio Fire Department looks forward to working with the United States Army in the near future, as well as working with potential recruits for the San Antonio Fire Department.

2013 Employee Survey

The results of the 2013 City Employee Survey are in.  11,117 surveys disseminated to all full-time, part-time, temporary and grant-funded employees in both English and Spanish.  The overall response rate was excellent, with 8,044 completed surveys; a 72.0% return rate. Over the last 4 surveys, we have steadily increased our response rate with employees providing important feedback.

Based on the overall results of the survey, the City of San Antonio is definitely moving in the right direction with regard to the City’s efforts to meet the needs of its employees.  We have a very committed workforce and employees are proud to work for the City of San Antonio. Overall satisfaction among employees has increased to 87% in 2013 from 85% in 2011.

A high percentage of employees are using communications tools that have been developed by the City, and many of these tools appear to be having a positive impact on employee perceptions of the City:

  • City news releases
  • TVSA Programs
  • City Annual Report
  • Department newsletters
  • Employee newsletter – eConnections

While we have made positive strides in many areas we also have opportunities to improve our rewards and recognition programming and improve the work satisfaction levels among our skilled and craft employees and continue to provide quality of professional development opportunities to employees

During the month of September, employees will be provided with the overall survey results in both English and Spanish by means of department meetings, the City’s Employee newsletter, All-COSA emails and the COSA Web (intranet).  Departments will analyze and review the 2013 survey results and identify progress made in areas identified for improvement in 2014.

Market Street Closure

Market Street was closed to traffic at Bowie Street beginning on Saturday, September 14. The closure will last approximately 11 months. All vehicles will turn left onto Bowie Street, which will be converted to one-way to allow more turn and through lanes. Business access will not be affected. To learn more or see the detour routes online, visit

Sister Cities International Conference

The Sister Cities International conference was held in San Antonio July 11-13.  More than 600 delegates from 30 countries attended the conference.  By comparison, Jacksonville, Florida drew 180 delegates in 2012, so there was a 320% increase for the San Antonio conference.

Our International Relations Office coordinated the visits of nine official delegations, including delegations from six of our existing sister cities: Monterrey and Guadalajara, Mexico; Gwangju, South Korea; Kumamoto, Japan; and Chennai, India, and Wuxi, China.

A total of five mayors led these delegations, marking the first time in San Antonio history that multiple sister city mayors have been here at the same time. Mayor Castro and many members of our City Council played a very prominent role, hosting numerous events and meeting with each visiting mayor independently.

The City and its community partners hosted events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our relationship with Kumamoto and the 60th anniversary of our relationship with Monterrey.  In fact, we were sister cities with Monterrey three years before the Sister Cities organization was created by President Eisenhower in 1956.

Using the multiplier that the Convention and Visitors Bureau uses to measure the economic impact of visitors, the conference generated more than $500,000 for the local community.

2013 Kickoff Luncheon to Benefit United Way

The community is invited to join the City of San Antonio staff on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 at the Alamodome from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for the 2013 City of San Antonio Charitable Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon.  The event will feature the City of San Antonio’s Executive Team serving the meal to City employees and guests.

The lunch plate costs only $10 and includes: pasta and meatballs, salad, breadstick, your choice of water/tea, and a cookie. Proceeds from the Luncheon will benefit the 2013 City of San Antonio United Way Charitable Campaign.

Tickets are now on sale and available at Payment can be made by credit card online. Free parking is available in Alamodome Lot A.

In 2012, the City raised more than $1 million for the Charitable Campaign overall. According to the Nonprofit Times, last year San Antonio ranked as number one in best performing cities in America for United Way giving. City employees exemplify this top ranking with the support of the San Antonio community.

FY 2014 Proposed Budget

Title of Feature
The FY 2014 Proposed Budget was presented to the Mayor and City Council at the August 8th City Council meeting. During the month of August, City Councilmembers and City staff will hold Community Budget Hearings in the community. San Antonio residents are invited to attend these events and provide their input on the Proposed Budget. To find out where and when your District’s Budget Hearing will take place or for more information on the FY 2014 Proposed Budget, please visit the City of San Antonio’s Office of Management and Budget website at: