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San Antonio Pre-K Project Still Set to Open in August, CEO Says

San Antonio's ambitious $248-million "Pre-K 4 SA" initiative is on schedule to open its doors as planned the first week of August, the project's new CEO Kathleen Bruck said in an e-mail interview—a feat by most standards, considering it was green-lighted by taxpayers only in November, requires the cooperation of 15 of the city's school districts, and necessitates the construction of two new schools.

All staff members will report Aug. 1 for intensive training, professional development, and to set up classrooms, Bruck wrote.

Transportation, child nutrition, and curriculum are in place. Furthermore, the board that oversees the project has also selected an independent project evaluator to assess the program, which aims to offer 22,400 children, most of them from low-income families, a quality preschool education over the next eight years.

"We are knee-deep in finalizing construction and inspections at both centers, talking with parents and enrolling students, and finishing up hiring of support personnel," Bruck said.

Playgrounds are currently being installed, she added.

"Teachers who are joining are team hail from all over Texas as well as Reno, Nevada; Arizona; Virginia; and California," she noted.

More than 200 teachers were interviewed for the 44 teaching jobs, Bruck wrote.

The Pre-K 4 SA initiative was pioneered by Democratic Mayor Julian Castro and remains highly controversial. While funding was approved by voters, taxpayers and some in the education community worried about handing over the job of education to the mayor's office. Others felt it would be a duplication of services or not needed at all.

To read more about the program, check out my April story. I traveled to San Antonio then to flesh out how Pre-K 4 SA works and the controversy surrounding it.

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