Con: City taxes should be kept for police, roads, other public services

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

March 2, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 1, 2014 at 9:02 p.m.

City taxes should not be used for educational purposes, said former Victoria school district board member Bobby Trevino.

"Our city and county taxes should be used for other public services," Trevino said. "We shouldn't be taking money away from our police, roads and fire department."

The option of using local government resources like city or county taxes to fund full-day, universal pre-kindergarten for students who do not qualify for local school district programs or Head Start has been discussed in cities like San Antonio and Houston.

In Houston, or Harris County, the option of using county taxes to fund extended pre-K services did not reach the ballot. However, in San Antonio, a 1/8-cent sales tax was approved for use by voters in 2012.

City of Victoria Mayor Paul Polasek said providing early childhood education by using city taxes is not part of Victoria's mission.

"The residents pay local city taxes, and they expect those to do a specific set of duties," Polasek said. "They also pay school district taxes. I think the role of providing pre-K belongs to the school district."

Polasek said the school district has the option to raise its own taxes if it chooses to expand its pre-K program's reach.

Since 2011, the Victoria school district board of trustees has not raised the school tax rate.

Trevino said if enough people are interested in extending pre-K's reach, they should bring the issue to the current Victoria school district board of trustees.

While Trevino said he does not think city taxes should be used for early childhood education, he knows the benefits of pre-K are valuable to the city's future.

"I've always said that my sister is smarter than me because she went to pre-K, and I didn't," Trevino said. "I have a late birthday, so I had to wait an extra year before learning those basic skills she picked up early on."

Trevino said he doubted the state would provide additional funding for pre-K.

"If the citizens of Texas demand it, it will be done," Trevino said. "But the state is not interested in spending more money than they need to."

Pro: Pre-K education should be priority



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