SVP San Antonio hosted former City Manager, Sheryl Sculley, at the April meeting where she outlined key areas for our focus as philanthropists in the coming years. Her comments strengthen our commitment to supporting programs for children and at-risk youth in San Antonio.
In her role as City Manager, Sculley provided fiscal oversight for public funding for more than 75 agencies addressing key issues facing San Antonio families. She stated students who started in the Pre-K 4 SA classes outperformed those in other Pre-K programs across the city. However, she cautioned more work is needed.
“When we voted in 2012, we wanted to see we made a difference,” Sculley said. When Pre-K 4 SA began, it was implemented for 4,000 students, with no more than 18 students in a classroom and was taught by master certified teachers. The program provided access to resources and job training or educational training for parents. The City had a grant program for 3,000 children for education and other child-development providers. “But as one of the fastest growing cities in the US, we have 5,000 more children who continue to have no access to early childhood education,” she noted.
Sculley has demonstrated she is a strong supporter of education for all children so they have an equal chance at prosperity. The Pre-K 4 SA program gives these children an early start and a better success rate for finishing high school, and going on to another program, either college or other training.
Another great area of need in San Antonio is to develop programs and educational training for an estimated 30,000 young people in San Antonio who are not in school or working.
“That is a big number for any city,” Sculley said. In response, this February, the City piloted a program called The Reengagement Center which partners with the Parks and Recreation Department, City libraries, courts, SAPD and Human Resources who are leading these efforts. The goal is to connect these young people to GED or job training programs, especially in areas with hard to fill jobs like technology. Education in these areas is critical, and we are in competition with other cities for these good jobs. “Anything we can do to support future workers is time and money well spent,” she noted.
When asked what her next steps will be, she said she plans to take some time off but has no definitive plans at this time. We do expect to see Sheryl working to make a difference every day in the future, whether that be guiding potential leaders, participating in planning activities and joining in conversations to create positive change.