Letter to Editor: Inadequate City Sponsored Preschool Programs in South San Francisco

South San Francisco, CA   March 9, 2019 by a frustrated SSF resident and parent

I would like to write in to inquire how our city money is spent and allocated. I have been a resident of South San Francisco for 7 years now. In those 7 years I have tried to immerse myself into city wide programs to find out most are so impacted there are waitlists hundreds of people long and funding is not being allocated to support the growing community of South San Francisco.

 

We can start with the preschool program run by the parks and recreation department. The waitlist is never ending. I put my children on the moment they were born and I was only lucky to get a spot for my youngest when he turned 4. He is now in the program but will only be able to reap the benefits for this one year as he will move on to kindergarten. It is a wonderful program. Of the three preschools my kids have gone to, Westborough preschool is by far one of the best programs I have ever seen. It is a great mix of education for the kids and letting them be toddlers as they learn about themselves. My son will walk away with some amazing friends but also a foundation for kindergarten that far surpassed many other private and more expensive schools. So here is my question. Why are there not more resources and funding available to offer to the South San Francisco community? Why are we forced to sit on never ending wait lists in hopes of getting that email from the director? Most never get that email. If the children are benefiting so much and it is over subscribed, why as a city government and parks department are you not allocating more money to hire teachers, staff and secure locations?

 

Now on to the public school system. As a homeowner in SSF, we recently added on to our house and had to pay a fee to the school district to do so. Here is the funny thing, we can’t send our kids to the public school due to the one factor that the after school program is so hard to get into. As a two parent working household, which it appears most of SSF is, we need morning and afterschool care for our kids. Here I am, an avid tax payer, who believes in the programs the city provides for our families but yet I can’t reap any of the benefits. So all our money is going to programs we can’t use. We can now move on to the Summer Programs. Again, as a two parent working household, we have full time jobs and need care for our kids all summer long. Priority is given to the people who are already enlisted in the afterschool care programs. So that takes 100 spots of the 200 available spots each week. Then you are put into a lottery to stand in line at 6 AM to see if you can secure ANY weeks. Even just one week is a win.

 

So, this poses my question again, how does the city plan to support the growing community of South San Francisco. As you add on more housing and people have to work longer and harder hours to sustain living in a community they grew up in and raising children in the bay area, what are you as a city going to do to allow these programs to be used and benefitted by all of the community? It blows my mind that there are over 250 people on a lottery list for summer programs for their kids, and that isn’t even counting those who didn’t even bother. I hate giving my money to other cities public recreation programs but you force the hand when you don’t offer enough spots.

 

As you continue to add housing and more business you are not taking into consideration how you will be able to support this new community brought in.

 

So, what are you going to do?

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