'Shared Services' To Improve the Quality of S.A. Early Childhood Education

San Antonio child care providers are entering into a unique Shared Services Alliance to try to improve early child development programs and lower the cost to families, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The program is being put together by taxpayer funded Pre-K 4 SA, as well as United Way and the group Children at Risk, and it is being funded by an early childhood development grant by the U.S. Department of Education.

Sarah Baray, CEO of Pre-K 4 SA, says many child development centers are doing good work in helping provide kids with critical early childhood education, but much of the tuition money they get from parents goes to operational expenses, from maintenance to accounting to information technology.

She says the Shared Services Alliance will merge those multiple operations, at a lower cost to all of the early childhood providers, so they can focus more of that money into children and teachers.

"With additional resources, they will be able to pay their workers more," Baray said. "We know that child care workers are notoriously underpaid, and that is a continuing concern across the nation."

She says as educators learn more about the critical importance of pre K education, many child development centers are making major attempts to improve their curriculum, but also face having to raise their tuition to a point where many families, especially families with multiple children, won't be able to afford these critical programs.

"For families to have access, because we want to make sure that as we raise quality, we are not raising the price of the care so families don't have the ability to afford it."

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