With a council vote on March 5, San Jose took a big step to make young children and families a top priority for the city, and SVCF staff was right there to help make it happen.
For many years, SVCF’s Center for Early Learning has worked closely with Mayor Sam Liccardo and members of the San Jose City Council to ensure that San Jose becomes California’s most family-friendly city. So we were thrilled when, in late February, Mayor Liccardo contacted us to let us know he would be making high-quality child care and preschool a top priority for the city.
In San Jose, there is a process by which priorities are formally set by the city council – and the mayor was enlisting our help to get his priority over the finish line. At the same time, Councilmember Sylvia Arenas introduced a new priority for the city to provide six weeks of fully paid family leave to city staff who need to care for family members, including newborns. This is another issue supported by the Center for Early Learning.
We leapt into action by coordinating many of our early learning partners—including the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and First 5 Santa Clara—to make sure the council was prepared to formally endorse the mayor’s priority. We made calls, drafted letters and spoke at the March 5 council meeting in support of both priorities – child care and preschool facilities and paid family leave.
After many hours of discussion, the council voted that night to make both priorities for the San Jose. Each priority received enough votes to pass on the first round.
This is a big deal for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that the 10th largest city in the nation made a big statement to support our kids and families. It is a crucial step in the right direction that will ultimately lead to a more family-friendly city.
Stay tuned for the next big step, which comes in May as the San Jose City Council votes on the city budget. AT SVCF’s Center for Early Learning, we will continue our work with Mayor Liccardo and the council to ensure the needs of young children and families are included.