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S.F. mayor backs college accounts

Sun., May 30, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO – Should cities help families save for their kids’ college education? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom thinks so.

Newsom wants to create college savings accounts for all of San Francisco’s kindergartners and make small initial deposits to get them started – even as the city grapples with a massive budget shortfall.

“From the moment they enter kindergarten, we want kids to believe they will one day go to college and we want to help their parents get a start on saving for that education,” Newsom said.

But skeptics say San Francisco can’t afford the program when the city is preparing to cut services and lay off hundreds of employees to close a $483 million deficit in its $2.9 billion general fund budget.

The mayor, who is campaigning to be California’s next lieutenant governor, plans to include funding for the program in his proposed city budget, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

If funding is approved, San Francisco would deposit $50 into college savings accounts for each kindergartner attending a city public school. Low-income students who qualify for free or reduced lunch would get $100.

Once the accounts are open, the city would encourage donors to provide matching funds.


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