Savings program ready to put money in kids’ pockets

Around 1,200 kindergartners will receive $50 savings accounts this year that are intended to be used toward their future college tuition.

Kindergarten to College — a $250,000 program that was nearly killed this summer during The City’s budget negotiations — will kick off this week when Mayor Gavin Newsom, City Controller Jose Cisneros, schools Superintendent Carlos Garcia, and supervisors David Campos and Bevan Dufty visit Sanchez Elementary School on Tuesday.

“It begins the conversation with working families in need,” Dufty said. “It shows that education is very important, and it opens the doors for families to work with other city programs.”

According to San Francisco Unified School District officials, children with a savings account are seven times more likely to go to college. One in three San Francisco children are born into families with no savings or assets of any kind. Only one in two black or Hispanic students have a savings account.

Sanchez Elementary, located in the Castro district, has a student population of 265, with 211 being Hispanic, according to the California Department of Education.

Roughly 25 percent of kindergartners at 18 elementary schools will be given the accounts this year, Cisneros said, with a focus on low-income neighborhoods. One-hundred percent of students entering public schools are expected to have an account by the 2012-13 school year.

Students with accounts this year could net as much as $250 by the end of the school year, Cisneros said. He said because of private investing partners, dollar-for-dollar matches up to $100 will be made for families who make deposits in the first year.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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