Southside ISD growing amid rising economic development on San Antonio’s South Side

Increasing population, academics, housing, and economic opportunities

SAN ANTONIO – Between 2010 and 2023, the population of the South Side area grew by 52,466 people — 16% — and it’s expected to grow by 6.5% in the next five years, according to Greater:SATX.

The area houses a Toyota plant, Navistar, and TJ Maxx distribution warehouse, to name a few big employers.

There are economic generators, and more and more families are taking advantage of the financial and educational opportunities of the South Side.

“I got here, and not even within a week of being here, I already had an interview and then, a couple of days later, a job offer. So it was just — it was great,” Deborah Medina said.

Medina moved to the South Side in March with her husband and five children.

“My daughter, she’s in middle school. She’s actually in our honors classes, so I’m super proud of her. She got AB honor roll, and three of my kids that are currently attending here got AB honor roll. One of them is in the Gifted and Talented,” Medina said. “So, like I said, I’m a really, really proud mom. And then I have one in Head Start. So he’s also doing wonderful.”

The Medina family isn’t alone in moving to the district.

The enrollment has increased by 12% over the last two years. Approximately a little bit over 700 students more than what we had previously,” said Rolando Ramirez, superintendent of Southside ISD.

Southside ISD is growing by the week. The year started with 5,471 students, and it now has 6,032.

“It’s actually been great. There’s just been a lot of opportunities for myself, for my husband, for my kids academically. So we love it,” Medina said.

And it’s not just the population going up in the district. It’s also the test scores. Southside ISD has had a huge turnaround since the start of the pandemic and the arrival of Superintendent Ramirez.

“The school district before had six F-rated campuses and two Cs. This time around, this past year, it was an 88-rating with seven B campuses and one A-rated campus,” Ramirez said.

There is a big push to keep improving, especially as the population is expected to keep growing.

“The idea of 10,000 homes and then one day our school district being 15,000, 16,000 students, that is something,” Ramirez said.

And like the Medina family, people are moving to the South Side for opportunities. With the influx of people, there is a need for more homes.

“The market’s dictating that it goes there,” said Paul Basaldua, president and CEO of Versaterra Development.

Basaldua has numerous housing infrastructure projects on the Southside.

“I would say 90% of my dollars are invested in the South Side, southeast and south, and hopefully soon to be the Southwest Side of town. You’re seeing employers start to go down there. And so, that’s obviously going to increase housing opportunities,” Basaldua said.

More houses are being built, and this could just be the start.

“I think the future of the southeast is you’re going to see a densely developed area of town that, you know, quite frankly, has not been developed historically,” Basaldua said.

As for the Medina family, they say they could not be happier with their new home.

“I see my kids graduating from Southside (ISD). Like I said, I enjoy it, and so do they,” Medina said.

Greater:SATX sent KSAT a memo on the future of the economic opportunities for the area, saying the following:

“Manufacturers today are seeking opportunities to construct their products in the U.S. and skilled workers is the biggest concern. San Antonio’s Southside is extremely well-positioned to help fill those jobs with a talented and agile workforce ready to take on these opportunities.”

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About the Authors

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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