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'Highest salary of any school district': Southside ISD set for a record-breaking school year

More parents are enrolling their children in the district than ever before. On top of that, Southside ISD is setting the bar with starting teacher pay.

SAN ANTONIO — It's set to be a record-breaking year in South Bexar County.

More parents are enrolling their children in Southside ISD than ever before.

KENS 5 witnessed the long lines at registration Wednesday and learned what's behind the growth.

"Southside ISD is at a level it's never been before," said Randy Escamilla, Public Relations for Southside ISD.

Classes begin Thursday, August 11 at Southside ISD. Students told us they can't wait.

"To learn, to get my grades up, go to college, get a job. All that stuff!" said rising 10th grader, Colin Long.

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"I'm gonna be in middle school, and not elementary anymore!" said Carlos Paul Samudio.

Mariah Samudio says she's a bit nervous for this year, but excited nonetheless. "I'll be going into fifth grade!" she said, smiling.

To ring in the new school year, Southside ISD put on a Back to School Bash. 5,000 families were estimated to attend.

"They're here to get haircuts, snow cones, school supplies, hot dogs, vaccines and register for school," said Escamilla.

Credit: KENS
Southside ISD staff hands out paletas to district families.

By the time school begins, Southside ISD will surpass the 6,000 student mark.

"There are families coming back to our school district who are homeschooling their children," said Escamilla. "We have families who sent their children to charter schools. They're coming back."

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Houses are popping up around the south side, bringing in new families.

There's even a wait list for Pre-K and kinder, Southside ISD board members told us.

Bre Griffin enrolled her kindergartner, Brooklynn, and 4th grader, Brayden, from Tyler, TX.

"[I'm] Excited!" said Brooklyn. 

"I'm kind of nervous," said Brayden, who was then hugged by his little sister in support.

Credit: KENS
Griffin family enrolling in Southside ISD. (From left: Brooklynn, Brayden and their mother, Bre).

Griffin says she's excited to be part of a historic year.

"They said they were nervous. I think I'm more nervous than them!" she said.

To her, it means more friendship opportunities for her children.

"That's what they're worried about since we're from somewhere else," Griffin explained. "They're very friendly, so I think they'll make a lot of friends."

Southside ISD is also setting the bar with new teacher pay, starting at $59,035. The district says that's helped them avoid a teacher shortage, with only three to four vacancies to-date.

There's also a possibility of a $3,000 bonus for employees at the end of the year.

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"We are starting our new teachers at the highest salary of any school district in San Antonio," said Escamilla.

Highly desirable teachers include: Bilingual candidates and those with their Special Education, Math and Science certifications.

August 12, Southside ISD will also find out where they rank in terms of academic performance. They were once one of the lowest performing districts in the city, but district leaders anticipate they'll be on the opposite end of the spectrum this year.

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