Unlike many school systems elsewhere, the San Antonio area's 19 school districts (the largest of which—the Northside Independent School District—is the sixth largest in Texas) function as separate, independent entities. Each has its own superintendent, its own elected board of education, and its own taxing authority. The Texas Education Agency in Austin oversees all districts, but they function apart from city or county jurisdiction.
The public school system in San Antonio is supplemented by specialized high schools including the Business Careers High School, Jay Science & Engineering Academy High School, Communication Arts High School, and Health Careers High School, which provide curriculums focused on specific fields of study.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Northside Independent School District as of the 2003-2004 school year.
Total enrollment: 74,018
Number of facilities elementary schools: 54
middle schools: 14
senior high schools: 12
Student/teacher ratio: 15.6:1
Funding per pupil: $6,933
More than 100 parochial schools and private schools also operate in San Antonio.
Public Schools Information: Northside Independent School District, 5900 Evers Road, San Antonio, TX 78238; telephone (210)397-8500
Variously offering associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in many disciplines, San Antonio's institutions of higher learning include the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), is comprised of Colleges of Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Liberal and Fine Arts, Sciences, Public Policy, and Honors College; a school of Architecture; and Graduate School. UTSA offers 106 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and is the second largest University of Texas component after UT at Austin. At the University of Texas Health Science Center, students pursue degrees in medicine, dentistry, and nursing, and receive training at affiliated teaching hospitals. Trinity University, a private school founded by Presbyterians that offers its students degrees in the liberal arts and the sciences, has been repeatedly selected by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best colleges in the western U.S.; in 2005 Trinity ranked 1st overall among schools offering undergrad and master's programs in this region. St. Mary's University, a private Catholic institution, is particularly known for its law and business schools. University of the Incarnate Word, also a private Catholic school, is known for its nursing curriculum. Our Lady of the Lake University is a private Catholic institution that emphasizes minority programs, particularly for Hispanics. Oblate School of Theology is a private Catholic college serving men and women seeking graduate study in theology. San Antonio College, one of the major junior colleges in Texas, has an average enrollment of more than 22,000 students and is among the largest single-campus two-year colleges in the United States. St. Philip's College, a two-year public facility that focuses its curriculum on restaurant management, data processing, and health-related fields as well as arts and sciences, was founded in 1898 and is one of the oldest and most diverse community colleges in the country. San Antonio's Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (National Autonomous University of Mexico) offers Hispanic-oriented courses and is the only U.S. branch of UNAM's home campus in Mexico City, Mexico. Palo Alto College, a two-year college in San Antonio's south side, has recently added new programs in Academic Computing Technology, Aviation Management, Criminal Justice, Environmental Technology, Electrical Mechanical Technology, Health Professions, Logistics, Nursing, Teacher Assistant, and Turfgrass Management.
The San Antonio Public Library operates the San Antonio Central Library and 18 branch libraries across the city. The Central Library at 600 Soledad Street has received national attention for its unique design and color ("enchilada red"). The library was designed by Ricardo Legorreta Arquitectos of Mexico City. The library collection encompasses 1.8 million volumes. The Central Library houses the Texana/Genealogy and Latino reference collections, showcasing the history, culture, and art of the region. The Central Library also features an art gallery with exhibits that change periodically. The Central Library is six stories high plus a basement level; the entire third floor is devoted to children 3 and under. Children have their own "KidsCat" computer catalog and a spacious story and craft room.
San Antonio's numerous research centers include those supported by the University of Texas in the fields of archaeology, environmental resources, neuroscience, women's studies, biotechnology, culture and community, aging, music, bioengineering; UT's Health Science Center has many additional research centers, devoted to areas of the medical field. Others include the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, and the Mexican-American Cultural Center, which seeks the harmonious integration of Hispanic and North American cultures in a manner consistent with democratic and Christian precepts. San Antonio's Southwest Research Institute occupies 1,200 acres and has a staff of 2,800 studying many topics such as automation, robotics, space sciences, and fuels and lubricants.
Public Library Information: San Antonio Public Library, 600 Soledad Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205; telephone (210)207-2500